Feehery: Don’t make Biden a martyr
It’s not easy to stop a president from winning reelection.
It’s a lot harder if the opposition party makes the president a martyr.
There is a plausible scenario that the economy will come roaring back over the next two years. Inflation is starting to ebb. The Federal Reserve is considering taking its foot off of the interest rate hike gas pedal. Supply chains are likely to come back online quickly. Workers will start going back to work. Things will start to return to normal.
With Republicans in charge of the House, federal spending stands a better chance of staying flat. Job-killing regulations will get more scrutiny. Republicans will demand that crime get under control and that the southern border be protected.
None of this will be easy. Hard negotiations will get ugly. The government might shut down for a weekend or so. There will be loose talk of the debt limit being breached.
Despite the Washington drama, divided government may work very well for the American people. Republicans can get credit for bringing some sanity to the inside-the-Beltway crowd, but only if they resist the urge to attack President Biden and his family. Nothing can be worse for the GOP — and better for the president — than to make him a sympathetic figure.
Biden may or may not be in full control of his faculties. His son may or may not have engaged in questionable or improper business transactions and personal conduct. But here’s the thing: The American people don’t care about that.
What they are about is what is going on in their lives.
They care about the sorry state of their local schools.
They care about the gun shots they hear down the street from their house (OK, that’s a particular concern of mine).
They care about their kids overdosing on fentanyl.
They care that they might not be able to secure good-paying jobs.
Yes, they care about inflation. However, we had pretty bad inflation over the course of this last election, and voters didn’t seem to care that much — otherwise Republicans would have won their red wave.
The frustrating thing about being Republican is that we know that no matter how well we tell our story, the media will skew it, manipulate it, and retell it to make us to be the bad guys.
That’s what happened when President Clinton had sex with one of his interns in the Oval Office. Despite his offense, it was the Republicans who faced the wrath of voters after their move to impeach him, barely hanging on to the House despite predictions that they win up to 50 new seats.
It happened when President Obama bald-faced lied when he said that under his health care plan, if you liked your health care, you could keep it. When Republicans called Obama out on his fib, they are the ones that were ridiculed by the media, and called extremists and racists and all the rest.
Yes, Biden is very old. Yes, the bread crumbs lead to a host of controversy surrounding his son and that laptop.
But when considering how to conduct oversight, Republicans have to keep one thing in mind: Most Americans aren’t on Twitter and other social media sites.
So, to members of the House Republican Party: as you do your investigations and prepare your hearings, ask the nonpolitical members in your family, “what do you think?”
Whatever you do, don’t make Biden a more sympathetic figure. He is sorry enough as he is.
Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).