Will impeachment backfire on Democrats? Not if they do it right.

Late at night on Aug. 15, 1998, a source called me from the White House residence. He wanted me to know that President Bill Clinton had decided to tell a federal grand jury that he had an “inappropriate relationship” with Monica Lewinsky. After months of denials, Clinton would come clean. “He has crossed the Rubicon,” the source said.

I filed the story for the Associated Press — and watched as the chattering class rushed to misjudgment.

Many expected a cadre of Democratic lawmakers to traipse down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House and urge Clinton to resign. After all, that’s how Republicans put Richard Nixon’s presidency out of its misery in 1974, two years after The Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein first exposed White House ties to the Watergate burglary.