Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was mostly right to pour cold water on impeachment fever this week when she told The Washington Post: “I’m not for impeachment…[It’s] so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”
We agree, with a large asterisk on the third adjective she used.
The impeachment of Bill Clinton showed the grave risk of plunging the nation into a struggle over ousting a President when his offenses aren’t obviously disqualifying to the public at large.
But here and now with Trump, we don’t know what we don’t know. Every week, the nation absorbs alarming revelations about his presidency. Any day now, either via Robert Mueller’s report or other means, those could go from alarming to downright terrifying.
Pelosi’s suggestion that impeachment is a non-starter unless it’s bipartisan from the get-go fails to account for reflexive Republican allegiance to Trump — allegiance that may well hold even in the event of yet-to-be-determined compelling and overwhelming reasons to oust him for the good of the Republic.
This process is political by design. The two impeachments in American history (of Clinton and Andrew Johnson) were initiated by the opposition party. So was the near-impeachment of Richard Nixon.