In Monty Python’s famed “dead parrot” sketch, the bird’s owner’s repeated proclamations to the pet shop owner that the bird had expired — not stunned or sleeping but undeniably dead — has made for laughs for decades. The contemporary version of the parrot is the Mueller report, following its transmission to Congress on Thursday. Those clutching the report and crying “impeachment” are like the store owner, oblivious to how thoroughly the case for impeachment has been destroyed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., knows the jig is up. Some of the party’s presidential candidates, such as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Cory Booker , D-N.J., get it. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., does not. She is running a zombie campaign that she is trying hard to reanimate. Her fundraising and her media appearances suggest a forced march and gritted teeth. And while moderate candidates such as Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., only need former vice president Joe Biden to stumble, Warren somehow has to try to work around both Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Kamala Harris on the left flank of the field. It just isn’t happening for her.
Warren has tried to make big policy proposals so as to garner some grass-roots energy, but as none of her proposals stand a lick of passing the House and Senate, they lack the traction of pragmatic possibilities. Voters know you need reality checks on your proposals or supermajorities in Congress. Democrats don’t have the latter, so they need policies that recognize the realities of a divided country. Something reasonable about, say, student debt and college tuition — extending all debt into 50-year notes at a low fixed rate, getting the government out of the business and expanding financial assistance to the poor but eager and able — would have played better, but she’s not the preferred candidate of the far left in the party and will never be.
So having failed to excite all but the policy nerds, Warren now demands impeachment proceedings, as will every House member who would like the television time that comes with such hearings. When has House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., ever had such doses of this narcotic before? Never, of course, and he and the similarly situated will want to flog the Mueller report. So does Warren. So do scattered pundits and broadcasters across the land.
But the Mueller investigation is over. It is no more. It has ceased to be. That’s the big dose of reality that Pelosi sees coming but many others in her party don’t. Perhaps she remembers what happened to the Republicans in 1998 after pursuing President Bill Clinton for too long. Even though Clinton had admitted lying and President Donald Trump and many others have proclaimed exoneration, the Newt Gingrich-led House GOP lost seats in the midterms. Does Pelosi want to be the first woman to twice win — and twice lose — the gavel?
The hard edge of the left in the media wants to hang on to its #Resistance-boosted ratings, but smart journalists and executives must know it is time to pivot away — quickly — toward the campaign and to the real news of a world where bombings and fires are what fix the public’s interest, not footnotes or theories that fell apart after the Mueller team disbanded faster than the Steele dossier under close attention.
To quote Python again, this time from the “Holy Grail” film: “Run away, run away.” Democrats would be advised to treat the Mueller report as the knights treated the killer rabbit in that classic scene. They should end this charade sooner rather than later, after disgust with their antics invades even their base.
Hugh Hewitt, a Washington Post contributing columnist, hosts a nationally syndicated radio show and is author of “The Fourth Way: The Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority.”