The thundering herd of impunity

We're headed into the third year of the Biden administration and, I'm afraid, another year of rampant, unbridled herd impunity, where a few power brokers in Washington, D.C. will be deciding what your life and mine will be like for the next 365 days.

That in itself is nothing new.  We have a long history of ceding power to ideologues who routinely use howitzers to swat flies — imposing huge, unmanageable solutions to solve our country's problems.

We needn't go too far back in time to see the proof.  Anyone remember "Obamacare," when our Congress created a one-size-fits-all solution for 300 million people when all we needed was something to help 30 million of our fellow citizens?  And to add insult to injury, we were told that we would have to read the bill to know what was in it after it was voted on!

There aren't enough adjectives in the whole English language that can adequately describe the chutzpah of the majority of the 535 members of our two deliberative legislative bodies when it comes to their collective flight from responsibility.  The most recent example is the defection of eighteen Republican senators who voted for a $1.7-trillion omnibus budget bill that contains more pork than all of the Jimmy Dean sausages ever made.

What were these people thinking?

I'll tell you what they were thinking: they wanted to go home and trim their Christmas trees after hanging all their taxpayer-funded goodies on the federal tree, that's what.

I'm sure the Republicans who sided with the Senate Democrats thought nobody was paying attention as they proceeded to do a 180 on all their rhetoric about "holding the Biden administration accountable."  Or maybe they thought they could come back later in the new year and challenge the very same appropriations that they, themselves, voted for.

The only problem with that strategy is that Washington will have moved on, and the Democrats will have adopted their "Plan B" to demonize the same senators who gave them the win.

Republicans have already set their cap on an investigations-a-rama.  They hope to bury Joe Biden with a probe on Hunter and maybe tarnish Nancy Pelosi's reputation by using a new, improved version of the January 6 hearings against her.

Are they totally clueless about how much power the congresswoman from San Francisco holds?  Have they been asleep for years while San Fran Nan has been perfecting her "star wars defense" that will stop any serious inquiries into her management decisions?  Do they not realize how cohesive the Democrat machine is or how big her Praetorian Guard is?  If they're going to try to split her party's support by pitting the Progressive wing against her, they had better hijack a truckload of Wheaties and bring on the Red Bull.

The Republican Freedom Caucus is livid and is pushing Kevin McCarthy hard to reject their party's appeasement politics in favor of playing hardball on a range of issues that are paralyzing our nation like our open border, billions of dollars to Ukraine, and the energy embargo of our own fossil fuels, to say nothing of the Dems' plans to nationalize our elections.  And even if the RINOs do manage to wake up and smell the dung that they have generated by being spectators in their own sport, it might be too late to effect any substantive change, especially with a Dem-dominated Senate.  In short, it won't matter a whit if the Rs pass meaningful legislation in the House, because the Senate will shoot it down like a drunken duck on a flight through a shooting gallery.

Truth is, for all the Republican hype about getting the goods on Uncle Joe, Americans are still smarting from high gas prices, high food prices, and stagnant wages.

Unless Republicans do something about inflation (and the border) first before trying to nail Hunter's boxers to the wall, they will not get a warm welcome from John Q. Public for ginning up a gaggle of new investigations, no matter how salacious they turn out to be.

Spoiler alert!  Americans already know that the Bidens are a bunch of white-collar hustlers who have been milking the system for years, trading on their access to power.  That is no surprise.  The real surprise is that voters don't care!  The midterm elections proved that, and we have now officially crossed the Rubicon of accountability and found there's nobody living on the other side.

Soon the House will choose a new speaker, and he had better be somebody who isn't afraid of his own shadow and has a black belt in Washington-style hand-to-hand combat.  Otherwise, he will be eaten alive by the Dem smear machine and its guard dogs over at the mainstream media.

Everybody knows that politics is a blood sport even in an off-election year, but not everybody knows that the object of the game is to draw your opponents' blood before they draw yours.

Welcome to 2023.

Stephan Helgesen is a retired career U.S. diplomat who lived and worked in 30 countries for 25 years during the Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush administrations.  He is the author of twelve books, six of which are on American politics and has written over 1,300 articles on politics, economics and social trends.  He operates a political news story aggregator website:  He can be reached at

Image: Clément Bardot via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 4.0.

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