A House Caucus Divided

WARNING: In order to accurately quote a member of Congress one phrase herein contained violates my self-imposed PG rating constraint.

It will seem like I’m citing several different things as the core story today. In reality it is all about the dysfunction of the House Republican caucus and its detrimental effect on America.

On their first day back from their extended Labor Day vacation with the federal government on the brink of a shutdown caused by their incompetence the House Republicans, in the person of their leader Kevin McCarthy, announced they would begin an inquiry into the possibility of impeaching President Joe Biden. (Notably without an authorizing vote.) The fact that despite many inquiries since they took over the House have failed, (often spectacularly and embarrassingly) to unearth any impeachable offense(s).

Things like this, especially when they are appeasement – and in the case of McCarthy political self-preservation – moves, tend to take on a life of their own and self-perpetuate. Anyone who is paying attention has already figured out that this move is a direct order from the twice impeached and current subject of 91 felony charges, Donald Trump. Trump wants the distraction and also wants to tarnish (at least in the minds of his supporters) Joe Biden. I have to wonder if when push comes to shove enough Republican House members will have the guts (and in 18 cases where Biden won their district, sense of political self-preservation) to vote against impeachment. You know there won’t be any Democratic votes to fill the gap.

I cannot cover this without a mention of the Hunter Biden situation. Hunter is far from a model citizen. He is also far from a model son. He has never, nor does he currently hold any position in the government, federal or otherwise. The alleged (and most likely committed) crimes that underlie the current charges against him normally never get prosecuted. This is basically a case of selective prosecution from a Justice Department that is bending over backwards not to look like it is favoring its boss’ kid. In America we do not hold a father guilty for the transgressions of his very much adult child. (Donald Trump should be glad of that! Not surprisingly the Justice Department under Trump’s people never indicted any of his family especially those serving in the White House.)

What is the opportunity cost of impeachment? A case will be made that the Republican controlled House can multi-task. Let’s just say we have yet to see proof of that. While they are on some wild goose chases what is being ignored? They seem to be incapable of doing the basics like keeping the lights on. One angle I haven’t seen nor heard explored is the “historic” one. Is Trump hoping for a mid-primary dropout by the sitting president ala LBJ? Remember that when LBJ dropped in 1968 it eventually led to a food fight among the Democrats and the election of Richard Nixon. To Trump and his sycophants, the superordinate goal is his election in 2024, several are banking on those presidential pardons that they desperately anticipate.

As a baseball fan the I find the timing especially vexing. A continuing resolution deal – which appears to be the best we can reasonably hope for at this point with these “players” – would probably take place in the waning days of September which will distract from MLB’s last weekend. My prediction is that, as he has in the past, McCarthy will have to go to House Minority Leader Democrat Hakeem Jeffries asking for votes to pass a CR. Since the vast majority of House Democrats actually take serving their constituents seriously the votes will be delivered in abundance.

The whole situation was summed up somewhat accurately, if somewhat crudely, by Pennsylvania Democratic Senator John Fetterman who described it as a, “Circle jerk.”

Kevin McCarthy made several deals with several “devils” in order to get the job of Speaker. Those deals were often in conflict; which speaks loudly to McCarthy’s character. Many are now coming due. A House caucus divided against itself cannot be expect to produce a good outcome.

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