With 15 months to go before the 2020 presidential election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is deftly managing her Democratic caucus, tamping down premature calls for impeachment while allowing President Trump to continue to alienate and anger voters in the middle, the ones who will count on election day.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before two House committees last week gave voice to his report, which showed 10 examples in which Trump likely obstructed justice and presented at least 100 confirmed contacts between the Trump campaign and administration and Russian operatives.
Contrary to the president’s claim of “complete and total exoneration,” Mueller’s report laid the groundwork for impeachment proceedings, which appears to be the special counsel’s goal; let Congress decide the consequences for Trump as mandated in the Constitution.
This is where Pelosi’s political acumen comes into play. Right now, during the summer months, most Americans other than political junkies like me aren’t paying much attention to what’s happening in Washington. But come September, people will start watching and listening. That’s when the drip-drip-drip starts as the six House committees investigating Trump begin gathering evidence of White House wrongdoing.
Impeachment is probably not Pelosi’s end game because she knows the Senate Republican majority will never convict Trump regardless of how damning the evidence the House presents. If the president committed criminal and unethical acts, Republicans cynically reason, so what?
But with the public paying attention in the months ahead and that same evidence getting front page play as it’s revealed by House committees day after day, independent, moderate and undecided voters could well come around to understanding the length and breadth of Trump’s maleficence; his criminality, his self-dealing, his “love” of despots, his cruelty and his virulent racism.
Thus, Pelosi is stepping back and letting the process play itself out. Those who can shed light on White House machinations have been subpoenaed. At Trump’s direction they are ignoring the subpoenas and being held in contempt of Congress while Democrats take them to court where a federal judge will order them to appear before the House committees.
Pelosi knows this timing works out just fine for Democrats. Let the inquiries extend into next year. Let the witnesses testify as the presidential race heats up. Let the public hear what insiders have to say as Americans decide who to vote for.
I don’t really understand why so many middle class and senior voters dislike Pelosi. All she and her Democratic colleagues want to do is make sure they have access to affordable health care and medications, that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes, that quality public education is guaranteed, and that Social Security, Medicare and the social safety net are protected.
For that, the right wing talking heads who care about none of those things have cast her as the Wicked Witch of the West.
Nevertheless, Pelosi has maintained her cool, calm and collected demeanor. She doesn’t raise her voice, she minimizes the drama, and she doesn’t tweet hysterical attacks at her opponents.
Republicans want you to believe there are deep divides among Democrats and that the fringe left has taken over. In fact, Pelosi is a middle left Democrat with excellent organizational skills who is successfully wrangling her caucus. In many ways, her style resembles that of former President Barack Obama.
That must make Donald Trump angry … and nervous. But by behaving like a petulant kid to Pelosi’s stern mother, he plays right into the Speaker’s hands. The contrast couldn’t be more stark; an ignorant, inexperienced man-child versus a seasoned politician with the Constitution on her side and the constitution to stand up to the president’s belligerence.
Also in glaring relief are the House and Senate Republicans utterly cowed by Trump. Many reportedly object to the president dissing America’s allies while coddling dictators, for example, but only behind closed doors. They see the damage Trump is doing to our country as clearly as their Democratic colleagues but are bullied into meek silence, a profile in cowardice if ever there was one.
It’s refreshing to watch Pelosi in action in the face of craven GOP lickspittles. Recently, she shrewdly negotiated a debt ceiling deal that will extend into 2021, avoid a government shutdown, and protect the social programs Democrats support. That’s called winning.
As we count down to the 2020 election, I look forward to Pelosi and her House colleagues for slowly but surely exposing the president for the fraud he and his administration are.
Let’s hear what Attorney General Will Barr says about serving as Trump’s personal lawyer and not the chief law enforcement officer for the United States. I want former White House counsel Don McGahn to tell us about Trump’s orders to fire Mueller. Under oath, what can Don, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and adviser Kellyanne Conway reveal about Oval Office chicanery?
We’ll find out soon enough.