On Nancy Pelosi, Impeachment, The Breaking Of Norms And Places In History

 The choice is hers. More than her reputation rests on it.

[Editor’s Note: This commentary makes an excellent case of the need for impeachment, drawing lessons that should have been learned from the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. As the author explains, what is at stake is far more than political reputation or passing poll numbers. — Mark L. Taylor] 

By Sean Wilentz
The New Yorker (7/11/19)

Crises make and break historical reputations. In our current constitutional emergency, a few unlikely figures, above all the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have upheld the rule of law, possibly redeeming their places in history. Many others, above all the current Attorney General, William Barr, seem determined to irretrievably sink theirs. Now the reputation at risk is that of the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

On matters as serious as a Presidential impeachment, the opposition must lead, not follow, public opinion; it must examine and develop the evidence in plain view, and not permit the White House to persist in shaping perceptions through concealment and lies.

With regard to the debate over the proper response to Donald Trump’s brazen deeds, Pelosi has not taken impeachment off the table, saying, “I don’t think you should impeach for political reasons, and I don’t think you should not impeach for political reasons.” Yet political reasons seem to be preventing her from pursuing constitutional concerns. Her reasoning is clear: if the House were to launch an impeachment without “overwhelming” evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors and strong bipartisan public support, Trump’s inevitable acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate would only strengthen him, and he could cruise to reëlection. But, in this instance, Pelosi’s normally acute political judgment is failing her, and the historical precedent she is evidently relying on—the impeachment of President Bill Clinton—is not analogous. In fact, based on the past half century of political history, suppressing an impeachment inquiry seems more likely to help insure Trump’s reëlection. If this happens, Pelosi’s formidable reputation, based on a lifetime of public service and her role as the first female Speaker of the House, will suffer.

The basic historical error behind suppressing an impeachment inquiry confuses the genuine crisis surrounding Trump with the manufactured one that engulfed Clinton. In 1998, the House Republicans, lacking public support and all but assured that the Senate, though it was controlled by their own party, would not convict Clinton, impeached him anyway, which only served to win him sympathy and drive up his popularity ratings. Pelosi apparently sees the same thing happening now, but the two cases are very different. …

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(Commoner Call illustration by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Democrats Continue Search For The Smoking Gun They Already Have

“I don’t know what else we need.”

— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

By Matt Fuller & Arthur Delaney
HuffPost (7/12/19)

WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists President Donald Trump has committed crimes and is engaged in a cover-up. She also insists the remedy for these crimes and this cover-up is not an impeachment inquiry, but more investigations ― ostensibly to uncover crimes that special counsel Robert Mueller has already uncovered.

If the bottomless pleas for more oversight seem like a road to nowhere, you may finally understand how leaders plan to quell those in the caucus who want to impeach the president: continued investigations, tough talk about Trump, and calls for even more investigations.

Pelosi has navigated the last 2 1/2 months using some form of that strategy. Whenever the calls for impeachment get too loud, she’s able to hold off Resistance Twitter by saying Trump is “self-impeaching,” or that she’s “done with him,” or that he’s obstructed justice, or he’s throwing a “temper tantrum,” or “engaged in a cover-up,” or belongs in prison. And then she continues touting investigations that have thus far failed to reveal anything remotely as damaging as the Mueller report.

The strategy works for memes and “Yas Queen” T-shirts, but has been wearing thin within Pelosi’s own caucus. …

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  • Nancy Pelosi’s Attacks On AOC Aren’t Just Disrespectful, They’re Dangerous — Can progressives please shut up and listen to Nancy Pelosi? The speaker of the House, I would like to remind everyone, is a master strategist, a savvy tactician, and an experienced politician. She knows what’s best for America. And what’s best for America, apparently, isn’t standing up to Donald Trump; no, it’s ensuring four freshman congresswomen don’t get ideas above their station. It’s ensuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in particular, knows her place. There have been long-running tensions between Pelosi and the so-called “Squad” of new progressive congresswomen, which consists of Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. Things escalated sharply over the weekend, when Pelosi decided it would be a good idea to demean her colleagues in the New York Times. … Read the Rest