If you follow political news, you’ll probably by now be aware that US president Joe Biden is the target of impeachment proceedings from the Republicans. The House of Representatives is opening an inquiry into whether or not Biden is corrupt, in matters relating to his son Hunter’s business activities and foreign interests.

To quote from the BBC:

Kevin McCarthy said the inquiry would focus on “allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption” by Mr Biden.

Republicans have been investigating the president since they took control of the House in January.

The hearings have found no concrete evidence of misconduct by Mr Biden.

They have, however, shed more light on business dealings by the president’s son Hunter Biden – which Republicans say are questionable – and on Mr Biden’s knowledge of his son’s activities.

In a brief statement at the US Capitol, Mr McCarthy said there were “serious and credible” allegations involving the president’s conduct.

“Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption,” he said.

The White House was quick to condemn Mr McCarthy’s decision.

“House Republicans have been investigating the President for nine months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing,” White House spokesperson Ian Sams wrote in a social media post.

“Extreme politics at its worst.”

Emphasis mine, with another important detail to be found later on…

Mr McCarthy, who as Speaker leads Republicans in the House, has been lobbied for weeks by right-wing members to open an impeachment inquiry.

Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, called the announcement “a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more”. He had previously threatened to force a vote to remove Mr McCarthy from his leadership position if the Speaker did not start an impeachment investigation.

Mr McCarthy’s hold on power in the House has been tenuous ever since he won the top job in January after 15 rounds of voting in the chamber – a modern record.

So, not only are the allegations against Biden on shaky ground, it appears the motives of Mr McCarthy rest in trying to preserve his station, rather than actually doing his job. Worse, he is trying to appeal to extremist elements within the GOP, a move which has set him at odds with moderate voices. A Guardian article expresses this in more detail:

The man leading the Republican charge for an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden has spent “eight months of abject failure” in trying to prove the US president guilty of wrongdoing, a watchdog report says.

James Comer, the ambitious chairman of the House of Representatives’ oversight committee, has repeatedly overhyped allegations of bribery and corruption against Biden without once producing hard evidence, according to the Congressional Integrity Project.

The lack of a case underlines the huge political risks facing House Republicans when they return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Some are threatening to force a government shutdown unless an impeachment inquiry is opened despite objections from wary Republican colleagues in the Senate.

The Republicans aren’t united in this. An endeavour which lacks evidence, and which stems from someone insecure in their job, and which threatens to paralyze the functioning of government unless its proponents get their way, is not an honourable endeavour. It is more of a foot-stomping exercise from fanatics, who are upset their unproven allegations do not carry more weight, and it is a blatant display of partisan politics.

This display has moderate Republicans anxious. The overt display of divisive, ideology-driven partisan politics is not likely to wash well with many Americans. Without evidence, any impeachment process is doomed to fail, especially since the Democrats control the Senate. Even the threat of shutting down the government won’t thrill moderate voices, given that previous shutdowns have greatly harmed the image of the GOP. Repeats of this are likely to horrifically backfire, and harm Republican chances at the next elections.

It seems unlikely this will stop the fanatics, and by extension, unlikely it will stop McCarthy from appeasing them to save his job (his primary motive for calling an impeachment).

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