McCarthy suggested in recent days that the Republican majority might seek to impeach Biden “for acts of corruption.”
To impeach or not to impeach? That is the dilemma facing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the lead actor in an absurd political-legislative drama.
McCarthy suggested in recent days that the Republican majority might seek to impeach Democratic President Joe Biden for alleged corruption.
It is certainly another case of what in Latin America has become known as lawfare, the use of the judicial process to discredit, distract or destroy a political enemy. In this case it is the use, however limited, of legislative power, but the result would be the same.
That the allegations of Biden’s corruption are linked to misdeeds by his son, Hunter Biden, the family’s black sheep, and allegedly to business deals made by the younger Biden in Ukraine, fuels Republicans’ suspicion, especially those on the right. They are eager to avenge two failed Democratic attempts to impeach Donald Trump and the ongoing investigations and likely prosecutions in connection with his response to the 2020 election.
The lawmakers are now proposing that the lower house expunge the records of Trump’s impeachments.
But much of McCarthy’s posturing is driven by the political need to satisfy the 30 or so far-right Republican lawmakers who can withhold their vote and oust him as speaker. And they have been letting him know that since the beginning of the year, when he needed their votes to be elected speaker.
The right imposed conditions that put McCarthy in a weak position: Among other things, he accepted the condition that a Republican representative could call for new speakership vote.
The problem is that even if the House, with a slim Republican majority (222-213) were to conduct the necessary hearings and do the work, it would not necesssarily lead to impeachment charges against Biden. For one thing, it would mean the almost certain election defeat of at least 18 Republican members of Congress elected in districts where Biden won a majority, and they, too, are needed to maintain their party’s majority.
At the same time, there are demands for McCarthy to express his loyalty to Trump, the subject of four criminal investigations.
That consideration leads to the other part of the problem: The Senate is under Democratic control and several Republican senators have expressed doubts about an impeachment case against Biden, adding to the impression that it is all simply part of a political-electoral circus.
After all, one of the tenets of lawfare is to “throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.” Questioning an opponent’s honesty and abilities will always find willing ears among one’s own supporters, even if no one else is convinced.