I spent a couple of hours Monday night, just before going to bed, writing one of my patented screeds about the unholy clown show soon to unfold at the Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, now that House Minority Leader McCarthy had made his appointments – I was incensed, in particular, at his inevitable but still infuriating selection of the infinitely vile Jim Jordan. Part of it went like this:
It just had to be that consummate asshole Jim Jordan. You know, this guy:
Let’s not mince words, as my reader(s) will know is usually my wont: Jim Jordan is undoubtedly among the most thoroughly appalling miscreants ever to hold office in a democracy, as evil as Mitch McConnell while almost as brainless as Louis Gohmert himself, and as smug, overconfident, self-satisfied and loud-mouthed as the beer-swilling, pledge-abusing, locker room towel-snapping frat boy he must surely once have been. His biggest claim to notoriety prior to getting himself elected to Congress was his alleged complicity in a sex abuse scandal stemming from his time as a wrestling coach back in Ohio State. Like Ted Cruz, he fancies himself a clever-boots, but, well, put it this way: a lobster might not best him in an IQ test, but it would depend on the lobster, and whatever the outcome of the smarts contest the crustacean would almost certainly operate within the strictures of a more highly developed code of ethics and morals (lobsters, while also opportunistic bottom feeders, are harmless in the scheme of things, unless you’re a sea urchin).
O.K., perhaps I should just come clean and admit it: I don’t like the guy.
Jordan’s role is to be McCarthy’s Designated Hitter, the loyal MAGA-maniac who’ll shout all day about QAnon-fostered conspiracy theories, fill the official record with irrelevant nonsense about stolen elections, lie through his teeth that nothing close to an insurrection even happened on January 6, simultaneously insist upon a parallel, contradictory pack of lies that the violent coup attempt was all the work of BLM and ANTIFA, all the while portraying any participating Caucasian insurrectionist as patriotic, and Capitol Police as either thugs, or contented and unharmed tour guides for a peaceful delegation of well-behaved citizens, depending upon who’s testifying. He’ll sit there, day after day, hollering, snorting, mocking, interrupting, and carrying out his marching orders like a good little soldier. Sow doubt. Spread lies. Muddy pools. Throttle truth. Aye-aye, sir, ready-aye-ready.
Before I could post, it was all moot. Nancy Pelosi, God bless her, put her foot down, and oh boy, were they ever asking for it. Jordan and fellow reject Jim Banks were already going on the record that the inquiry was a farce, and telling reporters they wouldn’t stand for its blatant attack on decent conservatives and God-fearing patriots, blah blah blah, and Jordan, moreover, is himself suspected of some level of complicity in planning the events that led to the attack on the Capitol, and is a material witness who should probably be called to testify. She summarily shit-canned the both of them, an unprecedented move when establishing a bi-partisan committee, and one I rather doubted she had the nerve to make, especially since no matter who McCarthy picked instead, it was bound to be ugly. As I wrote the previous night:
Now, you could argue that McCarthy actually pulled his punches with most of his nominees, sticking it to the Dems but good with the inevitable Jordan, yes, but otherwise selecting merely a nondescript cross-section of the misguided liars, mediocrities, and rabid Trump sycophants that fill out the House GOP roster, folks I’ve barely heard of before, instead of the dream team of moonbats he could have drafted out the terrifying depth of his farm system. With Jim Banks, Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, we get a bunch of guys who variously voted against impeaching Trump, voted against certifying the election, are on the record that investigating the events of January 6 is a political witch-hunt, and even, in the case of Banks, was a named plaintiff in the lawsuit that attempted to overturn Joe Biden’s victory – horrible, sure, but also ho hum, really. Par for the course. McCarthy could, instead, have plumped for Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Louis Gohmert. I half expected he’d do just that. Also in reserve are such luminaries as Devin Nunes, Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, Steve Scalise, Dan Crenshaw, and lots and lots of less familiar but undoubtedly similarly militant Trumpanista brainstems. I suspect this means Pelosi has to be careful in exercising her own prerogative to reject any of McCarthy’s appointees. He can do this shit all day, and while the terms of the Committee’s creation allow her to appoint all of its members, five of them are to be selected “in consultation with” McCarthy, and it’s not clear that this includes the option of “we consulted, and I reject your guy and pick my own”, which in any case could look bad politically. She’d almost have to be a Republican herself to try such a thing.
Well, she surprised me. Them too, plainly. And McCarthy, rather than upping the ante and prolonging the spectacle, simply hauled off in a snit and announced, like the child he is, that fine, he wouldn’t appoint anybody, so there. Nyah! Now he’s on Fox selling the narrative that the security failures on January 6 were Pelosi’s fault, perhaps forgetting for the moment that logically, there couldn’t have been any security failures if there wasn’t any insurrection to begin with, though I’m sure he and his minions will resume their romp down that twisty road before long.
A number of pundits are carrying on like Pelosi did the wrong thing, and risks undermining the perceived validity of the Committee’s findings with her blatant partisanship. My favourite commentary in this vein came from notorious blockhead Chris Cilizza, playing the role of Chuck Todd over at CNN, who clutched his pearls and wrote this:
…No matter Pelosi’s reasoning, her decision to reject Jordan and Banks, the two most high-profile Republicans put forward by McCarthy, dooms even the possibility of the committee being perceived as bipartisan or its eventual findings being seen as independent.
Oh for Chrissakes. Like, sure, Chris, if only Pelosi had stayed true to Democratic form, assumed the prone position, and exclaimed thank-you sir, may I have another, bipartisan comity would have reigned, and the luminaries of the GOP would have been all over Fox and OANN praising the good faith efforts of the committee to get to the truth, while applauding the fair dealing of good ol’ Nancy. Now look what she’s done – those who might otherwise have been persuaded will now be put off by Pelosi’s naked political gamesmanship! Oh, woe! What might have been! Jesus H. Christ. What a load of Beltway bullshit. What a pile of pinheaded pundit poo. The GOP, recall, already rejected the option of a truly bipartisan committee, with equal representation and veto power over subpoena decisions. They don’t want an investigation at all, of course, and McCarthy, regardless, was going to characterize the select committee as a partisan witch hunt, while doing everything he could to turn it into a circus, with a ringmaster who was himself practically one of the insurrectionists, as Liz Cheney herself barked when Jordan tried to escort her away from danger on the day it all went down: I smacked his hand away and told him, “Get away from me. You fucking did this.” Pelosi was supposed to grit her teeth and bend over. Instead, she flipped them all the bird.
I couldn’t be more pleased. For once, the Dems didn’t roll over. For once, they exercised their power in a manner that the smirking bullies of the GOP can understand. Good. Fuck ’em. They and theirs were never going to be swayed anyway. This is about getting the truth out to those who can still be reached, and that ain’t the MAGA crowd. Letting McCarthy turn the proceedings into the usual shambolic shitshow would undermine the last little bit of good that might still come of the effort. Those in the electorate with the wit to listen to the evidence won’t be fooled by McCarthy’s absurd whining, while anybody listening to him and his ilk is still attending Trump rallies and refusing to get vaccinated against COVID. The Red Hat Brigade is lost to us.
There’s talk that Nancy might appoint Adam Kinzinger, about the only sane House Republican besides Cheney, to the committee. I hope she does. I hope he’s willing. I hope when he accepts, it sends McCarthy into shivering spasms of endless conniption fits, the scheming little prick, and we can hear Donald screaming all the way from Mar-a-Lago.