The presence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the premises at the end of the week when she announced an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump delivered a national news nugget on the doorstep of Harrah’s in time for the convention of Democratic State Party Chairman John Currie’s annual conference.
New Jersey was suddenly nationally relevant.
Pelosi walked out to a hero’s welcome, above a crowd that didn’t include the big shot party chairs from a night earlier. “On that day [Constitution Day], we learned of that conversation that completely dishonored that Constitution,” she said. “None of us came to Congress to impeachment a president. We came to work for working families.”
She thanked Gov. Phil Murphy and made a point to celebrate him – and the state legislator – for their performance as New Jersey’s leader. Moments later, turning to the impeachment question, Pelosi was grave. “When the Constitution was adopted, Ben Franklin came out of Independence Hall and was asked, ‘Mr. Franklin, what do we have a monarchy or a republic?’
“‘A republic,’ he said, ‘if we can keep it.’” Not that “we place ourselves in” in the same vein of greatness as the founders, Pelosi said. “But we do place ourselves in a time of urgency to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” the speaker said. The upcoming election is important, she added.
Yes. “What is America? We are a nation of immigrants, which they denigrate,” Pelosi said. “Our values, which they undermine. So there is a great deal at stake in this election The character of this nation in this election.”
It was a short speech. “Thank you, New Jersey,” was the closer. Shortly before she spoke, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) hopped onstage on the invitation of Currie. The junior senator running for president invoked the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. “What will become of our dream on our watch?” Booker wondered aloud, part of a truncated version of his stump speech from the campaign trail. Next up was Governor Phil Murphy, who like Currie had a pillar of fire presence about him, apparently eager to transfer the room mood into sustained palpable statewide politics. Booker was supposed to introduce him, and he did, sort of, just before an onscreen infomercial filled in the Murphy narrative in its own specifically non-self associative Murphy-friendly-centric voice.