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writing for godot

And Something is Happening Here But You Don't Know What It is...Do You, Speaker Pelosi?

Written by Carl Peterson   
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 16:13


Sometimes history lurches.  Like a tectonic plate shifting in an earthquake.  The ground beneath human feet careens into the future, but because people don't see that they themselves took any action to change location, most believe that they, and everyone else, are still where they used to be.  But in America, no one is in Kansas anymore, not even Charles Koch.

The game, if you want to call it that, is new and very different.  The old rules don't apply, but for awhile continue to have some weak efficacy, only because some people, an ever-dwindling number, continue to attempt to abide by and apply the old rules.

But if the old rules are losing purchase, the old techniques based on the old rules of the exercise of power are less and less applicable, heading toward complete ineffectuality.  That is where we are right now, Speaker Pelosi.  History has lurched, no one is where they used to be.  It's not just you.  No, fate is not picking on you.  But fate, if you want to call it that, did lash you firmly to the old rules.  You grew up politically with the old rules, you mastered the art of incrementalism and "compromise" that didn't eventually "get there," but instead, through time put democratic goals further away than before.  As far as you were concerned that old way could have gone on forever, but like Zeno's arrow, your way would never reach its alleged goal of freedom, liberty, equality and economic justice for all Americans.  You never even seemed to notice or care that for the last 40 years that arrow the Democratic Party (DP) claimed to be responsibly guiding to its target was belying Zeno's paradox by actually moving backwards, farther from the target.  If you don't believe that arrow has been moving backwards, just take a look at the statistics relevant to a depiction of the declining length and quality of the lives of regular Americans.  Meanwhile, the length and quality of life for wealthy Americans continues to increase, installing yet another gap between American rich and poor.

At long last, if the DP has any decency, it ought to apologize to regular Americans, which nearly all Americans are, and say, "We failed you, but we'll do better, starting now."  No, that's Ok , I don't really expect that from you or the DP, because, like I said you (and the DP) just don't know where you are.  You don't know where we all are, even though we are here together.  You cannot help right now.  You need help first to orient yourself.

So, I want to help you right now.  It's about the impeachment thing, which I know has bewildered you, and, I believe, your bewilderment has bewildered you, and this squaring of your bewilderment has brought you a lot of pain, because it has been a long time since you felt bewildered by anything in American politics, and for it to be happening now, near the end of your career, that must be painful.

Since impeachment of the president became a contentious issue among Democrats your statements about it have become a motley collection:

1) You said the president "isn't worth it," whatever that means.

2) You said that impeachment is terribly divisive and shouldn't be attempted unless the American people support it--which is a pretty clear statement that you were applying political criteria to the question of impeachment.  (Nothing wrong with that per se--political questions, where they apply, must be considered.)  But this formula bases the decision on whether to begin impeachment proceedings on estimates of what public opinion will be after the proceedings in the House and Senate have concluded.  Since the political future has historically been devilishly unpredictable, you should not claim more certainty than you actually have about what American political opinion would be after the president has been tried in the Senate.  You don't know.  The most you should claim is that American political opinion at the conclusion of impeachment proceedings against the president cannot be foreknown with a high level of confidence, and that for that reason there is an element of political risk in undertaking impeachment.

3) You said that you didn't want to see the president impeached, you wanted to see him in prison, as though you were trying to disabuse anyone of the notion that because you don't favor impeachment you must be a softie.

4) You said last month that the decision of whether or not to impeach "is not about politics, it's about what's best for the American people."  This seems to contradict your position at the beginning of this controversy when, wary of divisiveness, you said that the decision to impeach must be "overwhelming and bipartisan."  Also, as the decades-long fall of the American middle class has proved, it has been a long time since bipartisanship in America has yielded "what's best for the American people."  Your claim that it is not about politics also contradicts your often expressed worries that impeaching the president may harm Democrats' chances of gaining resounding victory in the 2020 elections.

5) You said that the president wants to be impeached because he wants to be able to claim exoneration in the Senate, implying that we don't want to fall into that trap.  Has it occurred to you that your bewilderment and trepidation have caused you to overthink all of this?

6) You said that if impeachment of the president does not result in the president's removal that could prevent him from being tried for his crimes once he leaves office.  However, as reported in Rolling Stone, Laurence Tribe, constitutional law professor at Harvard, pointed out that if Trump is not impeached and is defeated for reelection in 2020, he could resign between the 2020 election and inauguration of the new president in January 2021, allowing acting president Mike Pence the opportunity to pardon him for his crimes.

The main non-verbal message you have conveyed in your public comments on impeachment is that you hate the issue; you wish it would go away, or at least that all of these congressional Democrats who are pushing for impeachment would go away.  This is not the Speaker Pelosi we knew before history lurched a few years back, when you were often self-confidently at least one step ahead in the incremental game being played back then.  But incrementalism is no longer the game.  Republicans see you trying to play that, and they think you are weak, playing for small stakes.  Haven't you noticed that the stakes they are playing for seem to get bigger every day?

Before, I thought you should begin an impeachment investigation immediately--and inevitably proceed to impeachment based on the evidence already available, and on whatever new evidence is discovered in the impeachment investigation.

Now, I don't think so.  I still think the president should be impeached, but that you would not be the right person to lead on impeachment.  To produce any good for the American people, impeachment needs to be led by one who believes in it, has self-confidence in her approach to it, and is skilled enough in the ways of the new political rules that have been developing since history lurched.  I am not saying that it could never be you, but unless you develop a genuine, robust appetite for impeachment, and have a good plan to make it succeed for the American people and the Constitution, I don't think you should be the one. your social media marketing partner
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