House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee on the Capitol Hill Riot is a one-sided panel with prejudged opinions. We informally call that kind of panel a “kangaroo court” – a tribunal that is so one-sided that it cannot render an honest and fair judgment. Those on the Select Committee have already rendered their verdict. They have said as much in their public statements.
Pelosi demonstrated her dictatorial tendencies by blocking certain Republicans that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy assigned to the Committee according to tradition. What Pelosi did was use – abuse — her power to appoint two favorable Republicans to the Committee.
In response, McCarthy refused to cooperate by refusing to assign any Republicans to the Committee. That was a huge mistake, in my judgment. He enabled Pelosi to structure the committee with only one political viewpoint – assuring that the daily output to the media would be 100 percent negative. It would be like being a defendant in a court-of-law where only the prosecution is allowed to call and question witnesses, produce evidence, and interpret (spin) the information in their closing brief.
Had McCarthy allowed Pelosi to exclude Congressmen Jim Jordan and Jim Banks — and if he had then proposed all new GOP members — the Committee would have had a much fairer balance. It would have precluded this rush-to-judgment politically compromised panel from being the only voice on the issue. McCarthy’s members would have created the essential point and counterpoint of any legitimate investigative process.
Even without a proper balance, the Select Committee gains an underserved aura of credibility – bolstered by the fawning news media. The defendants in this case – President Trump, Republican leaders and half of America – have no voice in the process.
For sure, McCarthy and others – me included – can repeatedly point out the gross unfairness of the process, but we become a johnny-one-note with an increasingly wearying argument. We are not where the action is.
But it may not be too late.
If I were McCarthy, I would announce the removal of Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney from the Committee and appoint a totally new Republican panel. Of course, the ultimate decision is up to Pelosi – who has all the power over committee assignments.
For sure, Pelosi would reject the request to remove her two favorite Republicans, but could she credibly reject adding the others McCarthy would propose? If she did, she would further damage the credibility of the Committee and further put herself as the power-abusive autocrat. I believe it would also further damage Democrat chances to retain control of the House in 2022. Fair-minded voters may see Democrat control as too abusive, too partisan, too autocratic and too far left.
Pelosi may say that it is too late. The Committee is already deep into its work. That is nonsense, of course. The new members of the Committee could catch up quickly. If one of the current members were to resign or die, would Pelosi say it is too late to name a replacement?
Those who follow my commentaries know that I am not an admirer of McCarthy’s leadership skills. But in this case, he does have the opportunity to correct his original blunder. It would bring all-important political balance to a highly important and politically imbalanced process.
If he did assign members, you would suddenly see a very different Select Committee process. It is called fairness.
So, there ‘tis.