ChrisWeigant.com

If GOP Holds House, Clinton Investigations To Begin On Day One

[ Posted Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 – 16:57 UTC ]

While it isn't exactly certain yet that Hillary Clinton will be our next president, at this point it is worth contemplating what will happen after the election if she does win. I did so yesterday on the subject of Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination, but today the news centers on how a Republican House would react to a Clinton presidency. In a word: petulantly. They are now promising endless investigations of Hillary Clinton, as far as the eye can see.

This shouldn't be all that unfamiliar territory, for anyone who was politically aware during the 1990s, since endless investigations of Bill Clinton were pretty much par for the course while he was president. Whole right-wing industries were built on the foundation of attacking the Clintons, in fact. Some of them are still around today, and are still just as eager to begin attacking Bill's wife, pretty much from the first minute after she's sworn into office.

Here is Jason Chaffetz, the current chair of the House Oversight Committee, explaining what they've got teed up:

It's a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we've got two years' worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain't good.

In other words, two years of non-stop investigation, in the hopes that by throwing everything and the kitchen sink at President Hillary Clinton, something will stick. Even this prospect doesn't go far enough for some on the right. One of those industries created to attack Clinton is called Judicial Watch, and here's what their leader wants to see happen:

"You're going to still have a clamor for a serious criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton's conduct with respect to her emails and the [Clinton] Foundation," Judicial Watch's president, Tom Fitton, told NBC News. "There's been no systematic investigation of various issues." According to NBC, Fitton "has criticized GOP lawmakers for failing to pre-emptively impeach Clinton."

He added, "I know this generation of Republican leaders is loath to exercise these tolls, but impeachment is something that's relevant. They see [the oversight process] as an opportunity in some measure to keep their opponents off-kilter, but they don't want to do the substantive and principled work to truly hold corrupt politicians or the administration or anyone accountable."

Got that? "Pre-emptive impeachment." That's a doozy of a political neologism, right there. Why bother with an investigation when you can just jump right to the impeachment part, right? As the Queen of Hearts famously said: "Sentence first -- verdict afterwards!"

It would be funny, if it weren't so serious. If Hillary Clinton does win the election, she is going to have a non-existent "honeymoon" period immediately afterwards, if House Republicans have anything to say about it. With the prospect of ever taking back the White House dimming with every election, and with the possible loss of control in the Senate staring them in the face, this is all they have left to promise to their rabidly anti-Clinton base: continued gridlock, and endless investigations.

The Republicans have already proven that they are incapable of governing. They have controlled the House and the Senate for years now, and they have yet to even put together a real budget. They are in full control, and they can't even manage the most basic part of their job description, to put this another way. They cannot agree among themselves about much of anything, meaning they are incapable of passing any meaningful legislation. When they took control, they could have offered the American public concrete examples of their agenda -- a replacement plan for Obamacare, say, or even a tax reform bill -- and they have not. They are completely incompetent at coming up with any legislation, in fact. So obstructionism is really all they have left to offer the voters.

Republicans are like the dog who actually caught a car -- and didn't know what to do with it. They function much better as a minority party, in fact, because being in the minority is easy -- all you have to do is be strongly against whatever the party in power is pushing. It requires no thought process at all, and it is a uniting factor for the entire caucus. Once you're actually in power, however, you are supposed to come up with some ideas and plans of your own -- but Republicans have shown they are incapable of doing so.

In fact, the only thing which could change the prospect of two years of endless Clinton investigations is if the Democrats took back control of the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, obviously, wouldn't make it her highest priority to attack President Hillary Clinton. Even Chaffetz admits this, in a rather candid statement:

The one thing Chaffetz will not consider is an election that goes badly against the GOP. He sees the Oversight Committee as "the tip of the spear," with a valuable role to play in challenging the executive. If Republicans lose the majority, Chaffetz has no Plan B.

"Heaven help us!" said Chaffetz, laughing. "Please, no! I’m not even going to think about that one. I can't even utter the sentence out loud."

Taking back the House is a longshot, since Democrats would need to flip 30 seats. If Hillary Clinton wins in a popular vote landslide (a margin of around 10 percent), then this might be a possibility. But it's a remote one, because House elections are indeed (legally) "rigged" in favor of Republicans, by rampant gerrymandering after the 2010 redistricting. Even winning the popular vote for the House by over a million votes nationwide didn't give the Democrats control of the chamber, in previous elections. That's a pretty good definition of rigged, really.

If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, there might be a lot more pressure on the party to act responsibly and pass actual bills to do the country's business. But if they lose the White House and the Senate, then the House will be the only place they have any real influence at all. As we've seen, they are completely incapable of passing their own agenda legislatively, meaning the only thing they're all likely to agree upon is that they need to be as fierce as possible in attacking Hillary Clinton. For the next two years.

At least when Barack Obama was elected, the Republicans waited until he was sworn in before announcing their top priority would be to make him a "one-term president." With Hillary Clinton, they're not even waiting until then. They're not even waiting until the election happens, in fact. Instead, even now, some are calling for "pre-emptive impeachment," even though the possibility of a Senate conviction (which requires a two-thirds majority) would be incredibly low. But remember -- that didn't stop them the last time they impeached a Clinton.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

24 Comments on “If GOP Holds House, Clinton Investigations To Begin On Day One”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    Congressional Republicans, what a bunch of deplorable swine.

  2. [2] 
    Kick wrote:

    Whole right-wing industries were built on the foundation of attacking the Clintons, in fact. Some of them are still around today, and are still just as eager to begin attacking Bill's wife, pretty much from the first minute after she's sworn into office.

    Who could ever forget the hard hitting journalism of the Weekly World News reporting on the space alien that endorsed Bill Clinton, Bill and Hillary's adopted UFO infant named John Stanley Clinton, or Hillary's extraterrestrial lover named P'Lod?

  3. [3] 
    MHorton wrote:

    Typo alert Chris. "Why both with an investigation "...

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    MHorton [3] -

    Thanks... fixed!

    Mea culpa, as always.

    :-)

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Kick [2] -

    Man, those were the days. Favorite WWN headline: "I Was Bigfoot's Love Slave!"

    Heh.

    -CW

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    has anyone ever heard of this site? it makes a pretty compelling case for fundamentally changing the structure of congress:

    http://www.thirty-thousand.org/

    i don't know what solution would be constitutionally possible, but it seems to me we could tweak the system in a number of productive ways. maybe make district lines irrelevant by instituting parliamentary style party elections? allocating districts to representatives by the percentage of the votes your party gets could open the way for more third party representation. i haven't found anything in article I that outright prevents such a thing; is it explicitly forbidden? it seems to say that district lines are up to the states to decide, no?

    JL

  7. [7] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    "...because House elections are (legally) rigged in favor of Republicans, by rampant gerrymandering..."
    It should be ... because MORE House elections are (legally) rigged in favor of Republicans...
    There are many House elections gerrymandered to favor Democrats, just not as many as the Republicans.
    If the 10-15 % of possible third party presidential voters were joined by another 5-10% of Clinton/Trump voters to vote for third parties, independents or write in their own name in the 2016 congressional elections in the 90%
    of congressional districts gerrymandered to favor one of the two major parties it would be a major first step toward destroying these gerrymandered districts in 2018 and 2020. This will have no or very little effect on the outcome of these 90% of the 2016 congressional elections as they were decided in the primaries.
    If they also registered on Voucher Vendetta that they will only vote for small contribution candidates for Congress it could also begin to remove the Big Money from the 2018 and 2020 elections from the beginning.
    The fundraising for 2018 will start the day after the 2016 elections and in some instances has already started.

  8. [8] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Just for fun
    Trumpface sings "Grab a Rump"
    https://youtu.be/Ma7ujo1XFrw

  9. [9] 
    Hawk Owl wrote:

    I nodded my head and smiled at the roll call of insights and deftly set up perspective, but . . .
    most of all . . . I smiled with glee at your quote
    from the Queen of Hearts ["sentence first, verdict
    afterwards"]. Thanks, once again, for providing
    originality and insight amidst the rest of the Media
    Mugwumps' murky muddling.

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    nypoet22-6

    Interesting argument from that web page, but it breaks down under close inspection.

    Each of my State Reps is serving a mere 114,000 citizens, compared to my Congressman who answers to approximately 700,000. I do not feel 6.14 times as well represented by my state rep. compared to my congressman. In fact, I know far less about what my state rep. is up to. (Probably no good, that's always a safe assumption.)

    The House o' Reps is about the same size as my high school was. I was at least passingly familiar with every one of fellow students, and didn't even try very hard. I think it's important that our Federal Reps know each other well, because compromise is based on trust. I regard my political reps as agents of compromise, at least in theory, admittedly is much better than practice.

    Going back to Colonial levels of representation isn't going to resemble my high school, it's going to look like the Galactic Senate in Star Wars.

    http://storage.torontosun.com/v1/blogs-prod-photos/0/7/b/7/0/07b7085dd2f8e0de9317c01be5b59ede.jpg?stmp=1437347834

    Nobody in Star Wars seems to like the Galactic Senate very much. My luck would be to get Jar Jar Binks as my rep, not Natalie Portman.

    In the Electronic Age, it is technically feasible to govern entirely by direct referendum on every single issue. That does not mean it's a good idea. Most citizens have to work for a living. Or look for work to make a living. They haven't got the time to be well informed on the minutia of legislation, and legislation is all about minutia. It's like being informed about what's on the ballot. I voted last week. I spent the whole night before voting figuring out what I should vote for. It was not easy, and in the end, I ended up spit-balling a lot of choices. Minutia bites you in the end.

    I think Gerrymandering is the most serious threat to Representative Government. That's were my focus is. More reps isn't going to solve The Gerrymander threat.

  11. [11] 
    TheStig wrote:
  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Sorry all, more than my usual quota of typos, speed readers are terrible editors. Especially when working in little boxes.

  13. [13] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Further exposing myself to potential ridicule on election night....

    Most likely Clinton EV tally = 341

    Wildly optimistic landslide Clinton EV ~500 (1% chance)

    Wildly pessimistic Clinton showing, 108 EV (<1% chance)

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,

    tend to agree that smaller districts don't make representation better. however, i do think it's a good springboard from which to float other ideas that might result in a more fundamentally fair system. my suggestion was to make gerrymandering irrelevant by statewide proportional representation - rules whereby people vote for parties instead of people, like they do in israel or in some UK elections. in israel any party to get more than 3.25% of the vote gets to pick a member of the knesset (MK), and those that get more votes get to pick more MK's. I haven't seen anything in the US Constitution that specifically bars such a system at the state level.

    JL

  15. [15] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Stig [10]: I think Gerrymandering is the most serious threat to Representative Government. That's where my focus is.

    CW: Even winning the popular vote for the House by over a million votes nationwide didn't give the Democrats control of the chamber, in previous elections. That's a pretty good definition of rigged.

    Couldn't agree more. It was nice to hear that Obama's getting behind fixing the gerrymandering problem as well.

    We also need the left to get interested in the mid-terms. The Bernie and Jill and Gary fans don't seem to realize that their odds go up in midterms, because enthusiasm is amplified by low turnout. Or would they rather the Tea Party keep that tactic all to themselves?

  16. [16] 
    neilm wrote:

    It's a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we've got two years' worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain't good.

    Another our years of nonsense. Pathetic. I think they are just digging the "we do nothing" hole deeper.

    It will come to a point when the Republicans can't count on off year elections for another "landslide" as the demographics, which make them unelectable during Presidential years, will even overwhelm those off year elections. Then, perhaps, we will get a center right party that accepts reality, the fact that society has changed since 1955, and, heaven forbid, science.

    Until then, as another "Doubtful Democrat", I'll just keep voting and supporting the same party.

  17. [17] 
    neilm wrote:

    same -> sane.

  18. [18] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    neilm [16]

    Another our years of nonsense. Pathetic. I think they are just digging the "we do nothing" hole deeper.

    I'm with you on this! It angers me to no end that they think this is what they are elected to do! We are all AMERICANS, first and foremost, not Republicans/Democrats! That has been lost on so many politicians. Republicans that are already announcing that they won't support anything that Clinton endorses are telling their constituents that their best interests aren't going to be considered when it comes to how the politician will vote on legislation.

  19. [19] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    The problem with Republican investigations is they won't target the real crimes... because they are guilty of them too or their funders are.
    Everything from campaign finance violations to pay to play to war crimes.

    I need to apologize for falsely attributing the quote "fighting for peace is like f**king for virginity" to George Carlin.
    Someone schooled me today that he never said it and that it was a Vietnam era anti-war slogan falsely attributed to him by numerous quote websites.

    Whoops.

    But, in the spirit of this post here's a real Carlin quote from his "Dumb Americans" bit-

    "There's a reason that education sucks. And it's the same reason that it will never ever, ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now. The real owners. The big, wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, and city halls. They got the judges in their back pocket. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
    But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed. well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interest. That's right. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits."

    Peace and love to the whole CW gang.
    A

  20. [20] 
    neilm wrote:

    They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, and city halls. They got the judges in their back pocket. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want.

    If they already own the politicians, why are they paying to lobby them?

  21. [21] 
    altohone wrote:

    neilm
    20

    Infighting.
    Appearances.
    Shaping public opinion to prevent a revolt?

    Ask em.
    It's too late to ask George.

    A

  22. [22] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    I've repainted Ohio to a neutral gray. I grant very few neutrals, but OH seems very close..Turnout operations may be the factor determining who wins. Virtually no change in the overall odds, Ohio isn't a keystone this year.

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    about half the states have citizen initiatives. why not devote resources to those?

  24. [24] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Just read where the FBI has announced they discovered more emails from Clinton's server that they will be re-opening the investigation into Clinton's actions. These don't seem to be part of the missing 3200 emails, so did the FBI just hold certain emails to be reviewed closer to Election Day or what?

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