By Selywn Duke
The conventional wisdom regarding Nancy Pelosi’s holding of the impeachment articles is that, as someone put it, she’d pulled the pin on the grenade and then didn’t know what to do. Yet even if she has bumbled into her current predicament, which seems likely, is there now some method to her madness? Has she found a way to turn lemons into at least a thimble of lemonade by using the situation to damage the presidential candidate she doesn’t want to see capture the Democratic nomination — burgeoning Bernie Sanders — and help the establishment choice, Joe Biden?
It’s now being pointed out that if Pelosi releases the impeachment articles next week, as is rumored, it will hurt the campaigns of the five senators seeking the Democratic nomination, as they’ll have to leave the campaign trail to be present for the trial. This is at just the time when one of those senators, Sanders, is surging in the polls; is leading in the first contest, Iowa, which is just weeks away; and who now, many Democratic observers say (and often fear), may very well be the nominee.
In reference to this forced campaign-trail absence, “‘Of course it matters,’ [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren said in an interview this week,” reports Politico. “‘We just did a 3½-hour selfie line. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter to do face to face.’”
Yet the Massachusetts politician and the three other senators who aren’t Bernie are expendable. Warren’s star has been fading, her lies and fanciful policy proposals having caught up to her. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has risen a bit of late, but no one really believes she’ll be the nominee. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) now just serves as a token allowing the Democrats to say, “Look, our field isn’t entirely white!” (an unpardonable sin in their now “woke” party). As for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), well, few people will notice his absence because few even notice his presence.
But Bernie matters. With him hitting his stride and the first contest (on Feb. 3) being significant because it can establish or kill momentum — and with the polls close — his absence is significant.
This has to please the Democratic establishment. Its power brokers hobbled Bernie in 2016, and they surely don’t want him now, either. First, he’s not actually a Democrat but an independent; he’s also anti-establishment, and the Democrat machine wants in the White House a Democrat, and one who’ll play ball. It’s also likely that insiders consider the white and wizened socialist septuagenarian unelectable.
Evidencing this establishment antipathy was a November report stating that Barack Obama had actually vowed to intervene if Sanders seemed poised to be the nominee. In fact, one could just imagine the ex-president on the phone with Pelosi strategizing on how to bury Bernie.
But Pelosi wouldn’t need any prodding. Not only is she a major head on the Democratic-machine hydra who has assuredly pondered how the impeachment articles’ release will affect the primary contest, but there’s another factor:
It’s quite likely that to Pelosi this is not just professional, but personal.
Remember that Bernie is the candidate of Pelosi’s nemesis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In fact, the New York socialist upstart has been campaigning by his side, helping to rally younger voters, and is a major factor in his post-heart-attack campaign’s resuscitation.
Also note that it’s Ocasio-Cortez and her radical crew who pushed Pelosi into going forward with impeachment in the first place, an action the House speaker apparently opposed and which has been disastrous for her party. So she certainly must find the prospect of using Ocasio-Cortez’ tactic of choice (impeachment) to damage her candidate of choice quite poetic — and delicious.
Add to this that Ocasio-Cortez is now refusing to pay her Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dues and has been working to primary establishment Democrats — thus challenging Pelosi’s power — and one can only imagine how much the speaker despises the congresswoman.
Remember, too, that Pelosi is a political operator who’ll “cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding,” as her daughter Alexandra put it last year. I suspect the speaker may believe that releasing the impeachment articles next week sticks a shiv in Bernie’s back — and by proxy in Ocasio-Cortez’ — and will relish every minute of it.