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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is many things, but one thing she definitely is not is stupid. The same cannot be said for many of her colleagues, but Pelosi herself is a master strategist who knows how to play the long game in politics. That’s part of being a player for over three decades, but Pelosi has taken full advantage of her time there. She’s made political mistakes inherent with being on the wrong side of the ideological debate the vast majority of times. Nevertheless, she has survived and thrived because she knows how to set up a play months ahead of time and properly execute it later.
Impeachment is such a play. It didn’t work out as intended. She’d hoped they’d have real charges to file in Articles of Impeachment. They’d hoped Robert Mueller would deliver the President’s proverbial head on a silver platter. But unlike most of her colleagues, she didn’t bank on it and was quick to regroup after Representative Jerry Nadler’s spectacular failure to rejuvenate the Russian collusion hoax by making Mueller testify.
From the moment her caucus won her back the Speaker’s chair, she has been playing for impeachment. There are plenty of conspiracy theories about the timing of her move following months of pretending to be the impeachment naysayer. Some say she was pressured by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Justice Democrats to move on it. I thought this for a bit. But now I’ve dismissed it as it’s clear her reticence was a setup for today. Others have said she launched impeachment over the whistleblower to protect people; former Vice President Joe Biden, Representative Adam Schiff, Senator Mitt Romney, and Pelosi herself all have ties to Ukraine that would be red flags echoed far and wide by an honest mainstream media if such an institution existed. There’s merit in this theory, but I’m now in the camp that believes those benefits were simply a matter of killing two (or four, or more) birds with one stone. They were secondary to her real goal. We know this because she was setting up impeachment long before anyone had heard of Eric Ciaramella.
Whether some or all of the theories about her alleged change of heart are true is secondary. It’s blatantly clear that her primary motivation today has been her primary motivation from the start of her latest stint as Speaker. It’s likely been her primary motivation from the fateful day the Democrats’ world came crashing down around them in November, 2016. She has been bent on impeachment. Her words in March were the appropriate setup to allow her to do so without being called out for it.
“Unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she famously told the Washington Post in March. And looking at reactions today, it’s obvious her prediction was accurate.
Pelosi said months ago impeachment needed to be "compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan" because it "divides the country."
Judging by Twitter on #ImpeachmentDay, I'd say it was the most accurate prediction she's ever made.
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) December 18, 2019
I was a fool to take her at her word that she was against impeachment. I was wrong to believe she was playing the smart political move by holding her caucus back. I was blind to the masterful strategy she set in motion by pretending to be against it. Nancy Pelosi played me and many others for fools. Impeachment was the plan all along even as she denied its efficacy. And dividing the country was precisely what she intended to be the result.
Sure, she hoped there would be something that could result in a full impeachment and removal with both chambers of Congress in overwhelming agreement, but that was a goal she never truly expected to achieve. Getting 67 Senators to agree on anything short of symbolic legislation is more difficult than herding cats. No, she called the play in March when she said impeachment would divide the nation. She was correct, but she lied about it being a bad thing. In her mind, it was the goal heading into a presidential election year.
I was a fool to not recognize it before.
A divided nation is difficult to move. When people become invested in a goal – taking down President Trump – they become impossible to sway. That was the point of driving the wedge between people on an issue that was clearly contentious. Pelosi wanted people to pick a side and stick with it from now until election day. Only then, by her calculations, did the Democrats have a chance of winning back the White House and possibly even the Senate. But more importantly, it was the best way to insure that she would maintain her own grasp on the one thing in life she desires the most – to remain Speaker of the House.
The divide established by impeachment was meant to coalesce her caucus behind her, subverting any attempts to replace her with a young gun next year. It was also meant to give her members a rallying cry of opposition to the President that she hoped would help Democrats maintain their majority. She designed impeachment as her ultimate job-saving play, a way to crack the whip of obedience and reverence on those who would challenge her.
It fell short of her expectations so far. The nation hasn’t been as fooled by mainstream media’s propaganda as she had hoped. She envisioned driving the wedge somewhere north of 50% support for her efforts. Thankfully, Schiff and Nadler failed. Mainstream media failed. Their combined narrative failed. A majority of Americans succeeded in seeing the truth that this is the most partisan maneuver possible from Capitol Hill.
America will decide in 2020 whether Nancy Pelosi’s manipulations were fruitful or not. It isn’t looking good, but we should never underestimate her thirst for power, willingness to lie, and ties to the media. The real fight begins now.
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