Pelosi's hidden message to Trump

CNN's SE Cupp takes on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that "politics is not even a consideration" when it comes to impeachment.

Posted: Dec 8, 2019 8:10 AM
Updated: Dec 8, 2019 8:10 AM

In Shakespeare's tragedy, the armored ghost of Hamlet's father stalks the ramparts of the royal castle, with a face cast "more in sorrow than in anger."

Such was the expression of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she walked to the podium in front of American flags Thursday to announce that Democrats would draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

She invoked the Declaration of Independence and complimented her colleagues "for their somber approach" to a process that Pelosi herself had long resisted.

Yet the nation saw another facet of the Speaker's character just hours later when a reporter asked, "Do you hate the President, Madam Speaker?"

She shot back, "I don't hate anybody," citing her Catholic upbringing and warned, "Don't mess with me."

Those words, wrote Pelosi biographer Elaine Povich, "emphasized that she is powerful and cannot be taken lightly when it comes to describing her motives -- particularly where they concern the guideposts of her religion." She added, "when she was a child, Pelosi has said, her mother thought it might be nice if she became a nun. But Pelosi laughingly suggested she would like it better if she could become a priest, since they had all the power. Exactly."

Now she does have all the power -- at least in writing the next chapter of the impeachment story.

"Support for removing Trump from office has increased in the last two months, thanks to Pelosi's methodical staging of tightly-managed public hearings designed to make a public, easy-to-understand case that Trump has abused power, obstructed Congress and violated his oath of office," noted Errol Louis.

The speaker's approach, he wrote, is driven by a shrewd sense of politics: "It's safe to say that Pelosi does not get out of bed in the morning without considering the politics of putting on her slippers."

Julian Zelizer observed that "with a firm hand and clear vision, Speaker Pelosi has done something that no one else seemed to be able to accomplish. She has seized back the public square from the Trump White House."

But in Scott Jennings' view, the impeachment juggernaut is no surprise to Trump's loyalists; it only draws them closer to him. "It's true that Pelosi had no choice, although it's not because of the Constitution," he wrote. "What have Democrats wanted more than anything since Trump's election?...The answer is obvious: to undo the 2016 election by any means necessary. It's a political itch that had to be scratched, and Pelosi could hold off her tormented partisans no longer." Having liberal Democrats, law professors and world leaders scorning and laughing at Trump, is just what he courted when he was elected to disrupt the elite, said Jennings.

Is there enough evidence to impeach Trump? We asked two expert lawyers, Michael Zeldin and Robert Ray, to trade views.

Trump's very unhappy trip

If Trump's trip to London was scripted to divert attention away from the President's worries back home, it was a complete failure. Even before he landed in London, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, normally a Trump ally but facing a general election Thursday, "made it clear he would rather keep the deeply unpopular Trump at arm's length," wrote Frida Ghitis. "Trump has become politically radioactive."

At the event marking NATO's 70th anniversary, Trump "clashed with French President Emmanuel Macron and appeared to be mocked by Canada's Justin Trudeau and other NATO leaders in an embarrassing video," wrote Aaron David Miller. The upshot: Trump canceled his closing press conference and headed home.

If Trump needed cheering up after the trip, he could take heart in a poll that found that 53% of Republicans think he's a better president than the first Republican to win that office, Abraham Lincoln.

The finding is evidence of how firmly today's Republicans identify with Trump, but not a serious historical comparison. "Though Lincoln and Trump are both nominally Republicans, the party of 1860 and the party of 2019 have nothing in common but the name," wrote Fred Kaplan. "Lincoln was pro-immigration; he favored a balanced budget; he abhorred deal-making other than as constructive compromise; he believed that it was the job of the president to implement, not to make or to disregard, the law."

Exit Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris dropped out of the Democratic presidential contest this week, spurring discussion of how a once promising contender failed to make it even to the first round of the primary voting in 2020.

Why has Mayor Pete Buttigieg gained traction in the party's center lane while Harris, with more substantial experience in public office, couldn't, asked Rafia Zakaria. "There are many reasons that Kamala Harris could not sustain her presidential run but one central obstacle is that she made her presidential bid in a country that is unused to seeing women who look like her in power -- let alone in the highest political office," Zakaria wrote.

Harris said she lacked the "financial resources" to continue the campaign. That wasn't all of it, observed George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times: "Harris' lack of money was just a symptom of her failed presidential bid, not the root cause of its demise ... the plunging poll numbers resulted from her inability to connect with voters. And she couldn't connect with voters because of the core weakness in her candidacy: a lack of cohesive strategy and clear personal convictions. There was no evidence of the political soul needed to guide her toward public policy she felt strongly about."

Meanwhile the frontrunner in the race, former Vice President Joe Biden, was traveling by bus on his "No Malarkey" tour of Iowa. At a campaign event in New Hampton, he called a resident who questioned his son's work for a Ukrainian company a "damn liar." Then he challenged him to a push-up contest. Let's face it, wrote LZ Granderson, Biden's statements have always been problematic. "For as much as Biden...touts himself as the man who can restore dignity to the White House, the truth is he is a behavioral and rhetorical wild card as well."

Fractured States, Part III

CNN Opinion's Fractured States of America series is concluding with a deep look at solutions to the political divide. Yaffa Fredrick described two immigrants living in North Carolina who approach issues from opposite ends of the political spectrum. "Rremida Shkoza, a progressive Democrat, did not understand how another immigrant could be a Republican," she wrote. "Then she met Julia Song, a Brazilian immigrant to the United States, at ... an intimate event designed to bring people of opposing political backgrounds together to discuss some of the most controversial issues of the day.

"Song was a proud Trump supporter, who believed that several of the President's immigration policies were necessary first steps in reforming a broken and backlogged immigration system...Shkoza was quite moved by Song's experience -- and while neither she nor Song switched political sides of the debate, they acknowledged the many layers of complexity to it. Shkoza also believed she had found a pathway forward."

Stepping outside of our blue and red bubbles is a key first step to healing the nation, Fredrick noted. Here are some pieces outlining other steps to take:

Garry Kasparov: Echoes of Soviet unreality

Garry Kasparov, who became the youngest world chess champion in 1985 and is now a pro-democracy activist, recalled the country of his birth, the Soviet Union.

"Reality was whatever the Party put out on the nightly news, or in the official newspapers, Pravda, which means 'Truth', and Izvestia, which means 'News.' It was increasingly obvious back then, even to communist true believers, that what we were being told didn't match the world we saw around us. As the joke went, 'there is no news in the truth and no truth in the news.'"

An exile now in the United States, Kasparov hears uncomfortable echoes today of the Soviet attitude to truth: "President Donald Trump and his Republican defenders in Congress have followed his lead in declaring war on observed reality.

"Critical reports are 'fake news,' journalists reporting the facts are 'enemies of the people,' a phrase of Vladimir Lenin's, debunked conspiracy theories are repeated, and public servants testifying under oath about documented events are dismissed as Never Trumpers. Unable to change the facts, Trump and his supporters instead try to shift the debate into an alternate universe where the truth is whatever they say it is today."

There is only one truth and there cannot be separate Republican and Democratic forms of reality, Kasparov wrote. "Trump is finally facing the music, and that must begin with everyone facing the facts."

Don't miss:

Cedric Alexander: Pensacola resident: What gives me hope

Roxanne Jones: Gabrielle Union had my back

Elizabeth Warren: World AIDS Day reminds us of this

Michael D'Antonio: Trump White House's fatal flaws revealed in startling detail

Joe Lockhart: GOP throwing sand in the gears of impeachment

David A. Andelman: France shuts down as Macron touches third rail of politics

Superman, get woke

Superman turned 80 last year and he's feeling his age.

As Noah Berlatsky wrote, "the first superhero ever created" may still be the most famous. "But he isn't thought of as an especially relevant or timely character these days. He can outrun a speeding bullet, turn back time and come back from the dead. The one thing he can't do, apparently, is anchor a hit film in the contemporary superhero era."

Berlatsky has a plan for that.

The superhero should return to his roots. "Superman as initially conceived in the 1930s," he wrote, "was successful in part because he spoke so directly to the social tensions and problems of his day -- tensions and problems that aren't so different from our own: gender inequality, corporate corruption and greed, racism and vulnerability to state power."

Hang in there, Man of Steel.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather