House Speaker John Boehner officially tapped Trey Gowdy on Monday to lead a new special committee that will escalate the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Why did a two-term congressman get tapped for the position? It might be in part because of how damn good Gowdy is at being dramatic.
Let's take a look at a recent floor speech from the South Carolina Republican, in favor of a rather theatrical bill called the ENFORCE act. That bill would allow Congress to sue the president when his administration decides against enforcing laws — conservatives are furious that the executive branch has used its powers to change how the government handles some undocumented immigrants, tweak the deadlines of the Affordable Care Act, and end federal enforcement of gay marriage bans.
Here, listen to Gowdy use his trademark shouty voice to list a series of quotes from "Obama, the Senator," which Gowdy uses to argue that even the liberal Obama would have agreed with the bill as a legislator. Already dubbed the "We Make the Law" speech, it got a lot of attention and accolades in the conservative press.
Although Gowdy also attracted conservative notice for his role in the Oversight Committee investigations into Fast and Furious and the IRS, he has a particular passion for the Benghazi issue, and argues there was a deliberate White House cover-up after the deadly consulate attacks. And he's a former prosecutor, which means that he makes up for what he lacks in congressional experience with his unshakeable confidence in the morality of his cause. His aggressive questioning sessions during the Oversight Committee's Benghazi hearings approach the territory of justice porn for his conservative base.