Democrats Are Making a Mistake Focusing on Jan. 6 | Opinion

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats seem happy with their totally partisan Select Committee on Jan. 6. They will punctuate their activities this week with speeches by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the Capitol.

Let me be clear: those who broke into the Capitol, attacked police and threatened members of Congress last year should be tried and brought strictly to justice. Further, Congress should seriously investigate what happened and how we can prevent it from ever happening again. But that's not what is happening on Capitol Hill this week.

In the world of big-government socialist Democrats (that is, nearly every elected Democrat in Washington) the riot last Jan. 6 is the best way to smear Republicans as unpatriotic. Just as the Russia dossier, the Ukraine phone call and virtually every act of political theatre to defame Republicans failed, this, too, will soon become an absurdity.

The reasons are simple.

First, Americans are worried about everyday life. They see that the Democrats are myopically stuck on partisan bickering, not actively solving problems.

Each day that inflation increases prices, the Democrats lose ground with ordinary Americans.

Every school that is closed by teachers' unions, despite evidence that distance learning hurts children—especially the poor and minorities—also hurts union-owned Democratic candidates.

Every report of people illegally flooding into the country with no COVID-19 testing or serious scrutiny hurts Democrats.

Every day that crime goes up, people are murdered, women are raped, carjackings multiply and gangs openly steal from stores without consequences, it hurts the Democrats.

Every visit to the gas station hurts the Democrats.

When COVID-19 tests and medicine for therapies are not available after a year of total Democratic control in Washington, Democrats are the ones to blame.

When the number of cargo ships waiting outside Long Beach climbs to more than 100, and supply chains are halted across the country, the Democrats begin to be seen as the party of incompetence.

The list goes on and on.

Nancy Pelosi press conference
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and moderate and progressive Congressional Democrats met with President Joe Biden at the White House Wednesday in an attempt to hammer out a deal on infrastructure and budget legislation. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Second, clumsily rehashing the events of Jan. 6 is a double-edged sword. Serious unanswered questions about who did and said what could embarrass Democratic allies and make them co-conspirators in accepting risks at the Capitol.

As a former speaker, I know well that it is the speaker's responsibility to oversee the protection and defense of the Capitol. It is clear that Speaker Pelosi failed to do so—and it's going to be deeply uncomfortable for Democrats to talk about that.

Further, House Republicans are beginning to ask about people such as Ray Epps, who was a suspected ringleader of the attack but has never been arrested. Some are suggesting he was an FBI asset (similar to the absurd case of the attempted kidnapping of Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, which was allegedly fostered and orchestrated by FBI agents). Attorney General Merrick Garland has, so far, refused to answer Rep. Thomas Massie's question about FBI assets at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

House Republicans held a telephone press conference outlining the unanswered questions—and the Democrats' efforts to block information that was unfavorable to them. Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and Reps. Jim Jordan, Rodney Davis and Jim Banks outlined what they were trying to learn—and how they were being stonewalled by the House Democrats and the Biden Justice Department. They also pledged to use their majority to get to the bottom of unanswered questions after the 2022 midterm election. You can listen to the whole press conference here.

Lastly, the proceedings of the select committee are only getting more corrupt and destructive. Responding to an outrageous, painful and unacceptable event (which I fully condemn) by smearing your opponents rather than finding the truth will ultimately be repudiated by the American people.

The best explanation of this deliberate smear campaign is the new book January 6 by Julie Kelly. The book is a thoroughly researched case about what happened on Jan. 6 and what the Democrats have done since then to smear Republicans and conservatives. Kelly makes clear that the truth has been a casualty of the Democrats' political theatre.

For all these reasons, Jan. 6 is going to be a disaster rather than an asset for Democrats. It will cause them to lose even more seats in November.

The Democrats can't seem to break out of their commitment to big-government socialism, wokeism, cronyism and corruption. Having Jan. 6 to occupy their minds makes them feel more secure even if the impact does not help them at all.

I am reminded of the great political scientist Samuel Lubell. He had a deep sense that he did not understand most of America, and he was passionate for Americans to teach him. So Lubell knocked on doors and interviewed voters. As a result, he was one of the first to predict the rise of the Republican Party in what was then the solidly Democratic South.

In my own career, I never forgot the lesson Lubell learned at a 1952 election night party in New York City. It was a gathering of intellectuals. As Lubell surveyed the room, he realized no one there had voted for Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to be president. They were all liberal academics and they instead identified with Gov. Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee, as one of their own.

Lubell realized that Eisenhower had won in a landslide (ending the 20-year Democratic Party control of the White House) and yet none of his fellow intellectuals had voted for the winner. Worse, they had contempt for Eisenhower as "a golfing general." Sure, Eisenhower led the allied armies in defeating Italy and Germany, but he wasn't their kind of intellectual.

Lubell realized that cleverness and narcissism may not be sound tools for understanding politics in America. But listening to the real problems and real hopes of the American people would force the Democrats to change.

The focus on the Jan. 6 attack allows House Democrats to avoid rethinking their positions, focusing on real problems or modifying their ideological fanaticism.

Americans will see right through the charade.

For more of Newt's commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.