GELFAND’S WORLD - It would be easy to laugh off the latest Republican outrage with an attempt at witticism. Like, the Republicans have finally managed to get Adam Schiff out of the House of Representatives. They did it by guaranteeing his election to the U.S. Senate in 2024.
But I'm not satisfied with trying to get the last word or the last laugh. What the Republicans have done is too raw; it stinks too badly; it is the final straw in their history of cowardice and corruption. In attacking Schiff, the congressional Republicans have violated one last norm of bipartisanship, the one where those of opposing parties can agree to disagree while treating each other with some amount of respect. The new rule is that someone who tells the truth too well is subject to censure.
Admittedly, censure is mainly symbolic, and in this era, it obviously has little meaning, else George Santos would have long since been censured. Or how about the congresswoman who revels in filing articles of impeachment without basis.
It's of some note that this House action came just hours after the announcement that Hunter Biden will accept responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to tax charges and dealing in some way with a gun possession charge. Did the Republicans in the House offer their compliments over the acceptance of responsibility? (Doesn't seem like it.) For an offense that usually would not result in a criminal charge (the guy got behind on tax returns and payments, and then caught up), Hunter Biden is certainly taking a pretty big hit. Now compare this with the way the whole Trump family has twisted and turned on their own tax violations, and we can see the difference in attitude. In fact, consider that the congressional Republicans insisted on cutting funding to the IRS to protect its own wealthy tax cheats, and the hypocrisy is apparent.
And while the congressional Republicans are making up nonsense about Schiff -- Schiff amassed a great deal of evidence and made his case solidly -- the congressional Republicans claim that Schiff has lied, even though they adhere to Trump's Big Lie.
Hint: It was a big lie in 2021, it's still a big lie today, and it will be a big lie in 2024.
The censure of Adam Schiff shows that there is no longer any case for "voting for the person rather than the party." When it comes to congressional Republicans, there is no distinction. Had there been such a distinction for any single congressman, we would have seen loud and outraged votes of No from the majority party.
I have a bit of advice for the Democrats in the Senate. I will quote a former county supervisor, whose advice i repeat here: "They are trying to screw you. Screw 'em back!"
This philosophy was good enough for President Nixon and President Johnson. It ought to be good for Chuck Schumer, and it certainly ought to be good enough for Joe Biden.
And speaking of Biden, let's remember that Kevin McCarthy had a deal with Biden over the debt ceiling and the federal budget. Now the House Republicans want to renege on the budget. Let Joe mete out punishment to those who think its OK to break a deal made with the president. But in the meanwhile, American voters should keep a sharp eye on calls to cut into Social Security and Medicare.
(Bob Gelfand writes on science, culture, and politics for CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected].)