Nancy Pelosi Calls BS

The pundit class clutches its pearls

Washington is shocked because Nancy Pelosi decided yesterday that making a farce of an attempted insurrection was not normal.

Like much of the numbed political establishment, Kevin McCarthy had assumed that Pelosi would simply go along with his decision to try to beclown the January 6 committee. Three of his five appointees had voted to overturn electoral votes from states won by Joe Biden.

That, in itself ought to have been disqualifying, but the appointment of Jim Jordan and Jim Banks was starkly unsubtle. Jordan is a one-man clown car, whose only role on the committee would have been to throw merde into the gears and provide Fox News with soundbites.

But it was actually worse than that.

Back in December, Jordan had fully embraced Trump’s Big Lie, saying that Trump should refuse to concede the election. There was, he told CNN, “No way, no way, no way” that Trump should concede. “We should still try to figure out exactly what took place here. And as I said, that includes, I think, debates on the House floor — potentially on Jan. 6.”

As the New York Times reports: “Later that month, he participated in a meeting at the White House, where Republican lawmakers discussed plans with Mr. Trump’s team to use the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to challenge the election outcome.”

In other words, McCarthy — who is himself a potential material witness — named another material witness (and potential co-conspirator) to the panel investigating the attack on the Capitol.

As for Banks, our colleague Tim Miller wrote:

He is an election truther who polled his constituents on whether or not he should cancel the votes of citizens from other states. . . . Banks’s communications director is Buckley Carlson, son of Tucker, ensuring that the White Power Hour will have a direct line to leaks from the committee.

From the beginning, Banks made it clear that he intended to derail the committee’s work. He accused Democrats of creating it to “malign conservatives.”

“I will not allow this committee to be turned into a forum for condemning millions of Americans because of their political beliefs,” he declared.

Banks also pledged an aggressive campaign of distraction and whataboutism. “If Democrats were serious about investigating political violence,” Banks declared, “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.”

Under the Old Rules, Pelosi was expected to go along with all of this.

Conventional wisdom assumed Pelosi would accept the New Normal in which the minority party was openly declaring its intention to memory-hole and retcon an attack on Congress itself. The smart set figured she would go along with the GOP’s decision to turn the probe into a clickbaity shitshow.

On Wednesday, Pelosi decided to hell with that.

“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,” Pelosi said in her statement.

“The unprecedented nature of January 6th,” she said, “demands this unprecedented decision.”

In other words:

She drew a red line because an act of sedition requires the drawing of red lines.

The result was a cascade of faux outrage.

McCarthy sulked and DC’s pundit class collectively clutched its pearls. “Nancy Pelosi just doomed the already tiny chances of the 1/6 committee actually mattering,” opined Chris Cillizza. “Should have left well enough alone,” former Ohio Governor John Kasich insisted on CNN. Others insisted that it was a gift to McCarthy,

But this requires us to accept the idea that it is perfectly normal to name members who, as Tim Miller puts it, “literally supported a MAGA coup” as a precondition of “bipartisanship.”

Of course, the committee is already bipartisan, both literally and seriously. (Reminder: the GOP killed an actual independent, non-partisan commission.)

Not at all surprisingly, it was left to Liz Cheney to provide the reality check about Pelosi’s decision. “This investigation must go forward,” she said. “The idea that anybody would be playing politics with an attack on the United States Capitol is despicable and is disgraceful.”

Cheney noted that Pelosi had rejected two appointees.

One who may be a material witness to events that led to that day . . . the other who disqualified himself by his comments over the last 24 hours demonstrating he's not taking this seriously

And then she trained her fire on McCarthy:

The rhetoric we have heard from the minority leader is disingenuous . . . at every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened.

I think that any person who would be third in line to the presidency must demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law and Minority Leader McCarthy has not done that.

Exit take: Pelosi and Cheney reminded us yesterday that we don’t have to eat the shit sandwiches — or pretend that there is anything normal about any of this.

In related news:

BTW: I’d like to think I called the shot here, but I didn’t expect that Pelosi would actually pull the trigger.


The Illinois GOP:

Quick Hits

1. Biden Caves, Gives Putin Another Pipeline to Europe

David J. Kramer and Benjamin Parker in today’s Bulwark:

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it has dropped its opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as part of a deal with Berlin. The change in policy is indefensible—on its substance, the process behind it, the politics surrounding it, and the effects it will have on European and American security.

2. The Odd Political Fight Over Medicaid Expansion in the Last 12 Holdout States

In this morning’s Bulwark, Dan McGraw writes that the parties are jockeying for position on how to add voters to Medicaid rolls—and get credit for doing so.

The deal, which is still on the table, is this. The expansion would cost about $16.4 billion for those twelve states over two years, with the federal government picking up 90 to 95 percent of the cost, roughly $15 billion. This would mean that in Florida, for example, about 800,000 uninsured citizens would be covered, with the federal government paying about $1.5 billion each year and the state paying about $150 million annually.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s response?

“The governor remains opposed to the expansion of Medicaid in Florida,” a DeSantis spokesman said in March.

Since then, Florida has, in fact, asked for more money for Medicaid. But DeSantis seems more interested in hiding the source of the money than obtaining it: Last week, Florida asked the feds for $1.1 billion for Medicaid to be taken from the American Rescue Plan funds. It’s pure politics, a suggestion that the profligate opposition is being wasteful.

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