Of Course It's Partisan!

[ Posted Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 – 16:09 UTC ]

Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are trying to paint Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats as being somehow "too partisan" about investigating the attempted insurrection at the United States Capitol on the sixth of January. This is supposed to somehow delegitimize the effort, but it is in fact laughable on the face of it. Because when you get right down to it, of course it is a partisan exercise. The reason? Because one of America's major two political parties was complicit in attempting to overturn the will of the people in a national presidential election. One party did that. In a very partisan way. So any investigation of the incident is going to naturally expose this fact in a glaring way, because at this point only one party is even interested in getting at the truth -- the other party doesn't want that at all because they know they are so complicit. It doesn't matter who investigates it, the facts are the facts -- and one party bears the blame. This is precisely what Republicans don't want to talk about, which is why they've attempted to either stop or sabotage the entire effort to investigate 1/6 in any way, shape, or form from the very beginning.

It's not that Kevin McCarthy wants the investigation done in any different way, in other words, it is that he does not want it to happen at all. That has been the Republican goal all along. Ironically, if he follows through on his threat to pull his choices from the select committee, he will make the entire proceedings a lot more serious, sober, and efficient -- which is precisely what he doesn't want to happen.

Let's please remember how we got to where we are now. Democrats proposed a bipartisan (and as nonpartisan as possible) independent commission, much like the one that investigated 9/11. No sitting member of Congress would be eligible to serve on it. Instead it would be made up of people who honestly wanted to get to the entire truth, so the country could learn from it and move forward.

In the House, 35 Republicans voted for this plan, which showed very bipartisan support. But in the Senate, Mitch McConnell successfully killed the idea. It did get a number of Republican votes, but in the end it fell at least three votes shy of making it past the inevitable filibuster. So the idea died on the vine.

Rather than an independent bipartisan/nonpartisan effort, Nancy Pelosi then passed a measure to set up a House Select Committee to investigate. In doing so, she used the exact same language Republicans had used previously, when they set up their own investigative committees. Pelosi would get to name eight members of the panel of 13, and McCarthy would get to recommend the other five -- but Pelosi could veto any or all of them. Pelosi magnanimously named one Republican (Liz Cheney) to her slate. Kevin McCarthy named five names, at least two of which were absolutely unacceptable (which I wrote about yesterday).

Today, Pelosi informed McCarthy that she was striking these two from the list, but that the other three could serve. She offered McCarthy the chance to name two more members in the place of the two she rejected.

McCarthy (so far) has refused to do so. Instead, in a snit, he announced that he was pulling all five names out of the hat, and that the House Republicans would "pursue our own investigation of the facts." I'm not sure if this was meant to be some sort of threat, but it really is nothing more than petulant hot air. McCarthy simply does not have the power to set up a House committee. He might get some Republicans in a room somewhere and hear "testimony" (it would not be actual testimony) from witnesses and experts, but he would have zero power to subpoena or otherwise compel anyone to appear before a non-sanctioned and unofficial group of politicians. Plus, there's the whole "committee of foxes investigating the henhouse break-in" aspect, as well. Which is the real reason why the whole thing isn't just an empty threat but, in fact, a joke.

The general facts are pretty well-known, at this point. Not all of the details, but the broad picture is pretty clear. Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. He refused to believe this. He then started "the Big Lie" that the election had somehow, in some unspecified manner, been stolen from him. He tried to strongarm all other Republicans into not just believing or repeating this Big Lie, but in fact acting on it. At various points along the official process of certifying votes, naming slates of electors to the Electoral College, and having those Electoral College votes officially transmitted to Congress to be authenticated, Donald Trump tried to throw as much sand in the gears as he could. He was never very clear on what exactly everyone else was supposed to do to reverse the election results and hand him the victory -- probably because even in the midst of it, he just never bothered to learn about the process at all. He did make several very ham-handed efforts to get Republicans (in Georgia and Michigan, most notably) to just toss out election returns Trump didn't like and somehow pronounce him the winner. Thankfully, these Republicans held firm and refused to do so.

Meanwhile, Trump was firing up his base of supporters. Trump pointed to several dates along the path of certification, and tried to get people to disrupt each step as much as possible. The final step was January 6, when Congress put an official end to the presidential election and certified Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. Because this was Trump's last stand, he whipped his followers into an absolute frenzy -- both beforehand on social media, and in person, live, on the morning of the sixth. A mob of people then besieged the Capitol, violently forced their way inside, and attempted to kill the vice president. They did succeed in interrupting Congress for a few hours, but after the building was eventually cleared, Biden was proclaimed the winner.

In all this time, Republican politicians everywhere were either (1) fully supporting Trump's Big Lie, (2) using weasel words such as, "Well, some people have some concerns about the integrity of the election," or (3) lying very low and saying as little as possible. Precious few stood up and called out Trump for subverting the course of a free and fair election. No proof was ever offered up in any court of law of any actual election fraud, and all the cases eventually got tossed out for their complete lack of any evidence. The Big Lie was indeed a big lie, from start to finish. Aided and abetted by Republicans in Congress. In a very partisan manner, by the way.

That is what people like McCarthy and McConnell would really prefer everyone forget about. How a major political party tried to overturn an election that they had lost, by any means necessary -- administratively, legislatively, judicially, or (if all those failed) violently.

So of course any investigation into the insurrection attempt is going to spotlight all this partisan activity by Republicans. And of course it will be a partisan thing to do, since the Republicans just want everyone to forget all about the events that day, while Democrats (and a tiny handful of Republicans) actually want to expose the truth. Republicans refused to create a nonpartisan commission to do so, leaving Democrats with only one choice -- to run a partisan investigation. Which is what is going to begin, next Tuesday, when four of the brave police officers who on that dark day tried to defend the Capitol with their very lives will testify and tell their own personal truth.

And it will be a bipartisan group who hears this testimony, since Liz Cheney is still a Republican. Cheney, to her credit, today made a statement on the Capitol steps where she gave her full-throated support to Pelosi for rejecting two of McCarthy's picks. So any news article you read which contains a statement like "McCarthy pulls all Republicans off the committee" is already in error. Because Cheney will indeed be sitting there next Tuesday, and every other day the select committee holds hearings or meets.

The January sixth attack on the Capitol -- an attempt to overthrow a free and fair presidential election by violent means -- was an entirely partisan affair. So of course the investigation into it is going to be partisan as well, since zero Democrats were egging on, cheering, or participating in the events of that day. That's just a fact, no matter what Kevin McCarthy has to say about it now.

The only proper response to Republican complaints that "it'll be a totally partisan investigation" should be: "So what? The January sixth insurrection was also totally partisan in nature. So of course there is going to be some partisanship exposed in the course of the investigation. It'd really be impossible not to."

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


31 Comments on “Of Course It's Partisan!”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    oh, come on CW, you know they're all just pushing us to eat cake, and using the january 6th incursion as an excuse to pretend to fight over responsibility. stop pushing the cake agenda and support pie!

  2. [2] 
    andygaus wrote:

    "All the cases eventually got tossed out..." Actually, to be precise, 61 out of 62 got tossed out. If I remember correctly, in Pennsylvania, the judge agreed that some voters had had too long to fix their improperly filled-out mail-in ballots, so some of those votes should be thrown out. Not enough to change anything, but one small legal victory.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, let me put it this way ...

    Of course, it's a partisan finding of fact.

    So, who, pray tell, do Democrats hope to convince with their partisan fact-finding mission?

    Tonight at the town hall, Biden was asked about how to increase public confidence in government, in elected officials, in democracy, itself.

    The best way to do that now is to make sure every American understands what the Biden administration is doing to make their lives better and how Republicans are working to sabbotage these efforts. That how Democrats gain more seats in the midterms - not by a partisan fiasco in Congress.

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    trump and his minions in congress would love to present this as if it were an attempt to "convince" someone of something. the point is not to win or lose voters, it's to figure out precisely how the incursion on the capital was allowed to happen, in order to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

    at least, that's what the cake agenda WANTS you to believe.


  5. [5] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    EM [3]
    I'm not sure you fully understand how this stuff works in America. Congress is the only body with the jurisdiction to officially investigate the insurrection and make the findings a matter of public record for future generations. Whether you think it is beneficial for Democrats to do this or not is beside the point. This sort of investigation is part of their sworn duties, and it is essential that at least one of our political parties not abdicate those duties.

    Beyond that, I do think there are a lot of unaffiliated voters who are uninformed to the point that they truly don't realize what actually happened, how bad it was, and how it was brought about. The full facts of the situation need to be presented publicly for people like them, and those sorts can be persuaded, if not to support the democratic agenda, then at least to reject the lies of the republicans.

  6. [6] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    To put it another way:
    If the Democrats ignore their duties to focus on only what will benefit them electorally, would they really be that different from the republicans?

  7. [7] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    The question I see no one pointing out is.. What if the GOP is less concerned about an investigation and only is concerned with making sure that the next time they try to pull a coup it succeeds?

    Up until COVID, I have spent a vast majority of the past 12 years in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. I have been on the ground for some of the coups that were successful (unlike the TUMP one) and their aftermath or lack thereof.

    I am now seeing alot of the early foundation blocks being put in place for 2024. Given the voting "reforms" meant to give only voting republicans faith in the outcome, 2022 will be the first set of serious building blocks by if necessary overthrowing the will of the electorate to ensure lower houses are in their control for 2024. Once that fix is in they will again ignore the will of the people to ensure their side gets in. Once that happens, it will stay that way until they get too corrupt for their own good or the people become restive.

    Just sayin' what I see out of the GOP scares the living crap out of me, especially given that they now have not just one wing nut network, but three of them and lots of runway for indoctrination...

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    yup, now there are three right-wing propaganda channels. card-stacking at its finest...

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, I pretty much understand how things work and who has what jurisdiction.

    My point is, simply, that I hope the cons don't outweigh the pros of having a very partisan committee investigating this at a time when the nation is so politically divided.

    As I said, I hope I'm wrong about how this committee's final report will be received by an already extremely polarized electorate and about the negative impact i think it will have on Dems chances in the midterms.

    Time will tell ...

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    goode trickle,

    Just sayin' what I see out of the GOP scares the living crap out of me, especially given that they now have not just one wing nut network, but three of them and lots of runway for indoctrination...

    I appreciate your experience and it scares me, too.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    i feel like the folks in south and central america knew what donald was the second he took the stage; they've seen his type many times before. argentina and chile know it well, as do peru, ecuador and brazil. nicaragua is still living it. the trump phenomenon is far from over, and our system of government is still undergoing a major stress test.


  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Your experience doesn't scare me, just to be clear. :)

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    If the Democrats ignore their duties to focus on only what will benefit them electorally, would they really be that different from the republicans?

    Of course, I never said that.

    Here is what I said:

    "The best way to do that now is to make sure every American understands what the Biden administration is doing to make their lives better and how Republicans are working to sabbotage these efforts. That how Democrats gain more seats in the midterms - not by a partisan fiasco in Congress."

  14. [14] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    @ NYP

    Not only did they have an idea, they also let me know how sad they were that the grand American experiment was going to fail...

    I told them it was not over, but between their sort of sincere statements of comfort, and getting tear gassed in Lima, Santiago, Guatemala City, and Managua when the wrong party remained in charge; combined with seeing the GOP drive to extinguish the same spirit of protest coupled with limiting the power to vote... I kinda see their point.

    Forget "still" and "stress test" our government is undergoing a test of the status quo of "democracy" or the new way of "autocracy"... either way their is an "ocracy" involved. "Stress test" suggests that the current form of government will survive. I however have serious doubts....

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    well, color me the cockeyed optimist. i believe we'll survive the age of trump, and come out on the other side intact, if slightly the worse for wear.


  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    well... more than slightly. but that's my penchant for wry understatement.

  17. [17] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Do the Reps want to investigate how the capitol riot got going? Do the Dems want to investigate how the Biden family is exercising political power/influence to enrich themselves at public expense? Does the sun rise in the west? Does the bear shit in the forest service restroom?

    These are all important things we need to research, right??

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    Whether or not they want to is beside the point. They're obligated.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Obligated by what? A sense of justice?

  20. [20] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    McCarthy knows that this investigation is likely going to cost him his leadership position in the House. McCarthy was one of the few people who was able to reach Trump on the phone on January 6 while the insurrection was in full bloom. He will definitely be forced to testify about that conversation, and what McCarthy testifies to will not bode well for Trump. Trump will say that McCarthy betrayed him and the Republicans by telling the truth and refusing to perjure himself for Trump’s sake. McCarthy will be dead to Trump; and Trump will quickly direct the party as to who should take over the GQP House’s leadership.

    The only chance McCarthy has for saving his political career is to turn on Trump…hard! I wish McCarthy would fight to save his political career…but that would require telling the truth and excepting responsibility and…let’s face it — McCarthy would not know how to do either of those if his life depended on it!

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    obligated because it's part of their job.

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    very funny

    They aren't obligated to do THIS investigation.

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    yes liz, they ARE obligated to do this investigation. it's part of their oath of office.

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;* that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

    *emphasis mine

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I get that it is part of their job to do investigations but there were not obligated to investigate this. They chose to do that.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, I think they are making a big mistake. But, we'll see.

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Maybe there will be unicorns and rainbows!

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    In normal times, a congressional committee would do a very good job of investigating an assault on the Capitol.

    But, these ain't normal times and half of the American electorate, give or take, won't be buying the result, even if by some miracle the hearings don't devolve into, ah, chaos. :)

  29. [29] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    there's literally nobody else in the country who has all the authority, funding, and lack of ethical entanglements necessary to do the investigation. would you prefer that nobody investigated it at all? because those are the options.


  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    We're like two ships, passing in the night.

    There ARE investigations going on, no? I'm learning a lot, anyways, beyond the obvious and fundamental facts which have long been known.

    I'm like Biden - I'm not making myself crystal clear because I am assuming you all can read between the lines.

    Of course, I'm not against investigations or against investigations into Jan 6. All I am saying is that THIS congress is not capable of hearings that will produce more light than heat.

    Perhaps, I'll be proven wrong and the hearings will be fruitful ... meaning that a substantial majority of American voters will accept its final report. Which gets back to my points about ending the filibuster and the impact that will have, over time, on confidence in government, in elected officials and in democracy, itself.

    In other words, I do care about this, deeply.

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    you're not being unclear, i just disagree with you. other than the president himself, congress is the only body with the power to authorize an investigation into the full body of evidence surrounding 1/6. the justice department can prosecute individual participants. the press can use whatever information is leaked by their sources. however, neither of those has the subpoena power to give the public a full picture of how (and/or why) our government somehow didn't protect itself from a violent mob of deluded partisans.

    a non-partisan commission would have been a better route, but it didn't happen. even if there IS more heat than light, in my opinion the light is worth the heat.


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