A promise of investigations, not inflation solutions

December 6, 2022 12:15 am

Flanked by House Republicans, U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. House Republicans held a news conference to discuss “the Biden family’s business dealings.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

We’re awash in political surprises. Who knew the formulas for solving inflation were on Hunter Biden’s laptop? Or that crime would plummet overnight once power in the House of Representatives changed hands? That caravans lurching toward the border would inexplicably lose their value as news? That those prices at the pump would miraculously move in the right direction?

Republicans won a majority in the House by promising solutions to inflation, crime and other assorted ills that Americans face daily. Those problems, they assured us, were the result of slipshod leadership from Democrats — communists to some in the GOP camp — and a Biden administration bent on ruining the country.

The pre-election polls told us that inflation and crime were touchstones to a red wave. We have, of course, learned many of those predictions were wide left, if you will.

Nevertheless, within hours of securing a majority, House GOP leaders told us their plan was to be an investigative body, bent on getting to the bottom of the Biden administration’s bad acts and those of the president’s son, Hunter.

These promised inquisitions assume bad actors truly abound inside the Biden administration and not simply play that role on a cable network’s news programs. Actual evidence for such sins remains elusive, however. Perhaps if we intone “Benghazi! Her emails!” three times they would magically appear. Wait. That didn’t work during the first congressional investigation of Benghazi … nor the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth.

Never mind history. At a news conference in front of a gaggle of fellow Republicans ready, willing and perhaps even capable of some sleuthing, newly minted House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky pledged their vows: “I want to be clear: This is an investigation of Joe Biden, and that’s where our focus will be next Congress.”

All of which leaves Nebraska’s three congressmen, Mike Flood, Don Bacon and Adrian Smith, stuck between months of oaths to improve our bank accounts and their party’s leadership, a proverbial hard place.

Flood insisted all fall that his opponent was a liar, that the midterm election was about “bringing down the prices you pay at the grocery store, cutting taxes, turning our economy around, keeping our community safe.…” While he often invoked the name Pelosi, Flood, to my knowledge, never publicly mentioned going after Hunter Biden and his laptop.

His colleague from the 2nd District, Don Bacon, served us “Biden burgers” during a political ad cookout, a reference to prices, inflation and the economy. Not a word about impending investigations to get to the bottom of something of which no one is really sure nor to which no one really knows the way.

Third District Rep. Adrian Smith said on C-SPAN in September that Nov. 8 would be a “gas and groceries election.” I’m sure he’ll stand and forcefully make that case when he and his majority caucus meet to further game-plan the people’s business, which at this point looks to be first a series of probes into the Bidens, the Southern border, the origins of COVID-19, the Justice Department and the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Congressional GOP leaders have also promised to drag the soon-to-retire Dr. Anthony Fauci before a congressional panel. That should please Gov.-elect Jim Pillen and his pal and benefactor, Sen. Pete Ricketts (Oops … too soon?). Fauci was the target of primary election ads featuring Pillen racking a shotgun. The good doctor and longtime public servant is a favorite punching bag for, among others, the masks-are-the-end-of -the-world crowd. Case in point: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who plays an epidemiologist on TV, recently said about Fauci that “Someone ought to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.” Nothing clever nor veiled about that threat.

The 118th Congress will not be the first elected body populated by those who said one thing on the campaign trail, only to show up in Washington with a completely different agenda. But it may vie for the most gridlocked, Beltway-speak for deciding to forgo solving the people’s problems, let alone doing their bidding … especially in the House.

Yes, elections have consequences, but shouldn’t one of them be that those chosen to lead in the promotion of some general welfare do just that: Build a bridge, lighten a burden, spend wisely, negotiate honestly, use real evidence, govern by consensus, put progress before party, seek the higher road.

Finally, instead of all the snooping with no particular goal aside from “gotcha,” show some real leadership.

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George Ayoub
George Ayoub

George Ayoub filed nearly 5,000 columns, editorials and features in 21 years as a journalist for the Grand Island Independent. His columns also appeared in the Omaha World-Herald and Kearney Hub. His work has been recognized by the Nebraska Press Association and the Associated Press. He was awarded a national prize by Gatehouse Media for a 34-part series focusing on the impact of cancer on families of victims and survivors. He is a member of the adjunct faculty and Academic Support Staff at Hastings College. Ayoub has published two short novels, “Warm, for Christmas” and “Dust in Grissom.” In 2019 he published “Confluence,” the biography of former Omaha World-Herald publisher and CEO John Gottschalk.