It is hard to believe that Nancy Pelosi’s second speakership is no older than January 3 of this year. The day before Pelosi again became a mere two heartbeats away from the presidency, her daughter Alexandra went on CNN to talk with John Berman and Alisyn Camerota about what we might expect from her mother. The pair laughed and seemed surprised to hear Alexandra’s insight: “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding.”
While the imagery was macabre and her delivery blunt, Alexandra’s words have since proven to have been perfect in predicting what we have been seeing from Pelosi as Speaker of the House this year. For a while, Pelosi was criticized for not taking action on impeachment, despite the fact that the Mueller report outlined impeachable offenses and Democrats overtook the House in a Blue Wave that implied Americans wanted robust and swift Congressional oversight.
In March, Pelosi disappointed many when she remarked that she would pursue impeachment only if there is “something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.” She also frustrated many by making sure to set the bar high, explaining that she prefers not to pursue impeachment because it “divides the country,” and with that high price tag, “[Trump’s] just not worth it.”
Then, only two months later, Pelosi began making the case that Trump was “self-impeaching,” signaling that it may not be long before the elusive compelling/overwhelming/bipartisan test is met. Thanks to the Ukraine and Syria scandals and Trump’s bungling effort to defend himself in each, public support for impeachment and removal has grown substantially in recent polls.
Today, we have reached a point where the House took up a resolution that sets new procedures for an official impeachment inquiry. The resolution passed by an overwhelming margin of Democrats as well as Independent Rep. Justin Amash. Despite this progress, Pelosi is still maintaining her focus while appearing to pull back on the reins. This week, she made a point of telling a small group of columnists that while the case for impeachment is gaining strength, “[w]e have not made any decision to impeach,” according to the Atlantic.
Pelosi is well aware of the effect the passage of time can have, rhetorically asking “How much drama can the American people handle?” Yet, she is committed to continuing in her measured way. “When we decide if we are going to go forward, we will be ready, and we will be ironclad,” she promised. In other words, Pelosi is reminding us that she is not interested in simply making people happy. She knows that Trump must go, having told the columnists that “[i]f this president were to get away with this, forget about it all. We might as well not even run for office.” Pelosi is doing things the way her daughter told us to expect, which is cutting off Trump’s head without him knowing that he is bleeding. So far, it appears to be working.