Saturday, July 15, 2017

Slow And Steady

On Wednesday, Democratic Representative Brad Sherman of California introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump for obstruction of justice.

This is notable primarily because Sherman, with only one co-sponsor, is virtually alone.  At a closed-door caucus meeting last month, Representative Michael Capuano urged "a discussion within the caucus- in a public forum- before we do something that would position our colleagues or our future colleagues" and minority whip Hoyer of Maryland argued "we believe strongly that a discussion about impeachment is not timely."

It is untimely in part because it the Russian connection is an evolving story, and we're no further along than homo erectus. There is probably much more which will be revealed to implicate Trump team members- possibly even the President himself- which would render what we've learned before as small potatos. Proceeding now not only would be futile, but would provoke a tremendous backlash among both Trump supporters- who appear to be at least 40% of voters- but also probably in the mainstream media.

But there is at least one other reason not to proceed with the impeachment track now, at least not (as Kellyanne Conway would put it) yet. Citing evidence from Gallup, Steve M. maintains

Anti-Trump anger isn't focused on policy -- it's focused on Trump. Specifically, it's focused on aspects of Trump's personality and demeanor that aren't perceived as aspects of Pence's personality and demeanor.

If Trump does go, the political and media establishment will want to rally around Pence.

Pence's record indicates that his agenda would be Paul Ryan's agenda.  Jeff Alston in In These Times notes Pence "was given a 99 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, would be much more likely to cut Social Security, push National Right to Work, and try to restrict gay marriage, and would probably treat immigrants and refugees just as badly, in order to court the Trump base."  And that's not even considering reproductive freedom or transparency, as we learn 

The White House won’t answer questions about a meeting last week between Vice President Mike Pence and anti-choice advocates, even though some of the advocates are clearly identifiable in a photo posted from the vice president’s official Twitter account.

Pence and the advocates reaffirmed President Trump’s “commitment to the sanctity of life” amid plans to strip at least 22 million people of health care and discount reproductive health care entirely, according to the tweet.

Neither Pence’s daily schedule nor White House pool reports from reporters on duty at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue disclosed the sit-down—meaning that, in all likelihood, it would have gone unreported without a signal boost from the vice president’s office.

Steve M. recognizes

if Pence becomes president, the public would regard him as (a) not a compulsively tweeting man-child and (b) a policy blank slate. (People who care about politics know his record, but that's not most Americans.) The country would learn what he stands for soon enough -- but we'd be starting from scratch in fighting him, and we've seen that mild-mannered Koch/religious right wingnuts mange to win their next elections even when they govern from very far to the right -- think Scott Walker or Sam Brownback. 

The best approach for the Democratic Party is, as it gnerally has been practicing: P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

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