|SOCIAL NEWS DAILY|
Shush! Listen closely. That sound you hear, no matter how distant you are from Washington, is the sound of congressional Democrats spinning their wheels as they dither over how to rid America of Donald Trump. Or indeed whether they should even try.
Yes, even in the face of a veritable Himalaya of evidence that Trump is a criminal of staggering proportions who is profoundly unfit for office, even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller all but shouted that the Dems must do their constitutional duty by picking up the ball and running with it, the party leadership is betwixt and between -- like deer caught in the headlights of a getaway car with the president at the wheel -- about what to do.
The options are these:
* Continue investigating him on multiple fronts.
* Begin impeachment proceedings against him.
* Leave it to voters to deny him a second term.
* Denied that second term, indict his sorry ass.Trump has had some success playing the Democrats, frequently through manufactured crises that inevitably collapse under the weight of their own emptiness, most recently an "agreement" with Mexico to avoid tariffs that actually is months old.
But at this point the Dems are playing themselves, and small victories like an agreement reached Monday between Attorney General William Barr and the House Judiciary Committee on releasing "key evidence" from the Mueller report on whether Trump obstructed justice is illusory. This is because the outlines of such information are already pretty much known despite Barr's redactions and White House is not budging on the biggie -- forbidding Donald McGahn and other former administration officials to honor subpoenas to testify, which short of an unlikely appearance by Mueller himself is the Dems' best hope of blowing Trump's criminality wide open.
Hours after the agreement was announced, committee chairman Jerrold Nadler gaveled in the first of a series of hearings scrutinizing 10 incidents of possible obstruction of justice identified by Mueller, but it was something less than must-see TV with Watergate figure John Dean, who dutifully compared Trump to Richard Nixon, and two former federal prosecutors who are MSNBC contributors, weighing in.
Several Republicans openly mocked the proceedings, which were pre-empted on cable news networks by a helicopter crash in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, the clock is tick-ticking down with the July 4 recess fast approaching, the House taking August off and then the Democratic presidential race further heating up in September and calls inexorably growing for letting voters, not Congress, decide Trump's fate.
The premature attention being paid the 23 (count 'em) Democratic presidential candidates is a huge and especially vexsome distraction since they're essentially a circular firing squad armed with Wiffle Ball bats, few of whom are laying so much as a glove on Trump. Has O'Rourke burned out? Can de Blasio find anyone to vote for him? Who's ahead in Iowa? Is Biden the new Hillary?
The haplessness -- or perhaps it is hopelessness -- of congressional Dems was inadvertently captured in a recent Washington Post hankie-wringer of an article headlined
For Democrats, Trump Impeachment Question
Is a Personal Struggle Transcending Politics
in which congressfolk caught in the "searing debate over whether to impeach President Trump" contemplate the future their grandkids might face if they don't act.
It's amazing that when the going gets tough, politicians default to fingering their worry beads over their daughters (but seldom their sons) and their grandkids.
I don't mean to denigrate these Democrats.
They face an historic and in some ways unprecedented choice, historic because impeachment is such a rarely used option, the Clinton impeachment circus notwithstanding, and unprecedented because there never has been a chief executive as remotely as awful as Trump who has undermined American democracy so thoroughly, jeopardizing the very future of a once great country. So yeah, the grandkids do matter.
The impeachment debate, as the WaPo notes, is testing long-standing friendships and alliances, and many Democrats feel caught between party leaders (who may or may not include the enigmatic Nancy Pelosi) fearful that impeachment will provoke a political backlash, lubricating a Trump victory in 2020, and a growing sense that history will judge harshly those who chose not to act in the face of a president who has repeatedly and brazenly abused his power and broken the law.
I myself, sick to death of the whole debate, have come up with a catchy, if intentionally ambiguous, slogan to move this beast of an impasse forward. The slogan is easily adaptable as a bumper sticker, billboard or stump speech tag line that should seize the day:
KEEP TRUMP OUT OF JAIL:RE-ELECT HIM IN 2020
If there's a way to get four more years of Trump, I'm sure the Democratic party will find it.
A key variable, of course, will be the economy. The bond market has had some inverted yields lately, with short-term instruments paying more than long-term. This trend may signal a coming recession, to start sometime in the next 18 months. But it looks like the odds of that happening may be only about 50-50 at this point. The longer the inversion lasts, the greater the odds of a downturn. So keep your eyes peeled for "inverted yield" stories. A significant slowing of the economy in the next year could make all the difference on Election Day. Hoping for a recession is not what I usually do, but these are strange times.
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