If you like your politics orderly and by the numbers, and if you can’t stand having to come to terms with people of very different views and backgrounds, here’s a piece of advice: Don’t bother being a Democrat.
Normally, Democrats wear their diversity as a badge of honor, even as they feud and scuffle. But with House Democrats in the heat of an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, the habits of political lifetimes collide with the imperatives of discipline and focus.
And Democrats being Democrats, they are even arguing about who deserves credit for the decision to open an impeachment inquiry. When CNN posted a feature about how moderates moved the House to act, champions of the party’s outspoken progressives, who had long endorsed this step, asked why they did not get more credit for being there all along.
Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., the vice chair of the House Democratic caucus, might be seen as representing something close to the exact center of her party, which is one reason I spoke with her here this week. She didn’t think much of the debate over who deserves praise for what.
A member of the Progressive Caucus, she came out for impeachment early, on July 25—the very day, it turns out, when Trump had his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asking him to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Yet she also spent a lot of time helping moderate members win in 2018 as the co-chair of the Democrats’ “Red to Blue” program. She thus hopes the party can quickly work its way by past feuds and get on with the job.
“I don’t think it is a matter of credit, or who was right, or vindicating the timing of it,” she said. “I certainly understand members of Congress who say, ‘Wasn’t it enough with the racist policies? Wasn’t it enough with the lies and contortions and the willingness to engage with Russia in trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton? Wasn’t it enough with the separation of children at the border?’ But we are here now and we are pursuing this...with urgency, as expeditiously as we can.”