Learning to Lose Battles to Win the War

A while ago, some asshole with a blog noted:

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.

Who?

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)…

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.

Unfortunately, how the impeachment hearings will be conducted seems to be guided by the same marginal Democrats (boldface mine):

This tracks as reasoning for pretty much everything the Democrats have done this year: if an item is going to put vulnerable members in a tight spot, then the party just isn’t going to entertain that at all. Which to a certain extent makes sense: the Democrats have a slim majority as it is, and more than a few of them are skeptical of Pelosi’s leadership.

That doesn’t mean, however, that dictating how a 235-member caucus operates in order to placate the concerns of what appears to be a dozen members or less, many of whom can realistically expect to lose their seats the next time there’s a wave election. Something as big as impeachment—and, I’d argue, healthcare and climate—is too important for the party to be dragged around by the most right-wing members of the caucus

If their every move is dictated by the needs and demands of just a few members (some of whom would just be happy to get four or six years in before they run for a higher or safer office or go work on K Street), then what is the leadership even for?

Maybe future leadership will understand this, but for now, we must remember that primary challenges and badgering elected officials did move the needle on impeachment. Rank-and-file Democrats need to realize that we are often in loyal opposition to our own party (and total opposition to Republicans).

Kicking them in the ass might not be nice or civil, but it works.

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