McCarthy has attempted to dismiss the investigation as politics as usual. Not so. Politics as usual is about conceding gracefully when you lose, putting the interest of the country ahead of your partisan pain and getting on with it.
Getting on with it, with defeat and the transition, and supporting the legitimacy of the victor, is precisely what these Republicans did not do. The five were subpoenaed because they refused to speak to their colleagues voluntarily. They will no doubt fight the subpoenas, claiming — as have others who have gone before them, without success so far — that the committee is not legitimate because the Republican leader withdrew his nominees. So what? Only two Republicans serve on the committee because the Republicans in the House are a collection of gutless wonders who were afraid to investigate how it was that the Capitol was invaded, the lives of our leaders put at risk and the process of democracy shut down.
All politics? If that’s how the Republicans insist on seeing it, then they are about to witness themselves hoisted on their own petard. A month ago, with inflation and gas prices skyrocketing to the point that they overtook even a war and a pandemic among public concerns, it seemed the president and the Democrats were doomed to a disastrous midterm. But leave it to the Washington Republicans to find ways to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.
Two, so far. One is abortion and the certainty that young women in key states will have a reason to vote in the fall as if their lives depend on it. Because they could.
The second is Trump, whose legal woes deepen even as his determination to control the Republican Party becomes all the more apparent. The reenactment of Jan. 6 in summer hearings will bring Trump to center stage just as the final ruling by the Supreme Court overturning Roe will trigger laws prohibiting abortion in the first and second trimester in 13 states.
It could be a long and hot summer leading to the midterm, full of the kind of politics that reminds us that certain values and principles count more than partisanship. Or should.