Friday, October 28, 2022


Many people assume that a majority-Republican House will inevitably impeach President Biden. I've never believed that. Now Annie Karni of The New York Times tells us that Republicans are downplaying the likelihood of a presidential impeachment:
... top Republicans are seeking to downplay the chances that they will impeach Mr. Biden, distancing themselves from a polarizing issue that could alienate voters just as polls show the midterm elections breaking their way.

“I think the country doesn’t like impeachment used for political purposes at all,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, told Punchbowl News earlier this month. While he didn’t rule out moving forward on impeachment hearings if something rose “to that occasion,” Mr. McCarthy said the country needed to “heal” and that voters wanted to “start to see the system that actually works.”
As Karni says, this might just be an effort to lull moderates so they'll vote Republican in the midterms. And, obviously, McCarthy may not have buy-in for this from the more rabid members of his caucus (and his party):
Still, should he become House speaker, Mr. McCarthy would be under immense pressure from hard-right members of his rank and file — and from core Republican voters who swept his party into the majority in part based on promises to take down Mr. Biden — to impeach. The pressure will only increase if former President Donald J. Trump adds his voice to those pushing for the move.
But impeachment is still a niche idea:
Overall 10 House Republicans have either introduced or sponsored a total of 21 articles of impeachment against Mr. Biden and his top officials since the start of the administration.
That's 10 out of 212 Republicans in the House.

I stand by what I wrote in August 2021:
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 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.
When I wrote that -- just after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan -- it seemed more likely to me that there'd be an impeachment of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. I don't expect that now, though the all-show-trials-all-the-time GOP House absolutely will hold one-sided hearings on the pullout.

If anyone in the Biden White House is impeached, it will be homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Republicans are obsessed with the border, and he'll be their scapegoat and Biden surrogate. He'll be one of their top three targets, and the only one who'll actually be a government employee if (when?) they take over. (Hunter Biden isn't part of the government and Anthony Fauci is retiring.)

In 2021, one excuse Republicans gave for wanting to avoid impeachment was that they didn't want to be responsible for the empowerment of history's greatest monster, Kamala Harris:
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.
And here we go again. In the Times, Karni writes:
Newt Gingrich, the House speaker who quit Congress after Mr. Clinton’s impeachment amid ethics allegations and Republican losses, said he was advising Mr. McCarthy against it.

“All you have to do is say to people, ‘Kamala Harris,’” Mr. Gingrich said. “Tell me the endgame that makes any sense. As bad as Biden is, she’d be vastly worse. I don’t think the brand-new Republican majority should waste their time on a dead end.”
Everyone thinks Kevin McCarthy is stupid, but I think he's skillfully evil, keeping nutjobs like Greene happy and on his side while conveying the impression that they're outliers within his caucus. I think he'll let them run as many star chambers as they want, while dissuading them from impeaching Biden. But we'll see.

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