When I was a young lawyer just starting out in private practice in Montana I handled a variety of domestic relation cases. (For those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland public schools that means divorces, custody disputes, restraining order, etc. Oh, and “etc.” means “and similar items”.) After a couple of contentious divorces I vowed that I would quit accepting them as soon as my practice stabilized – that was about another two years and I was mostly done. Some people divorce with equanimity – they acknowledge their mistakes and move on. In such cases division of property, custody of children and spousal and child support are agreed to in short order, approved by the court and the parties part with sustainable relationships for the sake of their children – end of story.
For others the process becomes a nightmare – for the divorcing couple, their children, their respective families, a host of friends and neighbors and even their lawyers. The level of betrayal, loathing and recriminations are legion. When there are not actual things to fight about, they imagine future scenarios that may never occur and fight about them. It is painful and often times the battle never ends. They fight figuratively with razors and bludgeons – words designed to inflict the maximum damage, to challenge the other’s very raison d’être. In such instances there is seldom an opportunity for reconciliation – nor do either of them particularly want to reconcile.
And that is where we are in the ongoing feud between President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). These two loathe each other and neither will be satisfied until the other is dead or destroyed. Ms. Pelosi began by simply denying the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s election. Her good friend Hillary Clinton had just been defeated and a historical event – the first woman president – had been shattered. Not just shattered but Ms. Clinton had been dragged out by Mr. Trump as a liar and a crook, a willing co-conspirator to her husband’s infidelities and abuse of women, and an all-around phony. In Ms. Pelosi’s world such heresy was just not permitted. She not only denied the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s election and presidency but she went on to criticize everything about him. It was as if Mr. Trump did not know which fork to use and Ms. Pelosi was the condescending rich girl challenging the barbarian from Yonkers. It got worse when she regained the position of Speaker and while she warned against impeachment, she gave her committee leaders carte blanche to pursue it anyway by approving every subpoena and demand for documents laid before her. There was no excess by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) which she did not defend, no lie by Mr. Schiff that she challenged and no presumption by Mr. Nadler that she did not approve. The wilding by House Democrats was encouraged by Ms. Pelosi and the resulting frenzy was all encompassing. In essence Ms. Pelosi was dismissive of an extraordinary achievement by Mr. Trump and it was downhill from there. Ms. Pelosi wanted to stain Mr. Trump’s presidency with the label “Impeached” even though she knew he would never be convicted and removed – the laughably weak presentation by the House managers was the proof of that pudding.
And Mr. Trump eagerly fired back. There is a scene in the movie The Untouchables in which Malone (Sean Connery) – a tough Irish cop – tells Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner):
“You want to get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone! Now, do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I’m making you a deal. Do you want this deal?”
From day one Mr. Trump displayed this street brawler instinct. It was there during the entire primary campaign season and later during the general election as he responded to criticism by his Republican and Democrat opponents with insults, exaggerated hyperbole (Low Energy Jeb Bush (R-FL), Little Marco Rubio (R-FL), Al Frankenstein (D-MN), and Fat Jerry Nadler (D-NY)) and some dead-on descriptors (Crooked Hillary (D), Pencilneck Adam Schiff (D-CA), Lyin’ Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sleepy Joe or Quid Pro Joe Biden(D).) For Ms. Pelosi he routinely referred to her as Crazy Nancy mostly because of her stumbling attempts to explain away the obvious (i.e. the Catholic Church actually supports abortion, ‘you have to pass the Affordable Care Act before you find out what’s in it”, and labeling $1000 bonuses by companies given as a result of tax cuts just “crumbs.”
But then Mr. Trump crossed the line. He referred to Ms. Pelosi as a third-rate politician. In Democrat circles, Ms. Pelosi has become an iconic figure as the first woman Speaker of the House. And like so many other Democrats that automatically imbues her with near magical qualities. She is deemed to be among the smartest people in Washington. She is said to be a near genius as a legislative tactician. There is no support for either such belief and plenty of evidence to the contrary including leading her party into the disaster of Obamacare and the recent impeachment fiasco. But Democrats need heroes even if their feet are made of clay. And woe to anyone who points out their obvious shortcomings. The only surprising thing is that the Democrats can say the most vile things about Mr. Trump and his family but are aghast that he should say anything remotely critical of them. Hypocrisy is an enduring quality of politicians and nowhere more so than with the modern Democrat Party.
Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi hate each other and they are never going to get over it. One of them has to go. Which one? Well there is a major difference between the two of them. Mr. Trump stood for election, having already demonstrated his prickly persona and won an overwhelming majority of the votes in the Electoral College – just as the Constitution requires. Ms. Pelosi, on the other hand, was re-elected to the House by a small enclave of very wealthy businessmen and very, very poor dependents on welfare. Her vote total was about 275,000 in 2018 which represents less than 0.2 % of the 135.6 Million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election. It is pretty clear that Ms. Pelosi lacks a national mandate while Mr. Trump has one.
Should Mr. Trump prevail in the upcoming presidential election, Ms. Pelosi needs to withdraw from consideration as leader of the Democrats in the House for the best interests of the nation – a nation for which she claims to pray every day.. Today she represents an open running sore that will not be tested in the next election. If you believe that Mr. Trump does likewise, the voters will make that judgment.