I’m not in very good shape tonight, so I’m going to largely rely on the commentary of others to mark this disastrous day in American history.
I reached the point long ago where I was boring myself by having to write the same things over and over again as I documented what is tagged here as the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck: that the Democrats and “the resistance” are completely and solely responsible for abandoning what their own leaders said was the duty of defeated candidates and parties; that the news media has breached its duty to our democracy and endangered the Republic by breaching its own ethical standards and committing to single party advocacy and permanent warfare against an elected President; that President Trump, unlike every one of his predecessors, has never been given the benefit of unified support by the nation, or allowed to do his job as well as he could do it without harassment and abuse from all sides; and most of all, that the strategy of the Democratic Party, to decide to remove this President and then set out to find a way to do it, was unethical, illegal, undemocratic, and un-American.
I reached these conclusions not as a supporter or fan of the President, as anyone who has visited here knows, but as a life-long student of the American Presidency, U.S. history and leadership, as a lawyer, an ethicist, and as a civically informed citizen.
And I’m right. Despite the loud howls of the impeachment mob, there have been many thorough briefs supporting my analysis, notable among them Prof. Turley’s statement in the House hearings, and most recently, the President’s own letter. Today’s impeachment vote is an anti-climax, for once the Democrats got the majority in the House, it was obvious that they would impeach the President because they could, once they found a plausible justification. (Recall that Speaker Pelosi once stated that any impeachment would have to be bi-partisan to be valid. Today’s impeachment votes included no Republicans. Res ipsa loquitur.) The surprise is that they impeached without a plausible justification, and were willing to gamble that slaking the hate of their most rabid base members was worth the certain electoral backlash to follow.
I think it was a foolish, reckless, irresponsible choice, and they deserve to pay a heavy, heavy price for it. It’s important that they do. Crucial, in fact.
Two commentators especially impressed me with their analysis today. The first is Andrew McCarthy, whose opinions I have featured on Ethics Alarms before. He has been consistently astute and prescient in his analyses of the various coup attempts, especially his coverage of the Mueller investigation and the FISA fiasco. His article is titled “Trump’s impeachment is all too likely to become ‘the new normal’.” An excerpt:
Trump’s impeachment is the one the Framers feared. It is a straight-party-line impeachment, based on misconduct that is so nebulous and inconsequential that Democrats changed their theory of criminality multiple times (“quid pro quo,” campaign finance, extortion, bribery) until finally settling on no crime at all, accusing the president of “abuse of power.” This new standard is so amorphous, it could be applied to any president. Every president, after all, abuses the awesome powers of the office from time to time…Now…The base of the party out of power will expect its representatives in Congress to impeach the president, particularly if they have the raw numbers to get it done in the House…
The second analysis I recommend is from a blogger I never encountered before, Andrew Davis.( A grateful Pointer to Instapundit for the link.) His post is titled “A House Divided: impeachment as the new normal,” converging with McCarthy (and me) in his assessment of why this impeachment to so dangerous and wrong. A sample:
Trump was not impeached for some mysterious phone call to Ukraine. He was impeached because Democrats hate him. Impeachment is the figurative ejector seat in our democracy. It was designed as a measure of last resort to protect the nation from its President. Does anyone really believe this phone call passes muster? We have now chosen to employ impeachment twice in twenty-one years, after using it only once before in the history of our nation. We have impeached two out of the last four presidents. Let that sink in. This is a dismal reflection on the state of our politics.
I still intend to complete my list of the top villains in this self-inflicted wound on our nation and culture. The Democrats had many accessories and enablers, all of them deserving blame. This is the greatest ethics collapse the nation has suffered since the McCarthy years, and perhaps before. It became unavoidable because emotions were allowed to take priority over reason, and because elected officials chose to be craven and selfish followers rather than leaders.
18 thoughts on “On The Impeachment.”
Thank you very much for sharing my blog post. I appreciate your work! – Andrew Davis
Much deserved, Andrew. We’ve got to get you writing more!
I watched the Representatives have their two minutes for awhile and it quickly became obvious that reason and fair play weren’t going to sway the Democrats one damn bit! They seemed oblivious to the fact that the impeachment vote was going to set an awful precedent that all future presidents are going to have to deal with. I hope the Democratic Party disappears like the Know Nothings forever. They are irredeemable.
I’m wondering if impeachment occurred tonight? Senate rules are clear that they don’t start the trial until notified by the House that an impeachment matter exists and managers have been appointed. The House seems to be sitting on that paperwork. The “House Manual” is too murky for me, but is there a distinction between “voting for impeachment” and ‘impeaching”? The closest analogy I can come up with is a grand jury voting to indict, but not telling anyone.
It happened tonight. Nancy Pelosi is being cagey about whether it will go to the Senate: House impeaches Trump over Ukraine dealings, as Pelosi floats holding up Senate trial
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Justice delayed in this case is pure politics.
Here’s Ann Althouse, who voted for Hillary, showing she is disgusted with the whole charade:
And now what? The Democrats have their vote, but what can they do with it? Are they waiting until after Christmas to determine whether they’re even going to send the case over to the Senate for trial? That way, We the People can brood over the darkness, as if that’s what we seek in our winter holidays, or we can act like nothing even happened because we already know nothing can come of it, or we can futz over the legalisms of what to do if the House Democrats withhold the case or the Senate just acquits him anyway.
I guess we’re supposed to have a lot of public discourse — commentary from pundits and jibber jabber from everybody — along with public opinion polls, and based on all that, the Democrats will determine what to do next and let us know. If we still care, we’ll be challenged to believe that whatever it is they decide to do must be done because of the inexorable demands of the Constitution. If that decision synchs up neatly with the trend in the polls, it will be pure coincidence, we’ll be asked to believe.
Thanks for posting Ann’s comments, Jack. Here-in lies one of the most disgustingly unethical things about this entire process. If the President committed an offense worthy of impeachment, it matters not at all if 100% of the polls are 100% against impeachment. It matters not if every citizen travels to D.C., walks into the House chamber, and demands “no impeachment. The process should – in fact, must – go forward.
This idea of the House drafting articles of impeachment, then voting to impeach, then waiting to read the political tea-leaves before handing off to the Senate shows their completely self-absorbed motivations and reveals the emptiness of their charges.
Again, I hope Republicans are taking copious notes about how NOT to handle impeachment, because this has been a textbook example of that.
She’s an idiot. She thinks that refusing to pass on the impeachment for a final judgment is less of a vindication than the Senate acquitting? Good luck with that. Just more contempt for the Constitution.
The House is sitting on the impeachment paperwork. Is refusing to pass the impeachment question to the Senate more or less of a vindication than the Senate acquitting? Or is it something way more real than the impeachment banter…like fomenting further contempt for the Constitution. Hers’s a thought, there are two main competing global political ideologies Globalism v Nationalism (See Brexit). Our Constitution is an impediment to international interference and an obstacle to globalism. This entire impeachment thing has been exaggerated beyond imagination…is it just to get Trump? Maybe, or is it part of something bigger. Seems like a lot of effort to reach a pre-determined conclusion (in both chambers) unless the goal is to impeach the very foundation of our government – Just more contempt for the very process itself.
Now that the votes are counted, we know who the cowards of the Republic are by name. They are only good for following orders and cannot or, at least, will not think for themselves. Justice and ethics are completely overruled by politics.
Re: The greatest ethics collapse, I think of it more as a march to bury ethics. McCarthy was certainly guilty of running amok and ruining lives, this is running with wanton abandon and ruining a county.
At least history showed there were communist infiltrators in key places, giving the red scare street cred, if after the fact (I would argue any reasonable person didn’t need “proof” as the evils of Soviet communism were self evident), and here the only “evidence” here is that there isn’t any.
It’s Soviet level think and activity (show me the man, I’ll show you the crime), but people don’t see it, and don’t want to.
I used to think that sort of thing would never happen here, and 300 million guns means it’ll be a while (hopefully never), but I’ll be damned if we’re not watching the beginnings of the October Revolution here.
Not in fact just yet, but certainly in spirit.
I hope you get feeling better. We’re praying for you over here in Wyoming.
My biggest fear in all of this impeachment fiasco is that impeachment itself becomes an ineffectual tool. If every president from here on out can be subject to impeachment based on the opposition gaining majority in the House, just to have the process fizzle in the Senate, then is impeachment even a weapon of last resort to remove a terrible president, or would it be so neutered that it could not do its job in the case of a real crisis?
And is anyone starting a pool on whether or not the next Democratic President gets impeached?
“And is anyone starting a pool on whether or not the next Democratic President gets impeached?”
I cling to the thread of hope that Republicans are far more Constitutional than what we have seen. But my thread is whisper-thin.
And rightly so…
After seeing McConnell see Reid’s nuclear option and raise it to Supreme Court confirmations, I’m convinced that Republicans wait for the Democrats to do it first, and then punch twice as hard.
You’re cutting my thread…stop it!!
If I were in the Senate, I would vote to summarily dismiss the impeachment. And I would say this.
“Let’s assume arguendo that President Trump threatened to withhold military aid to the Ukraine unless they smeared Joe Biden.
So what? It is not wrong. Threats to withhold aid is how we do foreign diplomacy. Smearing people is how politics is done! Working with others to smear political opponents is how politics is done! How can this be wrong just because they are done together?
If you want to talk about abuse of power, how about Obama? He threatened to withhold funding from universities unless those universities violated the due process rights of male students. And he did that to gain extra political support from feminists and anti-rape activists in the upcoming election! The Democrats sure did not have a problem with that, but they sure had a problem with Trump and Education Secretary DeVos in undoing that egregious abuse of power, an abuse that threatened civil rights, an abuse done solely for Obama’s political benefit.
So fuck Nancy Pelosi, fuck Jerrold Nadler, fuck Adam Schiff, and most of all, fuck the Woketarian Left that corrupted an entire political party!”