December 13, 2019

Party-Line Impeachment for Day-Time TV

Jerry Nadler postponed a vote until this morning so Americans could watch.

Donald Trump was inaugurated president 1,056 days ago, which, coincidentally, is exactly how long Democrats have been trying to impeach him. Well, if you don’t include their rumblings before he even took office. Today brings a major marker: The House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 along party lines to advance two articles of impeachment to the full House for a vote next week.

That vote came after more political theater last night, as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler abruptly ended a hearing and announced the committee would not vote until this morning. “It is now very late at night,” Nadler declared shortly before midnight. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes. … Let history be our judge.”

Hearing Democrats talk about “consciences” is pretty amusing.

Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee, complained that Nadler’s move was a violation of the rules and “the most bush-league stunt” he had ever seen. Collins also aptly noted what really matters to Democrats: “They know it’s all about games. It’s all about the TV screens. They want the primetime hit.” The flip side of that coin is that Democrats knew they couldn’t hold a vote at midnight under the cover of darkness without leaving themselves open to new Republican attacks. Now they’ve set up the weekend TV talkingheads while giving the rest of America a Friday news dump.

One major factor for Democrats in their delay is that there are 31 “moderate” Democrats who won districts Trump won in 2016. Most of them have declined to indicate how they’d vote when the full House takes up the issue. (Notably, the six Democrats who took the stage earlier this week to “somberly” announce impeachment articles were all from California and New York. This is why we have the Electoral College.) Those 31 Democrats could be waiting for their own quid pro quo. What will their district receive in exchange for their impeachment vote?

Democrats can lose only 16 of their members and still succeed in impeaching Trump. They will almost certainly gain no Republicans, and the Senate is a virtual lock to acquit the president. So House Democrats are about to spend a lot of political capital on a losing proposition.

Footnote One: During Judiciary debate, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) named the alleged whistleblower, reported to be Eric Chiaramella. Gohmert rattled off a list of people who should have testified but were prevented from doing so by Democrats. Chiaramella was among them. Leftmedia outlets who name and make famous every mass shooter have stubbornly refused to name the whistleblower, though by reporting that Gohmert named him they’ve effectively confirmed it.

Footnote Two: The one thing members of both parties can seem to agree on is more spending. Congressional negotiators just announced a deal for $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending for 2020, avoiding a government shutdown for Christmas. Reason notes, “The deficit for fiscal 2019, which ended in September, was $984 billion. Total outlays clocked in at $4.447 trillion, with revenues reaching $3.462 trillion, both record amounts.” Moreover, “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is now projecting annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion in each of the next 10 years.”

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