After years of stalling and deflecting the rabid left wing of her party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally declared intent to move forward with impeachment proceedings. Not over election irregularities. Not over foreign emoluments. Not over domestic emoluments Not over collusion with Russia. Not over obstruction of the Mueller investigation. Not over “Inciting White Supremacy, Sexism, Bigotry, Hatred, Xenophobia, Race Baiting and Racism,” as Texas Rep. Al Green attempted (with a dash of perfidy thrown in). Not over undermining the judiciary. Not over undermining the freedom of the press.

Nancy picked the current kerfuffle: an assertion that Trump pressured Ukraine leaders to investigate Joe Biden’s son, in a phone call and by withholding military aid. And, she used the “I” word rather quickly, rather than simply re-tasking the half-dozen House committees already investigating him to focus on this new set of allegations.

In doing so, she has, as the NY Post’s Michael Goodwin noted, painted herself into a corner. She will now have to deliver a vote to impeach – there’s really no backing out of this without handing Trump a major pre-election victory. But, if the evidence presented isn’t powerful, she will be handing Trump a different sort of power: an energized base and a message that the Democratic Party isn’t measured and sober enough to lead the nation. And, with the Senate controlled by the Republicans and a 2/3 majority required to unseat the President in the wake of a House impeachment, it is a virtual certainty, barring an epic revelation, that Trump is not going to be removed from office.

Pelosi’s demonstrated political canniness and patience in her tenure as both Speaker and Minority Leader, so I find it puzzling that she’d commit herself to impeachment prior to the long process of data-gathering and political machination that follows all such revelations and accusations. After all, she could easily have declared a deep inquiry and bought herself a couple weeks prior to dropping the “I” bomb.

One popular theory is that the pressure from that passel of screeching harridans, the self-styled “Squad” composed of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her three minions, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, finally forced Pelosi’s hand. It’s an easy conclusion, but I’m not sold on it.

I suspect the underlying element of the story – Hunter Biden’s business dealings – is a big factor. There’s already some basis for concluding that sympathetic voices have been running interference for Biden the younger, in support of Biden the elder’s presidential campaign. With Trump firing off counter-accusations aimed at both Bidens, with Biden the elder’s blustery pseudo-physical machismo response (“I’ll beat him like a drum”), and with his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination fading in recent weeks, it may be that Pelosi’s odd move is about taking control of the narrative and the investigation in order to protect her preferred candidate from further damage. Biden’s main opponents at the moment, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, are both pushing a far-left, highly socialistic agenda that will probably not play well in the blue-collar states that Trump won in his upset victory in 2016. Warren, in particular, has made a series of head-scratching proclamations (e.g. banning fracking the first day of her Presidency) that play well for a base already wholly committed to her but certain to alienate the less-decided voters she needs to actually win the White House.

Pelosi may be figuring that she needs Biden to be the nominee in order to beat Trump in the general election, and that she needs Biden to be the President in order to advance an agenda that won’t lead to a redux of the 2010 wipeout in the 2022 election. In the light of that, a seemingly premature rush to make the Ukraine business all about impeaching Trump makes more sense. It will certainly work to focus the liberal news outlets on Trump rather than covering squabbles between the Democratic candidates, and it will make some people think that Trump’s accusations against Biden are simply ass-covering and without merit.

None of this speaks to the merit of the charges themselves. I’m writing this prior to Trump’s promised release of an unredacted transcript of the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that a whistleblower complaint alleges contains the aforementioned improper pressure. As I noted, it’s still data-gathering time.

But, a fear that the data being gathered will hurt Biden more than Trump may be at the root of Pelosi’s step off the impeachment cliff. It’s a long-shot move, at this point, and seems to carry far more promise of hurt than of success. Now, it may be possible for her to walk it back should things not go as hoped, but I don’t see how she can without damaging herself and her party. And, it may be possible that they actually, this time, find enough meat to plant an impeachment charge of merit, but the Left will have to deal with “boy who cried wolf” fatigue and cynicism in convincing the public that Trump has done something egregious in this particular instance.

Many social media friends think that Pelosi’s declaration just won the election for Trump. Time will tell, but I am prompted to recall this exchange from the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story:

Cotton McKnight : I’m being told that Average Joe’s does not have enough players and will be forfeiting the championship match.
Pepper Brooks : It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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