But What If He Resigns?

Chatterbox was dismayed to see the backpager in today’s Wall Street Journal arguing that congressional Democrats who try to push Clinton out the White House door will suffer in the polls. Chatterbox is a tad defensive on this point because he recently wrote an article in the New Republic arguing the precise opposite point. The Journal story cites a new Journal-NBC News poll finding that 41 percent of respondents (and 63 percent of respondents who are Democrats) would be “less likely to support a House candidate who calls for the president’s impeachment.”

But wait. What about House Democrats who call for Clinton’s resignation? (Chatterbox hews to the minority view that if enough congressional Democrats tell Clinton he must resign, he can be shamed into leaving.) The story didn’t say anything about that. Checking the expanded poll results posted today on the Journal’s website, it doesn’t appear the Journal-NBC News pollsters asked whether respondents would support a House candidate who calls for the president’s resignation. The pollsters did, however, ask respondents, “Which worries you more: A: that Congress will act too quickly and remove President Clinton from office, or B: that Congress will act too slowly and the investigation of President Clinton will drag on for six months or more?” Only 29 percent worried Congress would act “too quickly”; fully 64 percent thought it would act “too slowly.” So what voters really fear is a long, drawn-out impeachment process–which the Republican majority seems determined to give them. The only way out, then, is for House members to call on Clinton to resign. Surely they can see that. Can’t they?

–Timothy Noah