Tuesday, June 18, 2019

There's More To The Lack Of Progress Than Just The Anti-Impeachment Freshman Dems


Speaker Nancy Pelosi by Nancy Ohanian

Pelosi is bending over backwards for the freshmen-- who Cedric Richmond, Louisiana New Dem and co-chair of Biden's campaign-- says to ignore because they're "scared of their own shadows." A small handful of them are the reason Congress isn't doing it's duty for the American people. Axios' Alayna Treene dug deep to see where each freshman stands in regard to impeachment and almost all of them are either ready to impeach now or looking for more investigations and leadership buy-in. One, though-- Katie Porter-- announced a dramatic change of heart last night and came out full-force for impeachment, even though she's the first Democrat to ever represent her red-leaning Orange County district. Pelosi and Hoyer call her a "majority maker" and advice freshmen like her to play down the whole impeachment thing and just pretend to be busy with policy. Ironically, Porter is busier with policy than almost any other member of Congress and it's her constituents who have been demanding impeachment hearings. Listen:

There are, however, a few contemptible careerists who are completely opposed to impeachment and are making a farce out of the institution-- and the constitution. "Of the 64 freshmen House Democrats 42 say they want Congress to continue their oversight investigations before launching impeachment proceedings. In January, 48 said they thought Congress should wait for the release of the Mueller report before considering impeachment. 13 say they support impeaching the president, up from only 6 in January. 4 have not made clear, on-the-record statements. Previously, only 3 members fell in this category. [And] 5 caution against impeachment, down from 7 in January."

New Jersey Blue Dog Jefferson Van Drew is probably the worst of the worst: "What I am done with, barring any new evidence, is any talk of impeachment investigations or divisive, unproductive politics. It is time to move forward." He isn't the only one whose statement might as well have been written by McCarthy, the NRCC or the White House.

Another lowlife Blue Dog Max Rose also sang from the Republican hymnal when he spoke with Politico: "If Democrats go down the path of impeachment then they should warm to the idea of going back to the minority," he hissed. "Right now we're in this incredibly childish game of impeachment chicken, and everyone has to start acting like adults... Congress needs to act responsibly... and then lets go back to actually doing the work of the American people that they sent us here to do." Protecting the country from a tyrant isn't what the voters expect?

One of the Blue Dog chairs, Anthony Brindisi (NY) refused to address the issue himself by had his communications director, Luke Jackson, tell Axios that "the congressman does not support impeachment."

Joe Cunningham (SC), also from the bottom of the Blue Dog barrel told the Post & Courier: "You're talking about basically nullifying the election of 2016 and what voters voted for. Straight from the NRCC.

Another dreadful Blue Dog, Xochitl Torres Small (NM) just tells her constituents that she flat out opposes impeachment. Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ) and Ben McAdams (Blue Dog-UT) both they they're against it but will reconsider when it's a "sufficiently bipartisan effort," Justin Amash (R-MI) not being enough for them.

And then there's Virginia Blue Dog Abigail Spanberger, one of the worst of the political cowards who, more than any other member, just ducks and ducks and ducks all questions. Quack, quack. "I'm focused on prescription drugs and infrastructure" is what she says. Someone give her a merit badge. Sunday's idiotic NY Times story by Sheryl Gay Stolberg on the subject was just another establishment excuse to bash AOC and whine about how the House "can be dominated by loud voices on the left" that endanger what Hoyer and Pelosi slyly call "the majority makers," almost all of whom are very conservative compared to Democratic voters nationally and are already muddying up the party brand.

Late Sunday night, reporting for the Washington Post, Rachel Bade wrote that a fear of Pelosi is keeping impeachment from moving forward. "Prominent liberals in the House, impatient with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to impeaching President Trump, seemed on the brink of a major breakthrough one night last month. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a key Pelosi ally and the man who would preside over the hearings, was preparing to buck his party’s leader and join the pro-impeachment movement." He wasn't; that's just a story they put out for the media.
Pelosi moved swiftly. She summoned her top lieutenants to a late-night meeting and hatched a plan-- that six party leaders, speaking in unison, would make clear to the chairman why impeaching Trump was a terrible idea.

“Republicans are stewing in their own juices,” Pelosi told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY., arguing that the majority of the Democratic caucus didn’t support impeachment and that the party should devote its time to calling out Republicans for siding with a president trampling the Constitution, according to Democrats and other senior officials who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe what transpired.

Nadler left the room that night and has not publicly endorsed impeachment. “Impeachment is a political act, and you cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it,” he has said.

As pressure has mounted in recent weeks on House Democrats to move more aggressively against Trump, Pelosi has demonstrated the firm grip she wields over her caucus-- quashing, at least for now, the push for impeachment. It is a command that colleagues say is drawn from a deep well of respect for the political wisdom of the most powerful woman in American politics-- and fear that challenging her comes with the risk of grave cost to one’s career.

In January, Pelosi blocked two ringleaders of the rebels who had tried to deny her the speakership from securing their preferred committee assignments-- even though the peace pact she made to reclaim the gavel precluded retaliation. And veteran lawmakers keenly remember how she rebuffed former Democratic Congress members Jane Harman (CA) and John Dingell (MI), two occasional thorns in her side, in their quest for chairmanships, moves many viewed as revenge for challenging her vision or authority.

“It’s much better to be with her than against her,” said Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), a Pelosi antagonist who eventually backed her for speaker. “She doesn’t make it easy, that’s for sure.”

“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and . . . what can happen if you don’t follow along,” said another Pelosi critic, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who summed up the concerns members face if they defy Pelosi.

The reluctance to oppose the speaker, according to interviews with more than 20 lawmakers and aides, has undermined the push for impeachment despite the growing support for ousting Trump among the party’s liberal base and several 2020 presidential candidates. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday found more Democratic voters backing impeachment-- 48 percent up from 30 percent last month-- but the nation divided, with Republicans and independents opposed.

Thus far, impeachment proponents in the caucus have been unwilling to call Pelosi out by name or rally support to begin proceedings. Consequently, the campaign has slowed, with a caucus minority of just over 60 lawmakers backing impeachment-- at least for now.

Longtime Pelosi allies say the fear factor is vastly inflated. Rather, they say it’s more that members respect the California Democrat, who has led them for 16 years and understands the political consequences of impeachment.

“I don’t think there’s anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a president of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great care,” Pelosi said Sunday in an interview with CNN. “It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”

Pelosi’s midterm election strategy of focusing on health care rather than the president helped Democrats capture the majority last year, as the party won in 31 districts where Trump had prevailed in 2016. Pelosi knows Democrats could lose those seats-- and their majority-- in a backlash over impeachment.

“She is the single smartest strategist that we’ve ever had... People are not wanting to second guess her because she’s been right on so many fronts,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a longtime Pelosi ally who has deferred to the speaker on impeachment.

To be sure, the impeachment push is far from over and could become more difficult for Pelosi to manage as Trump repeatedly defies congressional investigators.

Pelosi is “holding it together, but it’s fragile because we’re kind of one event, one piece of explosive testimony, one action by Trump away from that dam collapsing,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA).

But even if a majority of her caucus calls for impeachment, Pelosi allies predict she will withstand the pressure.

Over the past few weeks, Pelosi has worked behind the scenes to stifle the pro-impeachment movement in her caucus with strategically timed comments and announcements-- and nudges to her members to get in line.

When House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) said impeachment was inevitable during a television appearance in early June, Pelosi’s staff mobilized quickly, calling his office and telling staff to have Clyburn walk it back, according to congressional officials familiar with those conversations.

When other senior Democrats started advocating for impeachment on television, Pelosi made sure at least some knew she was unhappy. During one recent private meeting, she snapped at Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI), a member of the Judiciary Committee, signaling she wanted him to soften his impeachment language and focus more on the legislative agenda, according to Democrats and other senior officials.

Pelosi declined to discuss private conversations.

Both pro- and anti-impeachment lawmakers say recent court rulings upholding Democratic subpoenas have helped solidify Pelosi’s argument that her strategy is working. And the fact that members are torn about what is right means many are content with deferring to their leader.

But Pelosi’s aptly timed announcements have also played a major role in easing tensions. When the clamor for impeachment grows louder following some explosive news about Trump defying Congress, Pelosi has made a point to echo the frustration of a pro-impeachment base by accusing Trump of a “coverup” or saying he should be “in prison.” Those remarks, her allies say, shield her as she pumps the brakes on impeachment.

Pelosi has also made a conscious effort to “let the air out of the balloon before it pops,” according to one aide. Last week, she greenlighted a civil contempt vote on the House floor to give frustrated members an outlet to vent.

On Thursday, after Trump told ABC News that he would be willing to take opposition research from a foreign country in the future, Pelosi was likewise ready with a response: Weeks earlier, she had instructed her committees to prepare legislation forcing all candidates to report such contacts to the FBI. She discussed the legislation at a news conference, batting down reporters’ questions about impeachment yet again.

Part of Pelosi’s effectiveness has been planning ahead. In late May, after Robert S. Mueller III said he did not exonerate the president and set off another impeachment firestorm, Pelosi asked her senior leadership to come to a Monday meeting prepared with counterarguments on impeachment, according to Democrats and other senior officials.

During the huddle June 3, Pelosi went around the room to ask her top allies what they thought of impeachment; all agreed with her. Caucus Chairman [and notorious suck-up] Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) even suggested the brave thing for members to do would be to resist the base’s call for impeachment.

Outflanked, the impeachment proponents did not push back.

Pelosi’s grip on her caucus stands in stark contrast to her Republican predecessors. Former speakers Paul D. Ryan (WI) and John Boehner (OH) frequently faced fierce public resistance from their rank-and-file and grass-roots opposition that hindered their effectiveness.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus not only broke with Ryan, but also regularly circumvented his leadership and appealed to Trump to get what they wanted, undercutting the speaker. Before Ryan, Boehner faced the same conservative critics who threatened to oust him over his pragmatism, eventually forcing him to resign.

While conservatives were suspicious of Boehner and Ryan, the Democratic base views Pelosi as one of their own-- loyalty Republicans actually inspired by attacking her as a liberal boogeyman during campaigns, said former Boehner chief of staff Mike Sommers.

“I believe that she’s about the only person that can manage their caucus right now,” he said. “She has a base of support that is unmatched within the Democratic caucus.”

Pelosi tightened her grip on the caucus by quashing a group of rebels who tried to prevent her from becoming speaker for the second time in more than a decade and emerging stronger after a showdown with Trump in January over government funding.

Pelosi’s move to punish her adversaries, as she did on the committee assignments, wasn’t the first time she had used hard-line tactics. In 2006, Pelosi refused to name Harman as chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee. The two had been at odds for decades, and when Democrats took the majority, Pelosi appointed Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), citing term-limit rules she could have overridden. In 2002, Pelosi backed a primary challenger to Dingell, who survived. One of her allies, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), then seized a committee chairmanship that Dingell wanted-- with Pelosi’s tacit approval.

“You can always disagree with her-- no problem. But you don’t take those outside to a news conference,” said former representative Steve Israel (D-NY), who worked alongside Pelosi for years. “I wouldn’t say they have a fear of her, but I think members who may want to oppose her think long and hard about it.”

Nowadays, few House Democrats criticize Pelosi by name, even on the emotional question of impeachment. If they do contradict her publicly, many give her a heads up, as Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) did before he announced his support for impeachment on Thursday, according to Democrats and other senior officials.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), a vocal impeachment backer, said she is not organizing an effort to change minds on impeachment and defers to Pelosi’s leadership.

“I don’t criticize her. I don’t blame her,” Waters said of Pelosi’s impeachment position. “She’s got the responsibility of doing the best job that she thinks she can do for this caucus.”

Cicilline bristled at the notion that the speaker was upset with him or his pro-impeachment colleagues. Asked why he didn’t rally votes for impeachment, he said the issue is too personal to try to twist arms on the matter.

Still, he argued it’s only a matter of time before the number of pro-impeachment lawmakers grows: “In those instances where the president acts in a way where he believes that he’s above the law... additional members of the caucus will be forced into no other choice but to open an impeachment inquiry and respond.”

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At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basically horse shit. But the bit about Porter is real, except that she and the rest of the frosh already served their single purpose -- handing the despotic gavel to Pelosi -- a few months ago. All the rest is posturing for the next election and/or their next donor meet and greet.

Porter might be one of the better ones... which runs their total to about 8. so the fuck what?

All decisions on what to do and what to never do run through the despot/speaker. All the rest is ambient noise.

Don't allow DWT to fool you. it's Pelosi. it's always been Pelosi. Porter and these new frosh weren't there in 2006 when she refused to impeach cheney and refused to do all progressive lege in 2008.
again. it's always been Pelosi.

I swear a deaf population could figure this shit out so much better than our hearing-enabled population of potted geraniums.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no idea you could impeach a president just because he beat the worst candidate ever.

Last time I checked there were supposed to be "high crimes and misdemeanors" and if you think the Mueller Report proves that then you haven't read the Mueller Report.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And 1:29 knows how to NOT read the Mueller Report. The very best expert on how to NOT read the Mueller Report available on this site.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually the report spells out several instances of the crime of obstruction.
Plus he admitted to obstruction in an interview -- the firing of Comey.

But there are many, many other reasons:

emoluments -- read the constitution. it's in there
family separation -- or you could just call it kidnapping of kids out of their parents' arms. Nearly a hundred have not yet been reunited after 2 years.
Russian collusion -- that verb is not a crime, but the accepting of offers of "help" and info ARE violations of FEC code.
Payments of hush money to multiple consorts, in the way they were done and not reported are also violations of FEC code.
and, I'm pretty confident that if they actually did an investigation, they'd find many more crimes... including treason. real treason. like providing aid and comfort to an enemy type of treason.

to say nothing of all the lying. but lying isn't a crime... just a sin. whatever.

I realize nothing will convince 1:29 to repudiate religious fervor... but I tried.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger paul lukasiak said...

I'm looking forward to the debates.

Given that most of the people running now support opening an impeachment inquiry, the debates will show where the people who lead actual democratic voters stand -- and the more people realize that Pelosi is out of step with the rest of the party, the more pressure will be on Pelosi to finally (too late?) do the right thing.

But what really intrigues me is the likelihood that someone will call out Pelosi on the first night of the debates. Most of the people on the stage that night are going to need to so something to garner some attention -- even negative attention. I don't think that attacking Warren will work for anyone. And because Biden is on night two, attacking him won't get much traction.

But going after Pelosi on the impeachment question (and/or her sabotage of progressive priorities in general) would probably mean a substantial boost in contributions to that candidate from progressives who are sick and tired of The Queen of the Donor Class, and might result in a two to four point bounce in the polls as well.

The one candidate with the most to gain from that strategy would be Tim Ryan -- Ryan is already on the outs with Pelosi, and just announced his support for an impeachment investigation. Ryan could use the notoriety to become the face of the anti-Pelosi wing of the party --which sucks because he's not progressive at all.

The other possibility I see is Gabbard, who has spent the last couple of months trying to reinvent herself as a progressive. She's on the fast track to complete irrelevance, and going after Pelosi could change that overnight.

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with Paul.

the debates will merely tell us who is the best liar. Attacking Pelosi won't help anyone and it might hurt. voters too stupid to live still believe in Pelosi... will evil ever be thwarted in this shithole?

everyone "reinventing" themselves... you are gullible enough to believe that shit?

debates are where everyone not named biden will vie for second place in iowa. you forget that caucuses are not primaries... are not even CLOSED primaries. they are staged and paid for and election by a tiny minority -- true democracy in THIS shithole.

The DNC fix is in. It's all over BUT the rhetoric. And the rhetoric is lies.

At 4:36 AM, Anonymous Zinsky said...

If the Democrats don't initiate an impeachment inquiry against this lying, traitorous fraud and sexual deviant, who in the name of God would they take steps to impeach? Satan himself? FFS, the Democrats have nothing to lose because you will never, ever sway the true Trump cultists from their bizarre love for this monster.

Here are my own draft articles of impeachment that I sent to my Congressperson to jump-start the process:

Actively participating in obstruction of justice by dictating false statements regarding contacts with Russian operatives;
• Soliciting assistance from hostile foreign governments in order to damage political opponents or score political points;
• Suborning perjury from former attorneys, advisers and staff;
• Using the powers of the office of the President to threaten and intimidate political opponents and other abuses of power;
• Numerous violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting money, gifts and other things of value from foreigners in exchange for access, favors and implicit or explicit quid pro quo actions by the Executive branch;
• Self-dealing, perjury and racketeering in the bidding and letting of contracts for the new FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.;
• Unresolved sexual assault, groping or rape allegations by at least 18 different women, including one during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Let's not forget Trump is a sexual predator who would not hesitate to sexually assault your wife or daughter if they were attractive and were left alone in a room with this pervert. After all, he sexually assaulted Alva Johnson, a Republican campaign worker in 2016 when Trump was 70 years old! The man needs to be chemically castrated. If Trump were a poor black or Hispanic man and had sexually assaulted 18 women, he would be doing 25 years to life in prison!


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