On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy finally launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Judging by their initial response, Democrats appear determined to exploit what they perceive as wavering in Republican ranks.
In fact, White House spokesman Ian Sams noted that thus far the waverers have included none other than McCarthy himself.
“Maybe someone should ask him: Prior to the midterms, you said ‘the country doesn’t like impeachment used for political purposes’ but now you’re doing just that, as Gaetz threatens your speakership and MTG says she’ll shutdown the government unless you do impeachment What gives?” Sams posted on Tuesday.
Sams’ tweet included a Washington Post headline from October 2022: “McCarthy Downplays Prospect of Impeaching Biden if GOP wins House.”
An hour later, after McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry, Sams resumed his social media offensive.
“House Republicans have been investigating the President for 9 months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. His own GOP members have said so. He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flip-flopped because he doesn’t have support, Extreme politics at its worst,” Sams wrote.
By “no evidence” Sams must have meant “compelling evidence” linking Biden to his son Hunter’s foreign influence peddling.
Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter, McCarthy identified “serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct — a culture of corruption.”
“Through our investigation we have found that President Biden did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings,” McCarthy said at a press conference Tuesday.
Indeed, McCarthy cited eyewitness accounts, bank records, Treasury Department records and information from FBI informants as reasons for the inquiry.
Thus, Sams’ posts revealed the Democrats’ only possible strategy in Biden’s defense: highlight the political. Use phrases such as “political purposes” and “extreme politics at its worst.”
Sams even mentioned Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. No doubt the White House spokesman believed that in doing so he could cast impeachment as politically extreme.
After all, the establishment media regularly identifies Gaetz and Greene as “far-right” allies of former President Donald Trump. Sams therefore should have no trouble getting the Democrats’ establishment-media minions to parrot his accusations of political extremism.
Still, the strategy seems desperate.
For one thing, earlier this year Gaetz and Greene took opposing sides in the Republicans’ quarrel over the House speakership. Greene supported McCarthy for speaker, while Gaetz strongly opposed him.
Likewise, highlighting an impeachment’s “political” aspects diverts attention from the core questions.
Why did Biden lie? What did he mean to conceal? To what do all those bank records and testimonies lead?
Notably, Sams did not insist that the president told the truth. Nor did the White House spokesman insist that the president did nothing wrong. Sams merely — and falsely — claimed that Republicans found “no evidence.”
That is the sort of thing a person says when he does not have truth on his side.
In that case, the only available strategy involves highlighting political aspects and hopefully scaring timid Republicans into abandoning the inquiry. Convince them to look out for what D.C. insiders might frame as their political self-interests. Tell them not to rock the boat.
It cannot work. If congressional Republicans have a shred of integrity, it will not work.