So much for that “Biden impeachment”

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When the Republicans narrowly won the House in 2022, we all knew we’d see a whole lot of extremism, corruption, and stupidity. We all knew there would be a series of ludicrous hearings about fake scandals and such. This was all baked in.

There was also seemingly a consensus that we would absolutely see a government shutdown and a Biden impeachment. But all along I felt like there was never more than perhaps a 30% chance of either of these things happening, for the simple reason that there weren’t likely to be enough votes.

The House Republicans in the toss-up districts don’t do much talking. But they always worry that extremist stunts are going to cost them their seats. So even as extremists like Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene have talked loudly about shutdowns and impeachment, we’ve had to keep in mind that they don’t get to vote twice just because they’re emphatic about it.

Sure enough, we’ve now seen multiple Republican Speakers pass up multiple opportunities to do a government shutdown, because they’ve never had the votes for a shutdown. They keep coming up against it, they keep publicly insisting they’re going to do it, they keep fundraising from their gullible base on the promise of a shutdown, and then it never happens.

We’ve seen a similar trajectory when it comes to impeachment. House Republicans held a public hearing which they falsely labeled an “impeachment hearing” even though they didn’t bother to hold the kind of vote required for it to have been an actual impeachment hearing. That flopped. Then later they did hold a vote on going forward with a very preliminary procedural move toward impeachment, but that also ended up going nowhere.

All along, House Republicans have seemed more interested in goading the media into putting the words “Biden” and “impeachment” in the same sentence, than in actually doing anything regarding impeachment.

Now James Comer, who controls the committee where impeachment would grow legs, is claiming that he was never looking at impeaching President Biden. In other words, he doesn’t have the votes to move forward with impeachment, and so now he’s trying to cover for it by pretending he was never interested in impeachment to begin with.

Whatever. The point is that these House Republicans have turned out to be very, very toothless. That’s not surprising. Their very narrow majority has allowed their members in toss-up districts to veto anything that they feared could put their personal reelection prospects at risk. And the total lack of leadership within the House Republican caucus has meant that there’s been no one to strong-arm those holdouts into changing their votes.

This Republican House is still a travesty of extremism, corruption, incompetence, and insanity. But from the start it felt like a shutdown and impeachment were unlikely, and now they both seem more unlikely than ever.

It’s always important not to assign more power and competence to the other side than they actually have. The folks on our side who have spent the past year yelling “Oh no they’re going to shut down the government and impeach Biden” have only served to naively hand additional leverage to House Republicans. It’s allowed the Republicans to use the empty threat of a shutdown and impeachment to distract from a lot of other things. House Republicans never had the votes for a shutdown or impeachment, and we should have all been calling them out on that vulnerability from day one.

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