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GOP’s Comer says a bit too much about the point of anti-Biden probe

Democrats have insisted that Rep. James Comer’s anti-Biden crusade is little more than a politically motivated stunt. He's effectively admitted they're right.


It wasn’t easy, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was elected to Congress’ top job in January. The California Republican was, however, supposed to claim the speaker’s gavel eight years earlier, when John Boehner stepped down from the post, and McCarthy, as the House majority leader, held the #2 slot in the GOP leadership.

So what happened? McCarthy appeared on Fox News and accidentally told the truth about the political purpose of the House Republicans’ Benghazi committee.

Reflecting on the utility of the panel, the GOP leader boasted, ahead of the 2016 presidential election, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable [sic]. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

House Republicans were not at all pleased that McCarthy had blurted out the truth. There was a rather intense backlash from his ostensible allies, and he soon after was forced to withdraw from consideration as Boehner’s successor. The incident presumably taught GOP members a lesson: If you’re going to launch a congressional investigation for political purposes, don’t give away the game on national television.

It’s a lesson House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer apparently hasn’t learned.

The Kentucky Republican’s hapless crusade against President Joe Biden and his family has, at least so far, failed quite spectacularly, but Comer appeared on Fox News yesterday morning — shortly after 4 a.m. ET — to suggest that his investigations are making a real difference. Echoing McCarthy’s infamous 2015 quote, the Oversight Committee chair encouraged Fox viewers to simply look at the Democratic president’s poll numbers:

You look at the polling, and right now Donald Trump is seven points ahead of Joe Biden and trending upward, Joe Biden’s trending downward. And I believe that the media is looking around, scratching their head, and they’re realizing that the American people are keeping up with our investigation. And they realize there’s something wrong here.

At this point, I could write a few sentences about how most polling does not show Trump leading Biden by seven points in a hypothetical match-up. And I could throw in a paragraph or two about how there’s literally no evidence to suggest the American mainstream has any idea who Comer is, what his investigation is doing, or the meaningless revelations he’s pointed to with a bit too much enthusiasm.

But what matters most in this story is the degree to which the Kentucky Republican repeated McCarthy’s 2015 mistake: Democrats have spent months insisting that Comer’s crusade is little more than a politically motivated stunt. It was against this backdrop that the Oversight Committee chairman justified his embarrassing probes by pointing to 2024 polling data.

Several years ago, Michael Kinsley famously wrote, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

With this in mind, it seems rather obvious that Comer blurted out an unmistakable gaffe.