Here’s a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares

TPM, Pelosi on Republicans: ‘Perhaps You Mistook Them For Someone Who Gives A Damn’:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had harsh words for her fellow White House negotiators Thursday morning in response to a question about why they can’t at least come together on a new deal for the most vulnerable people in the face of the pandemic.

“Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn for what you just described,” she quipped, earning a soft “jeez” from CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

Greg Sargent, The big, ugly disconnect handing over Trump’s response to the crisis:

President Trump has blithely declared that the most dire public health crisis in modern U.S. history will just “disappear” or “go away” nearly two dozen times since the novel coronavirus first arrived on our shores. It has been far and away one of the most consistent things he has said on any topic.

So is it any wonder that Trump’s position on the economic catastrophe it has unleashed is almost exactly the same?

A strange disconnect is hovering over two of the biggest events in our politics right now: the economic rescue talks in Congress, and Trump’s new ad campaign against Joe Biden, which boasts a retooled message that’s supposed to reverse Trump’s plummeting fortunes.

For Trump, both are proceeding as if the economic calamity we’re sliding into simply isn’t any kind of big deal at all, as if it’s something that will “go away” or “disappear” with little effort on his part, other than getting public officials to stop taking such nettlesome steps to combat the health crisis.

New York Times, The Unique U.S. Failure to Control the Virus: Slowing the coronavirus has been especially difficult for the United States because of its tradition of prioritizing individualism and missteps by the Trump administration.

An extended, illustrated thumb-sucker on the topic described in the headline and sub-headline.

Of course, one might also throw in the persistent, willful anti-intellectualism and science denial.

Speaker Pelosi: “Show Me the Exculpatory Evidence.” Senator Johnson (R-Idiot): “Well, I Really Wish We HAD Some Exculpatory Evidence to Show You.”

exculpatory

Politico, Pelosi: I ‘look forward to seeing’ evidence clearing Trump:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she and House impeachment investigators “look forward” to seeing any information that would demonstrate President Donald Trump’s innocence.

“That remains,” the California Democrat said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked by host Margaret Brennan whether she had seen any information that clears Trump of any wrongdoing in the Ukraine scandal.

Washington Post, Sen. Johnson says whistleblower’s sources ‘exposed things that didn’t need to be exposed’:

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Sunday that the Trump administration officials who provided information to the anonymous whistleblower about the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine “exposed things that didn’t need to be exposed.”

“This would have been far better off if we would’ve just taken care of this behind the scenes,” Johnson said in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “We have two branches of government. Most people, most people wanted to support Ukraine. We were trying to convince President Trump.”

In re Impeachment

politicians

Recently, Nancy Pelosi was asked this (implied) question:

There have been increasing calls, including from some of your members, for impeachment of the president.

And she gave this answer:

I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

The interviewer then chose to move on to other topics.

Problematic Reasoning

Regrettably, Speaker Pelosi’s language was imprecise and her stated reasons were ill considered. (Hear me: I speak of her “stated reasons,” not what she might have been thinking, or what she might have articulated poorly.)

One. Contrary to the apparent implications of her language, there are already many “compelling and overwhelming” bases for articles of impeachment.

Two. Mere “divisiveness,” in and of itself, is not a sufficient reason to avoid doing that which is constitutionally compelled, in the present circumstances.

Three. “And he’s just not worth it” doesn’t make much sense, in the context in which she uses the phrase.

But is Her Overall Point Nevertheless Sound?

Yes, she probably is correct.

As matters now stand, impeachment based on the “compelling and overwhelming” things we already know about would result in a vote not to covict in the Senate. The effect might be to drive away some traditional Republican voters who might otherwise vote Democratic in 2020.

That said, one could certainly make an argument that constitutional duty should trump, so to speak, mere political calculation.

But the big point is that there is no need to resolve that difficult question right now. Don’t tie yourself in knots over hypothetical issues. Wait till all the facts are in. See if there isn’t something there that will make most of the Republican senators want to vote for impeachment. Or, at least something that will severely harm them when they try to defend it and vote to keep Trump in office.

If there’s something that will make them want to vote for impeachment, then well and good. Problem solved.

If there’s something in the facts that just puts them in a terrible political bind, that’s also fine. Just grab those Republican senators down where the hairs are short. Squeeze them hard. And keep on squeezing.

In short, wait for all the information to come in before making whatever difficult choice you have to make between constitutional duty and political expediency.

Because it may well turn out that constitutional duty and political expediency will both point in the same direction.

And wouldn’t that be nice?

**

Today’s readers come from six countries, the largest number being from Canada. Hey, guys! Try not to laugh at us too much, OK?

A Woman with Balls

it takes baslls

Russell Berman, Nancy Pelosi’s Power Move on the State of the Union

Peter Beinart, Nancy Pelosi Is Winning: She beat George W. Bush on Social Security privatization, and she’ll beat Trump on the wall:

In pure policy terms, there’s a case for compromise. … But Pelosi is focused on … the emasculation of the president. For years, Democrats have wondered when their leaders would start playing tough. Turns out Pelosi has been doing so all along.

Politico, ‘She’s satin and steel’: Pelosi wages war on Trump:

Pelosi’s letter Wednesday to Trump suggesting he reschedule his address until the government shutdown ends was a stunning rebuke for the president. …

It was a daring move, one that appeared to catch the White House off guard. While it could backfire on Pelosi by making some Republican Trump skeptics more sympathetic to the president, it also showed exactly how Pelosi operates. She’s tough and wily, with a ruthless streak that Democrats who have crossed her readily acknowledge. She’s not afraid of Trump, and she’s capable of surprising moves that keep opponents off balance.

“She’s satin and steel. He’s just untethered,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), a longtime Pelosi friend and political ally.

“She’s just a badass,” added Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). “There is some truth when she says, ‘I’m a grandmother, I know a temper tantrum when I see it.’”