Krull: House Republicans plan to investigate things that don't matter to most Americans

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INDIANAPOLIS – Some people are slow learners.
And some people don't learn it at all.
The members of the Republican faction in the US House of Representatives belong to one of these two groups. The next two years will show what these are.
Fresh from a midterm election that fell far, far, far short of Republican expectations and historical norms for parties without power, the GOP fire-eaters in the House of Representatives announced their priorities for the coming legislative session, in which they will have one of the smallest majorities in of American history.
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Most sensible politicians would use a moment like this to lay the groundwork for future growth. They would outline an agenda of plans and programs aimed at influencing independent or undecided voters. They would use their platform to persuade.
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But that's not the way the deep thinkers in the House Republican faction are doing things. Your agenda is simple.
They are planning a series of investigations -- and each of those investigations will aim to address the narrowing base of supporters who already support the GOP.
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Republicans say they will investigate President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, even though there are already multiple criminal investigations into the younger Biden's behavior and he is likely to be indicted soon.
They plan to investigate the "crisis" at the US-Mexico border. Perhaps this investigation will clarify why Republicans made top-heavy tax cuts for billionaires their legislative priority over border security in 2017-2019, when they controlled the presidency, both chambers of Congress and the US Supreme Court.
But I wouldn't count on that.
The Javerts in the House also intend to deal with the US withdrawal from the Afghanistan war, the cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the US Department of Justice.
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Of these, only the investigation into the Afghan pullout debacle does not appear to be exclusively partisan.
However, it is doubtful that House Republicans will ask the quintessential question about this costly episode, namely: How are we to extricate ourselves when the United States has plunged into a long-term military conflict without an exit strategy?
The other investigations are nothing more than attempts to toss chunks of red meat into the most rabid and snarling parts of the Republican base. The GOP House Brain Trust seems to think this is a successful policy strategy. They are wrong - for at least two reasons.
The first is that none of these studies are in any way related to the life of the average American.
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The strongest message from Republicans in the 2022 election focused on the economy and the uneasiness many—perhaps even most—Americans feel about runaway inflation.
Suburban voters — once a Republican bastion but now the battlefield that will decide elections for at least the next decade — are worried about the good lives they've built for themselves, and their families will slip away, one price increase after another.
Inflationary pressures on the global economy are unlikely to abate anytime soon, so House Republicans could invest their political capital in designing programs designed to alleviate these concerns. They could create a system of targeted tax cuts to help the middle class offset costs in other areas.
But no.
Republicans will focus on wooing voters with them already.
You might as well send every embattled suburban GOP candidate campaigning with a sign that reads, "Please send me back to make noise and spend your taxpayer money while you get nothing."
The second reason the GOP strategy is wrong is that it is based on a false premise.
Republicans believe 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was mortally wounded in investigations in Benghazi.
The problem with this line of thinking is that Clinton had damaged goods long before the investigation began. For nearly 20 years, she had worn historically tall negatives. Polls showed that four out of ten voters would not vote for her under any circumstances, meaning she had to convince five of the remaining six to support her.
That's a big task.
Joe Biden never aroused the level of hostility that both Clintons did and do, and if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee again, Biden is unlikely to do more than say, "Vote for me because I'm not him." "
Republicans have walked this path before.
Too bad they didn't learn anything from it.
John Krull is principal of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism and editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a new website run by Franklin College journalism students. The views expressed are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to Franklin College.
This article originally appeared in The Herald-Times: Columnist: House Republicans are only interested in giving in to the grassroots
Joe Biden
President of the United States since 2021

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