Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Kevin McCarthy’s Impeachment Inquiry Provokes Predictably Polarized Reactions

Kevin McCarthy’s Impeachment Inquiry Provokes Predictably Polarized Reactions

Plus: The Stations of the Cross isn’t a zoning violation, inflation is making people poorer, and Russian mercenaries win hearts and minds with their own branded beer.


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his connections to his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings is provoking some predictably polarized reactions. Most liberal commenters and Democratic elected officials have largely dismissed the effort as a hypocritical, evidence-free witch hunt, while ardent conservatives are cheering the effort to finally hold the Biden Crime Family accountable.
“Launching this illegitimate inquiry is a distraction,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D–N.Y.) yesterday. “Instead of focusing on doing the business of the American people, Extreme MAGA Republicans are doing the bidding of their puppet master in chief, Donald Trump.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries addresses Kevin McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry:

“Extreme MAGA Republicans are doing the bidding of their puppet master in chief, Donald Trump. When Donald Trump says jump, the extreme MAGA Republicans say how high.”

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 12, 2023

It’s “based on the weakness of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership, the fact that he doesn’t have the moral authority with his members, doesn’t have control over his caucus, and is beholden to the most extreme elements who want an impeachment of Joe Biden, an impeachment without evidence,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D–Calif.) told CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer yesterday.
Kevin McCarthy’s announcement of a bogus impeachment inquiry into President Biden is based on two things: McCarthy’s weakness as speaker, and his willingness to do Trump’s bidding.

It’s certainly not based on evidence or facts.

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 13, 2023

House Republicans meanwhile are arguing there’s ample cause to proceed with an impeachment inquiry.

“Bank records, suspicious activity reports, emails, texts, and witness testimony reveal Joe Biden allowed his family to sell him as ‘the brand’ around the world to enrich the Bidens,” said Reps. James Comer (R–Ky.), Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), and Jason Smith (R–Mo.) who have been leading the House’s investigation into the Biden’s foreign business dealings, in a joint statement.

🚨IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY🚨@HouseGOP has uncovered an overwhelming amount of evidence showing @POTUS lied to the American people about his knowledge & participation in his family’s influence peddling schemes.

I fully support @SpeakerMcCarthy opening an impeachment inquiry.👇

— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) September 12, 2023

Most Republican presidential candidates, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, had given their support to a formal impeachment inquiry before McCarthy’s announcement. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christe said an investigation into Biden’s alleged corruption is warranted, but a full impeachment inquiry is premature.

Some journalists and liberal commenters have criticized Republicans’ procedural hypocrisy. In 2019, Republicans criticized then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) for opening an impeachment inquiry without a full vote of the House. Now, McCarthy is doing the same thing in 2023.

In 2019, Kevin McCarthy blasted Nancy Pelosi and Democrats for opening an impeachment inquiry into President Trump without a full House vote, asking her to suspend the probe.

Now, he is opening an impeachment probe into President Biden without a House vote.

— Stephen Neukam (@stephen_neukam) September 12, 2023

The conservative pushback is that it’s all part of the reaping/sowing process.
Here’s the pattern:

-Democrats make unprecedented rule change
-Republicans warn of consequences if Democrats lose
-Democrats lose
-Republicans operate under new rule
-Democrats complain
-Media dutifully screams hypocrisy

See: filibuster, committee ousters, and now impeachment

— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) September 12, 2023

Some conservative writers are landing between “impeachment now” and “politicized witchhunt” when assessing McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry.

“In announcing the move, McCarthy noted that to date, ‘House Republicans have uncovered serious, credible, allegations into President Biden’s conduct.’ This is true, and a tribute to the GOP investigation, but all of it has happened through a vigorous oversight process that has operated outside of impeachment,” reads a National Review editorial from yesterday. “The speaker argues that having an open impeachment inquiry will provide more power to investigators to get more answers, but it also creates more pressure to produce a smoking gun and, potentially, to proceed further down the impeachment track regardless.”

Republican senators have expressed similar concern that the impeachment inquiry is premature, reports The Hill. It won’t remove Biden but will plausibly derail negotiations over a spending resolution that must pass by the end of the month to avoid a federal government shutdown.

The Libertarian Party, meanwhile, has thrown its support behind the Republicans’ impeachment inquiry while insisting the best remedy is to place Biden under conservatorship.

The Libertarian Party is in full support of Speaker McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden, based on the allegations of corruption. But it shouldn’t stop there, and his lack of effort in calling for an actual vote to give it legal pertinence means it will accomplish…

— Libertarian Party (@LPNational) September 12, 2023


A federal appeals court has ruled that a Catholic group doesn’t need special permission from zoning officials in Michigan to install a Stations of the Cross prayer trail on private property. Reports CBS:
The court ruled 3-0 in favor of the group and issued an injunction Monday, saying Genoa Township in Livingston County was likely violating the rights of Missouri-based Catholic Healthcare International, which controls the 40-acre wooded parcel.

The township had said a special-use permit was needed because the project was the equivalent of a church building. The religious group objected but ultimately responded with a plan for a chapel and trail after spending thousands of dollars on the application. It was rejected.

Catholic Healthcare obtained the land from the Lansing Catholic Diocese to create a trail with the Stations of the Cross, 14 stops that commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus.

Stations of the Cross stayed up until the township in 2021 persuaded a state judge to order removal. Catholic Healthcare, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit in federal court, invoking a law that protects religious groups in zoning matters.


Inflation continues to make Americans poorer. The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau found that cost of living increases have surpassed rising incomes for the third year in a row, reports The Wall Street Journal:
Americans’ inflation-adjusted median household income fell to $74,580 in 2022, declining 2.3% from the 2021 estimate of $76,330, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. The amount has dropped 4.7% since its peak in 2019.
Nevertheless, things could be looking a little brighter for workers by the end of 2023:
This year could be different. Earnings and inflation trends have improved as a strong labor market and cooling price increases boosted household purchasing power, said Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank.

“Shifting into the present and into the future, the prospects are better for wages to make up for some of the ground lost during the last couple of years,” Adams said.


  • Markets in everything? The Wagner Group, the Russian mercenary organization, has been trying to win hearts and minds in Africa with its own brand of beer.
  • In non-impeachment Congressional news, House Republicans are pushing a defense spending bill to end the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates and stop the transfer of cluster bombs to Ukraine.
Just finished Rules Committee tonight. On defense appropriations bill we will have votes on amendments to

Prohibit COVID military vax mandate

Prohibit military mask mandate

Prohibit xfer of cluster munitions

Prohibit US troop deployment to Ukraine

and 180 other amendments.

— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 13, 2023

  • Transportation modes, both old and new, did no favors to a San Francisco man who was struck by a public bus. The ambulance that took him to the hospital reportedly got stuck behind two stopped driverless cars.
  • Senate Democrats are holding a closed-door forum today with tech billionaires Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sundar Pichai about the promise and perils of artificial intelligence. Surely, they won’t use the opportunity to push protectionist regulations.
  • Speaking of protectionist regulations: California lawmakers are considering limiting the use of artificial intelligence to replace actors.
  • Yet another public official overseeing construction activity is being charged as part of a corruption investigation. Former New York City Buildings commissioner Eric Ulrich is supposed to surrender to local law enforcement this morning, reports Politico. It’s not an accident that this keeps happening.
Christian Britschgi is a reporter at Reason who covers property rights, housing policy, transportation policy, and regulation. His writing has appeared in The American ConservativeThe College Fix, The Lens,, The Orange County Registerthe Daily News, the New York PostJacobite, and The Wall Street Journal. His reporting has been cited by The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Atlanticand the U.S Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

Christian graduated from Portland State University with a degree in political science in 2016. He worked briefly in public relations before moving into journalism by way of an internship at Reason’s D.C. office.


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