Thursday, July 07, 2016


After reading this...
Five panels to grill FBI on Clinton

Furious congressional Republicans are launching a multipronged attack against the FBI and Hillary Clinton.

A total of five congressional committees will either hold hearings with high-profile law enforcement officials over the next week or have already begun inquiries to the FBI about its investigation of the former secretary of State.
... I understand why Matt Yglesias writes this:
Republicans always go too far

... Instead of banking the hit to Clinton’s standing that [FBI director James] Comey already inflicted as a win and moving on to other arguments, Republican overreach shifts the terms of debate to terrain that’s objectively much less favorable. Now they’re wasting time and money on a witch hunt that’s already been thoroughly investigated, playing partisan politics with crucial briefings, and smearing dedicated public servants whose only crime is refusal to play along with their shenanigans.

It seems insane, but this is the party that managed to turn a presidential sex scandal into an unprecedented midterm election defeat in 1998 through exactly the same mix of hubris and overreach.
Yes, but you have to remember what happened after Bill Clinton was impeached. Did Republicans lose a few seats in the 1998 midterms? Sure. Did they lose control of Congress? No. And what happened next? An underqualified Republican goofball got close enough in the following presidential election to steal a victory, even though he was running against Clinton's vice president and Clinton continued to have very high approval ratings. Republicans held the House and Senate as well. The GOP scored big wins again in 2002, after that goofball escaped blame following the worst intelligence failure in living memory, and he was reelected in 2004 even as he was botching two wars.

If the Republicans took a lesson from 1998, it wasn't "don't overreach," it was "don't try to impeach anyone." Overreach works for them. Impeaching doesn't. That's why they haven't made a serious effort to impeach Barack Obama (or, in the Obama years, Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch or John Koskinen or ...).

Why does overreach work for the Republicans? Because the great base-unifying idea on the right is: All of our political opponents are maximally evil and corrupt. They will deliberately destroy Western civilization if not immediately crushed. Because this is a shared certainty, no amount of demonization of those political opponents is too great. It all sustains the base's belief in the overarching idea. More is more.

This is what gets the base out to vote. As long as it's kept short of impeachment -- which gets the Democratic base out to vote -- it's going to work for Republicans in the long run, even if it doesn't work in the presidential race. The payoff will really come after November, when Hillary Clinton, in all likelihood, enters the White House with multiple clouds over her head, then is further battered and battled by the Republicans. The goal is a big win in 2018 congressional election, and maybe even downballot. (You know they vote Republican all the way down to the local level in deep-red states because they're exposed to so much demonization of national Democrats in conservative media.) A 2020 presidential victory would be the icing on the cake -- but even if that never happens, overreach is a loyalty-builder in other elections. The Republicans won't stop doing it until it starts failing for them in the long term, in every election.


KenRight said...

But you could have avoided the GOP strategy by nominating a clean candidate.

Then again, your Bush references beg obvious questions about the Bush-enabling Obama you don't choose to ask. "Underreach" on his part perhaps?

Victor said...

Conservatives don't do "outreach"
They do "over-reach!"

mlbxxxxxx said...

I think today was more like "over-derping" than over-reaching. The air was thick with derp, especially when we heard from geniuses like Blake Farenthold. Christ, it is an embarrassing time to be a republican and they really seem completely oblivious. Most of them, at least.

My bet is, though, that no other committees end up actually grilling Comey like he was today. The Rs got the short end of the stick, yet again, while looking dumb and allowing the Ds lots of opportunities to clarify the record and dispel myths. I don't think they are going want to go for another round with Comey.

petrilli said...

Conservatives always overreach, and when no one's looking, occasionally reach around.

Peter Janovsky said...

Steve. Please reconsider the reflexive pessimism. You're relying on the base motivation in midterm elections, '98 being the only exception because of impeachment. We don't know if demographics and other factors will change this pattern in 2018 and after.

Feud Turgidson said...

She doesn't deserve this, AT ALL; but it's not that she doesn't deserve the grilling - she's EARNED that. What she doesn't deserve, via teh Operation Overreach that's already underway, is the array of connected opposition own goals, also already underway, which trace direcly to their own GOP nature, as they rise derpishly, haplessly and inevitably to the bait of self-centered (even tho understandable, in the Hillcentric context at least,) decision to 'hear' "permission" where permission there was not, but instead something akin to what celebrity's get and KNOW they'll get, being the fhatering accomodation of her court of sychophantoms, the celeb sensing that no one is likely to risk banishment from Celeb Center by showing the ovaries to speak Sense to Celebrity.

I watched almost all of it, beginning to the point where it had so thoroughly run down that the old and infirm of Team R were stuck with licking blood atoms off the ground. It wasn't just the Usual Suspect, the routinely heroic Elijah Cummings, but actually to a woman or man almost every single committee Dem was borderline freaking BRILLIANT at exploiting the derpish openings - while even the best of team Derp came across as crass and grasping.

That outcome alone is nearly astounding. She CAUSED this; SHE set in motion this massive waste and the further wasting to coming. Yet the Forces of Derp somehow contrived to lose the day, as her Dem allies danced on the Derpy heads and took cheap tawdry standard issue kitsch trophies.

Tell the folks at home what she's getting, Marty. Sheeeeeeeeeeee's getting several months of obvious Congressional screing around by the Walking Derp, which to the extent it may taker her off the campaign trail will now make out that SHE is the victim here of her own selflish celeb nature, as Al Franken, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Waren, and Bernie Sanders hisownself, and a VILLAGE more, every D who chooses to volunteer at taking a whack at the Trumperwocky galumphing and burbling its uffish way thru the tulgey wood, taking their own hideously tawdry kitsch trophy, acts as surrogate nominee to her campaign, while she stands there, basking in the victim-hood. She will stand there and beam and raise her arms and take in the cheers as IMMUNE SURROGATE make The Case For Hillary. She won't even have to voice her own platform much at all, just stick to it in the debates and a handful of feature spots, like at the Philly DNC.

And better and best of all: she's been handed a way to cut off Bill. From the moment the stories started coming out about Tarmacgate, and as of today inevitably, SHE is now the Alpha-Clinton, and he The First Spouse.

Well, fracking missplayed, milady. Here's standing ovation of the one hand Clap. Denis Leary might as ell take over your campaign from here on.

It's gonna en even less pretty victory than I thought, but there's so little left, and the die is already cast so irretrievably.

Then, from the moment she's sworn in, will come the interminable chip chip chip of impeachment. Really: it's already so underway, the crappy Jerome Corsi NYT bestsellers are already writing themselves.

trnc said...

"I watched almost all of it ..."

Feud's comment, edited for clarity.

Feud Turgidson said...

Som "true", you saying the GOPers WILL NOT move immediately to impeach?