To paraphrase War Games, the only way to win impeachment is not to play. Nancy Pelosi apparently agrees, and that’s no WOPR according to the WaPo, which reports all quiet on the impeachment front, at least for now.
Is it because House Democrats respect Pelosi, or fear her? Yes:
As pressure has mounted in recent weeks on House Democrats to move more aggressively against Trump, Pelosi has demonstrated the firm grip she wields over her caucus — quashing, at least for now, the push for impeachment. It is a command that colleagues say is drawn from a deep well of respect for the political wisdom of the most powerful woman in American politics — and fear that challenging her comes with the risk of grave cost to one’s career.
In January, Pelosi blocked two ringleaders of the rebels who had tried to deny her the speakership from securing their preferred committee assignments — even though the peace pact she made to reclaim the gavel precluded retaliation. And veteran lawmakers keenly remember how she rebuffed former Democratic Congress members Jane Harman (Calif.) and John Dingell (Mich.), two occasional thorns in her side, in their quest for chairmanships, moves many viewed as revenge for challenging her vision or authority.
“It’s much better to be with her than against her,” said Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), a Pelosi antagonist who eventually backed her for speaker. “She doesn’t make it easy, that’s for sure.”
“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and . . . what can happen if you don’t follow along,” said another Pelosi critic, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), who summed up the concerns members face if they defy Pelosi.
If Pelosi’s winning, it’s only a case of dragging a Democratic defeat from the jaws of likely victory. Pelosi understands that a partisan attempt to undo the last election will infuriate the voters that Democrats need not just to win the White House but also to keep their House majority. It will not have escaped Pelosi’s attention that they owe their 2018 midterm win to counties that leaned toward Trump two years earlier — and mainly by selling the now-debunked “Russia collusion” narrative.
Not everyone in Pelosi’s caucus has gotten the word on her win. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told ABC’s Jon Karl that pressure is growing daily to impeach Trump. It’s not about elections, Ocasio-Cortez claims, it’s about the rule of law:
Don’t let the YouTube title on this clip fool you. This is actually one of Ocasio-Cortez’ better and more cogent arguments, and she delivers it effectively. However, it’s not quite original. It’s been argued before — by Republicans in 1998. Pelosi heard it then and recognizes the dead end it produced.
The Post also quotes another quasi-dissenting voice in Pelosi’s caucus:
Pelosi is “holding it together, but it’s fragile because we’re kind of one event, one piece of explosive testimony, one action by Trump away from that dam collapsing,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.).
Eh, not really. Pelosi has time on her side. The closer we get to the 2020 election, the less popular impeachment becomes — and it’s already a polling disaster for Democrats. They have made no headway in convincing Americans of the necessity for removing Trump, and even some of the impeachment-supporting voters will gradually shift to making the elections a referendum on Trump instead. The Mueller report produced no smoking guns (and not even a large amount of smoke, for that matter), and so voters will want the final say on Trump rather than Ocasio-Cortez. That’s why Pelosi pushes the investigations, as a way to shape the 2020 battlefield, not to develop a catalyst for impeachment.
Pelosi’s smarter than most of the impeachment now caucus. Those who don’t fall in line are likely to find that out the hard way, especially extremist first-termers who are lucky to be there in the first place. Pelosi has ways of making that luck run out, IYKWIMAITYD.