Democrats Ponder Impeachment Pivot
The Democrats have twisted themselves into a Schiffian Knot, a modern-day unsolvable puzzle.
When they plunged forward on their ill-fated impeachment voyage, they were destined to land on this surreal shore, even if their parade of bureaucratic interagency cheerleaders was even weaker than presumed.
So they are in the bad place that can't be washed away with a few margaritas. They desperately want to impeach President Donald Trump, but they don't want to send this partisan presumption pile over to the Senate, where they can no longer control the list of witnesses, where hearsay will be inadmissible, and where narrative control swings to the Republicans.
But if they don't impeach, their pitchfork-wielding base's fury will reach apocalyptic levels. Nancy Pelosi, like the apostle Peter near the end of his life, was led by others to where she did not want to go. She must be furious with her caustic clown caucus that maneuvered her into such an untenable position.
I knew that Democrats were in deep trouble when my teenage daughter asked me to explain the current impeachment effort at the dinner table. She ended the conversation with this: "This is so dumb."
In those four words, my teenage daughter found more wisdom than is being offered by any of the Democrats or the foolish Noonan Trumpers, who want all Americans to believe that this is the worst scandal in history. The attempted and ongoing coup by the Democrat-media-bureaucratic state complex may indeed be the worst scandal in U.S. history, but that's not what they mean.
One of the most foolish takes was by the unintentionally comical Allahpundit over on Hotair. One of his recurring themes is that the president is depressed because he will be impeached by the House.
The president is practically begging the Democrats to do something so foolish. Oh, please, Schiffty and Nancy, please don't throw me into the Senate patch.
"It would be the biggest debacle in recent political history for Pelosi to go through all this, produce evidence that her own party finds extremely compelling, and then lose the big impeachment vote," wrote Allahpundit. That seemed to be the consensus among Never Trumps, who almost seem to relish the thought of impeachment more than Democrats.
Perhaps, but I'm skeptical. First, the Democrats know they don't have anything compelling, which is why they can't even peel off a single vulnerable Republican. When you're losing even Vanity Fair, your case is in trouble.
The biggest debacle would be to actually vote for impeachment with zero Republican support. It's a double-edged mistake in that it forces vulnerable Democrat members to sign their political death certificates in a vanity vote while sending this to the Senate, where real sharks are circling.
Pelosi can almost certainly get 218 votes, although she will likely lose a few Democrats in the process. But will she ignore her political instincts and follow that path?
The Republicans in the House did a superb job in shredding the wet noodle projectionist Democrat project under the worst possible conditions. And while I have more confidence in rising Republican superstar Elise Stefanik and the rest of her Republican colleagues in the House than in some of their Senate colleagues, the ground will be way too favorable in the Senate for this to be anything but a Democrat Chernobyl.
Democrats and their media allies would be forced to watch in abject misery as Republicans call witnesses like the Bidens and Schiffty and focus on revealing the origins of this second coup attempt. Schiff can't be relishing the possibility of trying to explain away his gut-buster that he doesn't know the identity of the "whistleblower." Lieutenant Colonel Democrat will get called back for a Leavenworth-worthy encore performance.
The biggest Democrat problem is that they will lose control of the narrative at the very time they need it most. With the inspector general report getting ready to drop and John Durham's investigation proceeding, they simply cannot afford to turn over the megaphone.
When Republican voters are actually hoping the Democrat House votes for impeachment, the odds of an impeachment vote drop precipitously. While Democratic Party leaders are deranged, they are not that stupid.
For all of these reasons, instead of cutting the Schiffian Knot, they will likely pretend it never existed.
My guess is that they will solemnly intone that after prayerfully considering the evil president's actions, they have decided to hold a censure vote in the interests of the country while they further investigate. They will claim they could have and probably should have impeached the president since the case was ironclad, but the Republican senators would just cover for him. With a national vote right around the corner, they will trust in the voters to deliver justice.
And then it is immediately on to the next line of attack. They have no interest in governing, which is not an altogether bad thing for America.
It's hard to predict where that next attack will come, but it will come. Their desperate hope is that their strategy of death by a thousand cuts will eventually pay off. But with the president's approval among black Americans now at 34%, panic must be setting in.
Perhaps they will pivot back to the Mueller report or focus on the president's tax returns. Perhaps they will bring out the next parade of "whistleblowers," since there is an army of them splattered throughout the federal bureaucracy like a series of sleeper cells. Perhaps they will go after the president for his Navy pardons since they have already shown that they are willing to try to impeach a president for performing his constitutional duties.
Most likely, it will be all of the above and more. Democrats and the media will do all in their power to keep the appearance of investigations alive up through the election as an offering to their restive base and as a defensive mechanism against justice, which, first and foremost, means keeping the action in the House.
Fletch Daniels can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.