The Corner

White House

The Political Impact of an Impeachment Push

Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines argues in the New York Times that the conventional wisdom about the Republicans’ drive to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998-99 is wrong: It didn’t do great harm to the Republicans. He is, of course, trying to make Democrats less fearful of the prospect of impeaching President Trump. Whether or not you share his aim, though, his basic point seems to me correct.

I also think the political downside of impeachment may be lower now than it was then. In the late 1990s, voters were basically happy with the state of the country (in August 1998, Gallup found 60 percent of the public was “satisfied” and only 36 percent “dissatisfied”) and didn’t want to see political turmoil. These days, voters are not happy with the state of the country (last month Gallup found 69 percent “dissatisfied” and 29 percent “satisfied”) and are used to a great deal of political turmoil.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular


The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel

It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport ... Read More
White House

Mueller Report Delivered to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report ... Read More