If there was any doubt that the Republican House was no more sophisticated than a preschool playground, last week’s opening of an impeachment inquiry against President Biden settled the matter with a nasty blow to the Democrats’ face.
How can you describe the excuse for this fishing trip other than “You started it”? If our man found himself embroiled in impeachment proceedings and lengthy court proceedings during election season, well, dammit, so did yours.
While Democrats launched the first impeachment inquiry into Trump after it was revealed he tried to extort a political favor from the Ukrainian president in exchange for military aid, and the second impeachment after an insurrection, Biden’s investigation continues without any clear evidence of the existence of such impeachment. misdeeds of the president.
This is just the latest asymmetrical exchange by the Republicans.
Even many Republicans in Congress don’t buy into this kind of bullshit, as we learned from a series confessionals from Washington and several Republicans wondering if their side has the assets or if this is the best use of their time. As Kevin McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry, one could almost see his vaporous soul being sucked out like a Dementor, joining the ghostly remnants of Paul Ryan’s abandoned integrity that still roam the halls of Congress.
But this is not the first time that we have witnessed this kind of distressing perversion of the Democratic precedent. What Democrats first do in good faith, Republicans repeat in bad faith. Time and time again, cautiously partisan measures by Democrats turn into extraordinary retaliation by Republicans.
Thus, Al Gore’s challenge to the 2000 election results, which ended with his convenient acceptance of the results after a scathing court ruling, is reincarnated as a disjointed insurrection at the Capitol in 2021.
In exchange for the brief moment after the 2004 election, in which some Democrats exposed irregularities in Ohio’s voting process, we got Republicans to take the baseless claims of voter fraud in 2020 to the level thermonuclear.
In June 1992, Biden, then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on President George H. W. Bush not to nominate any Supreme Court nominees before the fall election, saying it was “fair” and “essential” to preserve what could be a sharp political conflict arising in the final days of the campaign – as well as in the nomination process itself. Of course, with no vacancy, the stakes were non-existent. But just after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Mitch McConnell took the extraordinary position of not submitting any of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees for Senate consideration in an election year. By ignoring this nominee, Merrick Garland, the Republicans maintained a conservative majority on the court. McConnell, of course, disingenuously cited the “Biden Rule” in his decision.
It is a bitter paradox that Biden, long moderate and cautious, has borne the brunt of this vindictive one-upmanship. The problem with being around for so long, as Biden has been, is that there is always someone who remembers “the old days” and holds a grudge against him.
And while there is no direct connection between Ronald Reagan’s 1987 defeat of Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination and the ongoing impeachment inquiry, I can’t help but think that anger that ignited among conservative Republicans helped ignite the flames of animosity that erupted. This situation has only intensified over the years, yet another example of a Democratic precedent widely misinterpreted as a political ploy rather than a principled position.
It was Biden who, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, was forced to lead the fight against Bork. There were many reasons to block Bork: he had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the “one person, one vote” principle; judicial protection of homosexual rights; and the idea of a constitutional right to privacy as the basis not only of Roe v. Wade, but also the right to contraception.
But the fight has made even some Democrats nervous. “Will the Democrats self-destruct over Bork? asked liberal columnist Mark Shields.
At that time, it was extraordinary that one party would lead the fight to reject a Supreme Court nominee on ideological grounds. The vehemence with which some senators, like Ted Kennedy, approached it exacerbated the resentment. This type of process became known as “Borking,” which to Republicans meant using a person’s record to destroy their reputation. In their view, even though six Republicans voted against Bork, Democrats had politicized and poisoned the nomination process.
It’s hard not to view the messy attempt to unseat Biden today as a kind of twisted reincarnation of “Borking,” yet another twisted abuse of Democratic precedent.
Trump’s misdeeds during his term clearly justified an unprecedented double impeachment. They certainly did not justify this investigation into Biden.
We can only hope that this effort will now blow up in the face of the Republican Party. Given today’s shameless marathon by Republicans in the House of Representatives, this may be the closest thing to right.