As you know, Nancy Pelosi has been reluctant to push impeachment proceedings against Trump, for she feels—rightly, I think—that although an impeachment (the call for a trial) might be successful given the Democratic majority in the House, the trial itself will surely fail in the Republican-dominated Senate. And that will energize and solidify Trump’s base.
This has put Pelosi at odds with other House Democrats who want, as Rashida Tlaib said, “to impeach the motherfucker.”
Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times, recently wrote two columns extolling Pelosi (here and here) as well as criticizing Pelosi’s biggest Democratic detractor, “squad” member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for playing the race card when Pelosi criticized her and the other three squad members. In the second column, “Scaling Wokeback Mountain“, Dowd called out the “Progressive” Democrats’ rigid ideology as well as their insistence on impeaching Trump—something that Dowd thinks would be disasterous. As Dowd wrote:
The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.
. . . In the age of Trump, there is no more stupid proposition than that Nancy Pelosi is the problem. If A.O.C. and her Pygmalions and acolytes decide that burning down the House is more important than deposing Trump, they will be left with a racist backward president and the emotional satisfaction of their own purity.
Well, a certain stripe of Democrat couldn’t let that rest. This is the kind of Democrat for whom the futile fight to successfully impeach Trump is so pressing that they disregard the fact that it may well help Trump get re-elected. Many of these Democratic miscreants work for HuffPost, which has been on a single-minded mission to get Trump impeached and defend “the squad.” No matter that that squad started the fracas in the House by going after Pelosi (remember that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a demonstration in Pelosi’s office even before she was sworn in) and trying to bend the entire party to their agenda, also a fruitless task.
Witness this attack on Pelosi by HuffPost:
Pelosi has had a rough go of it lately, and the Dowd interview is the strongest evidence yet that the most powerful Democrat in America is losing touch with the country. Pelosi dismissed calls to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, claiming that Trump “self-impeaches” practically “every day” ― whatever that means. She downplayed former President Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern as “doing a dumb thing as a guy” ― a curious position in the Me Too era ― and suggested that Trump himself might have helped Democrats secure liberal priorities in a recent immigration bill had he not been so busy in North Korea.
But the interview really went off the rails when Pelosi lit into freshmen Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who all recently voted against that immigration bill, objecting to billions of dollars in fresh funding for the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ― two agencies the president has relied on to wage a campaign of terror against children, refugees and communities of color.
According to Pelosi, the opposition from Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley didn’t matter, because Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley don’t matter. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
. . . Politics is a messy business at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. But Pelosi’s leadership is damaging the Democratic Party. By catering to a very narrow, very elite slice of the electorate, she has removed herself from the mainstream of party thought and distanced her caucus from the interests of working people ― who vastly outnumber the people who base their votes on pricey footwear.
Well, make of that what you will. I suspect that if Democrats were given a choice of Pelosi or Ocasio-Cortez as Speaker, they’d choose Pelosi. And rightfully so, because she’s seen a thing or two and has been remarkably effective. Now there are four more unruly cats to herd, and they’re threatening to not only divide the Democratic party but, worse, help Trump get re-elected.
In today’s Times column, Dowd, clearly pissed off at HuffPost and her critics, struck back. It’s a good column:
Dowd has been in Washington for a long time, has impeccable liberal credentials (though has also been subject to criticism for caricaturing people and situations), and points out the disconnect between wanting impeachment on the one hand and the likelihood that this futile exercise will, in the end, help Trump on the other. She calls it “puritanism”, but I think it’s really a hatred of Trump that is so deep and strong that people will do anything to get at him, even at the risk of being hoist with their own petard.
Some quotes from Dowd’s piece. She starts out by, as they say, “throwing shade” on her critics:
After I interviewed Nancy Pelosi a few weeks ago, The HuffPost huffed that we were Dreaded Elites because we were eating chocolates and — horror of horrors — the speaker had on some good pumps.
Then this week, lefty Twitter erected a digital guillotine because I had a book party for my friend Carl Hulse, The Times’s authority on Capitol Hill for decades, attended by family, journalists, Hill denizens and a smattering of lawmakers, including Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins.
I, the daughter of a D.C. cop, and Carl, the son of an Illinois plumber, were hilariously painted as decadent aristocrats reveling like Marie Antoinette when we should have been knitting like Madame Defarge.
Yo, proletariat: If the Democratic Party is going to be against chocolate, high heels, parties and fun, you’ve lost me. And I’ve got some bad news for you about 2020.
That’s a good start. Then she gets into the meat of her argument:
The progressive Puritans think we must honor the Constitution and go for it because it’s the right thing to do.
You can argue that impeachment, morally and constitutionally, is the right thing to do. But you also have to recognize that, historically and politically, it is not the right thing to do because it will lead to disaster.
The attempt to impeach Trump is one of the rare cases in which something obviously justified is obviously stupid.
Unbelievably, Pelosi — long a G.O.P. target for her unalloyed liberalism — is derided by the far left for her pragmatism. But she has been through enough Washington wars to know that idealism, untempered by realism, is dangerous.
An impeachment could return Trump to power. The highchair king from Fifth Avenue would exult in his victimhood and energize his always-ready-to-be aggrieved followers.
It could also lead to Democrats losing the House as their moderates fall and help Republicans hold the Senate. No Republicans would vote for impeaching Trump and some Democrats might refuse as well. Even if the House acted, Mitch McConnell would smother it in the Senate, just like he did Merrick Garland.
It’s better to pull out Trump by the roots in the election and firmly repudiate him. The Democrats should focus on the future, not the benighted past that we have been relegated to under Trump.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign focused on what a terrible person Trump is. It turned out that enough voters knew that and didn’t care. They wanted a racist Rottweiler.
Now the Democrats are once more focused on what a terrible person Trump is. Message received, many times over.
. . .The progressives’ cry that they don’t care about the political consequences because they have a higher cause is just a purity racket.
Their mantra is like that of Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman Emperor: “Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus.” “Let justice be done, though the world perish.”
I agree: this is a real case of throwing out the baby (no, not baby Trump, but the Democratic prospects for 2020) with the bathwater. Was Trump guilty of lying and even criminal behavior? Yes, I think so. Were they the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for a successful impeachment? That’s above my pay grade, and should be up to the Senate. Will the Senate convict him? Not on your life.
And do I want Trump gone? Of course I do—more than anything. So does Dowd. That’s why she’s defending Pelosi against the Pecksniffs who simply want to create a circus in the House. The stakes are too high for that.