Nancy Pelosi is many things but one thing she is not is naive. Members of her caucus, not so much. Despite many members of her caucus, including the “Squad,” urging her to begin formal impeachment proceedings of the President, she has held firm. Until Tuesday.
A whistle-blower complaint leveled against the President broke the proverbial camel’s back. The complaint alleged the President withheld $450 million in aid to Ukraine because the country refused to investigate Joe Biden’s involvement in his son’s (Hunter Biden) business. Dozens more members of her caucus formally supported impeachment proceedings and Pelosi acceded to their request.
Since Democrats took back the majority in January and Pelosi was elected Speaker, she has been resistant to the idea of impeachment. Rather, she has argued the President can be removed from office via another constitutional mechanism, elections!
Unfortunately for Pelosi, the issue has been building for some time. The steady drip, drip, drip of scandals, the media’s intense focus on everything the President does and says, and the leftward tilt of her party have kept the issue alive. From taxes, to language to campaign finance violations, to Russian election meddling, supposedly the President should be impeached.
But, much as former Speaker John Boehner was maligned for the choices he made in regards to then Resident Obama, Pelosi has faced the same set of choices are largely behaved the same way. Specifically, weighing the partisan considerations of impeachment vs. what is in the best interests of the country. Until Tuesday, the interests of the country were more important.
To understand the interests of the country it is not surprising to note impeachment is very divisive for the nation. Pelosi, due to her long tenure in Congress, has seen how destructive it can be not just for the nation’s citizens but also the basic functioning of governance.
During the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal, the basic functioning of governance broke down. Republicans blatantly opposed the President at every turn and the level of trust in Congress went into the negative. In turn, Americans basic trust in government eroded further.
It helped the nation most of the public approved of Bill Clinton on the issues even if they did not like the personal choices he made. With Trump, few voters like him personally but more approve of his stance on the issues. Add in the heightened polarization in politics and the public’s trust in government dropping to new lows, impeachment is hardly likely to rebuild that trust.
The sad truth is while most politicians will claim fealty to the Constitution but then do an end-run around it to get their agenda through. For example, Beto O’Rourke arguing for a mandatory gun buy-back program and in the next sentence arguing how the President is trampling the Constitution. Partisans love this language. The rest of America rolls their eyes.
Seasoned hands in Congress might be vilified, but they tend to understand these simple facts better than most. They have seen it and know elections are the appropriate mechanism to remove a bad apple. But, you can only hold back the flood for so long.
Impeachment will only heighten the startling divisions in the country. Supporters of the President are sure to back him while opponents will surely want him booted from office. Those in the middle, most of America, will be stuck in the middle. It honestly is like watching a bad melodrama. Except, we are all stuck in it for the next year.
There is honestly no hope the President will be impeached. There is no solid evidence the President obstructed justice, he leveraged financial aid to gain dirt on Biden, committed tax fraud and a host of other issues. The fact there are so many allegations actually works in favor of the President as the investigators have finite resources and are being told to look at everything.
It would take a lot to bring on any Senate Republicans to impeach the President. Second and third-hand accounts the President said this or did that does not equal impeachment. Or maybe in this new world it does.