Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pelosi Playing "Three-dimensional Chess" On Impeachment? Actually - More Like Dodge Ball And She's The Trump Target

Nancy Pelosi - Playing three dimensional chess with impeachment, OR being steamrolled by Trump who perceives her fear and weakness in the face of his nonstop transgressions and unwillingness to do anything about it.

"When faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the Constitution. I cannot claim to be committed to a rooting out of corruption and putting people over politics and then not apply those principles and standards to all the work that I do."  - Rep. Katie Porter, D-CA  in an announcement yesterday.

"I think with the president now saying he is willing to break the law to win re-election that transcends partisanship and party lines.  This is now about the rule of law in the United States of America. This is about us doing our jobs".  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio - Cortez

"Maybe Howard Dean is right and there is this strategic patience and Nancy Pelosi is playing three dimensional chess.  But here's the thing, the rest of America is becoming more and more disengaged, the more they see no one is doing anything about Donald Trump."  Danielle Moodie-Mills, on All In last night.

"If they're worried about Trump's megaphone, stonewalling and controlling the narrative, Democrats do have this 'break glass in case of emergency' option.  Begin an impeachment process to take it away from him but also because it's the right thing to do."   Brian Beutler, last night on 'All In'

According to Howard Dean last night on 'All In', Nancy Pelosi is using a brilliant tactic of  "letting momentum build" in what he called "strategic patience".  Basically averring "she hasn't missed a step, she has Donald Trump's number".  Really?  Then why do I have the unsettling feeling Trump is wiping the floor with the Dems and the Constitution with each subpoena he blows off, each aide he refuses to let testify, each mockery he makes of our laws?  Hell, he even openly bragged about getting foreign help to win the next election - and had to be reminded it was against the law!

 In a nutshell, Dean insists Pelosi is basically allowing the polls to gradually build toward impeachment. Then, when they surpass a critical threshold - say 75% -  she will allow at least an  impeachment inquiry to begin.  In effect, Dean wants us to believe she is playing a kind of three dimensional political chess which either: a) will lead to an eventual impeachment when the polling hits that 'sweet spot' or b) wends towards the election 17 months away when Trump will finally be ousted by the voters themselves.

Of course, by that time - given 17 months is almost an eternity in an election cycle- this Republic could well be in a shambles, which is also one reason California House Rep Katie Porter has  come on board for impeachment (see her quote above - as presented on 'All In').  Katie, like 65 other House Dems (And one Republican, Justin Amash) grasps that the' wait and vote him out' strategy is a loser. Not only will it likely not work, given the Dem base will be totally de-energized by then, but also it will allow Trump to wreak even more terminal damage to norms and the Constitution as Nancy plays the ostrich - head in the sand - game.

So no, I am not buying that Ms. Pelosi is playing three dimensional chess. I am buying that she is in a defensive crouch in a months long game of Trump 'dodge ball' - in which she is trying to dodge his brutal hits but with very little effect.

Let's be frank, like most pols and pundits these days Pelosi is overthinking what is really a simple issue: Do you let your Article I powers remain in cold storage, unused while the criminal lout in the WH tramples with impunity over our laws, Constitution? Or, do you pull yourself out of your funk and delusions and bring the hammer down on Dotard's sorry ass?  In other words, do you exercise the powers available to you or continue to cower and cringe in the face of implacable resistance to the rule of law?

According to one recent WaPo story, Pelosi  "summoned her top lieutenants to a late-night meeting and hatched a plan — that six party leaders, speaking in unison, would make clear to the chairmen why impeaching Trump was a terrible idea."  We're then informed that Pelosi told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) "Republicans are stewing in their own juices, and that the party should devote its time to calling out Republicans for siding with a president trampling the Constitution,"

Neato, except while the Democrats are busy "calling them out" the Repukes are trashing more and more of the Constitution every day.  Is Pelosi and her sycophants in the House really going to allow 17 more month of this bull shit? Seriously?  Why sycophants? Because the other term for people who "fear that challenging her comes with the risk of grave cost to one’s career" is cowards.  Here I define a coward - a political coward- as one who puts his own interests or his party's above the nation and the Constitution which he swore to defend.  If you are more worried about a demotion or being replaced on a committee because of what you say to the Speaker, then you are to all intents a yellow -bellied coward.   This is not merely arrant, unjustified speculation, given we also learned from the WaPo:

 "Veteran lawmakers keenly remember how she rebuffed former Democratic Congress members Jane Harman (Calif.) and John Dingell (Mich.), two occasional thorns in her side, in their quest for chairmanships, moves many viewed as revenge for challenging her vision or authority."

But know what? If they challenged her authority on the basis of  a higher duty - to nation and Constitution - I give them props and kudos.  I give them those because they are not meek maggots seeking cover and security, but real heroes. What I envisage an elected Representative ought to be. Which is not a yes man or yes woman who believes the Speaker's will trumps all else.  This behavior to be applauded s opposed to the cowardly, spineless, sniveling deportment of a worm like Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), who whined:

It’s much better to be with her than against her,”

Or another cowardly cuck like Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.):

“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and . . . what can happen if you don’t follow along,

So wait. You treat this tiny, 78-year old woman with a weak, raspy voice like she's Don Corleone giving orders from his Mafia den? Really?  Then you ought to be a dog catcher not  a people's rep.  Fortunately, more House Dems are coming around, like Rep. Katie Porter and Michigan's Andy Levin. Levin recently also announced the desire to begin an impeachment inquiry, greeted by thunderous applause at his town hall meeting.  And why not?  Latest polls show a majority of Americans now are for beginning impeachment (which is a process, not an end in itself) and  50 % now believe the Trump campaign "coordinated with the Russians".   As Chris Hayes observed last night: "It seems these Americans have a better grasp of the Mueller report than Trump does".

Well, of course, because there's no way Trump would read even 2 pages of said report. After all, he only reads at a third grade level, which also covers his cognitive capacity

This is especially as new polls find a majority of Americans now demand impeachment, as revealed last night at the beginning of 'All In' (after Howard Dean's framing of Nancy's stance as a 3D chess tactic.

Like Howard Dean, the spin from the D- Trump enablers and longtime Pelosi allies is that the fear factor is vastly inflated. Rather, they say it’s more that members respect the California Democrat, who has led them for 16 years and understands the political consequences of impeachment.  But to me, Janice and many others who are part of the base, it appears the opposite is true: If she really understood impeachment she'd grasp it's the only tool left (short of the House's jailing powers under the inherent contempt clause) that can halt a rush to lawlessness and trashing the Constitution  -rendering it only a piece of paper.

She also doesn't grasp that because a process may be "divisive" is not a sufficient reason not to employ when needed and when the survival of this nation in any recognizable form is at stake. So when Pelosi says:

“I don’t think there’s anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a president of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great car.It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”

I must respond:  How much more "truth" and facts do you require when Trump is ignoring your every subpoena and stonewalling on steroids, turning your caucus into cuckolds?  And he's also openly admitted he'd commit a crime (getting campaign info from foreign sources) if it meant winning the next election. It's staring Pelosi right in the face- the truth and facts of what this swine is doing - and she's meekly letting it occur under some ruse of a grand strategic design.

Right now, the GOP Trumpies and Dotard himself are laughing all the way to court with dozens of court challenges to subpoenas, given they have Dems locked in "process fights".  All they need to do is run out the clock and the Dems will lose, and waste time as they fight in the courts to try to get the traitors to respect House -issued subpoenas.  My take, and many more now, is for Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler and other House committee chairs to at least invoke the 1934 concept of "inherent contempt" and toss the asses of these stonewallers directly into the Capitol jail - marched there at gunpoint if need be.

As Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe elegantly summed up in an interview 4 weeks ago:

"What we have here is a situation where the Mueller report shows without any doubt that a hostile foreign power attacked the United States in this (2016) election  That Donald Trump welcomed that attack, benefited from it and then - the last couple of years - tried to cover it up every possible way.  That was with ten instances of felonious obstruction of justice."

Combine all the above with the fact Trump's toady attorney (Consovoy)  is trying to make the case - in expedited court hearings - that even congressional oversight in Watergate was questionable, and you will finally grasp we are in a genuine constitutional crisis. Not just on the verge of one. And how the House Dems meet it, whether in crouched position or head-on, will largely determine our future.

A start right now would be to educate the American people more on the nature of impeachment, what it is and its purpose in the sort of situation we're in.  As Danielle Moodie-Mills put it last night:

"The Democrats need to educate their constituency which is what they are not doing. Right now you have a bunch of Democrats, like the ones in leadership, who are saying 'we're gonna slow walk ourselves to impeachment', 'we're gonna let Trump self-impeach'. And the reality is these polling numbers are ticking up and not because of pulling a Justin Amash. They're ticking up because the subject is coming up at town halls including why the Constitution matters. Why what Donald Trump is doing as a lawless president matters to your day to day lives.  Justin Amash is doing that but Democrats aren't."

This is a powerful set of memes to unpack, especially the last - the connection of Trump's lawless behavior to people's day to day lives, i.e. bread and butter issues. Because truth be told, if he believes he's bound by no laws, by no lawful institution or assembly, there's no reason he'd respect the welfare of citizens either.

As I'd written earlier (May 9):

"The Dems have no choice, especially if the Trumptards continue to refuse to respond to subpoenas. Thus, the only way to obtain the evidence needed is to take the crisis to the next level - of impeachment. The House Dems then become the lawful prosecutors and must be given the evidence, including the unredacted full report and all ancillary evidence.  "

The political overthinking and belief in some perilous "blowback" with impeachment was also skewered by  Sidney Blumenthal  over a month ago, also on 'All In'.  He noted that going ahead is especially cogent given Trump "is vastly overrated, and only appears to be strong because of  his bluster."  Adding, he's the lowest rated president since polls were ever taken of presidents and "has never hit 50 percent". This makes him ripe for the pickings. 

Former Senator and Watergate investigator Elizabeth Holtzman agrees, but adds Dems ought to hold hearings first to "educate the public".    But I think now the better option given Trump's stonewalling and not allowing aides to appear at public hearings, is to do what Justin Amash is doing - educate the public on impeachment at town hall meetings.

Make no mistake that Amash having come out bluntly against Trump - after reading the full Mueller report- delivered an impeachment boost "on steroids"   Amash probably beheld exactly what Mr. Blumenthal referenced in Part II of the report, i.e. "there are obvious cases of obstruction of justice that have been documented, stronger than those brought against Richard Nixon."  Blumenthal here emphasized it is the similarities to the Nixon case that bear attention, not those to the Clinton impeachment which was based "on a contrived and insubstantial case."

Meanwhile, Amash's points with regard to the Mueller report and Trump are equally compelling,  and lay out a blue print for impeachment given Pelosi seems too blind to see them, e.g.:

1- Attorney General Barr deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report.

2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.

3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.

4. Few members of congress have read the report.

Points 3 and 4 are especially noteworthy given they're aimed directly at Amash's GOP cohort: on the one hand protecting their party over the country, and on the other not bothering to read the full report, opting for Barr's crib note version instead.

What we now know is that the situation has reached crisis point and the House Dems need to act or be turned into laughing stocks or impotent clowns. The clock is ticking and will reveal whether in fact the Democrats have the testicular fortitude to bring Uzis and anti-aircraft cannon to this  political "gunfight" or stick with their letter openers - as Charles Blow fears.   

We need House Dems now to cease being pawns of Pelosi in her grand nebulous scheme for Trump to self-impeach, and to take it on themselves. The clock is ticking and will not be kind to the Dems next year if they miss the window for action.  

As media specialist Brian Beutler put it last night zooming in on Pelosi' often contradictory and cognitively dissonant babble:

 "I've covered Pelosi for a long time and how she's talking about impeachment is what she does when she's whipping against it.  She's saying mutually contradictory things about what impeachment means and when we should do it. She says we shouldn't do it for political reasons but in the next interview she'll say it's very divisive and we shouldn't just leap into it.  That's a political judgment that she's making and you can't have it both ways.
The reason she's trying to have it both ways is she needs a reason to explain away why she's not doing what the Constitution clearly contemplates her doing at this point."

The takeaway:  House Dems need to ignore Pelosi and tell her to either shape up or ship out, or they will find a new, bolder Speaker after she is recalled.  As Danielle Moodie -Mills put the final touch on the discussion:

"A  majority of people are now saying to being impeachment proceedings, at least. Not removal. And Nancy Pelosi out of one side of her mouth is saying 'the president belongs in jail'  and then on the other hand saying, 'Um. I don't wanna do it for political reasons'.  But I'm saying you're not making a decision based on political reasons  because you're saying we have time to wait before 2020 when he's told us he's ready to steal the election before then.  Just saying."

See also:

by Bill Blum | May 21, 2019 - 6:23am | permalink

No comments: