Most of the committee’s Republicans followed Jason Chaffetz’s lead in aimless grandstanding—which, as always, seems to be the purpose of these show trials, anyway. Self-preservation. Others spent their time chastising Richards over finances, demanding she answer questions about “market penetration” and “unit prices.” Ms. Richards, will you send over those figures? Sure. I’ll do my best!…

It’s worth pointing out that, unlike most of the GOP members of the committee, Richards actually earns her salary. She exhibits impressive composure and rhetorical discipline, never wandering off her chosen focus for too long, and basically does everything someone like Jim Jordan does not. The Ohio rep looked like he was about to hop over the podium grab her by the arms and demand answers. The optics were horrible, and the trivial gotcha that made him act like a transmuting Bruce Banner—whether Richards had actually apologized for the video tapes or not— was also irrelevant.

He could have tricked Richards into acknowledging she had lied when she said that Planned Parenthood “never claimed” to offer mammograms? That would have taken preparation and research rather than yelling. Republicans never, setting aside all the hysterical parsing of the media, got Richards to admit that Carly Fiorina’s comments regarding human fetuses being delivered intact and alive during abortions was irrefutable. How about offering some examples and quotes from real people? Richards got away with pretending she knew nothing about such events. Broadly speaking, we don’t even know if Richards believes there should be any gestational limit on abortions. If she’s in line with the Democratic Party, she believes abortion should be legal until crowning. That radicalism was never on display. Which is inexcusable.