I've been against Nancy Pelosi pretty much all my life, but when she’s right, she’s right. When it comes to impeachment, Pelosi has been patient and pragmatic. But Donald Trump has shown himself worthy of it.
It’s worth repeating that coercing or extorting the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival—as The Wall Street Journal and other outlets have reported, and as Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani essentially confessed—is a clearly impeachable act. This is true even if a quid pro quo was not proffered.
Make no mistake, I haven’t suddenly changed my political positions. I still agree with the Republicans on virtually all policy matters. It’s just that the GOP has abandoned any claim to being the party of values or character.
Indeed, the House Democrats who represent Trump districts, and are thus risking their political futures, are the ones showing the most courage and integrity these days.
They are risking their seats to hold the president accountable in the only way they can—impeachment. The fact that this effort—even if it works—will likely be more symbolic than substantive (since only the Senate can convict) is all the more a testament to their sacrifice.
It reminds me of the Democrats who voted for health-care reform knowing it would seal their electoral fate. Regardless of how you feel about that as a public policy, such profiles in courage are commendable.
To be sure, mustering the courage to take on the other team’s president isn’t quite the same as mustering the courage to impeach a president of your own party. Still, it’s hard to look at most Republicans these days and see a lot of profiles in courage.
A question: Are there even three or four House Republicans who might eventually support impeachment? If so, that’s probably the ceiling.
Back in July, only four House Republicans (plus Justin Amash—who has already come out in favor of impeachment) voted to condemn Trump’s hateful rhetoric directed at the Squad.
These Republicans are from purple districts, they barely won, and this could be all it takes to end their careers (indeed, some have announced retirement—and others are rumored to be considering it).
Perhaps you’re seeing the Catch-22: Profiles in courage cost you your seat. Profiles in perfidy get you re-elected.
The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. And what good does it do you to be a decent, honorable conservative if you lose your re-election? Perhaps it is nobler to do what you have to do to ensure you get back to Washington, where you can at least be relevant and try to help mitigate the damage Trump is doing to our institutions and the social fabric. Everyone from Lindsey Graham to Ben Sasse seems to have made this Faustian bargain.
On the other hand, what use is it to get (re-)elected if—when faced with obvious examples of overreach and abuse—you can’t do something about it? If getting re-elected is not just a means, but the end, then it’s a pretty nihilistic endeavor. In that case, John Nance Garner’s line about the vice presidency not being worth a “warm bucket of piss” applies to Congress, as well.
Politicians are rational actors who respond to the stimuli of pleasure and pain. When someone does the right thing, regardless of the incentives, that is heroic.
Conservatives who care about conserving America, the rule of law, separation of powers, and intellectual honesty, should look to Republicans—who claim to care more about these aforementioned things—to repudiate Donald Trump. Yet we find ourselves in a position where we must look to the Democrats to defend them.
In the past, I’ve said that I wish Nancy Pelosi were on “our team,” by which I mean that I wish she were a conservative who shared my views on the unborn, taxes, free markets, and national security. I’ve said this because of the grudging respect Pelosi has engendered by virtue of her toughness.
Now, I will word it a bit differently: On the issue of the day, I’m glad Nancy Pelosi is on our team.
Indeed, it was Pelosi who summoned the moral authority of America's Constitution. It was she who cited Founding Father Ben Franklin, who, when asked, 'What do we have: a republic or a monarchy?’ replied: "A republic, if you can keep it."
Likewise, it is the House Democrats who represent Trump districts, and are thus risking their political futures, who are showing the most courage and integrity these days.