Here’s a message to Democrats: Quit looking at poll numbers and start watching Republicans. The polls today aren’t telling you anything substantive about what’s going to happen next November, but the GOP’s twin debacles of a government shutdown and an unpopular and inept impeachment inquiry may set the tone of the election as we move into the 2024 cycle. Besides, these Republicans are entertaining in a Keystone Kops way.
As for polls, we don’t know what’s going to be driving the electorate a year from now. Any head-to-head is a worthless measure. Something is amiss with favorability ratings. Despite what seem to be abysmal approval ratings for Joe Biden, Democrats continue to win big in special elections. Clearly, voters aren’t connecting their thoughts about the president with other offices. Or maybe they are just so sour on politics that anybody in that office would have approval ratings in the gutter. I don’t think they are predictive of how people will vote next November.
The GOP has spent the week putting their ineptitude on display. The Republican House caucus is being held hostage again by their right flank. The wing nuts are demanding dramatic cuts to the budget that aren’t palatable even to most Republicans. They are probably going to shut down government to make their point. Speaker Kevin McCarthy could put out a bill, like the one the Senate passed, that would require bipartisan support, but that would probably cost him the Speakership. He may lose it anyway.
Republicans have shut down the government several times over the past 30 years and, as Mitch McConnell noted, it never works out well for them. They don’t learn, though. They will get the blame for the shutdown this time and probably get blamed for any other economic problems as a result. It’s not good politics.
The really funny show, though, is the impeachment inquiry. Republicans are showcasing all of their stupidity. One Congressman held a news conference with a blown up poster of texts from 2017 that supposedly proved Biden had done something nefarious. A reporter pointed out the Biden wasn’t in office at the time and asked how the texts indicated political influence. The question flummoxed the Congressman who could not explain his own point, saying that he’s not an expert on timelines.
In the first day of hearings, Republicans own witnesses debunked the rationale for the hearing. The very first witness, attorney Jonathan Turley, said that the evidence did not justify articles of impeachment. Republicans were shocked. One Republican staffer said, “Picking witnesses that refute House Republican arguments for impeachment is mind blowing. This is an unmitigated disaster.” The sentiment was shared by a number of Republican Members of Congress.
Democrats, on the other hand, were prepared. They ridiculed the hearings and questioned the rules. Rep. Jamie Raskin asked for a ruling that Margorie Taylor Greene refrain from introducing pornography as evidence since she once shared a nude photo of Hunter Biden. Rep. Jared Moskowitz said, “What a day we are having. As a former director of emergency management, I know a disaster when I see one.” Rep. Jasmine Crockett slammed Republicans for not providing any evidence that Joe Biden has committed crimes while ignoring that there’s plenty of evidence that Donald Trump has. They used their time to expose the folly of the hearings and make Republicans look even more bumbling than they made themselves look. The clips are worth a look if just for the laughs.
And while Republicans were highlighting their inability to govern and the fantasies of impeachment, Joe Biden was giving a serious speech about threats to democracy at a ceremony honoring the late Senator John McCain. He argued that protecting our institutions and traditions should be bipartisan. It was quite a contrast to clown show in the House.
So, quit looking at polls that have no meaning. Start watching what our leaders are actually doing. The House Republicans are in the process of shooting themselves in the foot. The President of the United States looks like the adult in the room. Voters usually want electd officials who are competent. Right now, those are Democrats.