How I learned to stop worrying and love the Jan. 6 committee

We’re only a couple installments into the limited-run production of the Jan. 6 hearings, and so far, I think they’ve been great. But I also think they’ll leave almost everyone, except for me, unsatisfied.

For many Democrats and Never Trumpers, the hope is — or was — that this would lead to criminal prosecution of Donald Trump. On Sunday, Rep. Adam B. Schiff chummed the waters for those already ravenously hungry to see the former president in leg chains. Schiff (D-California) said on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s seen what he believes to be “credible evidence” that Trump broke the law in his effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Schiff might be right that Trump broke some laws, but if you’ve got your hopes set on Trump filling Truth Social with complaints about the food in the prison commissary, you’re destined for disappointment.

Some Democrats have high hopes that the hearings will rescue the Democrats from electoral catastrophe in the midterms. That’s very unlikely, too. Whatever the hearings do, they won’t solve inflation, the border crisis, crime or Biden’s dismal approval rating.

And for some, including me from time to time, we had a vague hope that these hearings would so conclusively prove Trump’s lies about the stolen election and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol that Trump would be permanently discredited and that his defenders would admit their error like Claude Rains in the climactic comeuppance in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

That’s not going to happen either, at least not in the satisfying, schadenfreude-rich, cinematic way we feel we deserve.

But I’ve decided that’s OK.

Because here is what the hearings are well on their way to do: Create a safe space for elected Republicans, activists and conservative media figures to state openly what many already knew — the election wasn’t stolen, Trump lied about it being stolen and that he bilked hundreds of millions of dollars from the poor marks he conned.

Sadly, very few of them will say it so bluntly. But you can already see the migration out of crazyland.

Tucker Carlson and his prime-time Fox News colleagues may never give up the dream of convincing their audiences that there’s no “there” there, but Fox’s news side has covered the hearings as, well, news.

And while you might sometimes get the sense from Fox News that the big story out of these hearings is that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) should have been seated on the panel to represent Team Abnormal, from what I’ve seen, the hosts and the legal experts, not to mention Rupert Murdoch’s other media properties, are perfectly content to let the underlying evidence and testimony go unrebutted, even if they call it “old news.”

In other words, most conservatives, borrowing a tactic from the Clinton impeachment, are arguing that we should “move on” from Trump’s misdeeds. I get why that bothers people — including me — but arguing that we should move on requires conceding the facts of what happened. And that alone would make these hearings worth it.


Jonah Goldberg is editor-in-chief of The Dispatch

and the host of The Remnant podcast.


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