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Democrats have done much to ensure President Trump’s reelection—but much work remains. Any number of impeachment theories have been floated—emoluments, Russia collusion, obstruction of justice, attempted obstruction, abuse of power, campaign finance, contempt of Congress, bigotry.
Strictly speaking, Democrats don’t care what the specific charges are—Trump is obviously guilty of everything.
Their logic is simple: once the process gets rolling, it will be unstoppable. Enough dirt on Trump will surface to change enough independent and Republican minds to reach a bipartisan semi-consensus not just for impeachment, but for a conviction in the Senate. Even if the Senate fails to convict, Trump would be so damaged that voters will turn away in disgust.
Bizarrely, the biggest obstacle to impeachment is . . . Nancy Pelosi. In a farcical reversal of roles, the speaker of the House of Representatives is ignoring the screeching from her berserker flock, even as the circle of “impeachment skeptics” around her shrinks. Pelosi, being a good tactician, understands that the outcome might be calamitous for the Democrats, and bucks the pressure like an old horse being led to slaughter.
I hope she fails. In the last scene of “Thelma and Louise,” with the police blocking their car’s escape and the edge of the cliff ahead of them, Geena Davis says: “Let’s keep going,” motioning with her head toward the cliff. In the movie’s final image, their 1966 Ford Thunderbird is in free flight over Grand Canyon.
I hope this summer, Democrats launch into impeachment hearings. The results will indeed be catastrophic—but not for Trump. This is a battlefield that Trump owns, in a war that’s been going on for many years. Pelosi knows this—which is why she has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to impeachment.
So let’s imagine Pelosi capitulates, and the Democrats finally pull the trigger. Jerry Nadler (the overweight 71-year-old New York blowhard who mumbles and nearly faints at most public events) will preside over the impeachment hearings as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The outcome of such proposed “hearings” is pre-ordained. We know how the vote in the committee will go before it’s even taken. We know how the vote in the House of Representatives will go, months before it takes place. The hearings will be nothing more than a partisan flagellation show, the sole purpose of which is to repeat Democratic talking points on live TV, ad infinitum, month after month, under the guise of “fact-finding”. Except—we’ve seen this movie before.
All the facts have been found already, all the “investigations” have already investigated everything under the sun, all the papers and TV networks have talked about all of this for years. But Democrats want to do one more round, and this time call it “impeachment.”
Napoleon is often quoted as saying “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” So I say: let them be!
Starting in (let’s say) July-August, for the following six to eight months, Washington, D.C. and the nation’s entire political class would be consumed with impeachment. Democrats won’t be able to walk and chew gum at the same time—with impeachment on TV, nothing else matters. No legislation of any kind will get through Congress (and that’s a good thing for Americans—but not for Democrats trying to get reelected in competitive districts). There are 35-45 borderline congressional seats ripe for flipping back to the Republicans in 2020, especially when Democrats prove themselves the party of impeachment, and nothing else.
Those presidential candidates with a “D” next to their name? Forget them. Pocahontas can release another 65 position papers and nobody will notice. Biden can stutter and stammer on the campaign trail and nobody will pay attention. Bernie can cough and wheeze about the joys of socialism and nobody will remember. The others? They won’t even be footnotes. Impeachment is a prairie fire. It will consume all the oxygen in our political ecosystem.
But you know whom impeachment won’t consume? Trump.
Trump will be on TV all the time, too. He’ll be talking about impeachment, sure, but also talking about jobs, economic growth, immigration, and national security. Something tells me his rallies will be overflowing (unlike Biden’s half-empty ones). As Nadler “finds facts,” the entire national conversation, for months on end, will be—once again—all about Trump. Beto? Buttigieg? Kamala? Booker? By the time it’s over, voters will forget how to spell their names.
Trump should beg for impeachment.
Democrats think this will be just like Nixon—the more they do it, the more people will buy into the notion. This logic has a major flaw: Nixon’s impeachment was launched long after the “crime” (such as it was) became public, and involvement of people around him became known. But Democrats have been talking about impeaching Trump since well before he was the Republican nominee.
Moreover, impeachment itself is very old news. Indeed, it’s been daily news since Trump won the election. All the charges Democrats can concoct—whether emoluments, or Stormy Daniels, or attempted obstruction, or intent to attempt to “collude” with Russia—have been regurgitated by the Democratic Media Complex for months and years. Old news repackaged as impeachment charges is still old news.
So let’s imagine early spring of next year. By then, Democrats will have spent months talking about nothing except subpoenas, testimony, redactions, witnesses, documents, emoluments, Stormy’s $130,000 college fund, obstruction, and all sorts of things that nobody other than they care about. There will be tedious wrangling about executive privilege, documents, transcripts, testimony, and all the boring stuff that goes with a quasi-legal proceeding. All these things matter a great deal to lawyers working for Nadler’s committee, but they don’t matter one whit to real people outside the Beltway.
Nadler will regurgitate yet again the Billy Bush tape, the Charlottesville canard, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Stormy, what Trump said or didn’t say to Don McGahn, on and on. His mistake is thinking that what goes on in front of his committee matters. It doesn’t.
Trump will spend the same months talking about what normal people care about—jobs, money in their pockets, security, immigration. For Trump, Nadler’s flatulent sniping won’t be anything new; and Trump knows how to choose the battlefield.
Trump will not fight this latest battle of the endless war to destroy his presidency in Nadler’s committee room. His battlefield will be the election rallies in swing districts and states, where people drive for hours and wait overnight just to hear him speak. Biden can barely scare up a few hundred people to see him, but Trump packs stadiums. Trump will slam Democrats again and again for re-litigating the 2016 election while he delivered what he promised. Meanwhile, the steady drumbeat of indictments against Clapper, Comey, Brennan, McCabe, and their ilk will continue in the background. The hunters will become the hunted. No wonder they are starting to twitch nervously and turn on each other.
At that point, the Democratic presidential candidates will have been drowned out. The Senate (predictably) will have refused to convict. Republicans will be energized and united like never before. Independents will be sick and tired of the utterly pointless Washington spectacle.
Does anyone really doubt that Trump and the GOP will clean the Democrats’ clocks? Please, please, pretty please! Impeach Trump!
I leave you with the final three minutes of “Thelma and Louise” as they drive off the cliff into the Grand Canyon. Picture Nancy Pelosi’s face in place of Susan Sarandon’s.
Photo Credit: Fotos International/Getty Images