You know, just being the Chair of an ordinary congressional committee can be a dicey situation. After all, you’re a big fish in a little pond. Ego can raise its ugly head. Just look at the GOP Twit Twins, Trey Goudy and Devin Nunes when they held chairs. Every damn committee meeting was more like reality television than a functioning committee.
But that risk can be even greater when you’re the Chair of a Select Committee. Because that is something big, once in a lifetime. And that’s one helluva responsibility.
But for the 1/6 committee, the Democrats couldn’t have chosen any better or wiser. And they couldn’t have ended up with an odder couple. Because Vice Chair Liz Cheney is a rock ribbed, traditional conservative, with the kind of family political lineage a charlatan like Trump could only envy. And yet they work together flawlessly.
Before we go any further, I want to make a quick observation on the dynamic of these two. I watch every minute of the committee proceedings that I can, simply because I love nothing more than watching a functional government. And I haven’t seen such a natural pair since Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Their respect for each other, both professionally and legislatively, is immediately obvious. And never has it been more needed.
Here’s a perfect example of this dynamic in motion. Have you ever noticed that when it comes to things like announcing hearings or depositions, whether public or closed, or the issuance of new indictments, it’s always the Chair, Bennie Thompson who makes them? This is only natural, it’s his privilege to do so.
But when it comes to the committee deciding to release tantalizing little golden nuggets of information on testimony or information they have, usually on the Sunday morning gabfests, it is normally almost always Vice Chair Liz Cheney that takes to the airwaves? News Flash! It is almost always sexier to dish dirt on a talk show than to announce subpoenas from behind your desk, which might not even get your puss on TV. Thompson is ceding one helluva opportunity for face time.
This is a selfless action, but it is also absolutely critical, and here’s why. You’ll remember that originally, Kreepy Kevin McCarthy actually dispatched a GOP stalwart to negotiate the terms of a non partisan committee to investigate the riot. But Il Douche pitched a Trumper tantrum, and McCarthy kiboshed the whole thing, as well as Yertl the Turtle burning his last personal favor with his caucus to vote it down.
Since that day, every single Republican, from Traitor Tot on down, has branded this as a purely partisan witch hunt! They have portrayed every single subpoena as a wild goose chase, and every criminal contempt referral as a politically motivated purge. They use the committee to whip their brain dead mob into a frenzy, and fund raise off of it.
Which is what makes Thompson such a brilliant political tactician. When it comes to the clerical shit, Thompson is ready to do the grunt work, and get the information out there. But when the committee wants to release information that is damaging to Trump and the GOP, they let a gold pedigree Republican stick the shiv in.
Look, you can love Liz Cheney or hate her. Or like me, you can be ambivalent. But there isn’t a Republican in the country that doesn’t know the name Cheney. Her father, aptly named Dick, was a two term Vice President, and lifelong GOP power player. When Cheney comes in front of a camera to solemnly dispense terrible news about Trump and the GOP, it’s kind of hard to see it as purely partisan.
And as the upcoming televised hearings flow through the primaries, and into the general election cycle, Cheney will be a major player in those hearings, right up front. And Democrats nationwide can simply point to her, and retiring House Member Adam Kinzinger as shining proof of the bipartisanship of the committee.
This is the way that politics used to work. Both sides got together to get important shit done. And while True die hard Trombies will only see Cheney as a traitor to the cause, the really important swing GOP and independent voters will consider her bloodline and her own sterling record. Keep punching, and keep the faith.