The Impeachment Impasse - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

The Impeachment Impasse

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019 12:19 pm

“Send in the Clowns.

Don’t bother, they’re here.”

Lyric by Stephen Sondheim

Democrats are sharply divided over whether or not to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Freshman Democrats in Congress are clamoring for such action, insisting that their constituents are demanding and expecting it. Cooler, more seasoned leaders within the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at this writing at least, are urging restraint. They caution that impeachment efforts pose significant political risks to their party and they are right. A failed attempt to remove a duly-elected president by the impeachment method could damage the party’s election prospects in 2020 just as the failed effort to remove Bill Clinton damaged the GOP brand. Even a successful effort, unlikely given the circumstances, could result in a backlash.

Polls have consistently showed that about half of prospective voters do not favor impeachment and the attending disruption to government it brings. And since the president would be tried on articles of impeachment in the Republican-controlled Senate, there is little to no chance that he would be convicted, even if the House managed to come up with legitimate impeachable offenses. It’s difficult, for example, to prove obstruction of justice in the absence of proof that a crime has been committed. You can’t impeach a president simply because you hate him or you don’t like his character or his communications style or the electoral college system.

Speaker Pelosi knows that impeachment proceedings would preoccupy her chamber for the remainder of its term and doom her party’s legislative agenda. That may be acceptable for the young, hot-headed novices in her caucus from safe Democratic districts who crave publicity, but it would hurt the party’s chances in the swing states. Polls also indicate that a majority of independents and moderates do not favor impeachment. The young rebels may imagine that they were elected to impeach Trump but they actually were elected to legislate and this Democrat-controlled House has done precious little of that. They have mostly focused on trying to parse the Mueller Report and issuing subpoenas. Whatever happened to their so-called “agenda for the people”?

Ms. Pelosi is clearly under intense pressure to satisfy both sides but doesn’t appear to be having much luck. Perhaps that’s partly because she keeps encouraging the would-be impeachers by questioning Mr. Trump’s mental health and saying that he is “engaged in a a cover-up.” That seemed like an odd way to prepare for a meeting with the president to discuss a spending plan for much-needed infrastructure improvements. Having been accused by the Speaker of the House of a cover-up, Mr. Trump predictably walked out of the meeting. So much for efforts to provide funding to address America’s decaying infrastructure.

If Speaker Pelosi can’t control her own caucus and refrain from reckless charges against the president, what hope is there for cooperation between the two branches of government? And since this bunch of legislators can’t seem to get much legislation done, here’s a suggestion. Instead of just talking about impeachment and threatening to do it, just do it. Give it your best shot. Go ahead and turn the House of Representatives into a circus. Send in the clowns. Not much of anything else is getting done anyway and it should be entertaining. You’ll be doing the GOP a favor because the effort will fail in Senate as anyone with a brain knows and it will give GOP candidates something else to campaign on besides the economic accomplishments under Trump, to wit: Democrats tried to undo the 2016 election and can’t accept election results.

My advice to the president would be to not spend a lot of money on your re-election campaign. No need to. Just try to act like the only adult running for president. (I know it’s hard, but try.) Let the gaggle of Democrat candidates defeat themselves. When the top two candidates are an aging socialist who favors free stuff for everyone and an aging, gaffe-prone, flip-flopping former Vice-president, I’d say your re-election chances are looking pretty good.

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