Almost no one in next year’s incoming anemic GOP House Majority was around the last time that the Democratic Party overcame the midterm jinx of the party in charge of the Oval Office to stave off a rout in the House races – if more had been they might not be so anxious to follow beleaguered Speaker nominee Kevin McCarthy and his dizzy deputy Marjorie Taylor Greene off their chosen investigatorial cliff.

That year was 1998 when the Republican House, led by Newton Leroy Gingrich, harried Bill Clinton with partisan investigations leading to his impeachment, for which the voters rewarded them by downsizing their majority – which in turn led to the effective end of Gingrich’s political career.

But veteran political reporter Eleanor Clift remembers, and writes about what Democrats are doing to repel the onslaught of investigations promised by McCarthy and Greene in today’s Daily Beast.

“It’s not Hunter Biden’s scalp they want. Rather, the House GOP caucus is poised to launch a two-year crusade to tarnish President Joe Biden’s character—and lower his poll numbers—just like they did with Hillary Clinton and the Benghazi hearings prior to her 2016 candidacy.

But things are different this time around—Democrats aren’t going to assume that voters can see through the partisan bluster, and are mounting a war room operation outside the White House. The Congressional Integrity Project (a pointed moniker, to be sure) will try to fend off the Republican barrage, and go on the offensive in the information war.

The existence of the newly revamped group, first reported by Politico, is an effort to mount a 21st-century war room with a response team that can “expose the political intentions behind the investigations targeting the White House,” says Leslie Dach, a senior adviser to the CIP, who is working with founder Kyle Herrig and longtime political activist Brad Woodhouse. All three have deep Democratic Party ties.”

The Democrats do not intend to be mere reactive punching bags for McCarthy, if he prevails in his quest to obtain the Speaker’s Chair, but have already set up The Congressional Integrity website to fight back against the smears and recriminations that will be hurled against them.

Their mission statement:

Public officials should work in the public interest, not their own. But some conservatives are willing to toss aside their commitments to their constituents, to American democracy, and to the truth.

Instead of working with President Biden to curb inflation, lower costs for families, and keep our country strong, Congressional Republicans are planning to spend their time investigating and impeding progress.

The Congressional Integrity Project is exposing the truth behind these investigations, spotlighting these officials’ hypocrisy, and exposing the truth about their records and extreme agenda that does nothing for the American people.

We can’t force them to act with integrity. But we can make sure the American people know the truth.

Ms. Clift further explains:

“I think the American people see the hypocrisy, but we’ll be showing it to them,” says Dach, who oversaw the Democrats’ successful messaging on health care that is credited with winning the House in 2018 and 2020. “There’s a simple story to tell, and you have to tell it every day.”

The updated war room harks back to the self-described “Masters of Disaster,” referring to two Clinton administration aides (Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani) who successfully steered the White House response to GOP attacks during the 1990s, in part by selective leaking to the media and generally outsmarting the other team.

Counterattacking became the hallmark of the Clinton White House—and it worked. Democrats gained seats in the House in the 1998 midterms despite investigations into Whitewater (an Arkansas land deal that became shorthand for various scandals) and the Republican House voting to impeach Clinton. “Investigate the investigators,” is central to the CIC’s mission, and it is reminiscent of the negative coverage the Clinton team directed at investigator Kenneth Starr during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.”

It’s good to see that our Party intends to get out front to combat the likely ludicrous accusations that the Republicans will level against the President and his family.

And it is also good to know that there is little institution memory to guide the Rethuglicans as they stumble into possible embarrassment.

Voters, particularly Independent voters, displayed earlier this month that they have just about run out of patience with the conspiratorially minded crackpots that infest the fringes of the GOP.

Hopefully our friends at the CIP can remind them just how much they detest their antics.

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  1. “Voters, particularly Independent voters, displayed earlier this month that they have just about run out of patience with the conspiratorially minded crackpots that infest the fringes of the GOP.”

    And that’s just now. How little patience will be left in another few years of one-sided theatrics that add no light but just heat to the real problems facing the country?

    Exposing clearly their hypocrisy and sheer lack of ANY actual, real, workable, working policies they have, is one of the best things that could be done.

    Alongside advertising and publicizing all the very many actual, real achievements achieved by our side, to improve the lives of all Americans, and not just some tiny rich elite.

    • Also, as I said a few days ago, I look for fright-wing violence to taint the GOP by proxy with mainstream America. It’s the same guilt by association math that wound up breaking the Dems by 1980 with the lethal moves of the Manson family (including one would-be presidential assassin who took a shot at Gerald Ford) and the Weather Underground (whose most notable achievement was blowing THEMSELVES up). It’ll make independents feel unsafe and said with the party that opposes it on every level.

  2. Well, one has to remember the group has a MAJOR obstacle to overcome: The “liberal” media and its seeming preference to ignore anything that supports Democrats but magnify everything that supports Republicans–all in the name of “balance” and “fairness.”

    • I’m convinced that these concerns are more or less limited to the Boomers/Gen Xer cohorts. Millennials and Gen Z have their own ways of getting the word out which we will see emerge as more dominant this decade.

  3. Right now, I’d rather be the Dems than the Republicans. See, the former has the best of both worlds going for them: a raft of rising stars with enough youth and enthusiasm to go the distance and the institutional memory to help figure out what does and doesn’t still work. The latter, by contrast, has a mix of clueless “revolutionaries” who are in my age bracket at their youngest (not good) and aging reactionaries who can only do the old tactics because they never learned to adapt (even worse). Such dynamics make the Congressional Integrity Project even possible.


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