They both think they won. And they’re both probably right. Because they’re both master chess players. They hate each other, of course. But that doesn’t mean their matches aren’t fascinating.
No, I’m not talking about Kasparov and Karpov.
I’m talking about Pelosi and McCarthy. But this game is not on the up-and-up. Nancy and Kevin knew weeks if not months ago how every move of their match was going to play out. It was not scripted together. But it was nevertheless scripted. This stalemate was never in doubt.
First, I don’t want to see any faux outrage or crocodile tears from Kevin The Weasel. Once again, he had every chance to do the right thing, but no desire to do the right thing. That combination never results in the right thing being done. The right thing would have been to willingly cooperate in establishing a truly bi-partisan commission to fully, soberly and objectively investigate the most disgusting day in American history, January 6, 2021. Some key Democrats and Republicans had actually worked all of this out. And in those negotiations McCarthy got everything he said he wanted.
And then McCarthy made his opening chess move. He rejected creation of a genuine commission, as he had already decided he would. The last thing in the world he really wants is to get to “the bottom” of Jan. 6. Because that is one ugly bottom for Republicans.
Your move, Nancy The Natterer. Understand, of course she is equally as partisanly motivated as Kevin The Weasel is. The difference is, at least in this case, Nancy holds both the cards and the facts.
Pelosi not only knew McCarthy was going to reject the commission, she wanted him to reject it. That gave her not only the opportunity but the right and the duty to create a House Select Committee. One way or the other, Jan. 6 must be investigated. And McCarthy rejected an opportunity to do it the right way.
McCarthy knows how this works. Because if the situation were reversed and he were Speaker, he would have played his cards exactly the way Pelosi has played hers.
Pelosi named her seven committee members, including Liz Cheney. Predictable, but tactically astute. At that moment, Kevin The Weasel was in “check.”
But McCarthy was no less skillful. He knew he had to go through the motions of naming five Republicans so that he would appear to be operating in good faith. He also knew Nancy wasn’t going to let Jim Jordan or Jim Banks play in the Reindeer Games (and in this case for completely valid reasons). He knows as well as anyone that the Speaker has veto power over selections to this committee. He knew Pelosi would exercise that power, just as he hopes to starting in 2023.
So Nancy tells The Two Jims to take a hike. Just as McCarthy knew and hoped she would. That gave Kevin The Weasel the green light to start his self-righteous but completely disingenuous bluster and announce that he was pulling ALL Republicans off the committee. Which was ALWAYS what McCarthy wanted from the jump. Now he can paint the committee as purely partisan, with purely political objectives. And he’s not completely wrong. But he is responsible for engineering this sinister abdication of public duty. Now he can stage the GOP’s own “investigation.” They’ve already deflected. They want to make the central issue Capitol security. Sure. I want to know about that, too. I do. BUT RIGHT AFTER WE ESTABLISH WHO THESE TRAITORS WERE, WHY WERE THEY THERE AND WHO SENT THEM THERE!
The ultimate example of Cultist “Whataboutism.”
McCarthy thinks he won. And he’s right. But only with his base.
Pelosi thinks she won. And she’s right. But only with her base.
Who loses? We do. The American people do. But it’s tough to get to the whole truth when nobody wants to get to the whole truth.
There were some flashy moves in this chess match. And there will be more. But understand this. The “fix” was in from the jump.