This morning’s Wheeling Intelligencer reports that all three of West Virginia’s representatives voted against the formal resolution to open impeachment hearings. In the article, local representative David McKinley once again quotes Alexander Hamilton to justify his opposition to impeachment:
“Our founding fathers never intended for impeachment to be used as a tool for scoring political points,” McKinley said. “Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Papers No. 65, that there is always a danger that the decision to use the power of impeachment would be driven by partisan ‘animosities’ instead of ‘real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ Today’s purely partisan vote has proven Hamilton right.”
Quoting Hamilton* has apparently become a part of the Republican talking points. For example, here’s House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, earlier in the day:
Alexander Hamilton wrote that ‘there will always be the greatest danger’ that the decision to use the impeachment power would be driven by partisan ‘animosities’ instead of ‘real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ This sham impeachment by Democrats has proven Hamilton right. And it betrays the Speaker’s own words.
Our local congressman continues the Republican explanation for his “no” vote:
“This process has continued to be unfair and unproductive,” McKinley said. “Democrats have created a biased narrative by using selective leaks and secretive interviews.
By using secret interviews and selective leaks to portray the President’s legitimate actions as an impeachable offense, Democrats are continuing their permanent campaign to undermine his legitimacy.
Finally, from McKinley:
Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, the House has had more subpoenas issued than bills signed into law. We must focus on issues Americans care about, like addressing the border crisis, fighting the opioid epidemic, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”
And here’s McCarthy again:
“These would resemble the achievements of a productive Congress — a Congress that truly works ‘for the people.’ But this Congress counts more subpoenas than laws as its legacy.
(See, also, Minority Whip Steve Scalese.)
(The "more subpoenas" attack is apparently a favorite in the pro-Trump blogosphere. For even more examples, just type “more subpoenas than laws” (in quotes) into your favorite search engine.)
McCarthy and McKinley are being disingenuous here. As I have argued previously, the criticism is misplaced – the reason why so little legislation has become law is not the House’s fault – they have passed numerous pieces of legislation only to see them die in the Senate due to Mitch McConnell’s unwillingness to act on them. Here’s Share Blue explaining:
But while it is true that only 46 pieces of legislation have been enacted so far, that is hardly the fault of the House Democrats. Since they regained the majority, they have passed more than 400 bills, the vast majority of which have been blocked from even getting a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called himself the "Grim Reaper" and vowed to be a bulwark against progressive legislation even being considered in his chamber. The bills that have passed the House but not the Senate addressed election security, campaign finance reform, LGBTQ discrimination, gun violence, prescription drug costs, the minimum wage, protecting insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions, and climate change.
Finally, notice that neither McCarthy nor McKinley deal with any of the specific charges against Trump -- they're arguing against the process.
*I’m also researching how fairly McKinley and the Republicans are characterizing Hamilton's views on impeachment. Look for it this weekend.