The American Conservative Union is holding one-day regional and international meetings this year. Today they are in Atlanta and Representative Doug Collins (R-GA09) sat down for a frank chat during the morning session. He was interviewed by ACU Communications Director, Ian Walters.
Because of his position as Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, he has had a front-row seat to the ongoing impeachment drama. He reviewed the broad range of topics and work the Committee could be engaged in. Then he bluntly stated it has not been functioning as it should be for the last nine months under Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY10).
He referred to the Committee’s activities as faux hearings that have come to nothing despite repeated tries. Collins remarked,
“Anybody who thinks this is about the Ukranian call, it’s not. It’s about losing an election and people in Brooklyn crying.”
He supported this position by saying impeachment is a political process that becomes a judicial proceeding. What should guide this process is 900 pages of procedures that were documented during the Clinton impeachment. Those procedures have essentially been abandoned. Instead his Democrat colleague Lucy McBath (D-GA06) has not had to go on the record in support of an impeachment inquiry. Basically, Speaker Pelosi is letting McBath and Democrats in moderate districts hide and never have to take a stand their constituents can evaluate. He said,
“They [Democrats] are so blinded by their hate for the President that they are running over precedent.”
The current process includes a significant amount of secrecy. For example, Collins noted a colleague who heard the testimony of Kurt Volker said it debunked the Democrat narrative. Yet that transcript has not been released. And only a small selection of the 67 pages of text messages have been released.
Countering the Narrative
When asked what the appropriate way to counter this process was, Collins said that members needed to stand up, be relentless and be loud. This is how he chose to handle the process as the Ranking Member, calling out bad process and inaccurate information. Ultimately, Speaker Pelosi had to move the process out of Judiciary. It was easier than trying to go through Collins.
Collins said Pelosi can get to 218 votes on Articles of Impeachment. That will spare some of her moderates from having to vote yes. He said these “golden tickets” will go to members in at-risk districts that voted for the President. However, he also noted that members of the Democrat caucus attacking each other. It is mostly those in the far left-wing attacking the center, which is a new phenomenon.
However, he clearly stated that impeachment should not be used as a politcal weapon. Unfortunately, it seems that is exactly how it is being used. Democrats will have a hard time combatting the President’s very real accomplishments and have very few of their own despite their majority. As a show for those voters who do not pay close attention, they will take an impeachment vote to wound the President heading into the general.
Deadlock in the House
In describing the current state of affairs in the House Collins said,
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“Democrats have no desire to solve your problem no matter what your problem is.”
He cited the fact that Democrats have only been the majority for four years out of the last twenty-four. During several of them Democrats held both houses of Congress and the Presidency. Those years gave us disasters like Obamacare and the CFPB. Messes we are still trying to fix. He noted the bills they are passing in the House are blatantly partisan despite a divided Congress and opposition party President. Collins said they are political statements, not bills. They have no hope of passing the Senate or being signed by the President.
Yet, according to Collins, they have a President that is willing to work with them despite everything. Still, they refuse to work with him viewing progress on issues like immigration or healthcare as a win for Trump. They want to keep wedge issues alive for the next cycle. Speaker Pelosi won’t even bring the USMCA, the updated trade agreement with Mexico that would create 160,000 jobs, to the floor.
Looking to 2020
In closing, Collins said Conservatives need to look at themselves to figure out how to better communicate their ideas going into 2020. He pointed out that too often we talk in percentages and technical language rather than highlighting the positive effects our policies have on individuals.
Collins said we have to stop letting Democrats own the emotional arguments. He gave the example of the new depreciation rules in the tax bill. No one but a room full of accountants is going to be engaged by the finer points of depreciation. However, a business owner in his district said the new rules allowed him to add three full-time employees. Talk about the jobs, not the tax code.
He seemed optimistic about the ability to retake the House in 2020. He noted that some Republicans are experiencing being in the minority for the first time. They don’t like it. Saying Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Nadler is jarring. So get involved and get motivated to help ensure the GOP gets to 218 in 2020.