The way Republicans in Congress and conservative media talk about Hunter Biden, you would think he was the president.
The Trump campaign in 2020 spent a large amount of time and effort trying to dig up dirt on the president’s son. The House Oversight Committee, throughout this year, has heavily investigated Hunter, trying to gin up a narrative about the “Biden Crime Family.”
But throughout, the Republicans have not uncovered any piece of Hunter-related wrongdoing by the president himself. Beyond that, they are yet to demonstrate that any persuadable swing voter cares, in the slightest, about anything involving Hunter Biden. Sure, the consumers of the conservative media eat Hunter stories up. But is any voter making their decision based on Hunter? The all-Hunter, all-the-time strategy didn’t work for the GOP in either 2020 or 2022.
An op-ed published this week for The Messenger, by Jessica Tarlov, asked the pertinent question: “Without Hunter Biden, What Do Republicans Have?”
Tarlov is a liberal who often argues with conservatives on Fox News, and she took to the news outlet to tee off on the Hunter obsession.
“As I sat there watching Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor [Greene] (R-Ga.) showing off a poster with images of Hunter Biden, naked, in the midst of a congressional hearing, I couldn’t help but smile,” Tarlov writes. “I wasn’t smiling because Hunter looked particularly good (don’t be a pervert!). I was smiling because it was never clearer to me that the GOP has nothing on which to run but a wide-ranging conspiracy theory that the Biden family is somehow akin to the Gotti crime family.”
The problem, she writes, is that it’s not true.
“The problem with it, as with most right-wing conspiracies, is that it doesn’t hold water if you do even the slightest semblance of digging. It’s a house of cards built for right-wing echo chamber consumption.”
Tarlov acknowledges that Hunter Biden has done a lot wrong in his life, including during the years when he was in the throes of addiction.
“This week’s much-hyped IRS whistleblower testimony showcased just how divorced from reality many Republicans have become. Three key components of the GOP narrative were absolutely shredded — and by their own witnesses!”
In the hearing, per the op-ed, one of the whistleblowers made clear that at least some of the requests that were turned down by the IRS in relation to Hunter Biden were dismissed by Trump appointees, during the Trump presidency. In addition, the theory of the case about the whistleblowers — that the IRS investigators wanted someone charged, and prosecutors did not adhere to what they wanted — is far from a rare thing.
In addition, whistleblower Gary Shapley is not alleging the same widespread conspiracy that many House Republicans are.
“Let me be clear, although these facts contradict the attorney general’s testimony and raise serious questions for you to investigate, I have never claimed evidence that Attorney General Garland knowingly lied to Congress,” Shapley told Congress.
Some of the focus on Hunter, including Taylor Greene’s recent displaying of dirty photos of the president’s son, seem much more about being cruel or mean-spirited than anything involving supposed wrongdoing. That stunt, last week, led attorneys for the president’s son to file an ethics complaint against Greene.
“This week, your colleague has lowered herself, and by extension the entire House of Representatives, to a new level of abhorrent behavior that blatantly violates House Ethics rules and standards of official conduct. If the OCE takes its responsibilities seriously, it will promptly and decisively condemn and discipline Ms. Greene for her latest actions,” attorney Abbe Lowell said in the complaint.
“I’ll return to where I began. Republicans are giving up the game by continuing to harp on these ‘scandals’ that are going nowhere,” Tarlov concludes. “If they had a decent set of policies or records to run on, they’d be talking about that. But they don’t. And so their response to Bidenomics or the real effects of the infrastructure bill is to show us a picture of Hunter Biden’s [genitalia]. Think about that.”
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.