Nancy Pelosi Sticks Lump of Impeachment Up Trump's Stocking
Yep, it's official. Nancy Pelosi is going to put Donald Trump's eye out with a shiny new Red Ryder impeachment for Christmas. The House speaker announced this morning that she would ask House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to proceed with articles of impeachment against the president. She said she came to this momentous decision "sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders, and a heart full of love for America." (Those are also lyrics from Pelosi's little-heard 1970s country-western album.)
If this feels slightly anticlimactic, it's because even the media, which normally loves a horse race, has declared this whole process tedious and routine, like having your driver's license renewed. It's been more than 20 years. Guess we need to impeach another president.
CBS NEWS: As Democrats control the House, Mr. Trump is likely to be impeached. The vote is expected to occur on party lines, as Republicans consider the impeachment inquiry an overreach by Democrats bent on undermining the president. The Republican-led Senate is unlikely to vote to remove Mr. Trump from office, however.
This is hardly the roller coaster constitutional crisis we were promised. That's the downside when Republicans have, to quote Diane Chambers, the "morals of a rutting sea elephant and the intelligence of lint." Trump is not a master criminal. His misbegotten administration isn't a season of "House of Cards." If his party wasn't wholly corrupt, he'd have resigned long ago and we'd all have to endure President Mike Pence. No one's a winner in that scenario, but at least poor Nancy Pelosi wouldn't have to give a remedial civics class to remind Americans why the president shouldn't extort foreign nations for his own personal gain.
Nancy Pelosi OKs drafting of impeachment articles against Trump www.youtube.com
PELOSI: Let us begin where our founders began in 1776. 'When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another.' With those words, our founders courageously began our Declaration of Independence from an oppressive monarch, for among other grievances the king's refusal to follow rightfully passed laws.
The good news is that Pelosi has promoted Trump to King George III. But Trump shouldn't pop open the champagne and start knighting people. Pelosi made the comparison to reinforce why the founders crafted constitutional remedies for a president who considered themselves above the law. She was really getting her "Schoolhouse Rock" on.
PELOSI: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the republic. Another founder, Gouverneur Morris, that a president may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust. He emphasized that this magistrate is not the king. The people are the king.
They, therefore, created a constitutional remedy to protect against a dangerous or corrupt leader: impeachment.
The president and his Republican stooges can't argue with this, and they're not gonna. No, they insist that behind all Pelosi's pretty words about the Constitution and the founding slave owners is just a partisan power grab. House Minority Leader and Official Trump Foot Rest Kevin McCarthy said that Democrats are "blinded by their hate for the president." This is a sore spot for Pelosi that McCarthy's poking. During a press conference today, she snatched the wig off Sinclair Broadcasting's James Rosen, who asked her if she "hated" Trump. Her response was epic.
PELOSI: As a Catholic I resent your using the word "hate" in a sentence that addresses me... So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.
(Rosen is a dummy who asks a lot of stupid questions that we've yelled at him about previously.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Don't mess with me when it comes to words like that." www.youtube.com
McCarthy later claimed he had "a hard time believing" Pelosi didn't hate Trump. This is an interesting legal tactic: "We believe the Democrats harbor ill will toward the president because anyone who's ever met the guy hates him. What's the speaker hiding? Is she Vulcan or an android incapable of human emotion?"
For ... reasons, Democrats aren't going to drag out impeachment through most of 2020. It's not like there's not enough material. Trump has more crimes and corruption than Prince had unreleased recordings. Senate Democrats running for president will have to return for Trump's trial when they'd rather be campaigning in states that aren't Iowa or New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Republicans will shamelessly drag Joe Biden's name through the mud. This includes his good buddy, Lindsey Graham. This doesn't seem like a winning strategy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mocked the Democrats for "hosting a panel of lawyers to criticize the president on television." This is not a man who is going to seriously consider any articles of impeachment the House passes. This isn't even really a man. It's a sluggish reptile in a suit who has no problem lying to the American people. McConnell claims the Democrats are the ones who don't want to pass any legislation. All they care about is impeaching the president just because he won't stop criming. These are all insulting, gaslighting lies but the media is waiting for McConnell's nose to literally grow before calling him out on them.
Former federal prosecutor Francey Hakes helped the GOP rewrite history with crayons when she claimed this morning on "Fox & Friends" that Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment was "bipartisan." This is technically correct, like when someone asks a genie to give them a "position of great power" and they wind up as Adolf Hitler at the end of World War II. Five Democrats voted to impeach Clinton, but God knows what he'd done with their wives. That's not anything close to "consensus." Republicans drove that sham process from start to finish.
It's clear that Republicans are going to follow McConnell's prescription for opposing the Affordable Care Act. They will refuse to join Democrats in impeachment, regardless of the evidence, so they can deny them "bipartisan" support. They think Americans are too dumb to realize that party-line obstruction is even more partisan, and the elections of 2010, 2014, and 2016 go a long way to proving they're right.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.