|SAUL LOEB / AFP-GETTY IMAGES|
So much for that Blue Wave.
In the seven months since Democrats swept to power in the House, two unmovable obstacles to taking decisive action to rein in, if not remove, a rogue president who daily brings us to the precipice, have emerged. There is, of course, Donald Trump. And then there is Nancy Pelosi.
America nearly went over that precipice this week, and that's just the first four days.
On Sunday, there was Trump's vilely racist tweetstorm against The Squad, four minority Democratic congresswomen who have spoken truth to power and gotten little but grief for their principled stands.
On Tuesday, the House passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump's racism with a meager four out of 191 Republicans joining the Democrats amidst the inevitable lie-strewn White House pushback, including the president's pious assertion that "I don't have a racist bone in my body."
And then on Wednesday, there was a floor vote to impeach Trump for his racist attacks with Democrats joining Republicans to scuttle the measure. The bill died aborning, tabled by a 332-95 margin as 137 Democrats joined all 195 Republicans shortly before the racist-in-chief led a raucous reelection rally in North Carolina punctuated by his bigoted calls of "Tell them to leave!" and "Send her back!" responses targeting Representative Ilhan Omar.
Pelosi and her Democratic leadership loyalists continue to insist that the way forward is taking a slow boat with endless committee hearings on Trump's various crimes and misdemeanors -- a war of attrition they cannot win -- and then maybe impeachment will be considered.
Pelosi is a master parliamentarian. She can herd cats. Her pushbacks against The Squad are not as egregious as some make them out to be, and no the Far Left is not taking over the Democratic Party. And she means well, something of which the president certainly cannot be accused as his destruction of American values continues apace. But she believes that "prematurely" impeaching Trump, whatever the frick that is, would be divisive and even spell defeat in the 2020 elections.
The problem here is twofold: That destruction is not just continuing apace. It is accelerating. And it is occurring with Pelosi's Democrats in disarray.
Those Blue Wave victories and sundry stump speech promises of the winners last November to get that bastard Trump are a fleeting memory, kind of like the Dodgers winning the World Series a week before the election. Or was it the Red Sox?
The Democrats -- and Pelosi must share most of the blame -- keep blowing it with unforced errors.
Their message about the powerful conclusions in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on the Russia scandal were weak and confusing, which allowed Attorney General William Barr's whitewash of the report to stick. And once it became obvious that the whitewash was working, Pelosi punted.
There are so many Democratic-led committee hearings, subpoenas issued and rebuffed and contempt citations citationed that, as far as most observers would deduce, the slow boat is caught in a fog bank.
Pelosi won't even consider a bill to censure the president. "That's not on the table either," she has said reflexively. "I think censure is just a way out. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach."
Of course impeachment would be a fraught process. But, Madam Speaker, the goods have been hiding in plain sight for two years.
Andrew Sullivan captures the unreality of the moment perfectly in New York magazine:
It turns out . . . the Democratic House majority didn't matter much at all. Whenever a serious administration abuse of power seems to demand investigation, Speaker Pelosi springs almost instantly into inaction. There is nothing she won’t not do.Keeping Trump from winning a second term was a matter of national interest. Now it's a matter of national emergency. It's long past time for Pelosi to jump off the slow boat, but she won't.