Pelosi: Impeach Trump or step aside!

I’ve
reluctantly come to the conclusion that Nancy Pelosi’s constituents in San
Francisco need to begin a petition drive to recall her from office.

Madame
Speaker has shown that she’s utterly out of touch with the prevailing sentiment
in the Democratic Party, of which she is the nation’s leading, most powerful
representative.

A recent CNN poll showed that 76% of Democrats nationally support impeachment. I certainly do. The evidence of Trump’s unfitness for office has been overwhelming for years. “High crimes and misdemeanors” constitute whatever the Congress says they are; Trump has been committing these crimes even before he was elected, through Russian connivance, and he continues to commit horrible crimes to this day.

So
towering is Pelosi’s reputation for political shrewdness that one of the big
questions transfixing Washington these days is whether she is playing chess in
a higher dimension. Maybe she feels that by withholding her sanction of impeachment,
she’s giving Democrats (and some wavering Republicans) cover. No one will be
able to say that the Democratic Party is on an obsessive, unreasonable race to
dethrone Trump, because Pelosi can always say she’s against it. Rather than
appear to be a runaway train, the drive for impeachment can mount up energy,
until there comes a time when there is a reasonable expectation that the Senate
will vote to convict.

This,
at any rate, is a theory; but not a convincing one. If impeachment is not
undertaken quickly, there’s an equally reasonable chance that that public will
grow bored, and that Trump’s argument that “it’s all over” will win the day.
That America can’t afford another 1-1/2 years of a Trump presidency, much less
a second term of it, is obvious to all Democrats.

Even
if conviction in the Senate is impossible at this time, impeachment hearings in
the House would at least keep the issue alive; testimony and other evidence
will forcibly bring home to the voters Trump’s crimes; and hearings also would
serve to remind voters that Trump is a pig. That may not be an impeachable
offense, but impeachment is as political a process as it is a legal one, and it’s
perfectly permissible to remind Americans—who are a kind of jury of public
opinion—that they know Trump is a dreadful, disgusting human being. Republicans
in the Senate know that, too; if impeachment hearings in the House can persuade
enough constituents in the various districts to call their Senators and demand
impeachment, there just might be enough votes to convict (67 are needed, meaning
that 15 or 16 Republican Senators would have to side with Democrats).

But
again, even if a Senate conviction is impossible, it’s still imperative to
begin impeachment hearings now. Is that exactly what Trump wants? It may be
that he thinks impeachment would redound to his benefit; the conventional
wisdom is that impeachment badly hurt Republicans when they went after Bill
Clinton, and that impeachment would badly hurt Democrats if they go after Trump.

This is a false argument. When Clinton was impeached, his approval rating stood exceptionally high among all Americans. After his impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999, Clinton’s rating reached its highest point at 73% approval.

This was because (a) the public had always liked and admired Clinton, (b) they felt that a sordid sex scandal was not enough reason to depose a sitting president, (c) Republicans were clearly and obviously proceeding along violently partisan lines, and (d) the reptilian independent counsel for the Republicans, Ken Starr, turned off vast numbers of people. Trump’s approval rating by contrast is underwater; it currently stands at 45%, with 55% of Americans disapproving of him.

There thus is no basis for comparison between the Clinton impeachment and a possible Trump impeachment. Trump has no residue of affection to protect him, except among the far-right fanatics who constitute his…


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