Representative Nancy Pelosi raises the gavel after being elected Speaker of the House, January 3, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
I am no great believer in the wisdom of “We the People,” but the people still must be consulted from time to time. This is one of those times. The impeachment of Donald Trump would represent the effective nullification of the 2016 presidential election; that the Democrats have been laying the groundwork for impeaching Trump since before he was sworn in rather than in response to some particular episode or disclosure forces us to think of it that way. Which is why, as I argue today, Nancy Pelosi must bring these hearings out of the shadows and into the light of public scrutiny.
The Wall Street Journal makes a similar case here.
The lack of serious leadership in Congress is the great political problem of our time. It has contributed mightily to the mutation of the presidency into its current caesaropapist form. But even when Congress rouses itself to take on the president, it apparently cannot manage to do so in a credible and liberal fashion. So far, Nancy Pelosi has made as strong an argument against her own leadership as she has that of Donald Trump. And that’s saying something.
A related note: The presidents Adams were not great believers in the wisdom of the people, either. I have been very much enjoying Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein’s book, The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality. (I almost cannot believe that it was written by the author of White Trash, which was awful and incompetent.) It is of particular interest just at this moment.
The authors share John Quincy Adams’s diary entry after attending Madison’s inauguration ball: “The crowd was excessive, the entertainment bad.” That’ll be the fitting motto for Campaign 2020.
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