House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is going for it. The top ranking Republican representative will be opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden in what looks like a nakedly political, perhaps self-serving, maneuver.
“Mr. McCarthy said he would task three committees – Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means – with carrying out the inquiry into the president and his family as Republicans hunt for evidence of financial wrongdoing or corruption,” The New York Times reported.
“Today I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” McCarthy told reporters.
The stunt is meant to strengthen McCarthy’s position within his own party, and to impugn the character of an incumbent Democratic president as he embarks upon a reelection campaign. But will the impeachment inquiry have any unintended consequences? Could the impeachment inquiry, perhaps, make President Biden stronger?
The impeachment inquiry is ostensibly designed to uncover bank records or some documents or something that demonstrate a coherent link between Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and corrupt business dealings. To date, the GOP has been unable to uncover anything that legitimately links the president to wrongdoing. The result is just speculation and angling and trash talking. No one doubts that Hunter Biden benefited financially from being the president’s son. But that’s just baseline nepotism – a toxic social trend that dominates hiring and admission processes. We know neither the Dems or the Republicans really want to address nepotism. So Hunter Biden’s fortunate familiar arrangement is not really up for review. And outside of that, there’s not much to go on.
Biden could potentially benefit from the ongoing cycle – that cycle being Comer or McCarthy or some Freedom Caucus hack ranting about Biden’s corrupt business practices and promising some upcoming revelation that is going to blow the case wide open only to provide no substantial revelation whatsoever. The cycle does culminate in little micro absolutions for Biden; every time the GOP fails to pin something legitimate he comes out clean. Now that’s not to say Biden isn’t capable of corrupt behavior, nor is that to say that Biden didn’t in fact act corruptly. I don’t know. But nothing the GOP has introduced has suggested corrupt behavior, which raises the skepticism/indifference of people like me – a skepticism/indifference that helps Biden’s cause. Aesop summed it up two thousand years ago. Don’t cry wolf. If Comer or McCarthy has something to show me, then show me. Otherwise, stop talking about it.
Playing into the narrative
Biden is running for reelection on a platform that rests primarily upon the idea that the Trump-led Republicans are trying to reform our government at a basic procedural level. A foundationless impeachment inquiry helps to solidify the narrative Biden is pushing, suggesting that the Republicans are trying to flex their majority into an impeachment as a way of bypassing the upcoming election. The Republican behavior actually mirrors Democratic behavior from the Trump administration – but regardless, contemporary Republican behavior reinforces the idea that Republicans are out for blood and will violate the norms of government to achieve that blood.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.