“We need two political parties in this country that are both living in reality, and you ain’t one of them.” – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) addressing his Republican colleagues during debate on the January 6th commission
During the early Reagan Administration, Scott Faulkner made a salient point: “Personnel is policy.” He was making clear that elected officials – especially elected executives – dictated policy by their appointments.
Before 2020, election boards didn’t come into that sphere of conversation. Sadly, we now have to concern ourselves  with them, too. I’ve discussed Glenn Youngkin’s back -and-forth  on the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election, and what it would mean for the type of Republicans who would control local election boards throughout the state. Today, we saw more examples of just how rotten the Republican Party has become on this front.
The House of Representatives voted in favor of establishing a bipartisan commission to examine the January 6 insurrection and how the Big Lie (i.e., the “stolen election” nonsense) led to it. I was gratified to see 35 Republicans in the House break ranks and vote for it (Washington Post ).
On Friday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), announced they had a deal on commission legislation.
Katko defended the legislation during the floor debate Wednesday and urged colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support the proposal, which he noted is similar to a bill introduced earlier this year by Republicans.
“I encourage all members, Republicans and Democrats alike, to put down their swords for once, just for once, and support this bill,” he said.
The 35 Republicans who supported creating the commission represent a far greater number than the 10 who voted to impeach Trump, showing some division within the conference.
There was, however, one painful similarity between this vote and the impeachment vote: not a single Republican from Virginia supported either. Not. One.
After the impeachment vote , I said this.
This is not a party interested in winning free and fair elections. This is not a party interested in having free and fair elections. This is a party of power and nothing else.
This isn’t just a “national” problem either. As Norm Leahy noted on this very site , all four Republican members of Congress voted to endorse Trump’s lies about a stolen election, then refused to support impeachment. The rot runs throughout the Republican Party – and Virginia is not immune.
Now imagine insurrection-deniers like Ben Cline, Bob Good, Morgan Griffith, and Rob Wittman in charge of local elections all over Virginia. Imagine the sanctity of your vote being dependent upon people like Ken Cuccinelli, whose tenure as Acting-but-not-really-because-his-appointment-was-illegal-Deputy-Secretary of Homeland Security included ignoring the intelligence about what would happen on the 6th of January itself (NPR ).
Would you really trust these people with your elections?
The problem isn’t just Donald Trump. It’s his enablers in the Republican Party. They refuse to hold him, themselves, or anyone else accountable.
Of my former party, I can only say this: We need two political parties in this Commonwealth that are living in reality; the RPV isn’t one of them.