by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The impeachment show needs to be suspended and sent back for major rewrites — or, better yet, canceled entirely.
I use the word “show” deliberately, because that is what it has become. In the most recent episode of House Democrats versus President Trump, pro-impeachment members were hoping Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony would provide the boost the show needed. “Nobody reads the book,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) said in a widely repeated line, referring to the Mueller report, “but everybody will watch the movie.”
The problem is the Mueller episode was boring, and the same folks who said it was going to be a hit are now furious at those judging it like an entertainment.
The show bombed largely because Mueller refused to play his part. Not only were his halting answers designed to deny newscasters a single sound bite, but he also refused to play the wise-elder-statesman role Congress so often assigns outsiders in the hope they will do whatever job the representatives themselves are incapable of doing. Congress loves to hand off its responsibilities to above-the-fray public servants — special commissions, blue-ribbon panels, and, of course, independent or special counsels — because its members lack the moral authority and expertise to act alone. But that rarely works.
It’s time to acknowledge that Congress is broken and has been for a very long time; the ongoing impeachment debacle is merely a symptom.