Pot? Kettle? Meet Trey Gowdy

The perfect face for the ultimate pseudo-scandal

The man speaking above is U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Republican from Greenville, S.C., who will lead the House’s new select committee on Benghazi.

He’s perfect: rattlesnake-mean, a dynamic C-SPAN performer with an itchy index finger, a former prosecutor, electorally bulletproof, and utterly lacking in—or indifferent to—shame.

An incident from last year provides a rich taste of what the country is in for. Last July, White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer tweeted that a Southern California newspaper’s editorial on immigration reform illustrated “the cruel hypocrisy of the GOP immigration plan: allow some kids to stay but deport their parents.” Pointed language? Sure. But it was nothing outside the normal range of political discourse. Everyone’s seen way worse.

Gowdy, at the end of a Congressional hearing on immigration reform, responded this way:

When I see quotes like I did today from someone named Dan Pfeiffer, who apparently works for the president. I think it is the same Dan Pfeiffer that once said that the law is irrelevant. And he tweeted out today that our plan is to allow some kids to stay but to deport their parents. He summarized this entire debate with that tweet. So I want to compliment you and thank you for not being a demagogic, self-serving political hack who can’t even be elected to a parent advisory committee, much less Congress, which is what Mr. Pfeiffer is. I want to thank you for not being that and understanding that these are complex issues where reasonable minds can perhaps differ.

Nice. Accusing a White House advisor of being “a demagogic, self-serving political hack” is an especially nervy act of … well, demagogic, self-serving political hackery. Appealing to “reasonable minds” that can “perhaps differ” after you’ve just hurled that dung clump takes nerve, too, since Pfeiffer’s tweeted opinion seems to have fulfilled the debate parameters you’re calling for after having referred to him as “a demagogic, self-serving political hack.”

Also, implying that election to Congress is some mammoth feat, achievable only by the best and brightest, is rich coming from a Republican who represents South Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District, one of the nation’s reddest, where the GOP could run a ball cactus against FDR and win.

Oh, and that “the law is irrelevant” thing? That’s crap, too; Pfeiffer was referring to the now-dissolved IRS scandal, saying any agency misdeeds needed to stop regardless of whether they were illegal. In other words, Pfeiffer was talking about holding the IRS to a standard higher than the law.

Never mind. It was a good show. It got spread around under headlines like, “WATCH TREY GOWDY OPEN UP A CAN OF WHOOP-ASS!!!!!!!” The base loves it when Gowdy (or anyone else) talks like that. They’re the people who flooded the voting booths of the Fourth District to drum out squishes like Bob Inglis, he of the mere 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, for kowtowing to the freedom-haters; it’s almost as if they fail to realize that reasonable minds can perhaps differ. Gowdy faces no moral hazard—and never will—for being as disingenuous and accusatory as possible for maximum effect, the better to keep the base energized and the checks deposited in advance of Hillary ‘16. (See video below for a demonstration of the Gowdy style, not too far removed from that of another demagogic, self-serving you-know-the-rest.)

Gowdy’s the man for his time and movement, a natural byproduct of the last three decades in American politics and media: an AM talk radio shock jock with subpoena power. Brace yourselves for an extremely ugly, and stupid, two-and-a-half years.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest