It’s crazy season in Washington—House Republicans, once optimistic about another majority, are fretting that Kevin McCarthy is inertly capitulating to their loony bin; Matt Gaetz is in full-blown speaker-assassin mode; Hunter Biden has been indicted on gun charges; the government is about to shut down, and impeachment fever is causing headaches for the dozen Republicans who won their districts in blue states by 5 points or less. Increasingly, the feeling inside Capitol Hill is that McCarthy is either going to lose his gavel now or 16 months from now, so why take the G.O.P. majority down with him?
Washington, a city obsessed with history and itself, is filled with murmurs about how the Clinton impeachment cost the House Republicans seats. Impeachment is even less popular in the Senate, where Republicans love to shit-sling Biden, sure, but also recognize there’s little enthusiasm for a trial. “Everyone will delight in Hunter’s messiness, then it will be smearing the president and the family, everyone will engage in that,” said a source close to Senate Republicans. “The question of high crimes and misdemeanors is another threshold.”
It’s not clear whether the House impeachment inquiry will recommend specific charges, nor is it clear whether McCarthy could actually wrangle a majority to vote for them, given his five-member margin. Nevertheless, even the prospect of a trial is worrying Senate Republicans up for re-election, who are vulnerable on the issue, in particular, to general election challengers on the left. “This is going to be a total fucking dog fight to the end,” said a source close to Senate G.O.P. leadership. “If any of them think they’re coming out of this clean, they’re wrong.”