I Have Two Words For Kevin McCarthy


I have 2 words for Kevin McCarthy as he decides whether to push ahead with impeaching Joe Biden:  Bill Clinton.

The impeachment of Bill Clinton should be a cautionary tale for McCarthy. I remember it—you had a Democratic president who voters were becoming less happy with, especially Democratic voters as he moved rightward politically, and a Republican House majority full of wingnuts pushing a far-right agenda (oh how blissfully unaware we were then about how far right the Republicans would go).

The thing was though, that as a whole, the electorate was uninterested in punishing Clinton for what we then saw (wrongly) as consenting sex between 2 adults. The charges being centered on legal definitions of perjury (and already determined by a judge earlier not to be perjury) didn’t grab the national attention–I was sitting in the Senate press gallery during the procedural vote for the vote on the first charge and I had no idea what Clinton was supposed to be guilty of. Ah the old days when the general public could just show up to watch Congress at work.

Not only did the impeachment proceedings not hurt Clinton at the ballot box, but they ended up hurting the GOP. The party lost seats in the 1998 mid-term, and not long after that the party imploded in a combination of the unpopular impeachment, Gingrich’s far-right policies and overt transgression of the separation of church and state, and the seats lost in the mid-term.

What I remember as the turning point though was the discovery that Gingrich had been carrying on an extra-marital affair at the same time he was hammering Clinton on his affair. Gingrich also had a bunch of ethics violations and found that he had no way forward in party leadership. It was his own fault for blathering on about “family values”, too. His successor? Dennis Hastert, thus completing the GOP family values hypocrite book end set.

To be sure, things are different in 2023.  The political divide is much more pronounced, Biden is far less popular than Clinton was, and McCarthy’s majority includes seditionists and insurrectionists. The allegations of Joe Biden’s wrong-doing seem completely made up, and the continual leaks of Hunter Biden’s drug-fueled debauchery don’t reflect negatively on Joe. I was originally going to go through the points of the theoretical upcoming impeachment, but the examples are just so pointless, toothless, and boring that I just couldn’t.

But McCarthy’s biggest hurdle is the always-looming shadow of TFG, which will only grow after TFG is indicted again this week (fingers crossed) and the details of his attempts to overthrow the election are made public. As long as the electoral alternative is the increasingly unelectable FG, impeaching Biden only helps Biden’s 2024 chances.

I gotta go with Britney to end this one:

5 thoughts on “I Have Two Words For Kevin McCarthy

  1. If history was farce the first time, what is it the second time? Buffoonery? Bathos? Self-flagellation? Implosion? Slapstick?

  2. When were you in the Capital Hill Press? I was deputy press secretary/speech writer to Sen. John Breaux from 1987-1989, and Rep. Bob Carr from 1989-2003. Did a fun stint trying to sell Dukakis to Louisiana in 88. (Don’t laugh Unions were still union then and it was close, but the DNC denied us “walking around money” for GOTV. I was a cigarette smoker at the time, and even I was struck by the deep smoke smell of the House Press Gallery.

    1. I was a member of the public who was part of the gallery for the trial–i should have highlighted that more than i did. the staff was rotating the huge crowd in and out. we got sat in the press gallery and sat there for a few hours since the procedural vote was coming up and they didn’t want the hubbub of a new gallery being seated.

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