Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden has had enough—of people criticizing Nancy Pelosi for her handling of the Donald Trump impeachment non-inquiry—talk of which flared up again after Trump said on Wednesday that he would be happy to take dirt from foreign governments about his 2020 rivals.
Pundit John Aravosis agreed with Tanden, and added that major news networks should leave the Democrats alone and focus on the real culprits: the Republicans.
Is there anything more pathetic than the House leadership repeatedly coming up with increasingly wild excuses about why they can’t do anything about the president of the United States blatantly walking all over them? Turns out the answer is yes: calling people who want Trump impeached “Trump puppets” and comparing this entire situation to domestic abuse, all in the name of defending Nancy Pelosi from the judgment of people on the internet.
There’s a certain sort of prominent liberal, a class Tanden and Aravosis happen to be part of, for whom the animating political event of their career wasn’t September 11, or the Iraq War, or the financial crash, or the fight over the Affordable Care Act, or the Tea Party and the GOP’s obstruction of Obama, or the Benghazi hearing, but rather Bill Clinton’s impeachment. The process, the ensuing backlash against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Al Gore’s loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 election—this experience has calcified into their brains as just common sense about what happens when you pursue impeachment.
There is not a single person on the pro-impeachment side of this issue who believes that starting an inquiry is going to change Trump. Nothing, to be clear, will change Trump. For all of the talk of his erratic behavior over the past several years, he is exceedingly predictable: he’s a greedy, racist tool of capital who responds to any slight negatively and any compliment positively.
But this is about more than Trump. This is about holding power to account, and about where we go after Trump. Every step Trump takes to continue to ignore the House sets a new precedent for flouting corruption.
It’s true that the Republicans could help the Democrats hold Trump to account. They also could help pass a Green New Deal and Medicare for All through the Senate. They will do neither of those things, because the Republican Party understands the value of having power and wielding it, and of self-preservation. Mitch McConnell doesn’t give a shit about Trump’s political career; he does, however, care about what a prolonged impeachment inquiry could do to the GOP’s electoral prospects in the Senate in 2020, and his plan to keep putting right-wing toddlers on the federal bench. What other Republicans care about is not becoming the next Justin Amash. None of them care about “the good of the country” or correcting “un-American behavior.”
The Democrats—meaning the leadership and its defenders—do not understand any of these things, because they worship compromise and bipartisan consensus, like when a liberal think tank “teams up” with the American Enterprise Institute to “defend democracy,” or an imaginary scenario in which the GOP-led Senate would pass a bill that actually expands access to voting and democracy.
There’s no such compromise to be found here. If the Democrats want anything to change, they’ll have to take action themselves. Unfortunately, their track record with “action” is abysmal at best.