To take the position that Trump’s behavior was so egregious and lawless that the impeachment process should begin immediately as a matter of principle strikes me as mistaken. While I can understand the sentiment behind it, I find the framing of it much too narrow. In making a determination as to whether to proceed and at what speed, two things should loom large in our calculus. One is that most people have no stomach for an impeachment fight at this moment. That could change, but that is the present reality. The other — and this is overarching — is the uncertain impact of a bitter impeachment brawl on next year’s elections, which is where most of us will make a decision on Trump’s fitness to be president and much more.
It is for these reasons that I support Nancy Pelosi’s position to proceed at deliberate speed, not Elizabeth Warren’s plunge into the waters of an immediate impeachment fight. In many cases — and I believe this is one — it is better to choose a position that allows you to choose the other as circumstances change and as new information become available. Nancy’s does that; Elizabeth’s doesn’t. Once you push the impeachment peddle to the floor, as she has done, it is difficult to retreat if circumstances dictate it in a way that makes sense to millions of people who will be voters in 2020.