When Emperor Hirohito took to the radio in August 1945 to inform his subjects of their nation’s surrender, it was shocking to them in more ways than one. It was the first time the Japanese people had ever heard the God-Emperor’s mortal voice. We’re not quite at that point, but here we sit, not subjects of an emperor but citizens in a democracy, and for three or four days running we have no idea what our employee the president is thinking or doing. I mean, we have a pretty good guess; he’s fuming. But what’s he thinking and planning? Remember, that nuclear football is never more than a few feet away.
It’s now clear he’s not going to resign, and he isn’t going to be removed from office. The House will impeach him this week. Sunday evening, Nancy Pelosi sent out a letter explaining how matters will proceed. I do note that as of Sunday, the impeachment resolution had only 180 cosponsors, but Pelosi is supposed to know how to count noses better than anyone, so I doubt she’d have sent out that letter if she didn’t have the votes. I’m gung-ho for impeachment, as I’ve written. But over the weekend some fair questions have arisen that need to be thought through.
For starters, let’s look at this from Joe Biden’s vantage point. He said publicly last week that it was the House’s call, but you can hardly blame him if he’s not terribly enthusiastic. He doesn’t want Trump hovering over the first days of his administration like that. Plus, he wants the Senate working to confirm his nominees and pass a big COVID relief bill. The headlines being all about impeachment for the first however many weeks of his administration would be a legit disaster from his point of view.