House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been dropping not-so-subtle hints that she may retire at the end of her term in early January 2023.
In fact, she would do everyone a favor by stepping aside as speaker and letting someone more willing to deal fairly with Republicans become speaker.
Of course, Republicans are hoping the 2022 midterm elections will answer the question of who the new speaker would be, whether Pelosi retires or not.
Pelosi says she wants to include everyone on both sides of the aisle in deciding which bills pass, but she doesn’t. She clearly doesn’t want to work with Republicans.
To be sure, Republicans aren’t eager to work with her, either, but as leader of the House, it is up to Pelosi to make necessary accommodations to bring both parties together on the big issues the country is depending on Congress to pass.
The tone she takes and the choices she makes trickle down to every member of the House of Representatives.
Take, for instance, her farce “select” committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — and then-President Donald Trump’s role in the riot.
Originally, Democrats had proposed a committee composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to conduct an independent investigation. But Republicans in the Senate balked and that idea was discarded.
Pelosi then said she would create her select committee, which was supported by all the Democrats but only two Republicans in the House.
From the start, the committee was a joke. As constituted, there would 13 members: eight appointed by Pelosi and five named by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Pelosi pledged to include a Republican among her picks and she did: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, an outspoken critic of Trump when he was in office. Cheney was one of a few — a very few — Republicans to vote to impeach Trump.
But not only did Pelosi have the ability to name the majority of people to the committee, she also reserved the right to approve the five Republicans named by McCarthy.
Talk about a rigged selection.
McCarthy finally got around to making his choices: Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls.
Nehls, a House freshman, is a former Texas sheriff who came to the aid of overwhelmed Capitol police officers trying to stem the tide of insurgents on Jan. 6.
All five are Trump supporters — they are Republicans, after all — but Banks and Jordan have been most vocal in their defense of the the former president.
Pelosi immediately rejected the appointment of Banks and Jordan, apparently believing they would stand in the way of an impartial investigation. As if none of the other 11 representatives on the committee would.
In retaliation, McCarthy threatened to withdraw his five appointees.
The spirit of gridlock is alive and well in the House of Representatives.
There is so much wrong with this. First, Democrats have a narrow majority in the House, 200 to 211 Republicans, with four vacancies due to death or resignation.
Why would anyone think an 8-5 party split is a fair representation of the House.
Why does the Democratic speaker have any say over — let alone the power to reject — McCarthy’s appointments?
None of it makes sense to anyone outside of Congress, which operates not only under its own convoluted rules, but under its convoluted way of thinking.
In reality, none of this matters. There is no way today’s Congress — House or Senate — can conduct a fair and impartial investigation into much of anything, let alone something as serious as the events of Jan. 6.
Congressional hearings have devolved into a game of “gotcha,” with people of both parties grandstanding for the people back home.
They don’t want the truth. In fact, to quote Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men,” they can’t handle the truth.
And because they can’t — or won’t — conduct themselves fairly and forthrightly, the committee members assume the voters back home can’t or won’t either.
That is a fallacy that should lead to a massive voter-generated turnover in the House and Senate (but it won’t).
Pelosi and her minions should drop the idea of a “select” committee to study the events of Jan. 6.
Leave the investigation to law enforcement, especially the FBI, which is trained to get to the bottom of such matters. Law enforcement doesn’t need any “help” from Congress.
Today’s House is a far cry from the days of Watergate, when committees could — and did — conduct full, fair and impartial investigations. We remember Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas, who addressed her fellow members of the House Judiciary Committee then probing the conduct of President Richard Nixon, saying, “My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.”
We need a lot more Barbara Jordans in the Congress — and a lot less of Nancy Pelosi and her obstructionist ways.