November 26, 2019

This is how the right-wing echo chamber works. The only question is, is Brian Williams an unwitting dupe or a collaborator?

Right-wingers from Hugh Hewitt to Daily Caller to Newt Gingrich have been pushing the line of "impeachment remorse" for the past few cycles. The claim is that Nancy Pelosi's standard for impeachment included "wide bipartisan agreement" that crimes were committed. Since every other standard of impeachment (crimes and evidence of crimes) HAS been met, where's the bipartisanship? And, the claim continues, doesn't that make Democrats' standard a big fail?

And then Brian Williams of our liberal tee-vee station MSNBC gets into the act***, asking a "question" that the New York Times's Peter Baker seemed perfectly ready to discuss:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, I'd like to read you a quote that you know well. Speaker of the House Pelosi, this was back in March. It is the standard she held on to until the Ukraine story broke. In March she said, 'Impeachment is so divisive to the country, that unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path.' Peter, the question to you, have they met that standard? Is anyone whispering to the contrary among Democrats who may have 'impeachment remorse' at this point?

PETER BAKER: Yeah. I think Democrats think the first two have been satisfied, compelling and overwhelming, it's the third one that hasn't. Bipartisan. That is not the case. If they thought the public hearings they wrapped up after two weeks would change the dynamics, would change Republican minds, not many but a few, that didn't work out. You know, the evidence laid out a pretty strong pattern of behavior. I think a lot of people walked out there saying the facts of the case are not that much in dispute. It didn't turn the politics of it. This is a political process as much as any kind of legal process. It's invested in the hands of elected officials. And the Republicans have decided to stand strongly behind President Trump. They either don't see a problem with the phone call and the other pressure on Ukraine or they do see a problem with it but don't think it's impeachable. Especially heading into an election year when the voters are about to decide anyway. Any chance that Democrats had with the members slipped away at this point. Is there buyer's remorse? Among some Democrats there is nervousness, I think. The idea of a party line impeachment vote is not unheard of. We saw that 21 years ago with President Clinton. It doesn't get them to where they want to go. It leaves them with an acquittal in the Senate that he waves around and the campaign trail saying 'I was exonerated.'

The idea that morally depraved, Party-Before-Country Republicans, are voting against the evidence that no one disputes, purely for partisan ends, does not get discussed. It's another "but the Democrats" argument. Shame on Brian Williams for throwing our democracy under the bus.

***Of course CNN is doing it too, suggesting to Adam Schiff that it's the Democrats fault if Republicans won't vote for impeachment. The problem is Republicans don't care about facts and are willing to flush the Republic down the sewer for political power, the end.

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