Pelosi's savvy Jan. 6 outreach

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Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi. Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock

Yes, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his GOP underlings have decided to take their ball and go home after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rightly rejected two of his picks to join the select committee that will examine the Jan. 6 insurrection. But all is not lost: Pelosi is reportedly considering adding another Republican or two of her choosing — perhaps including Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — to join the Democrat-led panel.

That would be a good move. It would give the investigation itself an added bipartisan veneer to buff up its credibility with the non-Twitter-obsessed public that doesn't follow such things closely. More broadly — and maybe more importantly — it might also act as a signal from Pelosi to Republicans who find themselves alienated from their party during the Donald Trump era: Hey. We're here. Come be part of our coalition.

While much of the GOP has given itself over to Trump-worship, there were a number of Republican elected officials who tried to get through the four years of his presidency by keeping their heads down, hoping that everything would go back to normal after he left office. Six months after Joe Biden's inauguration, it's evident that Trumpism — and a devotion to the "Big Lie" that Trump won the 2020 election — will be the party's "normal" for the foreseeable future. That leaves non-Trumpists like Kinzinger, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), somewhat adrift, without a clear home in their own party — especially because Trump himself is doing his level best to purge them.

That's not to say they'd make a good fit with Democrats. Cheney is too much of a foreign policy hawk, for example, and Kinzinger too conservative on abortion to ever be comfortable joining up with Pelosi on a permanent basis.

But their estrangement from the GOP frees up the party's remaining non-Trumpists to form occasional alliances with Democrats. That, in turn, sends a message to Republican voters that it's okay to cross party lines for the greater good.

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