Poor Nancy: This Impeachment Thing Isn’t Going to End Well

It's hard to see how Nancy Pelosi could be foolish enough to pursue impeachment...or foolish enough to not pursue it.

There’s actually a more important story for political observers to talk and write about than Representative Rashida Tlaib’s profane screeching at President Trump which dominated more headlines than it deserved. And that’s the content of what she promised: impeachment of President Trump.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that impeaching the president was the tantalizing undercurrent of the 2018 Democrat campaign for a blue wave. You heard it from many candidates who purposefully dangled the possibility as red meat (or should I say blue meat) in front of angry progressive crowds at rallies and campaign stops. But for those paying attention to the social media and cable news outlets, getting rid of President Trump was the unifying battle cry of leftists coast to coast.

And here’s the more important point: it remains so today.

That puts Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in a precarious position: they understand the political futility of an impeachment push, they also understand the political cost of giving Republicans a perfect campaign talking point heading into 2020. But they also know that the fury from the progressive base that is calling for Trump’s political head will feverishly turn on them if they demur or shrink from the moment.

Jonathan Tobin recently wrote a fascinating assessment of Pelosi’s tough spot:

Trump’s trolling of Democrats has been an effective political tactic in many respects, but it also makes impeachment an attractive option for the Left. The anger of the Democratic base toward him should not be underestimated or seen as merely another tool in the party’s toolkit. It is given expression on a daily basis in the mainstream media, whose coverage, as former New York Times editor Jill Abramson recently noted, long ago crossed over from merely critical to openly biased against him and has a power and force that the septuagenarians at the head of the House Democratic caucus may not be able to control in the coming months.

Pelosi also should not underestimate the possibility that the investigations begun by Nadler, Schiff, and other committee chairmen this month will take on a momentum of their own. The leadership hopes that they will merely harass the administration with subpoenas and negative news cycles, making it harder for Trump to govern. But whether or not they find any real criminality, the atmosphere created by the plethora of charges will inevitably encourage pro-impeachment members of the House — egged on by activists such as billionaire Tom Steyer, who has advocated impeachment — to take steps Pelosi would rather avoid.

Then factor in what was just initiated with a beer bottle broken open by Senator Elizabeth Warren – the 2020 presidential campaign. Who knows just how many Democrats are going to enter the fray, but it will be more than just a handful. And in order to make their mark, how many of them will take the plunge to call for impeachment, hoping to ingratiate themselves with the progressive faithful who make up the majority of Democrat primary voters? Will it be enough to pressure others to do the same? And how many others will it take in order to force Pelosi’s hand?

It’s hard to see Nancy Pelosi being politically foolish enough to pursue impeachment, but then again it’s hard to see Nancy Pelosi being politically foolish enough to not pursue impeachment. There’s a reason I wrote the day after the midterms that the elections may have just done the unthinkable: re-elected Donald Trump. Time will tell.

Comments
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Oregun
Oregun

Looks like Nancy has the self created problem of the D teams version of the trumprobates? Lay down with dogs and you wake up with fleas. Could not happen to more deserving folks.

Dr. Maturin
Dr. Maturin

Pelosi sailed through the 2018 primary with 68.5% of the vote. Her closest Democratic challenger had 8.5% of the vote. And since Pelosi was very clear that she was going to cautious about impeachment, I think she's not terribly worried about being primaried out in 2020.

That leaves the rest of her caucus to worry about. The way I'd calculate it if I were her is that she is more at risk losing the seats that recently flipped blue than those that were blue all along. This means being cautious about impeachment, regardless of how much some in her base want her to pursue it.

JASmius
JASmius

(1) Trump will not be reelected, even if the Dems nominate Mrs. Clinton again. Which they won't.

(2) Trump supporters are positively schizophrenic about Nancy Pelosi. On the one hand, she's the perpetual, unstoppable leftwing boogiewoman coming to "get" conservatives, and on the other, she's this feckless, helpless old grannie at the mercy of AOC, Tliab, and the "progressive" vanguard. So which is it? Pick one, for heaven's sake.

It's like they don't even remember her first Speakership, where she studiously avoided any talk of or move toward impeachment of President Bush, and once a Democrat had replaced him two years later, expertly (if corruptly) helped muscle Obamacare into law against the express will of the American people. Like or dislike her ideology - it should be utterly loathed, as I do - but the woman knows what she's doing, and she is a stronger Speaker than any of her GOP counterparts have been going back to Newt Gingrich circa 1995. No "progressive" backbencher is going to bully her into impeaching Trump prematurely. She knows that the evidence has to support such a last resort move, and that a political case must be made for it. Only then will she give the "i" word her blessing, and given that that point probably would be getting near the kick-off of the 2020 primary season, maybe not even then.

One of the biggest follies of partisan tribalism is the reflexive compulsion of each side to woefully underestimate the other. Underestimating Nancy Pelosi is a grave mistake.

WarrenPeese
WarrenPeese

It kind of depends on what's in the Mueller report, no? As I understand it, Pelosi was going to wait until after it's sent to Congress.

ekay
ekay

Nancy Pelosi didn't think through how foolish it would be to say "We have to pass the bill in order to know what is in it" (would anyone buy a house without looking through it and knowing what they were getting?), so what makes us think that she is thinking through what would happen if they try to impeach President Trump.