The Democrats Dither on Impeachment.

by Pitt Griffin on June 28, 2019 · 0 comments

in Impeachment, Politics, Trump presidency

During her weekly press conference on Thursday, Nancy Pelosi was asked what Congress should do about E. Jean Carroll’s rape accusation against Trump. She replied, “I don’t know the person — it doesn’t matter if I did or not. I respect that, but I don’t know what Congress’s role would be in this.” 

It is a technocrat’s answer. Pelosi had an excellent opportunity to use this latest charge of abusive behavior to throw shade at the man. But instead she ‘lawyered’ it. She chose to be right rather than passionate — which is rarely a winning strategy in politics.

It is said of Democrats that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. In large part because they insist on looking long and carefully at whatever issue is at hand. And while they are looking the Republicans are passing some law to restrict women’s rights, minority rights or voter rights and another to give more money to rich people.

And when the Democrats aren’t dithering, they are a set of warring tribes demanding orthodoxy to whatever flavor of liberalism they have embraced. It is a losing strategy. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the Democrats must, indeed, hang together or, most assuredly, they will hang separately.

Chuck Schumer must have some skills that are apparent to his fellow Senators, but in public, he comes across as a tsk-tsking schoolmarm. He certainly doesn’t inspire or lead with passion. And I wonder how many liberals could pick him out of a lineup?

In the House, on the other hand, Nancy Pelosi has proved to be resilient and a party politician of great skill. She was written off before the 2018 mid-terms as too centrist, too incremental, too indebted to establishment money and (whispers) too old. If the US had a House of Lords, the calls would have been overwhelming to have her kicked upstairs to irrelevance. In effect replicating the later career arc of conservative icon Margaret Thatcher.

But she united the new centrist, white, male Representatives who had taken their seats in traditionally conservative districts with the new darker, female, furniture throwers. And during the honeymoon, she kicked Trump’s ass to general liberal satisfaction.

But all was not lollipops and sunshine. Impeachment loomed. Pelosi was against it. Whereas freshman Representative, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), summed up the feelings of the activists with her pithy prediction “we’re gonna impeach the motherfucker!’”

The anti-impeachers worry that it is a political albatross. They demand more evidence. They cleave to process and the careful building of a case, brick by brick. Democratic leadership is looking at the impeachment process through the lens of the 2020 election. But that’s a mug’s game.

Perhaps impeachment will boost Trump. Perhaps not impeaching him will promote the Democrat. Or maybe it is the other way around. Either argument can be made. And one will be right. But it is better to fail by doing something than it is by not doing something. 

The defeatist wing of the anti-impeachment sect has another bucket of cold water – “what’s the point, the Senate won’t throw the bum out.”

Who gives a tinker’s dam what the Senate might do. Why give them a de facto veto over the House’s business? Let the House start an impeachment investigation. Who knows what will fall out of the tree. 

The Watergate investigation is not a perfect analogy as it was a Senate Committee that got the congressional ball rolling. But the process is sufficiently similar to prove instructive. It was during a hearing that White House assistant, Alexander Butterfield, revealed the Oval Office was equipped with an automatic taping system — and Nixon’s goose was cooked. 

The House eventually voted for three articles of impeachment: ‘obstruction of justice’, ‘abuse of power’ and ‘contempt of Congress’. It still resonates. Let today’s House do the same and force GOP Senators to make a choice. Do the right thing — or go on record condoning Trump’s behavior.

The most compelling argument for starting impeachment hearings is that the House has a constitutional mandate to do so. They are part of the American system of checks and balances — all the time, not just when it is politically expedient.  The House represents the people — and the people have a right to know that their President is not a crook. Or in the case of that sentiment’s author that he is a crook.

So let not last night’s food fight debate be the image of the Democrats. Let them stand resolute and united in the face of an unprecedented assault on the institutions and dignity of the United States — and ‘impugnar al hijo de puta’.

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