Pelosi Is Right on Impeachment. Not Now and Probably Never
Nancy Pelosi has urged Democrats not to dive into impeaching President Donald Trump. Democrats, listen to her.
"He's not worth it," she said. Yes, he's a scourge on our democracy. Yes, he has almost certainly done deeds qualifying him for removal from office (though we await slam-dunk evidence).
Thing is, Trump's lifelong mission has been to make every conversation in America all about Donald Trump. Should an impeachment process get underway, it will be even more about Donald Trump. And what would happen to the agenda of the Democrats' new House majority? It would vanish in the pandemonium.
Since becoming House speaker, Pelosi has pursued two goals. One is to position the Democrats as the party of serious governance. The other is to cut Trump down to size.
The midterm election results have already taken air out of the Trump floating balloon. Pelosi smartly treats him as wreckage not to be towed away but to be driven around -- basically, to be ignored as the Democrats try to restore order in the federal government. Having voters reject him in 2020 would be a more effective demolition job than an impeachment proceeding fraught with partisanship.
Impeachments don't always work in the favor of those demanding removal. The American public was so appalled by the Republican inquisition leveled against Bill Clinton -- and the irresponsible freezing of government during the time -- that Democrats won five more seats in the House in the next election.
Yes, Bill Clinton's transgressions were a fraction of what we see today, but a sizable number of Americans outside Trump's base think the president is a survivable disaster. This includes many in Republican-leaning districts that recently sent Democrats to the House. These Democrats accomplished a far bigger feat than the handful of hotheads from super-safe liberal districts (who also get more attention than they warrant).
I got really nervous in early October when Jerrold Nadler, a Democratic congressman representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan, vowed to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh if the Democrats were to win the majority. He now chairs the House Judiciary Committee.
Fortunately, Nadler dropped that pointless crusade and has pedaled back on impeachment as well. Pelosi obviously got to him.
No doubt Nadler has been hearing noise from radicals in his district. But even on what some call the "Upper Left Side" -- I used to live there -- Democrats tend to be more moderate than their reputation suggests. In the 2016 Democratic primary, the Upper West Side preferred Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders by more than 2-to-1.
What do the American people want? They want normality. They want to wake up and not see a government shutdown, a chaotic trade war, presidential attacks on our allies and presidential slobbering over our adversaries. We've grown somewhat numb to the blatant and ceaseless lying, true, but wouldn't a fact-based morning offer a pleasant change?
Rest assured that Trump will not get away with it all. Once he's out of office, state and federal prosecutors will have the opportunity to pursue numerous charges -- not only obstruction of justice but also a multitude of financial crimes related to his business. And we still await the Mueller report.
Going after Trump when his term has only about two years left simply doesn't justify putting the nation through the added trauma of an impeachment procedure. Furthermore, Republican lawmakers have shown themselves incapable of holding Trump to any standard, so a bipartisan effort would be highly unlikely.
Trump's history is of a man fixated on making the public share his obsession with himself. Impeachment would just inflate his presence. Moving on would do the opposite. With another presidential election around the corner, he's just not worth it.
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