There was a Politico story the other day revealing that Joe Biden’s White House staff was positively “giddy” — not a word often applied to White House staffs — about the team that Speaker Kevin McCarthy has appointed to the House Oversight Committee.
You could start with Paul Gosar and Matt Gaetz, of course. They both can make me giddy at times. But there’s a better story.
That belongs, of course, to Lauren Boebert and her one-time close ally, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who have apparently become frenemies. The stunning part of this story is that Greene and Boebert were feuding because Greene was backing McCarthy while Boebert was busily attacking him. And yet, they both were cut basically the same McCarthy backdoor deal.
Crazy? That’s just the start of it.
Or you could go with House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry, the Pennsylvania representative who did all he could to promote the Big Lie in his state. He was so involved, in fact, that the FBI actually seized his cell phone. By the way, Perry also refused to honor a subpoena from the January 6 committee, so we’ll see who deigns to honor subpoenas he supports.
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Suddenly, these noisy but largely irrelevant back-benchers — surely you remember Boebert and Greene trolling Biden at his State of the Union speech — are now in positions of, yes, actual power. Which should also make Colorado Democrats giddy, because the more face time Boebert gets, the more votes in her 3rd Congressional District she risks losing.
Remember when Boebert, following her close victory, said she wanted to bring down the temperature? Yeah, me too. Still laughing about it.
There are also a few just-elected newbies named to the committee. Maybe not coincidentally, they were elected to Congress last November straight from the Big Lie, election-denying camp. I can only guess that Rudy Giuliani and the MyPillow guy are also giddy. And probably everyone from QAnon on down to the Proud Boys.
Greene wants an investigation into the treatment of those arrested and jailed after the January 6 insurrection. She has also repeatedly called for impeachment hearings for Joe Biden. Of course, Boebert has also filed a bill for impeachment against Biden and against Kamala Harris.
The committee is a good bet to try to persuade the House to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who would be the first cabinet member impeached since 1876. Greene also has thrown in Merrick Garland because, well, she’s Marjorie Taylor Greene.
I know you can’t wait for the get-Fauci hearings. But be patient. It gets worse. Some on the committee are even talking about attempting to expunge Trump’s impeachments from the record. I don’t know if that’s legal, but it’s certainly crazy.
So why are Biden and friends so giddy? The Oversight Committee is one that oversees, among other things, the White House, and will be involved in any and all investigations into, say, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, probably Jill Biden, and possibly anyone else from Delaware who has ever been near the Capitol.
The White House is giddy because the House Crazies would almost certainly embarrass themselves taking center stage at hearings. And any work product backed by Boebert, Gaetz et al would have all the integrity of, well, Boebert, Gaetz et al.
Also sure to produce giddiness, if not straight-out laughter, is the obvious notion that the anti-swamp team put the crazies on the committee overseeing Biden in a backroom deal. In other deals, McCarthy also changed the House rules to allow any one representative — you know, like Boebert — at any time to call for a vote to oust the speaker.
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So, you can guess that Democrats will uniformly call anything that happens in Oversight to be no more than the price McCarthy paid for his speakership and with a warning to give anything they will pursue just that much serious consideration.
I know some people thought Boebert would be punished for humiliating McCarthy. But, because McCarthy is so used to humiliation by now, he felt free to appoint Boebert to her seat to reward her for finally dropping her opposition to his bid to be speaker.
If you’ll remember, it took 15 painful — for both McCarthy and anyone who watched — rounds of voting to elect him speaker, with Boebert voting for someone else 13 times, including once for Donald Trump. In the last two rounds, she switched her vote to “present,” which would allow McCarthy to escape purgatory.
In the meantime, Marjorie Taylor Greene won her seat by supporting McCarthy in his yearslong ambition to become speaker and by loaning her wingnut bona fides to the battle. As you can see, it just didn’t matter which side they were on, except that they were both on Trump’s side and the MAGA side.
For Greene and Gosar, it’s a chance to be on a committee, any committee, again. Last year Nancy Pelosi and the Dems kicked both off their committees for internet posts that actually advocated violence. McCarthy, then the House minority leader, said he would reinstate them if he ever got the speaker’s gavel even though both had connections to Nick Fuentes, the anti-semitic white nationalist who sometimes dines at Mar-a-Lago with Trump and his pal Ye.
So, here we are. In many ways, this is nearly as funny as the George Santos story. At least none of these House crazies, as far as I know, have falsely claimed that any close relatives died during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
In many other ways, though, it’s simply terrifying that — as many predicted if Republicans won the House — that Boebert and the gang have moved from Tom Tancredo-level backbenchers to essential and powerful faces of the Republican Party.
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They’ll be there trading headlines with Jim Jordan, who is now chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, if you can imagine, and also now chair of a Judiciary subcommittee to investigate “weaponization of government.” These weaponizations would presumably include investigations or indictments against, uh, Trump and his allies, including those in your friendly, if occasionally violent, far-right militias.
This would be another backroom deal. And some Republicans have had the nerve to call the weaponization subcommittee the new “Church committee” — a reference to Sen. Frank Church’s committee in the mid-70s formed to investigate actual abuses by government agencies.
As Gary Hart, who says he’s the last surviving member of that Senate committee, wrote in a New York Times op-ed: “Trying to disguise a highly partisan effort to legitimize undemocratic activities by cloaking it in the mantle of a successful bipartisan committee from decades ago is a mockery.”
It’s a mockery all right. But, let’s face it, mockery is a term with which Boebert and her friends must by now be all too familiar.
Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
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