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Tuesday, March 12, 2019 -- Pelosi Passes On Impeachment, Biden vs. Bernie, Thomas's Growing Influence

Pelosi Passes On Impeachment
Fresh off of one controversy dividing the left (anti-Semitism and support for Israel), Speaker Nancy Pelosi lobbed a proverbial hand grenade into the Democrat caucus. During a recent interview with the Washington Post Magazine, Pelosi came down squarely against impeaching President Trump. 
Here's what she said:
"I'm not for impeachment.  This is news.  I haven't said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I've been thinking about this, impeachment is 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.  And he's just not worth it."
The New York Post editorial board wrote that Pelosi's statement strongly suggests that the speaker believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller has struck out on Russian collusion.  That may well be the case, but I fully expect the Mueller report to be as damning as possible.  And no matter what it says, the left will not give up.
Needless to say, Pelosi's remarks triggered the more radical members of her caucus.  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said, "I happen to disagree with that take." 
House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) told CNN that he viewed impeachment as "inevitable," saying:
"Impeachment means nothing if you don't use the power and begin the process. So, to me, it's not a question of whether, it's a question of when. . .  I think at some point, it's going to be inevitable."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, echoed Yarmuth by insisting, "We haven't done any investigation."  That must be news to the White House.  The president has been under constant scrutiny every single day since he won the election! 
But the lack of investigation or any evidence of wrongdoing hasn't stopped many on the left from banging the drum for impeachment because they have a different standard than Pelosi.  They refuse to accept the results of the last election, and they won't accept Pelosi's judgment now.
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) introduced articles of impeachment in October of 2017, barely eight months after the president was inaugurated.  Days later, left-wing billionaire Tom Steyer launched a $10 million ad campaign calling for Trump's impeachment.
Green and Steyer aren't backing down.  And certainly Maxine Waters isn't going to shut up anytime soon.
The left's anti-Trump hysteria was perhaps best exemplified by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who told supporters after her swearing-in ceremony, "We're going to go in there and we're going to impeach the motherf---er!" 
That's where all the energy and enthusiasm of the progressive movement is coming from today.  And given the debacle we witnessed last week on a simple resolution condemning anti-Semitism, I have serious doubts about Pelosi's ability to restrain her caucus.
Biden vs. Bernie?
The Hill reports today that former Vice President Joe Biden has told a senior House Democrat that he's jumping into the 2020 Democrat presidential primary.  Recent national polls show Biden is leading the Democrat field, followed closely by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
In many respects, a Biden/Sanders race would be a repeat of 2016, with Biden replacing Hillary Clinton as the establishment candidate against the insurgent socialist Sanders.  But this time, I think the result could be different.
To begin with, Democrats voted last year to limit the influence of so-called "superdelegates," party insiders and officials who would be inclined to back an establishment candidate like Clinton or Biden.
Meanwhile, other candidates currently in the race or still contemplating a run -- Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren -- are all angling for the same vote that Bernie is going for.  In the short term, the fractured left-wing vote would benefit Biden.
This far out, the race is obviously still very fluid and unpredictable.  Anything could happen.  But Biden's high point could well be the day he announces. 
Primaries are often like "King of the Hill" contests with everyone looking to knock the front runner off his perch.  And Biden has given opponents plenty of ammunition over the years.  Plus, there is a big demand on the left for a fresh face
It's hard to argue that the 77 year-old socialist from Vermont is a "fresh face."  (By the way, Biden is 76.)  But he's clearly an anti-establishment candidate from the party's progressive wing, which is where the energy is.  His $6 million haul 24 hours after his announcement shows that many progressives are still "feeling the Bern."
Eventually, as the less-well-known, underfunded candidates drop out, the left will coalesce around one candidate with the right combination of name ID, fundraising and ideology.  In 2020, that candidate could well be Bernie Sanders.
Thomas's Growing Influence
Here's some good news for advocates of common sense on the courts:  The Trump White House has been pulling heavily from Clarence Thomas's former law clerks in its judicial selection process. 
So far, Trump has promoted seven Thomas clerks to the federal bench.  An eighth, Neomi Rao, is likely to be confirmed by the Senate tomorrow.
Carrie Severino, of the Judicial Crisis Network, applauded President Trump's choices, saying:
"At this point, Justice Thomas is clearly the leading intellectual force on the conservative side of the bench.  His principled approach to the law is very much in the ascendency and those are the kind of judges that this president has pledged for the courts."
My good friend Justice Thomas once remarked, "I'm not going to hire clerks who have profound disagreements with me. . . it's like trying to train a pig.  It wastes your time, and it aggravates the pig."