Thursday Morning Open Thread: Pivotal Image

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The Beat Goes On

Per the Washington Post:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton have emerged as key targets for House Democrats in their impeachment investigation of President Trump after explosive testimony about the president’s pressure on a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.

House Democrats on Tuesday began discussing the possibility of summoning both men — who would be the highest-ranking individuals to testify — as the investigation has accelerated in recent days with the cooperation of several current and former administration officials.

The actions of Mulvaney and Bolton attracted considerable attention after two witnesses testified that the acting White House chief of staff was involved in setting up a separate channel to handle diplomacy with Ukraine, which angered Bolton…

“Mulvaney has the inside understanding of why the money was withheld on the security assistance,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who said the two men should testify.

“They’re going to be good witnesses,” quipped Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.). “I suspect we will [need to hear from them]; we need to get the facts.”…

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Excellent Read: “Nancy Pelosi, Political Grandmaster”

There’s a famous Mark Twain quote: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

It always comes to mind when some Very Woke twitter analyst with a goldfish memory switches overnight from WHY WON’T PELOSI DO SOMETHING !!!RIGHT NOW!!! to WOOO SPEAKER & SHORTLY INTERIM PRESIDENT PELOSI IN!THE!HAWSE!!!. (Except, of course, those analysts usually switch right back to their first position, sometimes before I can finish reading down the thread.)

Abigail Tracy, in Vanity Fair, on “Nancy Pelosi, super Speaker, on Trump’s unfitness, the decision to impeach, and “weaving” her fractious caucus”:

Lost in the wilderness of the Trump era, Democrats looked long and hard for a champion: Robert Mueller, the media, even Michael Avenatti. But when the party retook the House in November and Nancy Pelosi began her historic second term as speaker, no one doubted the search was over. She’d been a GOP target and, some centrists thought, an electoral liability given her San Francisco roots. But now no one doubted that she was the indispensable Democrat, cheerfully jousting with AOC and “the Squad,” mediating the hoary conflict between the party’s left and its center (she describes herself as “a weaver,” which is a nice word for how she sometimes has to operate), winning with substance (her party’s focus on health care) and imagery (the famous Max Mara red coat, the donning of the sunglasses after her triumphant border wall meeting with Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer), and holding fire on impeachment until precisely the right moment. The Speaker talks to Abigail Tracy about the road to impeachment, how the Democrats won in 2018, why Trump is unique among presidents she’s known, and the work to be done after Trump is gone.

Tell me about the moment you reached the decision to go down the impeachment path.

I take a lot of guidance from the vision of our founders, and our founders fought very hard for our democracy, for our country, for our Constitution. In the dark days of revolution, Thomas Paine said, “The times have found us.” We believe that the times have found us to keep the republic from all enemies, foreign and domestic. And that would be those who say things like, “Article II says I can do whatever I want.” That’s not a republic, that’s a monarchy. That’s not what we have…

Some members in your caucus credit excitement from the base and a desire for a check on President Trump to your victory in the midterms in 2018. Others argue it was the messaging around issues like health care. What is your diagnosis?

Oh, it was health care. We had a very disciplined campaign in terms of a purpose. “For the people” was our agenda. We were going to lower health care costs by lowering costs of prescription drugs and preserving [protections for] preexisting conditions. Two, we were going to increase paychecks by building infrastructure in a green way. Three, we were going to have cleaner government by reducing the role of big dark money in politics and ending voter suppression others inserted in the bill. And the issue of health security, it’s just very dominant. People have determined it is “the issue” and this is the difference between Democrats and Republicans…

It is hard not to notice that he has rarely used a nickname for you.

Who cares? I don’t care if he has a nickname, maybe that’s why he didn’t do it.

I treat him with respect. I respect the office he holds. Sometimes I think I respect the office he holds more than he respects the office he holds. I try not to ask him to do something that isn’t in his interest. And it is in his interest to lower the cost of health care, to protect children, to build the infrastructure of America…

Have you been at all surprised by the behavior of the broader Republican party in the Trump era?

No. I’m not surprised. I mean, their oath of office is clearly to Donald Trump and not to the Constitution of the United States. Forgetting his personal grotesqueness, there is nothing he is about, in terms of the issues, that they haven’t been there longer and worse. Name any issue— climate, a woman’s right to choose, fairness in our economy, gun safety, how we treat immigrants. Any issue you can name, they have always been there and worse than he is. He is like their JFK. He is their guy

Much has been made about a perceived conflict between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic caucus this Congress. Has anything really changed?

No. No, it’s been the same forever. We’ve always had a big tent, we’ve always had different elements of the party. I myself am a San Francisco liberal and I’m proud of that. Republicans bought 137,000 ads describing me as such during the 2018 campaign. It didn’t work for them. We won 40 seats in the most gerrymandered, voter-suppressed districts you can name.

We’ve always had our exuberances, but we’ve always had our common ground. And as I say, “Our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power,” and that’s what President Trump fears most…

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Good for Madame Pelosi

After this week, I think we’re entitled to a little gloating. Karen Tumulty, in the Washington Post, “This might be the worst impeachment news of all for Trump”:

As the president of the United States rants and rages about the prospect of his impeachment, the woman who set the gears in motion is a study in serenity.

“I feel very at peace with all of this, very at peace,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told me in an interview Wednesday…

For many months, Pelosi had resisted the calls within her party to commence the process that could lead to Trump’s impeachment. What forced her hand, the speaker said, were the facts, the sheer impropriety of Trump pressuring Ukraine’s president to turn up dirt on Trump’s leading presidential rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

“He has committed impeachable offenses even before this, but I do think this is more easily understandable by the public,” Pelosi said. “He gave us no choice. And if he doesn’t understand and the Republicans can’t grasp that — the fact that he undermined our national security, our Constitution and our electoral system — that’s their problem.”

Pelosi remains determined not to give in to the impulses of some Democrats to make impeachment a vehicle for everything about the president that stirs their rage. All of that should await November 2020, she said, when voters will have their opportunity to weigh in on Trump’s policies, his temperament and his character…

In the meantime, Trump’s chief adversary at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue is settling in for the duration, however long it might be. “I have never talked about any timeline. I don’t have the timeline,” Pelosi said. “It will go expeditiously — that is to say, we’ll use the time well to get the facts. We’re not moving hastily, though.”

For a president who grows more agitated by the day, that might be the worst news of all.

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: *Snerk*

Dunked on by Jon Chait — oh, the humiliation! From NYMag, “Trump: I’d Like to Withdraw My Guilty Plea and Change It to ‘Not Guilty’”

Trump today told reporters that his real motive in holding up aid to Ukraine was to force other countries to give money to Ukraine also. Trump, you see, really loves Ukraine and wants it to have all the money. Sure, he withheld the aid, he admitted this morning, after newspapers had revealed that he’d personally orchestrated the plan, “but, very importantly, Germany, France, other countries should put up money, and that’s been my complaint from the beginning,” he said.

That was not his complaint from the beginning. It was not even his complaint as of yesterday, when he said he held up the aid because “it’s very important to talk about corruption [i.e., investigating Biden]. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”…

Even ‘A Blond & Two Boobs On A Couch’ realizes this will not work!

At least the Ambulatory Cream Cheese Sculture (h/t Betty Cracker) remains loyal… for the moment: