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We're All Supposed to Pretend There's a Serious Investigation of January 6 That Republicans Would Support

·4-min read
Photo credit: Kevin Dietsch - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Dietsch - Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi has surveyed the landscape and decided that, if it means a Category 5 dungstorm, then let it come. If it’s up to her, and it is, the special commission that will examine the origins and events of what happened on January 6 will not be the fruitless circus to which Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy seems committed.

Monday evening, the Minority Leader recommended 5 Members to serve on the Select Committee. I have spoken with him this morning about the objections raised about Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan and the impact their appointments may have on the integrity of the investigation. I also informed him that I was prepared to appoint Representatives Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, and requested that he recommend two other Members.

“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee. The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.

Pelosi never has given a damn for Jordan’s act, so dinging his participation was something of a foregone conclusion. (He cinched it, though, when he decided his mission was going to be how the insurrection really was Pelosi’s fault.) Banks’s problem was that, once nominated by McCarthy, he wouldn’t shut up. To wit:

If Democrats were serious about investigating political violence, this committee would be studying not only the January 6 riot at the Capitol, but also the hundreds of violent political riots last summer when many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked.

He also said that Pelosi had set up the commission itself merely to “malign conservatives.”

Photo credit: Drew Angerer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Drew Angerer - Getty Images

Typically, McCarthy quickly checked in with the calm and lucid response that everybody and his legislative aide expected. He took his saboteurs and went home. From CNN:

"Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts," McCarthy said.

McCarthy expanded on this meretricious kabuki at a subsequent press conference, at which everyone was supposed to pretend that there is any serious investigation of the insurrection that he and his caucus would support.

“Speaker Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party's picks for the Select Committee on Jan. 6. This represents something that has not happened in the House before for a select committee…It’s an egregious abuse of power. Pelosi has broken this institution. Denying the voice of members who have served in the military – Jim Banks, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan. As well as a leader of a standing committee. Jim Jordan isn't ranking of just his first committee, he's done it before.”

Now, a truly cynical mind might leap to the conclusion that this was McCarthy’s plan all along. Nominate people you know Pelosi will veto, and then spend the next several months whining to Sean or Tucker about the unfairness of it all in the hopes that a full summer of bellyaching will devalue whatever the commission comes up with. It’s an obvious and clumsy strategy, which makes me believe that it might actually have come from Kevin McCarthy, who is the legislative equivalent of a knotted garden hose.

Which, of course, is not to say that it won’t work. Clumsy and obvious strategies have worked for Republicans and conservatives for decades now because of Democratic messaging fecklessness and the elite political media’s autonomic Both Sides reflex. But Pelosi is anything but feckless, and millions of people saw the insurrection explode on television. She now has to stand the gaff from all sides about how terrible having a “partisan” commission will be. (No surprise, but Chris Cillizza of CNN was first out of the gate with said gaff.) This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the other party is a giant lump of deceit and bad faith, and to do so with visual aids and, maybe, a cameo from Abraham Lincoln.

We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.

He would’ve understood Kevin McCarthy, and slapped him silly.

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