Many Democrats and their ‘Resistance’ allies* are puzzled as to why Speaker Pelosi is opposing an impeachment inquiry. Multiple thinky pieces argue that she has learned the wrong lesson from the Clinton impeachment. But the problem is that I don’t think the Clinton impeachment is her frame of reference. Instead, it’s the short-lived career of Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky**.
In 1992, Democrats did very well and won a number of swing seats with a large class of freshmen. Among these freshmen was Margolies-Mezvinsky. In 1993, President Bill Clinton wanted to pass a modest tax hike, which, in that era, was not popular. While the Democratic House leadership tried to protect as many of its vulnerable freshmen as they could, some freshmen were called on to take a tough vote. In Margolies-Mezvinsky’s case, she cast the deciding vote, and that vote probably cost her re-election.
I have no doubt Pelosi despises Il Trumpe. But she views her job as protecting seated House Democrats–all of them, even that shithead Lipinski. When Margolies-Mezvinsky fell on her sword, at least Democrats got something out it. But Pelosi doesn’t want to force Democrats in swing districts to take a tough vote when nothing will come of it (impeachment likely won’t pass two-thirds of the Senate). That’s what I think is motivating Pelosi. For obvious reasons, she can’t say this out loud (these sorts of statements have a knack of becoming reality through repetition).
That said, I think Pelosi’s calculus is wrong here. Even if she is right and an impeachment inquiry would ultimately lead to tough votes (an assumption I don’t buy at all), some House seats are worth harming Trump, demoralizing the Republican base, and forcing conservatives onto the defensive. In other words, ten House seats are worth a shot at the Senate, a better chance of winning the presidency, and helping down ballot candidates.
But Pelosi isn’t willing to take that risk, so instead, we are left with the risk of not impeaching Trump. And that’s a pretty high risk too.
*One of the… something things about the conservative Never-Trumpers is watching them finally realize just how gormless Congressional Democrats are.
**In 2007, she divorced her husband and now goes by Margolies. At the time, she went by Margolies-Mezvinsky.