For cripes sake. On a day when other freshmen who are in tight electoral spots are showing their cards, Elissa Slotkin still can’t bring herself to whisper “Impeach,” as everyone knows she will eventually?
Read this post for background if you missed it on Wednesday. She’s one of the seven Democratic freshmen from swing districts with backgrounds in national security who co-wrote an op-ed in September arguing that the Ukraine allegations were of momentous gravity. That op-ed was influential within Congress in two ways, first by persuading colleagues that what Trump did was a Big Deal according to natsec pros and second by signaling to wary Dems that even the most vulnerable freshmen were willing to find the political courage needed to call Trump to account for it. It was the political equivalent of Slotkin yelling at her troops, “Fix bayonets!”
So here they are, charging at the enemy, and suddenly she’s telling them, “You go on, I’ll catch up.”
You can’t call for bayonets and then refuse to charge so she will inevitably charge next week. The left would never forgive her for her failure of nerve under the circumstances; if she wanted to lie low on impeachment because she comes from a pro-Trump district, she should have thought of that before putting her name on that op-ed. The “tell,” I think, that she’s made up her mind to vote yes and is engaged in a long kabuki to pretend that this was some sort of close call for her is the fact that she gave the interview below not to CNN or MSNBC but to Fox News. She knows which of her constituents back home in Michigan watch Fox and she knows how angry they’re going to be when she votes yes. So she tried to placate them in advance with this performance, in which she spends eight minutes rhetorically wringing her hands over how hard a decision it is and how deeply she needs to think about it. Just a few more days!
You’ve had like three months, Bill Hemmer says to her at one point. There hasn’t been any new factual evidence added to the record since Adam Schiff gaveled the final Intel Committee hearing to an end 22 days ago, and it’s been 10 days since the Committee’s report on its findings was released. What else does she need to hear before she decides?
Answer: Nothing. Her mind was made up in September. This pandering suspense act is purely for the benefit of Trump voters who’ll hate her for voting yes but would really hate her if she made it sound like voting yes was an easy call. I hope they oust her next year just for the lame cynicism of this stunt.
Speaking of Democratic defectors, Axios has a tantalizing scoop today: Six House Democrats showed up to Trump’s White House Christmas party last night and the two Dems who are voting no on impeachment, Jeff Van Drew and Collin Peterson, weren’t among them. Could Pelosi have as many as eight defectors in her ranks on the big vote next week? Well … maybe not. Three of the Dems who showed up come from districts Trump lost in 2016, so they have little incentive politically to vote with him. And the three who came from districts he won aren’t under heavy pressure since those districts lean Republican only slightly. Justin Amash also showed up and he’s the opposite of a Trump apologist. Maybe the six just wanted some free eggnog and to soak in the ambiance of Christmas at the White House. Exit quotation from a senior White House official: “It’s kind of odd to be voting to say the guy is a clear and present danger to the globe but I’m going to come and hang out at the White House for a black tie affair.”
Update: There may be no more outspoken freshman Democrat from a red district than Max Rose, the 33-year-old veteran from Staten Island. Every time there’s a clash between the Squad and the centrists in the caucus, Rose is good for an expletive-filled quote defending the centrists’ prerogatives. If anyone would be reluctant to impeach, you’d think it’d be him. But here he is showing more nerve than Elissa Slotkin.
Max Rose, a Democratic freshman from a swing NY district, announces his support for both articles of impeachment.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 13, 2019