Background Briefing: December 19, 2019
Pelosi Delays Impeachment to Get a Fair Trial in the Senate
We begin with the delaying tactic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is using to force the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put on a real impeachment trial in the senate instead of taking orders from the White House and steamrolling a quick vote to acquit President Trump. Jeremi Suri, Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a professor of history and public affairs and author of “The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office”, joins us to discuss his latest article at CNN, “On impeachment, GOP and Democrats are on different planets”. We examine the deep divide between Democrats who see Trump as a villain and Republicans who see him as a victim, and as this historic clash intensifies, the meaning of our democracy versus the cult-like lock-step devotion to a leader, and a very flawed one at that. With a recent poll of Republican voters finding that 43% of them would be happy if Trump did not have to answer to the Congress or the Courts, in the coming months the American people will have to decide what kind of governing system they want. While the argument for democracy and the rule of law should win the day, the party of William F. Buckley is now the party of Jerry Springer, meaning fewer principled Republicans will vote their conscience. But Democrats in swing districts who did, have to face GOP organized mobs attacking them.
Andrew Bacevich on How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory
Then we speak with Colonel Andrew Bacevich, the President of the Quincy Institute for Responsive Statecraft about his new book out soon, “The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory”. We discuss how, amid the impeachment rancor a bi-partisan record-high $738 billion defense budget representing a $160 billion increase over two years was passed without much attention or debate. Meanwhile in the United States infrastructure crumbles, inequality grows and permanent war continues as our divided populous become increasingly angry and alienated after electing their worst leader in history.
Nancy Pelosi Has Emerged as the Democrats Indispensable Leader
Then finally, with Nancy Pelosi emerging as the indispensable leader of the Democrats, we speak with John Lawrence, who worked in the House of Representatives for 38 years and served as Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff. The author of “The Class of ’74: Congress after Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship”, we discuss the speaker’s rousing defense of the Constitution and her condemnation of both Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell as “rogue leaders”.