Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s political fate is sealed. She made three critical errors this week that will likely cost her the gavel she cherishes. In about one year, we will likely see her handing it to Representative Kevin McCarthy, but even if the GOP doesn’t retake the majority in the House, she’ll be handing it to a different Democrat. They’ve tried her way once before and it resulted in her losing the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016. And when President Trump wins reelection, she’ll lose the gavel for a second time.
The first big mistake is obvious. Even some of her closest allies are getting antsy about her holding onto the Articles of Impeachment with no path to leverage them for any more political fodder. She had momentum after the House voted in favor of impeachment, then she squandered that momentum for some reason. Nobody’s quite sure what she hoped to accomplish by holding onto them, but there are theories.
My working theory is this: Pelosi realized that impeachment was a mistake. She didn’t want the president to be able tell voters that he had been exonerated by Senate. The only way to mitigate the damage was to undertake a ham-fisted effort to attack the Senate trial and dampen, or perhaps circumvent, that inevitable moment.
In the process, however, Pelosi destroyed the Democrats’ justification for rushing impeachment in the first place. Nadler and Schiff both argued that Trump’s tenure in office constituted a national emergency, and that the only way to save the republic from another stolen election was to move quickly.
McConnell, on the other hand, had to take only a short break from confirming judges to inform the House that the Senate would treat the impeachment of Donald Trump the same way it treated the impeachment of Bill Clinton — with a rules package that passed 100-0 in 1998. Under the Clinton precedent, the Senate would allow both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers to make their case, with questions from the Senate to follow.
Her second big mistake was to go down the path of assuming we were going to war with Iran. She took everyone in her caucus with her as they started echoing the same concerns. But then, war didn’t happen. The Iranian “retaliation” for the killing of terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani was nothing more than a fireworks display so they could lie to their people about being tough guys showing the weak Americans they won’t be bullied.
So, the war was cancelled. But instead of changing the subject, she decided to play politics with a symbolic resolution to score points with her base. Unfortunately, her base didn’t get the memo since most of them went into their bomb shelters waiting for Iranian nuclear weapons to strike any minute now.
The House is moving forward with @RepSlotkin's War Powers Resolution limiting the President’s military actions regarding Iran. The Admin must work with the Congress to advance an immediate, effective de-escalatory strategy which prevents further violence. https://t.co/i3KU9bqWqh pic.twitter.com/9bwnjBMjnz
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020
You already knew all of this. Now, let’s get to the part you likely didn’t know, the third critical mistake she made. It’s not one that will get much publicity outside of the initial report. For this mistake, what the press tells us about it will make it seem like a nothingburger. But the effect it will have on her caucus is to prompt whispers behind the scenes as dissension quietly rises in her ranks. When all of us have moved on from the minor news, it will stick in the back of the minds of many Democrats who have supported her thus far.
The mistake actually happened last month, but it was revealed this week. And while most will ignore it, this will be used by Pelosi’s far-left critics within he caucus as proof that she needs to be replaced even if Democrats retain control of the House after the 2020 elections.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 9, 2020
On the surface, it’s not a big deal. But the way it will be portrayed by the increasingly powerful radical progressives in her caucus if President Trump is reelected can be broken down into three bullet points:
- Pelosi didn’t trust her caucus enough to discuss strategies, but she listened to an old Republican convicted of impeachment crimes being interview on CNN
- She didn’t communicate her strategy to her caucus after she made her decision, and as it turned out, she didn’t really have one
- President Trump’s reelection is her fault because she dropped the impeachment ball
They will remain a solid group until the election, and if a Democrat wins the White House while the party retains control of the House, Pelosi will be safe. But if President Trump wins, her John Dean moment will be used as a reason for the hyper-leftist wing of the party to say it’s time to push out the old and bring in the new.
At every turn the last few weeks, Nancy Pelosi has demonstrated weakness in both strategy and resolve. Her days as Speaker are numbered whether Democrats retain control of the House or not… as long as President Trump wins reelection.
Which he will.