Loading...
Judging by the number of folks charged with driving under influence I am guessing the penalty is rather light. Of...

Dems should focus on information, not impeachement

Steve and Cokie Roberts

Cokie and Steve Roberts

Loading…

Friday, January 11, 2019

"I" words are inundating Washington. President Trump insists his border wall would impede an invasion of illegal immigrants who injure innocents. Democrats say Trump indulges an idiotic idea to instigate an impasse and incite impassioned illusions.

But the most incendiary "I" word is clearly "impeachment," which flared into prominence when Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a freshman from Michigan, pledged to supporters that House Democrats would "impeach the motherf---er" in the White House.

Her sentiment — if not her language — might have been popular with Democratic loyalists, but party leaders were appalled at her promise — and with good reason. Democrats would be making a huge mistake, and playing right into Trump's hands, if they use their new power in the House to push for impeachment now, without a clear and compelling case that could command broad bipartisan support.

Trump's single biggest vulnerability is his impulsive and reckless temperament, which repels even many loyal Republicans. Impeachment proceedings without a rock-solid foundation would tarnish the Democrats with a similar reputation for unreliable instability.

Trump gleefully seized on Tlaib's outburst, calling her "disgraceful" and "highly disrespectful to the United States of America." See, he was telling his core supporters, the system really is rigged against us, and the Washington insiders want to steal the election we won fair and square.

Tlaib's colleague, Michigan Democrat Dan Kildee, was on target in calling her comments "obviously not helpful" and adding, "this fuels a narrative the Republicans will use."

Instead of mimicking Trump, the Democrats would be better off providing a stark contrast with this improvident president. Be calm when he's crazy, factual when he's fabricating, reasonable when he's irrational. And use those defining differences to challenge him at the ballot box in 2020, a far more sensible way to remove him from power than impeachment.

Nancy Pelosi, the new Democratic speaker, understands the dangers here and is resisting the demands from the red-hots in her caucus. "Impeachment is a very divisive approach to take, and we shouldn't take it without the facts," she said on MSNBC.

"Facts" is the key word here. Trump is the Prince of Prevarication — with 7,645 false or misleading statements by the end of 2018, according to The Washington Post — so the Democrats must be the exactly opposite, rooting their decisions in a rigorous devotion to reality.

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which would handle any impeachment effort, advises Democrats to hold their fire until special counsel Robert Mueller issues his report on Trump's actions during and after the campaign. "We have to get the facts," he stressed on CNN. "We will see where the facts lead. Maybe that will lead to impeachment. Maybe it won't. It is much too early."

But the pressures are growing on Democratic leaders to act quickly — and rashly. Two House members have already filed articles of impeachment, and one of them, Brad Sherman of California, insists, "Impeachment is on the table. You can't take it off the table."

New York Times op-ed columnist David Leonhardt recently posted a lengthy indictment of Trump's sins and argued "waiting is too dangerous. ... The president must go." Veteran journalist Elizabeth Drew, who covered Watergate, wrote in the Times that impeachment "now seems inescapable."

History teaches, however, that caution is a far better course. It took more than two years after the Watergate break-in to build a case for impeaching President Nixon, and most Republicans joined the effort only after White House tapes documented vividly — and irrefutably — the president's complicity in obstructing justice.

When House Republicans launched impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton for lying about his sex life, the case was so flimsy that the whole vendetta backfired, boosting Clinton's approval ratings, undermining Republicans in the 1998 elections and forcing Speaker Newt Gingrich to resign.

"I think we mishandled the (Clinton) investigation," Gingrich recently told Washington Examiner columnist Byron York. "We should have been calmer and slower and allowed the country to talk to itself before we reached judgment."

Moreover, while Rep. Tlaib is cheered on by left-wing activists and opinion mongers, she hardly speaks for the country's mainstream. A Quinnipiac poll last month asked voters to name their "top priorities" for the coming Congress. Only 8 percent of the total — and only 15 percent of all Democrats — picked impeachment.

The "I" word that should guide Democrats right now is information, not impeachment. As Nadler says, "see where the facts lead." Only then is a defensible decision on the next step possible.

Steve and Cokie Roberts can be contacted by email at stevecokie@gmail.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

April 20, 2019

RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced he would not be delivering the commencement speech at his alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, nor will he attend any other graduation ceremonies this season.

Last week, the governor appeared ready to emerge from his self-imposed…

April 20, 2019

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, the highly improbable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, made this insightful comment to The New York Times: "The story that we tell, not just about government but about ourselves, and the story we tell people about themselves and how…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

April 19, 2019

Roughly $1.25 billion. That's how much Duke Energy customers will be overpaying for electricity over the next 10 to 15 years. We can thank North Carolina law — and Gov. Roy Cooper — for the higher bills that come with long-term solar energy contracts Duke has been forced to accept.…

Donald van der Vaart

April 19, 2019

The Telegraph of London

There are few more iconic buildings in the world than the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. The fire that has ripped through the great building is not just a tragedy for France but for the whole of Europe.

The church, with its familiar double towers and spire, now sadly…

April 18, 2019

I recently spoke at the University of North Carolina Clean Tech Summit and I was inspired by our state’s enormous potential to fully transition to a clean energy economy. I challenged the students and business leaders in attendance to embrace disruption and exemplify the leadership North…

Michael S. Regan

April 18, 2019

On April 11, the ongoing saga of journalist and transparency activist Julian Assange took a dangerous turn.

Ecuador's president, Lenin Moreno, revoked his asylum in that country's London embassy. British police immediately arrested him — supposedly pursuant to his "crime" of jumping bail…

Knapp

April 17, 2019

There's a push to change laws to permit both criminals serving time and ex-criminals the right to vote. Guess which party is pushing the most for these legal changes. If you guessed that it was the Democrats, go to the head of the class. Bernie Sanders says states should allow felons to vote from…

April 16, 2019

The bribery scandal that has ensnared N.C. Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes couldn't be a more perfect example of how big money can corrupt state politics.

Hayes was indicted on charges that he'd worked with insurance company executive Greg Lindberg to bribe the state's insurance commissioner…

Colin Campbell

April 16, 2019

If you were to poll North Carolinians on an open-ended question about what they think the biggest threat to liberty is in the state, there would certainly be lots of different and diverse answers.

You might even see responses like "climate change" and "Yankees moving here." Democrats might say…

Ray Nothstine

April 15, 2019

The New York Times

Congress has landed on one of those rare ideas that commands support from both Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, it’s a bad one.

On Tuesday, the House approved legislation misleadingly titled the Taxpayer First Act that includes a provision prohibiting the Internal…

267 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»