Thursday, March 23, 2023

Same Player, Same Tune

Yes, we are going again- only not in the way the Speaker of the House wants us to believe.

We've seen this play before because they've run this play before.

  In September, 2015 E.J. Dionne Jr. noticed

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the likely successor to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), told Fox News’s Sean Hannity explicitly on Tuesday night that the Clinton investigation was part of a “strategy to fight and win.”

He explained: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

The Republican-led House hasn’t been particularly good at governing, but perhaps governing has never been the point. Why govern when there’s a future election to influence?

Then, governing wasn't the point because there was a future election to influence. And influence they did. In June, 2017 NBC News reported

Endless investigations. The biggest scandal since Watergate. Coverups. An inability to govern. A possible constitutional crisis. These were all arguments that Donald Trump made against Hillary Clinton in the closing days of the 2016 presidential election.

They brought the receipts, recalling 

October 28 in Cedar Rapids, IA: “As you’ve heard, earlier today the FBI after discovering new emails is reopening their investigation into Hillary Clinton… The investigation is the biggest political scandal since Watergate and it’s everybody’s hope that justice at last can be delivered.”

November 2 in Miami, FL: “If Hillary Clinton were to be elected, it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis. Haven’t we just been through a lot with the Clintons, right?”

November 2 in Orlando, FL:: “Hillary is likely to be under investigation for many years, probably concluding in a criminal trial.”

November 4 in Atkinson, NH: “She'll be under investigation for years. She'll be with trials. Our country, we have to get back to work.”

November 4 in Wilmington, OH: “Hillary has engaged in a criminal massive enterprise and cover-ups like probably nobody ever before.”

November 5 in Reno, NV: “There's virtually no doubt that FBI Director Comey and the great, great special agents of the FBI will be able to collect more than enough evidence to garner indictments against Hillary Clinton and her inner circle, despite her efforts to disparage them and to discredit them. If she were to win this election, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. In that situation, we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and ultimately a criminal trial.”

November 5 in Denver, CO: “Her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and we will make it honestly, look, it's gonna be virtually impossible for her to govern. Now, the Republicans have talked very tough and the Democrats. It's gonna be just another mess for another four years, folks. A mess. We've got to get back to work, right? I mean, we have to get back to work.”

November 6 in Minneapolis, MN: “First thing you should do is get rid of Clinton. Hillary Clinton will be under investigation for a long, long time for her many crimes against our nation, our people, our democracy, likely concluding in a criminal trial.”

November 6 in Moon Township, PA:  “The investigations into her crimes will go on for a long, long time. The rank and file special agents at the FBI won't let her get away with these terrible crimes, including the deletion of 33,000 emails after receiving a congressional subpoena. Right now, she's being protected by a rigged system.”

On October 27, 2016, the day before Trump began his barrage of statements claiming that election of Hillary Clinton would bring unprecedented chaos to American government, Trump trailed his opponent by 5.4 points in the Real Clear Politics average. Approximately 24 hours before the polls opened, the deficit had dropped to 2.5 points, critically assisted by the announcement on 10/28  by FBI director Jim Comey that he had found a new trove of suspicious Clinton emails.

Comey figuratively plunged the knife into the heart of the Democrat's campaign on October 28. After the induced hysteria had subsided, he pulled the knife out by announcing on November 7 that they were emails already examined. These actions only enhanced the argument, central to his campaign, that Trump made on November 2 that "If Hillary Clinton were to be elected, it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis."

This was the culmination of the complaint of Majority Leader McCarthy 13-14 months earlier that Hillary Clinton not only was "untrustable." Left unstated but implied was the chaos of Benghazi and the subsequent hearings would become the norm, with the chaos of endless committee hearings, if she were to become the nation's chief executive.

And now we have the same, but with increased institutional power and influence, Kevin McCarthy trampling over the fundamental concept of separation of powers by threatening investigations into a "radical DA" who would dare enforce the law against a private citizen, Donald Trump.

McCarthy boasted in 2015 that hearings into Clinton's role in Benghazi had brought her poll numbers down. Those hearings laid the groundwork for the overwrought, largely trumped-up (pun intended) e-mail scandal, exploited by an irresponsible media. Dionne then recognized that tax money "was going out the door primarily to affect the chances of one particular candidate for president." It's more than six years later, but as Chris Cillizza explained ten months ago, Kevin McCarthy is owned lock, stock, and barrel by Donald J. Trump.


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