Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked the red carpet Tuesday night as she arrived for the Time 100 Gala,  but earlier that afternoon she expressed her frustration with Republicans. Pelosi went into a scolding-mom moment as she disingenuously disparaged Republicans for offering blessings rather than shame on President Trump after she read the Mueller report.

During an interview, Pelosi said that President Trump potentially “engaged in behavior that was unethical, unscrupulous and beneath the dignity of the office,” as described in the Mueller report. She was speaking to the obstruction of justice charges in the report that Mueller acknowledged didn’t rise to the level of prosecution.

The reason the obstruction of justice charges didn’t rise to that level, though, is because there was no collusion found between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and that is a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow. The only hope of continuing the narrative that Trump is an illegitimate president because Russia rigged the election lies in keeping the Mueller report fresh in Democrat talking points. It’s really all the Democrats have at this point in the Trump presidency.

Republicans, she added, appear to “have unlimited appetite for this kind of behavior and instead of being ashamed, give their blessing to the president.” Pelosi wanted the audience to think this is unusual behavior in politics but it is the norm. Like it or not, base supporters remain loyal to the president when he comes under fire from his opposition. During Democrat administrations, especially the days of Bill Clinton and his impeachment, the same could have been said about loyal Democrats. Remember the triumphant gathering on the White House lawn when Clinton avoided impeachment after the Senate voted against it? I can still see Hillary, Bill, and Al Gore in my mind proudly marching to speak to the press.

Notice, though, that Speaker Pelosi continued on in the interview with her mantra that impeachment isn’t on the table… yet. She won’t rule it out but wants to explore other avenues, which mean investigation after investigation. What she doesn’t say is that impeachment proceedings would be the kiss of death for the Democrat nominee running against Trump.

“If the fact-finding takes us [to impeachment] we have no choice, but we’re not there yet. Impeachment is a step you have to take while bringing the American people with you, without prejudice, passion or partisanship but with a presentation of the facts.”

Her disingenuous concern, though, is on full display as she notes that President Trump’s administration is an “existential threat to our democracy”, which she repeated twice, according to the report in Newsweek.

“Our founders said ‘the times have found us’, we think the times have found us and you. The urgency of now is so big. It is our destiny to make this fight for our country, for our Constitution, for our people, for this beautiful patch of land God gave us and for the world.”

If Pelosi truly believes those words, that the administration is an “existential threat to our democracy” then she is required to act. Her first duty as an elected official is to protect the Constitution. If Trump’s administration was truly threatening America’s democracy, why is impeachment being slow-walked? It’s because impeachment is a political act and she doesn’t want to get mired down in impeachment proceedings less than two years out from a presidential election.

Pelosi can throw red meat to her base, the press, and celebrities, all day long. She has to sound more measured, though to try and recapture the vote of middle America. Working class voters in the midwest and the Rust Belt, in particular, are seeing Trump policy successes. The economic policies of the Trump administration have produced historic levels of employment for sectors across the spectrum. Wages are rising. That is a difficult truth for Democrats to run against. For Republicans voters, their votes will not depend on Trump’s personality or governing style with his staff. Their votes depend on the success of his policies and how their own lives are going. The economy will trump (sorry!) all the other slings and arrows from Democrats hoping to regain the Oval Office.