Remember six months ago when she tried to put the impeachment debate to bed by declaring that she wasn’t for it?
That was a fun three minutes.
Six months later, a majority of her caucus has declared itself in favor of impeaching the president. Democratic leaders are incoherent on the subject, with Jerry Nadler crowing that he’s proceeding with a formal impeachment inquiry and Steny Hoyer insisting that a formal impeachment inquiry doesn’t exist. It’s Schrodinger’s impeachment! Trump now exists in a quantum state where he both is and isn’t the subject of an impeachment investigation.
Pelosi couldn’t hide her irritation at Democrats’ predicament in her press conference this morning, flashing annoyance more than once as you’ll see below. The presser ended with her whining that reporters should go bother Mitch McConnell about America’s problem with gun violence instead of hassling her with questions about a topic on which she has nothing new to offer. This has become a bona fide liability for the party (albeit temporarily), as Ed noted in his post earlier, with the Democratic faithful glum at the cynicism of its leaders’ doublespeak and discouraged by their lack of nerve. I think Pelosi believed the left’s interest in impeachment would fade over the course of the summer as interest in the presidential race rose. But Nadler appears to have surprised her by taking a greater interest in it than she anticipated and Dem backbenchers have come under pressure back home to take a stand.
Result: It looks now like the base won’t fully abandon impeachment until primary voting begins next year, at which point rolling a political grenade into America’s electoral tent would be too risky to justify. That means five more months of her having to lamely dodge questions like these from reporters and aggravating lefties in the process. If only she could just tell the truth — the “impeachment inquiry” is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded oppo research operation, with the fruits of Nadler’s investigation to be weaponized not in an impeachment proceeding but by the Democratic nominee next fall. It must be maddening for Pelosi to have lefties asking her “Why aren’t you doing anything to stop Trump?” when House Dems are doing exactly what she thinks is the best way to stop him. Find his dirty laundry, air it, then beat him at the polls. That’s the only way to actually oust him. He could go on a multistate killing spree and McConnell’s Republican caucus still wouldn’t vote to remove him from office as part of an impeachment proceeding.
Maybe the sheer cynicism of Democrats’ dissembling on impeachment is an asset to them at this point insofar as it’s bound to cause lefties to lose interest. Pelosi’s obviously not going to pull the trigger; she doesn’t even want to answer questions on the subject; how many hints does she need to drop to progressives to get off her back and move on already? They can be mad at her if they want. She rules with an iron fist, and if her strategy of forgoing impeachment in order to beat Trump next fall pays off, no liberal will hold her tactics against her in hindsight.