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Kevin McCarthy Did the Right Thing on Impeachment

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On Tuesday, news broke that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had unilaterally declared the opening of an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. That means Republican investigators will now have a much broader reach, including the ability to compel testimony and document production.

The announcement was a bit of a surprise given McCarthy stated just two weeks prior that an impeachment inquiry would require a floor vote. At the time, I wrote an article criticizing the Speaker for appearing to take the easy way out because it was far from certain that he had the votes. 

The entire point of the inquiry is to gather enough facts so that representatives can make an informed vote. Having them vote on the inquiry will just ensure all Democrats vote no, while Republicans would have to garner votes from nearly all of their members. That will be very difficult to do given the number of moderate Republicans who exist in the caucus. How many of them want to go on record voting to begin an impeachment inquiry into Biden? 

McCarthy is hanging those moderates out to dry. Either the inquiry fails because they vote no and they get shellacked from the right or the inquiry succeeds because they vote yes and they get shellacked from the left. Why do that? Why not just start the inquiry based on the word of the Speaker, protecting the caucus and unleashing investigators to do their jobs? 

Apparently, he didn't have the votes (otherwise, he would have held the floor vote), but instead of backing down and taking the out as I feared, McCarthy did the right thing. He stepped up to the plate and used Nancy Pelosi's precedent to open an inquiry anyway. That is how you play for keeps in today's political environment.

Unfortunately, some Republican politicians are not understanding the basic strategy that is required here, and some attacks have been lodged. To be frank, I believe they are unfair and miss the point.

This is simple: McCarthy does not have the votes to pass articles of impeachment against Biden at the moment. In order to get those votes, an inquiry is needed to develop the current evidence and connect more dots. The enhanced subpoena power will allow the acquisition of banking records that could show just how much money the then-vice president received from his son's corrupt business dealings. 

Past that, to skip the inquiry would do nothing but reinforce the left-wing narrative that the Republican pursuit of Biden is purely political and based on nothing substantial. Given the breadth of information that has been uncovered, that's simply not true, and it would be really stupid to give up the high ground for a brief high on social media. 

Ask yourself what would happen if McCarthy went full Leroy Jenkins and put articles of impeachment up for a vote tomorrow. Don't you think that a failed vote would represent a boon for Biden? The timing here is everything. 

The reality that some Republicans (politicians and voters alike) don't want to accept is that the impeachment inquiry is the point. That is the payoff in this process. We should want it drawn out as long as possible, with an actual impeachment not happening until 2024 because once you shoot that bullet, it's done. You can't put it back in the chamber. McCarthy is playing chess, and instead of attacking him, Republicans should back off and let him work. There is no hurry here. In fact, getting in a hurry would be counter-productive.

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