One measure of the declining fortunes of the House impeachment inquiry is the sharply contrasting tune of two Politico articles about a New Jersey Congresswoman (D-Naturally) regarding that issue. Exactly two months ago it was a very different political world as Michael Kruse went full Drama Queen describing the choice of freshman Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill to support an impeachment inquiry despite a pledge to her constituents to concentrate on the issues.
Even the title of Kruse’s September 27 article attempted to portrayed the supposedly heroic Sherrill for making her reluctant choice that she seemed to want to make all along, “‘It Feels Like a 1776 Kind of Fight.'” The sad November 27 tale by the same author about that congresswoman had a tone so different that it could be called “It Feels Like a 2019 Kind of Retreat” but has an almost equally downbeat title, “The Town Hall That Impeachment Blew Up.”
To better contrast the moods of the tale of two attitudes separated by a mere sixty days, we shall put the upbeat September 27 version in italics to contrast with the November 27 downbeat sadness:
The most momentous week in the nascent political career of Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill began with a question about the president and Ukraine: “Is anybody thinking that these are impeachable offenses?”
Which two months later became impeachment? What is this impeachment of which you speak?
She talked about everything but herself. She talked about everything but impeachment. “I feel like we’re moving forward on a lot of the issues that people in my district care deeply about. I hope to see H.R. 3 pass soon. … I hope we can conference that with the Senate. … I’m on the state and local tax deduction task force. … We haven’t moved forward as quickly on getting shovels in the ground. … I’ve been back and forth with the secretary of Transportation’s office. …” She went on. “Congress,” she said, “doesn’t move as quickly or as orderly as military movements.”
A moment of PR bravery was dutifully captured by Kruse in his September 27 hype mode persona:
On Monday, in a shared Google document, they worked quickly, fussing over edits and choices of words, wanting it to land before Congress resumed. In the evening, some 10 minutes before their thunderclap of a piece published, Sherrill called her mother to tell her what it said and that she loved her.
A bravery that seems to now be withering due to the almost expected backlash:
The forceful cheers and the boos signaled the predicament facing Sherrill and the other centrists who helped flip the House in the 2018. Though many of them ran and won on local issues that attracted moderate Republicans, the explosive impeachment proceedings have generated a centrifugal partisanship that is testing the strength of their cross-party support.
There were melodramatic tears in September…
Sitting in her office on Wednesday evening, finally at relative rest after a series of meetings and votes, she tried to put into words for me what had compelled her to act. She repeated variations of things she had said all week, and then, as she spoke of priorities of hers that might get shuffled because of the impending hearings, her chin started to quiver. Her eyes started to well. Sherrill started to cry.
…Which were replaced by humdrum uncertainty in November that carefully avoided the now-toxic i-word.
“How do I feel?” she said. “Um, I guess, you know—I think there’s a lot of people across the country that are scared, worried about their future—how they’re going to pay for their retirement, how they’re going to put their kids through college, worried about the epidemic of gun violence. And, now, those things are really scary, no doubt. But I look across this room, and I see where we’ve gotten to tonight. … We had a lot of questions. There are a lot of questions that really I think frustrate people in one way or another and even anger people in one way or another.
September quivering chins…
“It’s critical for people to believe in our democracy,” she said, “and to not feel like … the whole thing is rigged.” This is when her chin started to quiver.
…Were replaced by November gloomy forced smiles.
She smiled, but this time only kinda, and seemed not to be in the mood. “I don’t think any of my town halls are boring, so …”
Finally, the September Sherrill was boldly assertive about what she thought were the political sins of the President…
“The President of the United States,” Sherrill wrote on Monday night in a separate statement that she posted on her Facebook page, “is threatening our national security.”
…Which has now become an uncertainty about the whole process that got her into political trouble with her constituents.
Her support for impeachment, of course, was for the inquiry. How she votes next month remains to be seen.
Despite Sherrill’s laughably rapid flip-flop on impeachment, Kruse in his self-appointed role as her press agent assures us (and perhaps himself) that she is in no danger of being ousted…for now:
…Sherrill appears to be, at least for now, electorally secure.