Happy Impeachment Day everyone!
As I settle down to my early evening cocktail out here on the left coast, the House is voting on the two impeachment resolutions, and there isn’t much doubt or drama about how it will turn out. Simultaneously Trump is speaking at a rally in Michigan, and mocking the impeachment vote in a lighthearted way.
A few observations:
I was living in Washington during the whole Clinton impeachment saga in 1998 & 1999, and I remember well how frenzied the town was over the matter. I was in DC last week, and don’t get the same vibe as 1999, and out here in my purplish corner of coastal California, I don’t have the sense people are fixed on this Beltway drama. I thought one of the lessons of the Clinton impeachment was that a partisan impeachment was a fruitless endeavor, but Democrats seem to have forgotten this. In 1998, Republicans were able to get five Democrats to vote for Clinton’s impeachment, while five Republicans voted against impeachment—the bare minimum for a claim of bipartisanship. Tonight it appears only one Republican will vote for impeachment, while at least two Democrats will vote against the first impeachment count, and Tulsi Gabbard voted “present.” Just heard Andrea Mitchell on NBC saying the first count, with 226 votes, was “overwhelmingly approved.” No bias here.
I see that something like 750 “historians” have declared themselves to be Democrats with a petition supporting impeachment. Yawn. Snore. I’m not going to waste my time looking them up, but I have a hunch that we’ll find many of them publicly opposed Clinton’s impeachment 20 years ago. Strange that academic political scientists, who also skew very liberal, haven’t offered their own petition supporting impeachment. Maybe they know better. (A low bar to clear for academics.)
Washington Democrats are like college professors, living in a bubble. In 1999, the impeachment saga forced the public to dissociate their views of Clinton’s personal character from his performance in office. Trump benefits yuugely from this same dynamic—the economy is rolling along (the stock market clearly wasn’t impressed today). People may not like his personality and bluster, but like the results, so it should not surprise us that Trump’s approval ratings are at or near an all-time high.
A great “tell” is this story from the Washington Post: “Impeachment has commanded widespread attention. The political impact may be more muted.” Here’s some blather from the story:
When the dust clears, the result is most likely to look more like a draw than a victory, say political strategists from both sides. Ten weeks of the House impeachment inquiry have spun an already polarized country through yet another centrifuge of outrage, further separating champions of the president from those who see him a danger to the country.
Translation: Impeachment isn’t working for Democrats. If it was, the Post wouldn’t equivocate. They have to put a good face on it, so like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail after he’d had his arms and legs hacked off, the Post is saying, “Okay, we’ll call it a draw.”
The Atlantic is less coy: “Impeachment Could End Badly: Democrats May Regret the Dynamics That the House’s Actions Will Set in Motion.”
Another “tell” is the story that the House might not transmit the impeachment articles to the Senate, hoping against hope that something better might turn up.
Meanwhile, if I read the Senate calendar correctly, today while the House was debating impeachment, the Senate was . . . confirming 13 new federal judges Trump appointed. Sounds like winning to me.
Stand by for updates.