If nothing else, yesterday’s failed attempt to punish Adam Schiff for his “parody” statement at a House Intelligence Committee is instructive. When the inevitable articles of impeachment emerge over Ukraine-Gate, the 218-185 vote to table Schiff’s censure will closely resemble the eventual passing vote.
Otherwise, this was as predictable as humidity on the Potomac in summertime, and every bit as useful:
Republicans failed to force a vote on the House floor on Monday evening on a resolution that would have censured House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for his handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats, who control the chamber, killed the GOP effort after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., offered a motion to table the measure. The motion was adopted in a 218-185 vote.
Schiff tweeted minutes after the vote, “It will be said of House Republicans, When they found they lacked the courage to confront the most dangerous and unethical president in American history, They consoled themselves by attacking those who did.”
Introduced by Arizona Republican Andy Biggs, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, the resolution alleged that Schiff “manufactured a false retelling” of the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader, instead of quoting from the record of the conversation released by the White House. Schiff made the remarks at a Sept. 26 hearing on a whistleblower complaint about the phone call.
The censure might have been better aimed at Schiff’s serial false claims to have already unearthed direct evidence of collusion between Trump, his campaign, and Russian intelligence. After Robert Mueller’s report declared that no such evidence exists, that exposed Schiff’s tendency toward McCarthyist hysterics. The infamous “parody” was more of an embarrassment than actually damaging, but perhaps it got more attention, and so became the focus of the GOP’s attack.
Which, come to think of it, pretty much describes the Democrats’ decision to focus on Ukraine-Gate for impeachment, too. Both turn out to be partisan hysterics used to justify a desired end. Last night’s censure effort appeared to have come without much if any effort to get House Democrats on board, just like Schiff’s kangaroo-court impeachment process is almost designed to keep the effort from any hint of bipartisanship. Both parties seem willing to trade credibility for id-venting.
Rep. Jim Jordan spoke with Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs after the vote to discuss all the ways in which House Democrats are to blame for what happened. Dobbs offers another prime suspect for the failure of the House to censure Schiff … Paul Ryan?
“The vote was a close one, though,” Dobbs declared. “Just think what would have happened in that vote if, well, if Paul Ryan hadn’t thrown away the House.” First off, the vote wasn’t all that close, but what does Paul Ryan have to do with anything? Ryan announced his retirement from politics in April 2018, long before the midterms, which were lost in what was a relatively normal correction after a change in presidents. The GOP tried running on immigration rather than a booming economy in 2018’s midterms, which ended up alienating (no pun intended) suburban voters. Ryan had very little to do with the election; it was, as is usually the case, a referendum on the president.
And, needless to say, the vote wouldn’t have taken place at all if the GOP had kept the House in the midterms. Schiff wouldn’t be in charge of anything, and the House wouldn’t be dealing with a partisan Democratic effort to avenge their loss in 2016. There may be a lot of people to blame for that outcome, but it’s just weird to pull Paul Ryan out of thin air as a bete noire. If Democrats manage to lose the House next year after wasting all of 2019 on impeachment, though, Nancy Pelosi will end up with the blame for that. If …