July 8, 2016

Following yesterday's debacle with the House Oversight Committee wasting yet more money on one of their partisan witch hunts, we were all wondering what the reaction over on Fox would be. Would they ignore it, or circle the wagons?

They circled the wagons for the most part of course, and the news cycle with the recent police shootings along with the madness in Dallas last night crowded out a good deal of the coverage they would have gotten once the networks cut away from the four or five hours of commercial-free air time they gave them.

I did find one tidbit of their coverage interesting though, and that was GOP pollster and Fox regular Frank Luntz's response when asked about the hearing on this Thursday's Your World with Neil Cavuto. After the obligatory hammering on Clinton about whether or not voters can trust her and pretending she's never taken any responsibility for or apologized for the situation with the email server, he told guest host Maria Bartiromo this:

LUNTZ: And number two, it's to be seen as trying to make partisan points off of something like this, will actually shield her. I watched this when her husband was being impeached by House Republicans and his popularity actually went up and it went up because they thought that he was being punished by Republicans rather than being held accountable for his behavior.

Even Luntz knows that Republicans are going to take this gift they were given and shoot themselves in the foot once again, because they always overreach. It's what they do. They can't stop themselves. We've got more hearings coming and you know they're going to try to get Clinton charged with perjury, and there will be no end to this even after she's elected, if she's elected president.

Here's more on that from Charlie Pierce:

Why in the name of god they couldn't have just accepted the gift that Comey gave them on Tuesday is the best proof yet that modern conservatism has driven the GOP barking mad with no hope of recall.

There will be more hearings: Next week, Lynch is due for her chance to help another House committee look foolish. Elsewhere, Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, is proposing that He, Trump, the dolt, be the only one of the major candidates for president to get national security briefings. Chaffetz ended the hearings by quizzing Comey about what he knew about The Clinton Foundation, so you know that's coming down the Idiot Trail fairly soon.

Come back with me to the cool darkness of the cocktail lounge of the Mena Airport. It's going to be a rockin' happy hour.

And from our friend Steve M:

... I understand why Matt Yglesias writes this:

Republicans always go too far

... Instead of banking the hit to Clinton’s standing that [FBI director James] Comey already inflicted as a win and moving on to other arguments, Republican overreach shifts the terms of debate to terrain that’s objectively much less favorable. Now they’re wasting time and money on a witch hunt that’s already been thoroughly investigated, playing partisan politics with crucial briefings, and smearing dedicated public servants whose only crime is refusal to play along with their shenanigans.

It seems insane, but this is the party that managed to turn a presidential sex scandal into an unprecedented midterm election defeat in 1998 through exactly the same mix of hubris and overreach.

Yes, but you have to remember what happened after Bill Clinton was impeached. Did Republicans lose a few seats in the 1998 midterms? Sure. Did they lose control of Congress? No. And what happened next? An underqualified Republican goofball got close enough in the following presidential election to steal a victory, even though he was running against Clinton's vice president and Clinton continued to have very high approval ratings. Republicans held the House and Senate as well. The GOP scored big wins again in 2002, after that goofball escaped blame following the worst intelligence failure in living memory, and he was reelected in 2004 even as he was botching two wars.

If the Republicans took a lesson from 1998, it wasn't "don't overreach," it was "don't try to impeach anyone." Overreach works for them. Impeaching doesn't. That's why they haven't made a serious effort to impeach Barack Obama (or, in the Obama years, Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch or John Koskinen or ...). [...]

This is what gets the base out to vote. As long as it's kept short of impeachment -- which gets the Democratic base out to vote -- it's going to work for Republicans in the long run, even if it doesn't work in the presidential race. The payoff will really come after November, when Hillary Clinton, in all likelihood, enters the White House with multiple clouds over her head, then is further battered and battled by the Republicans. The goal is a big win in 2018 congressional election, and maybe even downballot. [...]

A 2020 presidential victory would be the icing on the cake -- but even if that never happens, overreach is a loyalty-builder in other elections. The Republicans won't stop doing it until it starts failing for them in the long term, in every election.

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