Republicans just aren’t playing their cards right

When word spread that the MAGA-infested House of Representatives had formally voted to launch an impeachment probe of President Biden, I was reminded of a scene in Alice in Wonderland, the one where the Queen of Hearts tried to rig a jury trial.

“Sentence first!” she declared. “Verdict afterward!”

The House is even worse. Its battle cry is investigated first, evidence afterward.

The chamber’s nutjobs, led by a religious fanatic who likens himself to Moses, don’t have a scintilla of anything that warrants a formal probe. In the words of Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, the House needs “a strong case before they actually do an impeachment inquiry. Otherwise, they can be seen as crying wolf.”

But that’s OK with the loons who’ve driven the House into disrepair. They’re only interested in ginning up (phony) stories for the right-wing infotainment complex and giving the MAGA hordes something new to drool about. When Troy Nehls of Texas was asked to list the evidence of Biden’s high crimes and misdemeanors, he replied: “All I can say is, Donald J. Trump 2024, baby.”

As for Mike Johnson, the House Speaker and aforementioned religious fanatic here’s what he believed back in 2019: “You can’t impeach a president because you don’t like him. That’s not how this system works. We’re in a constitutional Republic. You don’t have the right to do it.” But now, armed with amended marching orders texted to him by God, he fervently believes what he formerly opposed.

Indeed, with Trump in the docket as a criminal defendant, what better way to muddy the waters than to insinuate that the purported “Biden crime family” is somehow worse than their Sun God? And turning the House into a de facto Fox News studio is heckuva lot easier than doing the hard job of governance, which this ship of fools clearly has no interest in.

Yeah, governance. That strikes me as an important feature of the job – especially now, with so much stuff languishing on the to-do list. For instance, there’s the crucial emergency aid money for Ukraine; aid money for Israel; humanitarian money for Gaza; border legislation; the farm law, up for renewal, that helps rural America’s agricultural and food aid programs; the annual fund-the-government bills that were supposed to be passed months ago but are still held hostage by the nutjobs as the House careens from one shutdown crisis to the next…all of which require actual work, as opposed to dishing out soundbites for the saps.

I need not review all the reasons why the chamber has sunk to this level of dysfunction. It’s sufficient to connect the dots back to 2010 – in retrospect, a pivotal year in politics – when the national GOP shrewdly focused on winning state legislative races and succeeded beyond all expectations. (Naturally, the national Democrats, with a dearth of foresight, were asleep at the switch.) Propelled by that year’s red wave, the new state GOP lawmakers redrew congressional district maps, creating and gerrymandering scores of safe Republican seats. It’s gotten to the point that Republicans in those districts now worry about one thing only: getting primaried by people more MAGA-batty than them.

Plus, of course, we have the MAGA war on factual reality – as best explained by Steve Bannon, who says duh movement’s big goal is to “flood the zone with s—.” The phony impeachment probe is merely the latest Exhibit A. Republicans are hoping that the smoke they pump out about Joe and Hunter will somehow paint them as worse than Trump (despite his 91 felony charges, and a corrupt company that has already been found guilty of tax fraud and bank fraud). And given what we know about huge swaths of the American public, the MAGA strategists have grounds for hope.

The big question is whether enough voters in 2024 will have sufficient awareness to return House Republicans to minority status, where they languished while Nancy Pelosi got stuff done. Because what we have now, to borrow underdog Harry Truman’s successful 1948 battle cry, is “a do-nothing Congress.”

Or, as Alice said to the Queen of Hearts, “Stuff and nonsense!”

Copyright 2023 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Polman is a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia, and he writes at