If there was an actual vote on the matter, it could blow up in the GOPs ‘political face’ – so to speak.
The GOP holds only a slim majority in the House – and since you can expect each and every Democrat to vote against the impeachment inquiry, McCarthy will only have a view votes to spare. That should concern McCarthy given that some Republicans have already expressed skepticism over the vote.
GOP Skepticism over Impeachment
Some Republicans are likely to oppose the vote because they are moderate centrists. Some Republicans are likely to oppose the vote because they represent districts Biden won in 2020. Like Representative Don Bacon, who reps a Nebraska district that voted for Biden.
“As of now I don’t support [an impeachment inquiry],” Bacon said.
Representative Mike Lawler from New York agreed.
And Representative Ken Buck, a Freedom Caucus member, said “there is not a strong connection at this point between the evidence on Hunter Biden and any evidence connecting the president,” Buck added “I think an inquiry hould be based on evidence of a crime that points directly to President Biden, or if the President doesn’t cooperate by not providing documents. There’s clearly corruption with Hunter using his dad’s name to earn tens of millions of dollars. But impeachment needs to be bout the dad, not the son. Many of us don’t want to see impeachment become something tat is commonly used against every president.”
McCarthy to push ahead
Yet McCarthy seems set on pushing ahead with an impeachment inquiry. Why might this be?
For starters, McCarthy might be angling for personal political gain. Remember that McCarthy is only eight months removed from the most contested speaker election ever. He fought tooth and nail to earn the House leadership – a position he was in largely because portions of the GOP’s right perceived McCarthy as too soft, or not conservative enough.
So, McCarthy perhaps stands to benefit from an impeachment inquiry in that such an aggressive tactic would signal to the GOP’s right that McCarthy can play for blood.
Another motivation, which is not mutually exclusive from the first, is that McCarthy wants to use an impeachment inquiry to raise questions about Biden’s character in the most formal sense possible.
Biden is heading into a reelection campaign at a time when more than half the country is questioning whether Biden is fit for office. McCarthy is in a unique position to further raise questions, to damage the president’s credibility.
And remember, Biden is most likely going to face off against Donald Trump, who helped McCarthy lock down the speakership. Maybe McCarthy feels like he owes Trump a solid. Maybe Trump explicitly asked for a solid. Who knows. What seems clear is that the calculations are purely political.
A political impeachment
Impeachment seems to have become a purely political tool, used flippantly and casually whenever convenient. The Democrats deserve a healthy portion of the blame for the contemporary conception of impeachment – they impeached Trump twice, once in service of a malicious conspiracy theory – but Republicans are continuing the tradition without a scrap of evidence to pin up against Biden.
We’ve entered a noxious phase of politicking, where standard practice apparently includes impeachment. Eventually, someone is going to have to ‘take the high road,’ ‘be the bigger man.’ It doesn’t look like it’s going to be the Republicans, or Kevin McCarthy, this time around.
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.