Thursday, July 26, 2018


First there was this:
House Republican members of the conservative Freedom Caucus introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday -- the latest salvo in an ongoing back-and-forth between some in the GOP over the Justice Department's handling of the Russia probe.

The 11 lawmakers accuse the Department of Justice of "intentionally withholding embarrassing documents and information," and allege the agency hid investigative information from Congress, abused the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act and failed to comply with subpoenas, according to a statement.
Then this:
Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday firmly rejected an effort by House conservatives to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein....

“I don’t think we should be cavalier with this process or this term,” he said of impeachment. “I don’t think this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
As I've been saying for years and years, this is how Republicans operate, and it's one reason they've dominated American politics for decades: They sell themselves to more than one niche market simultaneously, and each one believes it's voting for the real GOP. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, who are spearheading the Rosenstein impeachment drive, are telling the ultras in the GOP voter base that they'll crush the Deep State, while Paul Ryan positions himself as the voice of reason, the adult in the room meant to reassure wavering right-centrists, especially in swing districts where the GOP is endangered. Ryan is also there to persuade the mainstream media that Republicans run a nice, respectable party whose members deserve to dominate Sunday talk shows, and who surely will someday muster the courage to make that awful Donald Trump behave like a gentleman. (It's very easy to persuade the MSM of this.)

Notice that the press is not responding to all this the way it would if something comparable were happening on the Democratic side. There's no talk of "Republicans in disarray!" Everyone seems certain that the party isn't completely in thrall to its most ideologically fervent members. That nice Paul Ryan has everything under control, so there's nothing to worry about. (Even all the media talk about the GOP being Trump's party now carries with it the suggestion that Republicans are in thrall to Trump, but they don't want to be.)


And meanwhile:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is running for House Speaker, he confirmed Thursday. The announcement comes amid allegations from a number of former Ohio State wrestlers, who claim Jordan turned a blind eye to sexual abuse by the team’s doctor while working as an assistant coach at the university.
The impeachment effort is obviously part of Jordan's campaign for the job. And as Nate Silver notes, this may be the beginning of a race to the bottom:

I wonder if potential Speaker candidates are going to try to out-wingnut one another, the way GOP candidates for governor in Georgia did earlier this year:

Will it be "electorally self-destructive" to the party as a whole? Let's hope so -- but it'll probably be written off as behavior that doesn't truly represent the party (even though it does).

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