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It is almost inconceivable that Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is launching yet another investigation aimed at undermining President Trump. How does the woman sleep at night?
Here we are, in the midst of a horrific health and economic crisis, and House Speaker Pelosi wants, once again, to squander our nation’s resources by playing politics. She is setting up a select House committee to “assure that the taxpayer dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent”; but also, she said, to “examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus.” In effect, an unlimited investigation, with subpoena powers to boot.
Should you wonder about her ambitions, consider that she put Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who called the emergency coronavirus bill a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” in charge of the inquiry.
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Maybe that was a reward for Clyburn providing the pivotal endorsement for Joe Biden, on the cusp of the South Carolina primary, helping the former vice president leap ahead in the race for the Democratic nomination. That pleased Establishment Democrats like Pelosi; Clyburn deserves a reward.
Never mind that the House already has an Oversight Committee; never mind that, as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pointed out, “Congress already wrote oversight provisions into the latest funding package.”
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No, Queen Nancy wants her new investigation, no matter how it damages and divides the country. Imagine pulling our health officials off the front lines even for a minute to testify before legislators more interested in scoring soundbites than solving the nation’s problems.
In case you haven’t noticed, the coronavirus task force looks exhausted; they have been working, we hear, 20 hour days trying to cope with this monster disease. The last thing they need is a lot of nit-picking Democrats trying to trip them up.
We get it. Congress is on the sidelines and President Trump is getting way too much press to make his opponents happy. And, his approval ratings are heading higher even as Democrats criticize his every move. But for heaven’s sake: this is a national emergency – not the time for political showboating.
Sure, Congress should oversee the hundreds of billions of dollars heading to struggling Americans courtesy of the CARES Act. Heaven knows someone should be supervising the enormous release of taxpayer money. For instance, it would be fascinating to know why $25 million was funneled by Pelosi to the Kennedy Center, even as that organization had already decided to lay off its employees.
But judicious oversight, we know, will not be the focus of the committee she has formed.
Just as her impeachment effort yielded nothing good for her party, so will this new investigation please only determined Democrats and further alienate all-important independent voters.
Instead, Democrats will ferret out instances in which President Trump underplayed the urgency of the coronavirus threat, or cases where different federal agencies tripped over each other, causing overlapping orders and waste, or other problems that arose while mobilizing the vast federal government against the deadly virus.
There will be plenty of those, of course. That’s called the fog of war and when the war is waged suddenly and hugely against a new and invisible threat, the fog is dense.
But for fair-minded Americans sick of partisan politics and who see a national crisis as a good time to holster the pistols, Pelosi’s newest assault on the president will be yet another dud. Just as her impeachment effort yielded nothing good for her party, so will this new investigation please only determined Democrats and further alienate all-important independent voters.
Those Independents generally decide elections; it is they who have been boosting the president’s approval ratings of late. The New York Times reports that many who did not previously vote for Trump have been impressed by the vigor and determination with which he has commanded the public and private sectors to attack this deadly disease. They appreciate that mistakes will be made, but that the president is doing “the best with the information he had.”
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Those same independents were repulsed by Pelosi’s impeachment effort. As the pointless political maneuver finished up in February, Trump scored record-high ratings from that group. They saw the Democrat-led investigations as partisan game-playing, and they were right.
The newest round of House “gotcha” will play out in the same way. Democrats will call health officials from President Obama’s team to testify that Trump should have ordered ventilators earlier or imposed a federal lockdown sooner. Republicans will counter with reports detailing Obama’s failure to rebuild spent federal stocks of critical supplies like ventilators. The GOP will show clips of Pelosi encouraging people on Feb. 24 to visit San Francisco’s Chinatown for the Lunar New Year celebration, claiming it was “perfectly safe” to be there.
Democrats will blast Trump for underplaying the disease, while his allies will play video of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s top adviser and leading epidemiologist, saying in late January, “This is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States should be worried about right now.” That was just days before Trump declared a public health emergency.
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The truth is, no one saw it coming. No one anticipated the calamity. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others who denounced Trump for barring visitors from China look stupid. Mayor Bill de Blasio who on March 2 urged New Yorkers “to go on with your lives + get out on the town” looks stupid. The president’s suggestion that we could reopen the country by Easter was, in retrospect, stupid. There’s a lot of stupid to go around. Nobody knew.
Nancy Pelosi understands this, but insists on playing games. She thinks she’s scoring points with her base, and maybe she is. But there is an election coming, and if the impeachment effort is any guide, this new round of finger-pointing will not serve Democrats well.