Tuesday, August 31, 2021


This Politico story is ostensibly about poor, besieged Kevin McCarthy, who's being urged by his far-right flank and by the GOP's voter base to pursue an impeachment of President Biden.
As hard as Kevin McCarthy has hammered the White House over the chaotic and deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, he’s under rising pressure from his right to go further.

The House minority leader has repeatedly pushed back on rank-and-file Republicans who want to make a high-stakes call for impeaching Biden over his handling of Afghanistan — a vow that would come due should the GOP take back the chamber next November. But multiple House Republican sources said that even before Tuesday’s fraught end to the U.S. military mission, their offices were being bombarded with calls from base voters for a future Biden impeachment or another more forceful response against the administration.
However, it appears that all but a few Republicans want to avoid impeaching Biden -- which is the savvy move and shouldn't give Democrats comfort.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus discussed whether to endorse calling for Biden to be impeached during a meeting last week, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the confab. Some were not ready to commit to impeaching Biden, one source said. But almost all members agreed that “doing nothing is not an option at this point,” according to another Freedom Caucus member at the meeting....
The Freedom Caucus's excuse for not advocating impeachment? They don't want to turn the presidency over to history's greatest monster, Kamala Harris.
Freedom Caucus members were “preparing for calling for resignations and or impeachment” last week, this GOP lawmaker said, but were also realistic about the Democratic line of succession. Some Republicans say privately that they have raised the ascension of Vice President Kamala Harris to constituents as a reason why they are not behind impeachment.
That's a convenient excuse, as is this:
One senior House Republican, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity, didn’t discount the idea of supporting impeachment down the line — particularly if the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates further, as many in the party have warned. The danger lies in a rush to that endgame, this Republican said, which puts McCarthy's party at risk of open hypocrisy after blasting Democrats.
Really? When have Republicans ever worried about appearing to be hypocrites? And when have they ever been punished for hypocrisy?

They don't want to impeach because they know that impeachment caused Bill Clinton's approval rating to soar, and also resulted in steadily rising poll numbers for Donald Trump from early November 2019 through February 2020. Much smarter to embroil Biden in multiple investigations, a la Benghazi, if they can keep their howling mob of a base calm while pursuing this course.

The Freedom Caucus and the rest of the House GOP delegation hope they can distract the mob with sideshows:
The [Freedom Caucus] is planning a Tuesday press conference to urge Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call Congress back into session early so lawmakers can vote on a GOP resolution backing impeachment of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as GOP resolutions calling for the resignations of Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff....

...The House GOP also plans to use the upcoming debate over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to spotlight problems with the U.S. pullout.

...Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said Monday that the party already has 50 NDAA amendments on Afghanistan, aimed at U.S. equipment that may have been left behind and the closure of Bagram airbase ahead of the withdrawal, among other issues.
Expect a few Republicans to campaign on impeaching Biden in 2022 -- but probably fewer than you'd imagine. After that, an impeachment of Blinken is more likely than an impeachment of the president, as are many monthslong investigations featuring Jim Jordan and other GOP blowhards. The point will be to avoid a failed vote to convict Biden in the Senate, which will be widely seen as an exoneration, and will make Republicans look weak. The party would much rather keep Biden under a permanent cloud of suspicion -- seemingly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, but never tried -- until November 2024.

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