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June 23, 2023

A Bad Idea Poorly Timed

Right now, the GOP seems stuck reliving the 1990s, hoping for a blue, stained dress.

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado has advanced a privileged motion on the floor of the House of Representatives to impeach the president of the United States. I find myself in the unusual position of siding with Speaker McCarthy and not the congresswoman. This is, right now, a bad idea poorly timed.

The congresswoman says part of the reason to advance this is because of the president’s handling of the border situation. It would be far wiser, strategically, to impeach the secretary of homeland security who is responsible for the day-to-day issue. That would more likely get Republican votes and force more Democrats into awkward votes.

On the matter of the president, House Republicans are still digging into the issues related to Hunter Biden, Burisma, Biden family corruption, etc. To advance impeachment now would undermine the investigations that are ongoing. It would also undoubtedly fail in the Senate. In other words, it would undermine existing evidence collection, fail in the United States Senate and waste everybody’s time.

Beyond impeaching President Joe Biden, Republicans right now seem vastly more interested in fundraising off allegations they are raising about Biden than showing independent and moderate voters that the GOP has a vision for the future. Part of this is the lack of a leader of the party. Though former President Donald Trump is nominally the leader of the party, he is battling nine others for the Republican presidential nomination. That leaves little time to help set a vision for the party.

Back in the 1990s, Republicans spent an inordinate amount of time attacking the “Clinton Crime Family.” They investigated Whitewater and Vince Foster and ultimately impeached Bill Clinton. Along the way, after a massive electoral shift in 1994 that saw the GOP take back Congress for the first time in 40 years, Bob Dole lost the presidential race. Republicans had spent more time focusing on allegations of corruption and crime than on policy and vision.

Now, it seems every opportunity Republicans have to get airtime is about the “Biden Crime Family.” Voters are worried about the cost of living, the culture, their retirements and crime. The GOP message is that Joe Biden is corrupt and possibly criminal. Unfortunately for Republicans, swing voters they need to win in 2024 already think both parties are criminally corrupt. Republicans risk drowning out their own successes and policy visions while focused on the Biden family.

Cost of living is both an economic and cultural issue. It is the perfect way for Republicans to win the debate. Families cannot afford vacation. They cannot afford eating out. They can barely afford basic departures from work to the community pool. Every price has gone up. Meanwhile, Democrats are fighting to put boys on girls’ sports teams and shaming parents who dissent. Schools are failing, kids are regressing and Democrats are far more interested in teaching kids about sex at drag queen story hour than teaching kids math and reading. This issue is ripe for the GOP.

To the extent the GOP is focusing on these issues, their media appearances more often are updates on their Biden investigation. The other day, Riley Gaines testified before the United States Senate. Gaines is a female swimmer who competed against the trans swimmer, Lia Thomas, who maintains male genitals and shared the changing room with female athletes. Gaines spoke of how female athletes were uncomfortable and bullied. Democrats tried to shame her. Progressives mocked her. Republican talk about Hunter and Joe Biden and Boebert’s impeachment motion overshadowed all the news and drama from the Senate hearing.

Republicans can and should investigate Biden family corruption. An impeachment motion would short-circuit that investigation and it would go nowhere in the Senate. Republicans who lament a politically charged Justice Department cannot expect the attorney general to take their allegations against the Biden family seriously. If they were to impeach the homeland security secretary, they could highlight the border issue more dramatically. If they focused on tying economic and cultural issues together, they could persuade independent voters to support them. Right now, the GOP seems stuck reliving the 1990s, hoping for a blue, stained dress.


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