House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly media availability on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said something very curious. She said that it doesn’t matter if the Democrats lose the House over impeachment because she is doing what she thinks is right. The way she answered the question, though, is incredibly curious to me.
It’s been obvious from the start that Pelosi didn’t want full-on impeachment. Even now, she has only committed to an impeachment inquiry to satisfy the frothing rank-and-file, but she is selling impeachment in front of cameras. But to acknowledge that, yes, it might hurt the Democrats to follow-through? That doesn’t seem like the path most politicians would take.
One might expect a politician to fire back at the reporter asking about losing the House with a “I believe the American people will support our party doing what is best for the country” or “I think you’ll see the American public is on our side in this.” Something that sounds confident that her party is doing the right thing.
But, it’s been obvious for a while that Pelosi doesn’t think this is the right choice. She is very worried because every bit of polling – especially in swing states – showed the American public largely against it. I think you do see some quick polls shows a change in opinion, but I largely don’t trust polls with that quick a turnover. Time is going to tell whether or not the Democrats are making the right move.
One of the things that has kept most Republicans in Congress silent about their worries is the fact that many of them fully expect the crazed members of the Democratic caucus to overplay their hand. It is something that, frankly, would be so on-brand for the Democrats of the Trump Era to do. Keep in mind, though, that these are Republicans who aren’t necessarily saying “Trump did something bad.” Many are just saying it’s “concerning,” while others appear to be more worried about the fate of the party rather than Trump.
If the Democrats stay on-brand though, then they don’t have to worry. They’ll blow whatever chance they (think they) have and the tide of public opinion will shift again.
Pelosi is a political creature, and an immensely talented one. Her ideas suck, sure, but she knows how to survive. She is very likely already taking all of this into account, and being the sort of endgame person she is, she might already recognize that she can come out of this stronger no matter how it turns out.
If it fails, she can tell her party “I told you. I tried to stop you. Maybe next time you’ll listen to me?”
If it succeeds, she took out a Republican President.
In either of those scenarios, that promise she made that this was her last term as Speaker? That doesn’t matter anymore.
This all assumes, of course, that she doesn’t get swept away with the rest of them if this blows up in their faces.