Let’s face it, nothing gets through the Senate if Moscow Mitch McConnell doesn’t want it to pass. (Almost nothing: we did get the Covid-19 relief package through, and a few other things, using reconciliation.) And it’s been clear to everyone (even Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema!) that there aren’t 10 Republican Senators willing to vote for the Jan 6. Commission. So why is McConnell going out of his way to make it personal?
(CNN) In the last 24 hours, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has ramped up the pressure on his GOP Senate colleagues to oppose a bill creating a January 6 commission, according to two Republicans familiar with his effort.One of those Republicans told CNN that McConnell has even made the unusual move of asking wavering senators to support filibustering the bill as “a personal favor” to him.“No one can understand why Mitch is going to this extreme of asking for a ‘personal favor’ to kill the commission,” said the Republican.
One possibility is that 14 GOP Senators have agreed to talk to Galdys Sicknick, mother of fallen officer Brian Sicknick — who, McConnell might remember, lay in state in the Rotunda. Maybe he worries that a mother’s tears just might move a few Republicans to do the right thing. Another is that the amendment Susan Collins is offering to “fix” some problem, which she says the Speaker has agreed to, might also get enough Republicans on board.
Republicans say the Kentucky senator has been even more insistent this week as the debate on the January 6 bill in the Senate approached. According to the other Republican familiar with the effort, McConnell made an impassioned case against the commission to a group of GOP senators behind closed doors this week.
But here’s the thing. If this commission bill goes through, McConnell will have enormous power to bollix it. He and McCarthy get to appoint half the commissioners, and the Republican half will have lots of ways to slow things down, screw things up, object to subpoenas, call QAnon witnesses, do all kinds of things.
Evidently he doesn’t even want that. He is desperate to keep the reality of the insurrection from being revealed. But here’s the other thing: If there’s no commission, then the Speaker has a clear path to appoint a select committee to do the same exposure. And Moscow Mitch has no power to stop her.
So: questions for the assembled multitude: Is McConnell losing his touch? And just exactly what is he so afraid of? Does he, for example, really think that a bipartisan commission he can subtly undermine is more likely his chances to become majority leader again than a House committee over which he has no control? Or does he know for sure that some of his caucus conspired with Former Guy and the mob, and worries that this will be made public?