Hunter Biden And His Laptop…

One of the most interesting aspects of America’s current political environment has been the defection from the GOP of formerly high-ranking Republicans. These strategists and elected officials have recognized that today’s GOP is a very different animal than the party that once existed, and have been intellectually honest enough to say so.

One of those “refugees” from MAGA land is David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Frum is currently a senior editor at The Atlantic and an MSNBC contributor. (He was also the author of Bush’s “axis of evil” description–a framing I personnally found unfortunate, but hey…)

Frum has an article in the most recent Atlantic in which he predicts the behavior of the slim GOP House majority over the next two years. He began by comparing the actions of Democrats under Nancy Pelosi with the behavior of  the chamber under Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay. Pelosi focused the Democrats on legislation–notably, the Affordable Care Act.

By contrast, the Republican majority elected in 1994 and 2010 lunged immediately into total war. In 1994, the leaders, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, wanted and led the total war. In 2010, Speaker John Boehner opposed the lunge and tried, largely in vain, to control it. In both cases, the result was the same: a government shutdown in 1995, a near default on U.S. debt obligations in 2011, and a conspiratorial extremism that frightened mainstream voters back to the party of the president.

Frum says the signs all point to the likelihood that the just-elected Republican House majority “will follow the pattern of its predecessors.” It isn’t difficult to pinpoint one of those “signs”–intemperate MAGA warrior Jim Jordan will evidently head up the Judiciary Committee. Jordan has all but licked his chops when announcing the GOP’s highest priority: investigating Hunter Biden’s laptop and tying whatever is found to Joe Biden.

As he says,

Why Republicans would want to believe this holds little mystery. From 2017 to 2021, Republicans supported and defended a strikingly corrupt president whose children disregarded nepotism rules to enrich themselves and their businesses. The administration opened with a special favor from the government of Japan to Donald Trump’s daughter and closed with a $2 billion investment by the government of Saudi Arabia for the president’s son-in-law—despite written warnings from the Saudi government’s outside advisers about excessive fees, inexperienced management, and operations that were “unsatisfactory in all aspects.”

How do partisans try to neutralize four years of nonstop genuine scandals? By ginning up an equal and opposite scandal against the other team. The Trump family may have been the most crooked ever to occupy the White House, and on a scale impossible to deny or ignore. During Trump’s administration, his hotel business exacted payments on Pennsylvania Avenue from corporations, individuals, and foreign governments as a condition of presidential favor and charged the Secret Service fees simply so that it could do its job of protecting the president. Trump himself elevated his son-in-law to de facto positions as a chief of staff and a national security adviser. Meanwhile, the president’s other children headed family businesses that profited from the presidency.

If that record cannot be denied, then maybe it can be diminished or rendered somehow acceptable by alleging that Trump’s successor is doing the same thing.

Frum proceeds to explain why the GOP’s “whataboutism” is unlikely to work, harking back to comparisons with Bill Clinton’s impeachment. But here’s the thing: if indeed Hunter Biden turns out to have been guilty of legal misconduct, most Democrats I know would agree that he should be appropriately sanctioned for that misconduct. No one’s above the law.

My own guess is that the worst thing an investigation will be able to pin on President Biden is that he has been a loving and forgiving father to a disturbed son. As Frum writes the upcoming script:

Republicans: Do you know that Hunter Biden is a financial and emotional mess?

Voters: Now we do.

Republicans: Don’t you care?

Voters: No.

Republicans: Do you know that Joe Biden wrote notes telling his son he loved him despite his troubles, and also let his son stay in his house when his son was down on his luck?

Voters: That sounds like a good thing.

Republicans: What if we told you that Joe and Hunter Biden ran a massive international-crime syndicate and that they are implicated in sex trafficking and cover-ups?

You can foresee where this dialogue is heading.

The GOP is gearing up for a re-run of “Pizzagate.” Deep in their conspiratorial bubbles, many of them actually believe the QAnon-inspired stories. As Frum writes, they are so deeply embedded in those fantasies, they forget that they were the ones who first concocted them.

And really– sex trafficking is so much more interesting than governing…


  1. Well, Newt trained them well. I don’t follow right wing extremist conspiracies so I don’t know the details of this “investigation.” But I do know that Hunter is not a politician, he’s a private citizen and if he broke the law, then he should be charged just like every other citizen in this country. The problem I see is that 45 has broken the law several times! He’s admitted so much and we have tape of his call to Brad Rathinsburger to prove it, yet where is he? Holding “hate rallies” every week. Frankly, we’re all sick of the waiting. But again, they are freaking crazy.

  2. Personally, I hope Republicans do go down this path. The biggest difference between then ( 1994/2010) and now is that Millenials and Zoomers have grown up with this crap and are awfully tired of it and won’t be buying this SOS. They look at Newt, Gym and Kevin as just tired old men who no one is listening to, certainly not anyone under 40.

  3. Thanks for expanding the reach of Frum’s column. I had found it one of the best — if not THE best — of the post-election pieces.

  4. AgingGirl gets close to the truth but veers away…if we all know Trump and his children are guilty (which they are), where are the consequences? Why aren’t they in jail? Why haven’t they been convicted of a crime?

    Also, any journalist seeking the truth knows that social media giants, Twitter and Facebook, blocked stories of Hunter Biden which led to the conspiracies. Why were they stopped? Who from the government instructed them to be blocked?

    Hunter and his friends got great gigs at Ukraine’s top energy company. Why? A corrupt oligarch owns it. Why was the US doing business with a corrupt oligarch in Ukraine? Why was a US vice president doing business with a corrupt oligarch?

    Once again, we have all these “conspiracies” because our media is lame and not addressing the real stories. We are being told half-truths at best, leading to folks filling in the blanks.

  5. The world’s problems of the past few decades have overtaken the Republican Party. They have no new ideas, no solutions, no perspective to offer the public only anger, hatred, and fantasies. That is what we will all be witnessing out of Congress for the next two years.

  6. Today’s GOP: Biden is a blathering old fool who doesn’t know what day it is. ALSO Today’s GOP: Biden is the leader of an International Crime Family who is completely compromised. It will only prove their incompetence to the majority of the electorate.

  7. David Frump is just another typical despicable right wing hacks who is now trying to distance himself from even WORSE right wing bigots and racists…Frump is the guy who actually taught Republicans the language of hate speech and how to use it in political campaigns and also in Congress…srsly F*CK that guy and every other despicable hateful right wing Republican fascist like him who is trying to distance themselves from the Trump crazy train. Frump arguably did as much damage to this country as any other right wing propagandist over the past 30 years, he can go straight to hell… I wouldn’t waste my precious time reading a word of his bullshit article, I don’t need some ahole like Frump telling me why Republicans are such hateful racists and bigots, I already know!

  8. To paraphrase Rick Wilson: Everything Republicans touch dies.

    The corruption in the GOP is so profound that the most stupid politicians among them get elected to office. Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy are two of the most wicked and utterly stupid people I’ve ever seen in Congress. Oh. Wait. I forgot Boebert and Greene. Who among the citizens actually votes for these cretins? I guess angry people that lack the drive to get themselves moving in the right direction have to be represented by attack dogs instead of legislators.

  9. The only wares the Republican house leadership will have to sell in the coming two years are the politics of anger and resentment.
    Anger has spawned resentment. And, as for resentment, it “… is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” (Nelson Mandela)
    Such a strategy will simply not work, since it will bear with it the unmistakable attributes of vanity, shallowness and incredulity.

  10. A conclusion of the the Mueller Report was that Trump was certainly helped in getting elected in 2016 by Russian spies but there would be no investigation as to collusion, Trump asking or trading for that help, because of DOJ traditions involving investigating the sitting President. Of course Congress investigated twice and he was impeached twice only to be let off the hook by a Republican Senate who at the time held nothing against a corrupt or criminal President. Have they suddenly seen the light?

    Jim Jordan’s crusade will be like John Durham’s, much ado about nothing, but will give Fox Entertainment much copy to keep Republican faithful, well, faithful dispite the total absence of any legislative problem solving. It’s all about payback to the Murdoch’s for the gratis advertising.

  11. It’s about gerrymandering. The House is indeed representative of its districts, and the districts are perfectly sorted for low IQ.

  12. I wrote this shortly after Trump’s defeat in 2020.
    “Trump is a cult leader. As a society, those of us who are not in his cult must find a way to bring his followers back into the fold of our mainstream culture. It won’t be easy but we must succeed with the majority of them. Our country, our lives, depend on it.”
    TLentych, your post is a reminder that hatred breeds more hatred. I understand your outrage. I share it. Somehow, we must move beyond the downward spiral of hate feeding hate feeding hate. That path is lethal regardless of who started it.
    It took me many years to learn that we forgive others not for them, but for ourselves.. and that we can hold people responsible for their actions even as we forgive them.

  13. In the lame duck session, the dems need to:
    Pass legislation eliminating the need to increase the debt limit. If you buy it you have to pay for it.
    Pass DACA legislation.
    Pass a two year budget.
    Pass voting legislation
    Pass ethics rules for SCOTUS.
    Pass the certification legislation that will prevent another Jan. 6th.
    Pass a bill that overrules DOJ policy on charging a sitting President.

    That should keep them busy.

  14. pushing another theory on someone elses woes.if Bidens son was deep into what manafort was, then maybe the DOJ would act. seems unlike manafort, Hunters was buisness, whereas, manafort was hired by deripreska and putin to get a russian nationalist elected in Ukraine. Hunter maybe just an advisor to private buisness for others to do buisness in Ukraine,and working with the state dept. the republicans pick and choose to just find spin and discontent to something to blab about in any thing the demos want to do to foreward this nation. i have yet to find a single republican in office who supports a living wage or getting wall street profits back into the working class pockets,other than investment scams,more profits and losses.the republicans foster legislation in state and federal to stop protests,and disent. the fact the boycott against anyone is a form of protest. state and federal legislation has started to,like voting, put on the table anti first amandment legislation and is being pushed mainly by republicans. recent ads in the internet and t.v. are pushing that gotta havethe new i phone 14. recently in china a foxcon, where the workers live in a military style enviroment as labor to foxcon, protest have errupted by the workers over disputed pay and working conditions. the security guards,er, police, are in a head bashing campaign because the worker has disrespected its employer. maybe the republicans sould make a comment about this, but the legislation in present form in many states and congress,mimick the chinese way of life. and wall street is wetting its pants in full glee..

  15. The Democrats need Trump Inc. Otherwise they have nothing to offer but the clumsiness of Joe Biden. This administration is an empty one
    Bereft of initiative and sense.

  16. Re: the laptop and an Initial lack of coverage, I know it’s fun to assume it’s so part of a grand conspiracy, but wouldn’t occum’s razor suggest that it’s at least equally likely that the story sure sounded like the kind of GOP story telling they always do and was therefore treated as such?

    That that evil ol msm just thought this story sure seems a little pizza-gatey and didn’t follow it? That, given the maga/Gop’s fascination with conspiracy stories and straight made up BS it was reasonable to assume the laptop fell into that bucket and it just turned out that for once there might be a small amount of “there” to this one and no one thought that was possible given the history of silly stories?

    I mean, or a masked and robed cabal of baby eaters personally hid the story. I’m sure both are equally likely.

  17. I am so glad I was able to leave the screwed up failing democracy behind me. I’ll just keep myself supplied with popcorn and watch the circus.

  18. Contemporary Republican strategists, furious about “cancel culture” don’t truly understand from the youth perspective. Gary Hart to Bill Clinton is a nuance of public reaction the GOP misunderstood then, and now; and the Trump brand weathers scandals by staying in the limelight. Hart ducked outta sight, later having a tremendous career (met with aviation folks a few days before 9/11 after warning the country of eminent attack a few days prior). Clinton found out, for better or worse, scandal is best handled in office, and slickly rode the tide of popular opinions greater evils (see: JFK). Trump isn’t cancelled, but he’s close to no one watching his show anymore. If theater is the Republican strategy, the production has a star problem. So they’re gambling on Hunter being the star. But he did what he should and went away. I find the idea of re-cancelling the guy to be tepid. Some of the greater evils of Hunters almost decade old lifestyle match a certain rock-solid 27% base: what is the Republican strategy when the Trump voters they are courting begin to enjoy Hunters escapades?

  19. Stan, you seem awfully blind to the corruption and lunacy of Philippine politics.
    Trying to justify your move?
    Todd, same old same old. You make the blanks: loaded questions. Then both your followers fill them in.
    TLentych: Welcome comrade!
    JackSmith: Worth reading.

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