Diary

The Democrats Want to Do Nothing for the Next Two Years

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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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How many FY 2020 appropriations bills have been passed by the House of Representatives? How much work have the Democrats actually gotten done?

Their biggest ‘accomplishments’ seem to have been passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (HR 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (HR 1112), but those two bills were never meant to do anything other than to pander to their base; the Democrats knew full well that both of those bills would die in the Republican-controlled Senate, and if they did by some miracle pass the Senate, they’d be vetoed by President Trump.

So, now that the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, has made his final report to the Department of Justice, and his investigation is over, are the Democrats in the House ready to buckle down and actually do their jobs? From The New York Times:

No Impeachment in View, but Democrats Push On With Investigations of Trump

By Nicholas Fandos | March 24, 2019 | A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2019, on Page A16 of the New York edition with the headline: Democrats Vow to Push Ahead With Investigations.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr’s summary on Sunday of the special counsel investigation keeps the impeachment of President Trump off the table, at least for now, but Democrats vowed to push forward with investigations into every aspect of the presidency and for access to the full report of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Although Democrats did not dispute Mr. Mueller’s conclusion that Mr. Trump and his campaign did not conspire with Russia to influence the 2016 election, they moved quickly to seize on less definitive statements made by Mr. Mueller and Mr. Barr on whether the president obstructed justice.

Specifically, they said an apparent disagreement between the two men over how to judge evidence collected by the special counsel made it imperative for Congress to scrutinize every detail of the case to ensure impartiality. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice or abused power, promptly said he would call Mr. Barr to explain “very concerning discrepancies” in a hearing before his committee.

Mr. Barr quoted from Mr. Mueller’s report in his summary: “The special counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’” But then added that he and Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had concluded the evidence developed by Mr. Mueller “is not sufficient to establish” that Mr. Trump obstructed justice. . . .

“The fact that special counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said in a joint statement.

Now, what does that mean? Mr Mueller and his team of mostly hostile Democratic lawyers just spent two years investigating President Trump and his associates, going far beyond their original mandate; what do the Democrats think they can accomplish that Mr Mueller’s team did not, with only twenty months left until the 2020 elections?

The only goal of investigating obstruction of justice here would be to impeach and remove the President from office. If two years of the special counsel investigating the President produced nothing, what would it take the Democrats to develop something? A year, maybe?

So then there would have to be impeachment hearings, and maybe, by sixteen months from now, the House could pass articles of impeachment. What good, it has to be asked, would impeaching the President just four months from the next election do? The Senate would not have its trial, not during the August recess and the subsequent campaign season for their own seats. If the President loses his bid for re-election, then impeachment is meaningless, and if he wins, the Senate will still be controlled by Republicans, Republicans who are not going to vote against their constituents to remove Mr Trump from office.

But for now, with their base behind them and views of Mr. Trump largely baked in across the electorate, Democrats said there was no chance the argument would work. They view Mr. Trump’s potential wrongdoing as consequential, and after two years of watching powerlessly from the House minority, will not be quick to give up on the oversight they deem essential.

“Mr Trump’s potential wrongdoing”? Attorneys smarter and more dedicated to bringing down the President than the Democrats in Congress were unable to develop the evidence of that wrongdoing, despite having the FBI there to help them. Don Quixote tilting at windmills was just as effective as the Democrats could be.

At some point, the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives need to buckle down and do their jobs. The most important things that congressmen do is to pass the annual appropriations bills, something that hardly gets done even when one party controls both Houses of Congress, and now the Democrats seem poised to abandon even an attempt at doing so. Instead, they want to investigate every aspect of President Trump and his policies, hoping to stymie his policies, but not getting anything really done.

The Republicans tried this trick, back in 1998 and 1999, impeaching President Clinton but failing to remove him from office, and in the process lost congressional seats in an election they were favored to increase their delegation. I am reminded of the old axiom attributed to Sun Tzu, “When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, stay out of his way.” I am perfectly happy to watch the Democrats immolate themselves, and if they get nothing done in 2019 and 2020, well that will be better for our republic, not worse.
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