I’ve haven’t paid much attention to Ron Fournier lately, but you can see a fairly detailed criticism of his record circa 2013 at Salon. He’s a notorious “both-sides-do-it” proponent who spent the 2016 campaign crapping all over Hillary Clinton, only to recoil when Donald Trump became president.
Still, it’s interesting to see Fournier calling so forcefully for House Democrats to impeach the president. He was pushed over the edge by Trump’s open admission that he’d accept dirt on his opponents from foreign entities.
Then, in an interview Wednesday with ABC News, Trump said there would be nothing wrong with accepting damaging information about an election opponent from a foreign government. “They have information — I think I’d take it,” the president said, essentially encouraging foreign adversaries to help him win reelection.
This is a dangerous and unacceptable precedent: Unless Democrats and Republicans in Congress impeach Trump, every future president has grounds to ask foreign adversaries to launch covert operations against his or her political rivals in the United States.
To his credit, Fournier finally grasps what millions of Americans figured out a long time ago: that the Republican pursuit of President Bill Clinton was nothing but a fraud. And he says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should take a few pages from the 1998 playbook.
The more I reflect on the Clinton impeachment, the more I realize he didn’t survive because Republicans overreached. He survived because he made sure his public-facing focus was always on the lives and concerns of voters. He compartmentalized the impeachment drama inside a team of lawyers, pollsters and communications specialists — and had them weaponize the case against him.
Compartmentalize and weaponize. That’s the lesson congressional Democrats should take from 1998.
Pelosi, he says should “form a House select committee that assumes ownership of all Trump investigations.” This would allow ” the rest of the party, including its presidential candidates, relentlessly focuses on voters’ concerns.” Trump, Fournier believes, would be powerless against such a move.
Pelosi can poach Clinton’s strategy because Trump can’t. The president’s narcissism makes him constitutionally unable to focus on anything but himself. He can’t put the people first because he’s always jumping the line.
Trump is better suited for the Gingrich role — a blustery ball of pique and petulance — and is vulnerable to Pelosi’s psych game. Her go-to retort, “I pray for the president of the United States,” is Clinton-level concern trolling.
It’s hard to know what to make of Fournier’s suggestion. His prescriptions for what ails America are, either from bad faith or genuine stupidity, utter snake oil. Still, it’s interesting to see him re-examine how (and why) President Clinton survived the Republicans’ political stunt.
It may be true that the Senate would acquit Mr. Trump. It may also be true that an impeachment inquiry would persist through the election, depending on when it was launched. And it may also be true that an ongoing impeachment investigation tanks Trump’s already poor poll numbers.
Something needs to be done, and soon. If Ron Fournier can figure that out, hopefully Nancy Pelosi can as well.