Image Credits: CNN.

I met Daily Kos user RenaRF in real life somewhere back in the mists of time, probably at the original Netroots Nations conference in Las Vegas in 2006. She struck me as a partisan Democrat, but also a practical level-headed professional. It’s striking to see her tone fifteen years later.

I’m tired of being reasonable, especially when the other side — which is an existential threat to democracy — is anything but.  I have spent whatever balance I had to put faith in norms and processes after the deadly, criminal debacle that was/is the Trump *administration.

She’s done with seeking consensus or aspiring to bipartisan solutions. For her, the threat to democracy we’re facing is exactly analogous to the threat the Weimar Republic faced in the 1920’s and early 1930’s. If we don’t wake up, democracy will be lost.

Looking back on the rise of Hitler — just a simple timeline — is super instructive in terms of framing the risks we now face.  Hitler attempted a coup in 1923, and served prison time over it. Hitler clung to the big lie, put his head down, and soldiered on.  All around him, the political “power structure” kept thinking that they could find a way through this without abandoning #TheWayThingsAreDone.

Her solution isn’t particularly radical however. All she’s asking is that the Democrats create a January 6 commission, and if they have to change the Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster, so be it. This is necessary because the GOP (or GQP, as she calls it) has already shown its true colors, and the intentions are not benign.

Stop trying to negotiate with these soul-less, power-grabbing, corrupt, criminal, lying sacks of rat turds.  ”THEY SENT PEOPLE TO KILL YOU.” And frankly, they’d do it again — WILL do it again — if they believe they can succeed.  Comity, bipartisanship, all of that are the old rules.  We keep trying to play a game by those old rules and never acknowledge that the GQP poured gasoline on them, lit a match, and then dropped a nuclear bomb on them just for good measure.  We are playing a game that doesn’t exist any longer, and they are playing an entirely different game.

She recommends playing hardball with any Democratic senator who won’t go along with changing the rules to overcome the filibuster. They should be stripped of their committee assignments even at the risk that they flip parties.

This isn’t going to happen, and I think RenaRF is so strident precisely because she knows it isn’t going to happen. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will put the commission to a vote on the Senate floor, but that’s not actually true. What he’ll do is make a motion to have a vote, and the motion will fail because it takes a supermajority of 60 senators to overcome the objection on even one member. There will not be 10 Republican senators willing to join the 50 Democratic ones, and therefore there will not be a vote on creating a commission.

Schumer will accept this without stripping any Democrats of their committee assignments. The House of Representatives will have to go it alone.

There’s talk that the vote in the House could win the support of 20 to 50 Republicans. The lower number is a lot more believable than the higher one, but without the Senate’s support the bill will go nowhere. In that case, I expect Speaker Nancy Pelosi to create the commission anyway. But that will require a new bill.

Former Republican strategist Rick Wilson aptly describes why congressional Republicans are unwilling to countenance a January 6 commission: “They see the majority in their grasp, and just as they did in the states this year, they’ll strike quickly, mercilessly, and without a moment of hesitation of a scintilla of shame to make the next election the last.”

He, like RenaRF, sees the 2022 midterms as potentially the last free and fair elections that will be held in our Republic. I suppose that depends on whether or not the Democrats can win the 2024 presidential election in the face of unprecedented suppression designed to disproportionally disenfranchise their voters. If not, then Rena and Rick are probably right. The Republicans will consolidate their gains and use the Justice Department and the Courts to legitimize their permanent seizure of power.

Truthfully, this might happen even with a bipartisan January 6 commission. People like RenaRF are a bellwether. When they sound an alarm this loudly, we really ought to listen. The Republicans are a mortal threat to our system of government, but just as a big a threat is complacency.

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