Beto O’Rourke told a group of reporters in Iowa Sunday that he thinks it’s time to impeach President Trump. While it’s not a surprise that he has this opinion, given that he frequently mentioned it when he ran for the Senate seat against Ted Cruz in the 2016 election cycle, as a presidential candidate he’s been unwilling to jump off that cliff. When the Mueller report came out O’Rourke said that he would leave that decision to the House and to voters.
“I’m going to leave that to those members of the House who as they review those findings can make that decision. … But ultimately at this point I believe that this is going to be decided in November 2020,” he told reporters in New Hampshire.
That was then. This is now. The day before his random declaration, though, Nancy Pelosi told the New York Times that impeachment isn’t a priority. She knows that polling shows little interest in impeachment from American voters. Pelosi wants to persuade independent and middle-of-the-road voters to vote for whoever turns out to be the Democrat nominee. This isn’t her first rodeo when it comes to talking of impeachment. She knows how it worked out for Republicans when Clinton was impeached by the House.
Nonetheless, Beto persisted. When asked about how he squares his opinion with that of Speaker Pelosi’s O’Rourke said, “I mean, we’re two different people. And I really respect the Speaker and what she’s been able to do, but when asked my opinion, I’ve got to give my opinion and not anybody else’s.” I gotta be me. The Mueller report convinced him that Trump must face consequences for his actions. The Mueller report found no collusion and President Trump was not charged in the obstruction of justice allegations, but never mind.
“I think that this Mueller report, absolutely exhaustive, from one of the most trusted people in this country, now gives Americans, regardless of party, the information they need to make the best decision for this country,” O’Rourke told reporters in Iowa during his third trip to the early state as a presidential candidate.
“And for me, that means that we decide that we are a nation of laws. That no man is above the law,” O’Rourke said. “Impeachment proceedings in the House ensure that more of these facts come to light, ensure that the Senate can make a very informed decision about the consequences for this President.”
O’Rourke told the Dallas Morning-News that the truth is coming out. Americans need some accountability, you know.
“We’re finally learning the truth about this president. And yes, there has to be consequences. Yes, there has to be accountability. Yes, I think there’s enough evidence now for the House of Representatives to move forward with impeachment,” he said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “This is our country, and this is the one chance that we get to ensure that it remains a democracy and that no man, regardless of his position, is above the law.”
O’Rourke’s record in the House of Representatives shows that when he had the chance to vote on opening impeachment hearings, he chose to vote against it twice.
Both times O’Rourke had a chance to vote for impeachment, he voted against it: on Dec. 6, 2017, when the House voted 364-58 to kill an impeachment resolution from Rep. Al Green, a Houston Democrat, and on Jan. 19, 2018, when the House voted 355-66 to kill another try from Green.
O’Rourke is the worst kind of political opportunist. He was against opening impeachment hearings because he was going to challenge Ted Cruz in Texas. Then, when he got into the race, he was the only candidate running for the Senate who was openly in favor of impeachment. He lost that race so when he entered the 2020 presidential primary, he toned the impeachment rhetoric down again. He wasn’t willing to say yes to impeachment until last weekend. Now he uses the Mueller report as cover for his decision, though his explanation makes no sense. Neither collusion or obstruction of justice charges are moving forward yet Beto claims to be “learning the truth” and there must be consequences. Consequences for what?
This is the result of his fall from favor with Democrat primary voters. The more they get to know him, the more they don’t like what they see. According to Real Clear Politics ranking, Beto is at 4.3%. In comparison, Joe Biden is running away with Democrat approval right now with 39.0%. Bernie Sanders is at 15.5%, Elizabeth Warren is at 7.7% while Kamala Harris is at 7.2%. Mayor Pete is at 6.8%. Those are the one I’d consider in the top tier of candidates, at least right now. Beto has fallen to the top of the second tier. He’s already peaked and it doesn’t look like he is capable of making a comeback.
These are still early days in the Democrat primary season, though it feels like it has been going on forever. The first debate is scheduled in June. Anything can happen.