Chalk this one up to “everything is relative.” Someone who admires Nancy Pelosi and talks to her regularly assures me that, “She’s not one of the crazies.”
The praise, such as it was, aimed to persuade me that the Speaker is not off the rails like the Democratic lynch mob forming in the House.
That’s good to hear, but then why does Pelosi keep talking as if she’s in a banana republic? Doesn’t she realize she’s playing a dangerous game guaranteed to tear America further apart and spark a tit-for-tat escalation?
Twice in recent weeks she jacked up the temperature on the crazies’ obsession with impeaching President Trump. First she accused him of engaging in a criminal “coverup” and then said she didn’t favor impeachment, she favored putting Trump “in prison.”
In neither case did Pelosi detail what crimes the president of the United States committed that constituted a coverup or would be worthy of prison. It’s also significant that she made both comments after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that found no collusion and offered no conclusion on obstruction, with the attorney general ruling that there was no obstruction.
So what the hell is she talking about?
The explanation makes sense only in the bizarro world of far-left politics in the age of Trump.
Conventional wisdom holds that Pelosi’s eruptions are tactical moves as she tries to resist rabid impeachment dogs like Reps. Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff.
The tortured explanation amounts to a claim that Pelosi is demonstrating she hates Trump more than anybody, but opposes impeachment only because most voters don’t want it.
As a result, she fears it will be a dead end for Dems because there is nothing close to a two-thirds majority in the GOP-led Senate needed for conviction and removal.
A failed impeachment, her argument goes, would re-elect Trump and let the GOP take back the House and hold the Senate. In plain English, the Dems would destroy themselves in a bid to destroy Trump.
She’s right about the likely fallout, but if calling for prison somehow defines Pelosi as rational and responsible, Washington itself is a giant insane asylum.
By her logic, she must keep raising the ante to prove her street cred. Perhaps her next move then will be to call for Trump to be barred from the Oval Office. That way, she’ll prove she really, really, really hates him but still doesn’t favor impeachment.
Here’s the problem — actually, two problems — with Pelosi’s too-cute-by-half gambit. The crazies are crazy, but they’re not dumb, nor are they alone. About 60 House Dems, or 25 percent of the caucus, favor impeachment and polls show a majority of national Dems want to remove Trump that way.
At some point, those members and voters will tire of Pelosi playing word games but still blocking them from doing what they are dying to do.
Already Nadler is openly pushing for a special impeachment committee, and their private showdown over the issue is where Pelosi reportedly made the “prison” comment. Nadler was not impressed or deterred.
But the second problem with Pelosi’s tactics is that the audience for her reckless rhetoric is not limited to Trump-hating Democrats. The idea that any of this — from impeachment to prison — is a fair response to the Mueller report is rejected by most Americans, according to numerous polls.
The majority of voters understand that Mueller had the time, investigators, and incentive to find any dirt he could. His probe was vast and expensive — he summoned 500 witnesses, issued 2,800 subpoenas and used grand juries and heavily armed agents in search warrant raids.
If Trump had broken the law, Mueller would have found it. Forget the noise and legalisms: in a binary world, the president was cleared.
So it’s past time for the left to get over 2016 and accept that Trump was legitimately elected and is entitled to the full powers of the presidency.
Her party’s continual denial of that reality is the dry tinder that makes Pelosi’s gamble so reckless. Mueller was their best shot and to talk of prison now smacks of third-world countries where there is no peaceful transfer of power.
It’s not hard to imagine the result if she continues down this path. The vile smears and hostility that have marked the left’s behavior since Trump’s election will continue to escalate and possibly lead to political violence going mainstream.
There is already too much talk of assassination. What if anger continues to build and some nut hears the secret whistle commanding him to kill the president?
The fact that the Secret Service feels the need to build a taller White House fence is a warning that danger is in the air.
Moreover, the endless war against Trump won’t be a one-off. Some of his supporters can be expected to retaliate in kind the next time there is a Democrat in the White House.
Would it be surprising if angry Republicans also start to boycott the inauguration and the State of the Union? If the GOP holds one or both houses, investigations of the new president’s past and family would be almost guaranteed from day one. After all, turnabout would be fair play.
Keep it going and soon enough impeachment — and prison — could become political tools routinely used by both parties to overturn elections. My fear is that it would take another civil war to stop the escalating cycle.
If Pelosi’s friends are right that she is not a crazy, she needs to act like it. If she believes impeachment is wrong for the country as well as her party, she must say it clearly and stop trying to have it both ways.
She could also set an example of doing her day job by dealing with border problems and other pressing national issues.
Otherwise, she is playing with a fire that will prove easy to start and impossible to stop.
A load of bias
With Chancellor Richard Carranza focused on race instead of achievement, reader David Rabinovitz raises a great question, writing: “Why hasn’t the state Board of Regents stepped in to censure Carranza for his comments about ‘toxic whiteness’ and remind taxpayers about all the money he wasted on consultants pushing Louis Farrakhan-level garbage?”
Here are more questions: Since Mayor de Blasio defends Carranza, shouldn’t the legislature use its oversight power to find out if mayoral control is permitting Carranza to engage in racism, as some employees allege?
Why has Gov. Cuomo, who promised to be the students’ lobbyist, been silent? Doesn’t he want to know if the mayor and chancellor are making key decisions on the basis of race and ethnicity?
Hard to believe
A report showing state Medicaid officials spent $63,000 giving convicted sex offenders erectile-dysfunction drugs prompts an NYPD detective to ask: “What’s next? Giving bullets to murderers? Pass keys to car thieves?”
Shhh, don’t give them any more ideas.
Fake news howler of the week.
“We are in no way anti-Trump,” claims deputy managing editor Rebecca Blumenstein of The New York Times.