Democrats, who’ve done nothing but call for impeachment since 2016, who’ve done nothing but stage an “impeachment inquiry” that allows them to skirt normal processes of transparency while keeping the “I-word” alive and fresh in the press, have suddenly decided they don’t need no stinkin’ vote.

That’s after Rep. Adam Schiff, quasi leader of the skunk pack of Democrats, suddenly decided the whistleblower he dangled before the media, promising testimony that would blow the lid off impeachment and send President Donald Trump packing, has suddenly decided he don’t need no stinkin’ testimony.

The common denominator with these stunning reversals?

Both testimonies would’ve put Democrats in the position of having to stand and suffer some of their own fire.

They would’ve had to produce the goods, or pipe down and go away. And in the world of political poker, such as they’ve been playing, their only tool is the bluff.

Look at these rapidly changing times — first, Schiff on Twitter on September 27: “I want to thank the whistleblower for coming forward, and for their courage. I urge others to do so as well — notwithstanding the threats and intimidation. Our democracy depends on it.”

The media ran with it, covering Trump’s telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine as if the White House had sold the farm in exchange for dirt on Hunter-slash-Joe-Biden. The catch was the transcript of the call, released by the White House, didn’t show that sell-out. But why bother with facts when the whistleblower, in all his or her second-hand hearsay glory, offers such opportunities for innuendo? Even when it’s later revealed the whistleblower is not really a whistleblower, because he or she broke the rules of whistleblowing by chatting it up with Team Schiffers before speaking with the inspector general?

No worries.

From ABC, Oct. 6: “2nd whistleblower comes forward after speaking with IG: Attorney.”

How convenient.

But still, my how this whole whistleblower narrative crumbles.

“Schiff admits he should have been ‘much more clear’ about contact with whistleblower,” Fox News reported a couple of days ago.

Right. Because otherwise, the process has all the appearances of a political hatchet job, rather than an unbiased, for-the-American-people investigation. But even in his admission of smoke and mirrors, Schiff can’t keep from convoluting: The word is “clearer.” No need to do the wordy dance of “much more clear.” That’s what the guilty do when they’re caught in their guilt: stutter-step over clarity.

Then came this drum of fear — as if Republicans were looming, lurking, threatening in the background: “Protecting whistleblower’s identity is ‘our primary interest,’ Schiff says,” The Washington Post reported, also a couple of days ago.

And then finally, triumphantly, from The Hill, this: “Schiff: Whistleblower testimony might not be necessary.”

After all that — no testimony needed?

Here’s why: Schiff’s whistleblower would have had to endure Republican scrutiny — and even more importantly, Schiff himself would have had to endure Republican scrutiny. Both testimonies would have fallen in the face of questioning.

Moving on. Next up, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Following a two-week recess, spent in large part listening to Democratic Party operatives make their endless media pitches for impeachment, Pelosi opened in Washington, D.C., with this quick update on the impeachment inquiry: “There’s no requirement that we have a vote, and so at this time we will not be having a vote,” The Hill reported.

In other words: Democrats don’t have the numbers to open an official hearing on impeachment, so rather than go on record — rather than take a transparent, public vote — they’re going to keep up the charade of an “impeachment inquiry.” Because what is an “impeachment inquiry,” after all, but a political strategy to go on impeachment hunt after impeachment hunt, without having to show impeachment proof.

Democrats talk but don’t deliver. Democrats threaten — but they have nothing to follow through their threats.

Democrats huff and puff and bluff and blow — but in the end, when accountability looms, it’s not the White House walls that fall. It’s impeachment.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

© Copyright (c) 2019 News World Communications, Inc.

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