The Portman Gambit

After news broke that Mitt Romney was going to be, well Mitt Romney, word is out that another GOP senator (I don’t count Murkowski) is willing to consider a Jan 6th commission under some conditions.

Mitt’s move was not a huge surprise given that it’s unlikely that opposing it will make those who want him out in Utah like him more and will earn brownie points with the deep state than can be spent on his children and grandchildren who wish to be a part of it, nor does Murkowski move surprise me as she might as well go all out to get Democrats to vote for her come re-election time as the GOP is ready to let her go.

But for those who might be surprised at Portman’s move is almost classic in terms of how politics works or at least used to work in DC.

Portman understands that the Democrats want this commission very badly and it would be useful for the Democrats to get a GOP senator not named Romney or Murkowski on board to try to give their witch hunt a veneer of legitimacy. He also knows that there are likely a few GOP members who are only with Trump and the GOP base publicly.

So this gives him a lot of leverage, by laying out conditions that he might be willing to consider a 1/6 commission he can achieve a lot:

  1. He can get leverage for spending that he wants for his state
  2. He will (doubtless) get good press from the media for doing so.
  3. He can put the Democrats in a position where they feel the need to give concessions on such a commission
  4. If the Democrats refuse his compromises he can go to the base & claim he exposed them.
  5. If the Democrats go along he can claim to the base that he forced them to give ground to make it more fair.
  6. He might be able to play the Sir Humphrey gambit per the video below:

It may or may not work for him but in the old days that’s how it was regularly played.