The incoming Republican House majority is salivating to begin investigations against the Biden administration, with some in the caucus even talking about impeachment. In contrast to the numerous Democratic investigations and two impeachments against Donald Trump — which were legitimate responses to a uniquely unfit president who routinely spurned the rule of law — the GOP’s current plans are little more than tit-for-tat politics. They should keep in mind how obvious that will be to a nation that just denied their party the “red wave” everyone was expecting.

Congress has an implied duty under the Constitution to provide oversight of the president. Inarguably, both parties in modern times have weaponized the oversight process to score partisan points. Trump may well have been the most investigated president in history, with scores of inquiries launched in the two years Democrats have controlled Congress. Many Republican partisans clearly believe that fact alone merits some payback — as if the Trump probes were plain old politics. That attitude is part of the blinkered normalization the GOP has always extended to a dangerously abnormal president.

No one can deny Democrats approached their oversight duties with zeal when it came to Trump. But Trump provided voluminous, literally unprecedented justification throughout his tenure, including his inherently suspicious Kremlin coddling, his appalling family separation policy at the southern border, his use of the Justice Department to attack his political enemies and his abuse of his pardon power to reward cronies. And don’t forget his tragic politicization of the pandemic and his frontal assault on democracy itself during and after the 2020 election.

In contrast to the GOP’s craven and silly impeachment of Bill Clinton for the high crime of lying about sex, Trump’s impeachments were about the deadly serious topics of extorting a global ally for political gain and fomenting a physical attack on America’s seat of government. There is simply no rational way for anyone not wearing partisan blinders to conclude they are comparable.

The same can be said for most of what Republicans have in store for President Joe Biden. There are some legitimate issues that deserve attention — most notably, his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan — but far more of the ammo Republicans have looks like exploding cigars. Unlike Trump’s border controversies, Biden’s problems appear to be about poor management, not malign and deliberate inhumanity. The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago was a solidly legal and restrained operation, no matter how Trump’s hysterical supporters tried to portray it as an abusive siege. The business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, might deserve scrutiny, but the right’s obsession with the whole topic seems designed more for distraction than oversight.

House Republicans are going to do what they’re going to do. And, as they did with Bill Clinton’s impeachment, they’re likely to see their transparently cynical attempts to mountain-ize these molehills backfire on them politically.

Editorial by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
©2022 Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.