If there’s one thing I have made a very concerted effort to avoid in my coverage of the political world, it’s making predictions. I can’t stand it when I see talking heads declaring with the kind of emphatic tones that would make one assume they are clairvoyant that one thing or another is going to happen. Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and O’Reilly are really good at this. It’s part of their shtick — opinions presented not just as facts, but as outright prognostications.
That said, I think I’m ready to make a prediction…with just a few caveats. To start, I reserve the right to be completely and utterly wrong, and we’ll get into that a little later. Secondly, I insist you keep in mind I’m just one guy trying to read the tea leaves and that you make up your own mind as to whether I’m right or wrong. Making predictions isn’t my thing, but it seems to be the case that history is about to do a whole lot of repeating itself.
Republicans will lose control of the House of Representatives next year.
A House Divided
While it’s true that Republicans have a common enemy in President Obama, they also can no longer hide the open disdain the Tea Partiers have for “establishment” Republicans and vice versa. Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz very clearly do not like each other. McCain has already chastised Cruz a couple times on the floor of the Senate chamber, and Cruz has shot barbs at McCain as well. There is blood in the elephants’ water, and everyone knows it.
You can see the divide more sharply when looking at the rhetoric coming out the House juxtaposed to what’s coming out of the Senate. McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham both took to the media to contradict and even scold Rep. Darrell Issa’s incendiary and severely evidence-lacking accusations that the Obama White House was issuing orders on the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal. Graham and McCain though, are the exactly the “establishment” Republicans that people like Cruz, Paul, and Issa have zero respect for.
You can rest assured that there are plenty of Republicans in the Senate, and even some in the House that don’t come from red enough districts to survive the fall out of a failed impeachment bid, but that won’t stop the drums of impeachment from pounding. In the House you have a lot of far right lunatics representing constituents who genuinely think Obama is a socialist coming for their guns. I don’t doubt them when they say they go home and hear their people urging impeachment; I’m sure they do. After all, their constituents are armed with “knowledge” of the scandals that comes from media outlets like Fox News.
If the moderates of the party aren’t outnumbered, they are sure as hell outgunned, and out shouted. Tea Partiers are loud attention whores, which means a purely politically-motivated witch hunt suits their needs perfectly. The moderates will not be able to keep the extremists at bay, and impeachment will happen. If Congressional Republicans can justify symbolically repealing Obamacare nearly forty times, they’ll have no problem impeaching a popular president for no good goddamned reason. Some testimony by someone tangentially related to one of the scandals will be twisted just enough to where they feel they have the connection to the President they need, and they’ll keep digging, all the while continuing to ignore the budget and the economy, which will not sit well with voters at all.
The Keystone Cops
I don’t know what it is about Republicans, but once they get into Congress the level of self-important grandstanding and junior detective investigating skyrockets. Is there anyone else out there that finds extreme irony in the fact that the man behind investigating the so-called scandals of the moment is a man who is a highly-suspected insurance fraudster and arsonist? That same man was also convicted of illegal possession of a firearm, and was accused of brandishing a weapon to threaten a business associate. Darrell Issa is the last man who should be sanctimoniously decrying the “corrupt” Obama administration, or any other administration. If you look up “corrupt” and “shady” in the dictionary you see Issa’s face next to the definition.
The irony of course is that at least in terms of the IRS and AP scandals, there is some meat on the bone, at least in the sense that all sides really do want a non-partisan investigation into the “scandals.” They’ll take all their moral high ground and flush it down the drain of melodrama and talking points though, leaving the American people no closer to knowing exactly who did what and why.
They can’t help themselves. They sit in their offices, listening to Rush and Hannity egg them on. They hear Glenn Beck insist that there’s a dark conspiracy behind every fart and cough that comes from the White House, and they think that if they don’t act on this foolishness they’ll face an even more unevolved candidate in a primary. All the while, none of their self-aggrandizing hearings on any of these scandals have produced a shred of evidence that Obama had anything to do with any of the scandals. In fact, what’s come out is the knowledge they are willing to even forge and doctor emails to get their media coverage.
There is no doubt in my mind that this circus will continue well into the summer and throughout next year, unless something drastic happens. They know as well as we do that the Democrats have passed a budget out of the Senate, something the right has raked Democrats over the coals repeatedly for in the last three years. Now that a budget is waiting for conference negotiations, and now that the driving economic theories behind their insane budget proposals have been completely and utterly debunked, all they can do is wave the shiny objects of scandals and impeachment so their Pavlovian constituents will start chasing them instead of asking why the fuck we still don’t have a jobs bill.
The bungling morons of the House will not stop until the Articles of Impeachment are drafted. They don’t have a choice now. They have just enough of a groundswell of support among their
mouth-breathers base that their addiction to hating Barack Obama will not let them give up the ghost. As the scandals and impeachment take up more and more Congressional time, and as the budget, immigration, gun control and jobs legislation people in this country are demanding fall further by the way side, public sentiment will turn on them.
Oh, There’s Also 1998, Too
I am the farthest thing from a “fan” of John McCain as you can find. I think at one time he was a voice of reason in the Republican Party, but has at this point become not much more than America’s Ambassador of War (no, really, you did read that right). It seems that McCain’s main focus these days is on continuing our NeoCon foreign policies of the Reagans and the Bushes. However, I have to give him credit in terms of telling the more hot-headed and arrogant of his Tea Party-backed fellow Republicans to chill the fuck out.
McCain gets more than most what will happen if the Republicans don’t pull out of the impeachment rabbit hole they’ve decided to saunter down. McCain was in the Senate in 1998 and watched his colleagues in the House impeach Bill Clinton for a blow job (insert finger-wagging and histrionic tantrum from right-winger about “the rule of law” here). He also watched the country give those House colleagues a massive middle finger to the face. I don’t think today’s House Republicans realize that 1998 was the first time that a sitting president didn’t lose House seats in the mid-term election. That kind of factoid is getting lost in the shuffle, but it could become extremely relevant again next year if history does indeed wind up repeating itself.
I can hear in my head the voices of many, rightfully pointing out to me that many congressional districts are so gerrymandered it doesn’t really matter how outrageously incompetent the Republicans in the House are; they’ll maintain their majority just relying on the most uninformed in their base coming out to stick it to Maobama the Kenyan Muslim Socialist again. To that end, I can’t say I disagree with you. However, not every district in every red state is full of low-sentience voters. So while many of the districts will remain safely red, that won’t be the case in the Northeast or the Northwest — virtually any demographic pocket where the mix of ideologies resembles a 50/50 split, the Republicans will lose, and lose big.
Independent voters identify themselves as such because they don’t have strong party ties either way. Those voters will see the millions of dollars wasted on political witch hunts and they will bolt as far away from the GOP as quickly as possible if November 2014 rolls around and Republicans are still talking about their friend Ben Gozzi instead of creating jobs. They’ll revolt from the GOP if they’re still doctoring emails and digging deeper and deeper despite evidence mounting that the president had no direct ties to any of the scandals the Republicans are so desperately hoping end his presidency.
Even if the impeachment articles haven’t been written, if Republicans are still holding hearing after hearing on matters that the majority of Americans feel are partisan politics, they will lose the House again. This is all just history repeating itself, except this time they only have Sunday Morning talking points, doctored emails and wild-eyed accusations from Darrell Issa to hang their hats on. Oh wait, let’s not forget that conservative media is the mecca for all conspiracy theories, so I’m sure there will be at least fifteen more floated out and accepted as “fact” by conservatives both in the streets and on Capitol Hill too.
The bottom line is a simple one — these scandals aren’t going away until they make enough Republicans go away with them. Republicans aren’t good at letting go of their chew toys. Even if — especially if — those chew toys have anything to do with Barack Hussein Obama.
Why I Could Be Totally Wrong
It’s really easy in the world of politics to make a prediction. No one really knows how things will ultimately play out ahead of time. However, I think it’s important to be intellectually honest with anyone who happens to find themselves reading a prediction of mine, as rare as they are to be. The truth is that cooler heads could prevail. The mid-terms are still quite a way out from now, and in the ensuing 18 months or so Republicans might get some polling data that makes them pause and reflect, or perhaps new details will come out that make these scandals the non-issues for them that they already are for us.
There’s also the simple fact that mid-term turnout is never as good as presidential election turnout. Turnout is the whole reason Tea Party candidates flooded the House to begin with, and the gerrymandering of the districts that Republicans did certainly make mounting any effort to reclaim the House from them that much more difficult. Then there’s the chance that I’m really off my rocker here and the scandals really are much bigger stories, with direct ties to the White House. I suppose a validated witch hunt makes things far different as well.
Then you have to square all of this with the fact that we have some seriously ill-informed people in this country. People who think that Snopes has a liberal agenda. People who believe Obama’s secretly not American. These are people who are not only encouraging the scandal and impeach drama, they are going to vote next year as well. So maybe this really is just wishful thinking on my part, and Republicans will wind up triumphant, making President Obama the first man ever officially thrown out of office.
Then again maybe Ronald Reagan will return from the dead and blow Darrell Issa in the same parking lot Newt Gingrich was getting laid by his then-girlfriend, now-wife Callista while he chased Lewinskygate, and I’ll win the fucking lottery, too.