House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently announced the formation of a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 "insurrection," saying she did so with "great solemnity and sadness." The same kind of solemnity, we presume, with which she launched the impeachment trials of President Trump, along with souvenir pens.
It’s rubbish, of course. Pelosi, D-Calif., can’t wait to get started on yet another excoriation of the former president. Why? Because Pelosi doesn’t just miss Donald J. Trump, she needs Donald J. Trump.
Trump is the glue holding the Democrat Party together; the epoxy that unites the progressive Bernie Bros and moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W-Va. Trump’s the guy who inspires turnout among Democrats; no Trump, no 81 million votes.
A pro-Biden super PAC just sent out a plea for help, telling supporters that voters are oblivious to the president’s achievements and that Democrats need to "communicate much more aggressively" about his agenda or face serious losses in the midterms. With all due respect to Biden’s agenda, he isn’t Donald J. Trump. With Trump muted, that’s no longer good enough.
It isn’t just Democrat politicians that miss our former president; their partners in the media are dying without Trump. Ratings for CNN and MSNBC have cratered; the audience for CNN’s Jake Tapper has plummeted 75% from January. Tapper can’t wait for Pelosi’s "insurrection" hearings.
The Left’s problem is that Trump is practically invisible today. Liberals applaud Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for taking The Donald off their platforms, and it surely has reduced his impact.
But those social media giants have in fact done Democrats a huge disservice. Instead of railing about Trump’s latest disruptive Tweet, Pelosi and President Joe Biden have to talk about the chaos at the border, or their push to spend even more trillions of dollars, despite the worst inflation in decades. They have to explain why gasoline prices are up more than 30%, or why crime is soaring in Democrat-led cities. They have to tell us why American kids are being brainwashed into thinking that all that matters is the color of their skin.
Democrat leaders like Pelosi and Biden are cowed by a sliver of their party that champions policies most Americans dislike, like open borders, critical race theory and lax voting rules.
Their way is not the American way. Already, after just a few months in control of Congress and the White House, Democrats are playing defense. Biden’s far-Left agenda looks dead in the water thanks to some moderates in Congress whose constituents are alarmed at the prospect of higher taxes, giant budget deficits and immoderate payoffs to Democrat special-interest groups.
What will Democrats sell to voters in 2022?
That’s where Nancy’s commission comes in. She wants to return to the 2020 playbook, in which Trump is the Bogeyman. In particular, she wants to alarm the country that we are at mortal risk from violent extremists – i.e. Trump supporters – of the kind that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.
She wants to play up the "insurrection" narrative, and has the FBI toiling to back her up. The agency, displaying the kind of fervor conspicuously lacking in dealing with the BLM riots a year ago, has so far hunted down and arrested more than 535 people who approached or crowded into the halls of Congress.
The hearing could prove a minefield for Pelosi and her fellow Democrats unless the partisan makeup of the commission prevents an honest accounting, which it might.
Make no mistake: the attack on the Capitol was horrendous and should never have happened. But Pelosi’s inquiry may raise uncomfortable questions, and could backfire.
For instance, the FBI has pursued charges against several members of the Oath Keepers, which the FBI calls a "loosely connected group of individuals" for "conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding." But a New York Times article reports that the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, has spoken voluntarily with the FBI and that "prosecutors overseeing the investigation of Mr. Rhodes have long admitted that they have struggled to make a case against him. His activities seemed to stay within the boundaries of the First Amendment, one official with knowledge of the investigation said.
What if many of the more than 535 fall into the same category?
Also, people may demand to know who shot Ashley Babbitt, an unarmed Trump supporter who was the only person killed that day. With cops being hounded from coast to coast for any questionable use of force, it is outrageous that federal prosecutors determined the killing was justified and declined to press charges, even as they refused to identify the shooter.
Also, why were repeated requests to call in the National Guard ahead of the rally turned down? The former chief of U.S. Capitol Police told the Washington Post that security officials at the House and Senate rebuffed his early entreaties to call in the National Guard. Was Pelosi behind that decision?
How did the FBI, which has been warning for some time about the threat we face from "domestic terrorists," not see the attack coming? There was apparently ample social media chatter about the gathering; is the FBI politically corrupt and inept?
The hearing could prove a minefield for Pelosi and her fellow Democrats unless the partisan makeup of the commission prevents an honest accounting, which it might. Pelosi, after all, has already written the conclusion, saying the committee’s job will be to explore the "root causes of [the Jan. 6 uprising] – the White supremacy, the anti-Semitism, the Islamophobia, all the rest of it that was so evident."
If she knows the outcome of the hearings, why bother?
The commission isn’t about uncovering important information about domestic terrorism or about the events of Jan. 6; it is about reviving Donald J. Trump as the enemy and energizing struggling Democrats. From all appearances, they need it.