Friday, May 24, 2019


Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders want to damp down the impeachment talk, largely because they fear it will hurt Democrats in 2020 if they're seen as being obsessed with bringing down the president.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, as Peter Baker of The New York Times notes, there's this guy:
The idea was to talk about relief for farmers hurt by tariffs, with a couple of them standing behind him in cowboy hats. But it did not take long on Thursday for President Trump to go off on “Crazy Nancy” and “Crying Chuck” and “treason” and the effort to “take me down.”

The last time a president was threatened with impeachment, he made a point of not talking about it. This one cannot stop talking about it. Where Bill Clinton tried to appear above the mud fight, leaving it to aides and allies to wage the battle for him, Mr. Trump is determined to get down into the mud himself and wrestle with his enemies at every turn.

... out of strategic calculation or personal obsession, or both, the president has engaged in the battle with Congress so intensely that he has made it the all-consuming preoccupation of his presidency.
The president's fixer, Attorney General William Barr, has been given unilateral power to declassify documents, even over the objections of other agencies of the government -- all in order to more effectively "investigate the investigators" who looked into the misdeeds of Trump and his associates. And all agencies have been ordered to cooperate with this counter-investigation.

Trump isn't afraid to be seen as fixated on this, just as he isn't afraid to be seen as abandoning efforts to actually pass some legislation. After he walked out of the infrastructure meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, smart people said that the walkout would make it clear to the American public that Democrats are serious about governing and Trump isn't, but all that is in danger of being forgotten as the Trumpers cite doctored videos suggesting that Pelosi is a drunk, while Pelosi makes disparaging statements about the president. The Pelosi-Trump beef is what we're talking about. Infrastructure, the subject of the aborted meeting, has been forgotten.

And Trump is fine with that. Democrats fear being seen as unserious about governance. Trump doesn't care.

I'll grant that Democrats probably have a point -- Trump's poll numbers aren't very good, and most of the country doesn't want him reelected. It would probably be good for Trump to seem more serious, and it would be good for Democrats to focus on legislation.

But I'm told that Democrats have been focusing on legislation:

My response to Klain:

Get the word out. Talk about the bills on TV. Do targeted ads online describing the legislation. End each ad with a scary two-shot of Trump and Mitch McConnell, the men responsible for digging the grave where all these bills are buried.

Or just keep focusing on bringing down the president. Trump doesn't think focusing on the fight will hurt him in next year's elections. Maybe Democrats shouldn't either.

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