Boots & Sabers

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0727, 13 Feb 24

Gallagher’s falling star

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher has had quite a week. After a controversial vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Gallagher made the surprise announcement that he will not be seeking reelection. The moment says a lot about where the Republican base is right now.




Impeachment is a political tool granted to the House of Representatives by the Constitution to be used against anyone in the other two branches of government. It is one of the famed “checks” that creates “balance” in our system of government. The criteria for impeachment are intentionally vague because it is a political tool — not a legal one.


Even though the Democrat majority in the Senate would never convict Mayorkas, the House Republican leadership sought to impeach Mayorkas to vent the frustration of their constituents and use the most powerful tool available to them to try to check the Executive Branch’s wonton disregard for the laws it is charged to faithfully implement.


Gallagher voted against impeaching Mayorkas and it failed by a narrow margin. Gallagher’s reasoning was sincere, but flawed. He aspires to a higher standard for impeachment that the Democrats abandoned long ago and is not appropriate for the seriousness of the border crisis and Mayorkas’ role in it.


The reaction to Gallagher’s vote from Republican voters and moderates was immediate and vicious — perhaps overly so, but reflective of the pent-up frustration and anger about Biden’s border treachery. Republican voters are looking for elected Republicans to use every tool available to fight for a secure border. We are sick and tired of watching elected Republicans latibulate when our country needs people to fight for it.


Gallagher took both barrels of that gurgling anger. Although he did not state this reaction as the reason, he announced that he will not seek reelection a couple of days after his vote. Gallagher was a rising Republican star with legitimate conservative credibility, but this singular vote has most likely ended his political career.



0727, 13 February 2024


  1. dad29

    You really think it was the blowback that made him jump out? From now to November is a lifetime.

  2. MjM

    He voted NAY again today. Buck of Colorado changed his mind, voted YEA. Impeachment passed by one vote

  3. Owen

    Upon further reflection, I think the causal relationship is reversed. I think he was planning not to run, so he stopped GAF about what his constituents think about his vote.

  4. Merlin

    C’mon, man!

    Latibulate? Where did you find that one?

    Not in the New Oxford American Dictionary. Or Merriam-Webster. Or Cambridge. Or Collins. Making us work way too hard for this one, Owen.

    Finally found it in the Oxford English Dictionary: The only known use of the verb latibulate is in the early 1600s. OED’s only evidence for latibulate is from 1623, in the writing of Henry Cockeram, lexicographer. Latibulate is a borrowing from Latin. Etymons: Latin latibulāri.

    Somebody notify OED that a non-conforming malcontent from Wisconsin is up to no good.

  5. Tuerqas

    >Somebody notify OED that a non-conforming malcontent from Wisconsin is up to no good.

    Is there any other kind of malcontent?

  6. Jason

    > I think he was planning not to run, so he stopped GAF about what his constituents think about his vote.

    I thought I had read that somewhere.. wasn’t sure if it was someone trying to revisionist or not.. but I think he announced quietly late last year that he was exiting.

    And if so, his statements about sticking to principles fall flat. You dont need to burn the bridge as youre crossing, but do you also don’t need something this big as your death hill.

  7. Owen

    Latibulate (verb)


    To hide oneself in a corner.

    According to reports out of his district, his announcement came as a surprise. He was still fund raising as if he was going to run. Then again, a lot of politicians do that because their war chest becomes a tool for political influence after they are out of office.

  8. MjM

    …a lot of politicians do that because …

    Its a free meal ticket. Literally.

  9. dad29

    Wait, wait!! He wears all that shiny stuff from the Marines. Honor, Duty, all that………right?

    With all that honor stuff, why would he collect free meal-tix at donor expense?


  10. MjM

    Because it’s free.

  11. MjM

    California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell’s campaign spent more than $2.1 million last year, with expenses including international travel, fine dining, luxury spas, chauffeured cars, childcare and more, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

    Just one little example. .

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