Nancy And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Impeachment

Pelosi mask2

Here is all you need to know: Newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene announced yesterday on Twitter that she plans to file articles of impeachment against President-elect Joe Biden for abuse of power.

Of course she is. Why not? The Democrats, in their unhinged rush to do anything and everything they could think of to undermine President Trump from before he took office, have guaranteed this kind of impeachment-as-spite will be the new smear of choice by opposition parties. Ironically, this also means that impeachment as a serious tool of democracy to remove a genuinely criminal or position-abusing POTUS has been ruined. As soon as the GOP gets control of the House, which I suspect will be in two years, Republicans will begin abusing impeachment just as Democrats did for the last four years. They’ll do it for revenge, They’ll do it to get even. They’ll do it to harass the Biden Administration. They’ll do it, as Rep. Maxine Waters kept advocating, because the had a majority and they could.

The talk about Trump being impeached twice “staining his legacy” is delusional. If the contrived impeachments are such a badge of shame, why wasn’t the first one mentioned in the debates? In Democratic campaign ads? Why wasn’t it an issue at all? It didn’t show up in the polls, it didn’t cost Trump any discernible support (though the House Democrats lost seats). It’s obvious why. The impeachment was a purely partisan affair, and while Bill Clinton’s impeachment was similarly one-sided, at least there was a valid argument that he had committed one or more “high crimes.” Clinton had lied to a grand jury, and lied in a court hearing under oath, both sufficient to get a lawyer disbarred (and in fact enough to get Clinton disbarred, though he quit the Arkansas bar first.) Democrats began then to turn what was supposed to be a bi-partisan enforcement of leadership standards into a matter of protecting one’s own (as long as his poll numbers were strong, anyway.) Democrats also set the precedent of treating an impeachment as no big deal, when the party featured Bill Clinton as a ballyhooed speaker at several conventions. Bill didn’t seem embarrassed at all.

As ridiculous as the first impeachment was, the current one makes it look like a model effort. The House didn’t bother to present complete evidence or have more than a perfunctory debate. If it were governed by prosecutor ethics—and it should be, when it is preparing the equivalent of an indictment—the Democratic House majority would be sanctionable.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a former assistant attorney general for the District of Columbia from 2007-2009 and a real prosecutor, explained in the Wall Street Journal that Trump’s supposed riot-triggering speech doesn’t come close to rising to the level of “incitement,” and was protected speech under the Constitution.

He wrote in part,

The president didn’t commit incitement or any other crime. I should know. As a Washington prosecutor I earned the nickname “protester prosecutor” from the antiwar group CodePink. In one trial, I convicted 31 protesters who disrupted congressional traffic by obstructing the Capitol Crypt. In another, I convicted a CodePink activist who smeared her hands with fake blood, charged at then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a House hearing room, and incited the audience to seize the secretary of state physically. [But] I dropped charges when the facts fell short of the legal standard for incitement. One such defendant was the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan…..The president didn’t mention violence on Wednesday, much less provoke or incite it. He said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Forgive me, I have to insert this tweet here:

riot tweet

Back to Shapiro:

District law defines a riot as “a public disturbance . . . which by tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat thereof creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons.” When Mr. Trump spoke, there was no “public disturbance,” only a rally. The “disturbance” came later at the Capitol by a small minority who entered the perimeter and broke the law. They should be prosecuted.

Procedurally, Impeachment II is self-debunking. There is no genuine case that a President who will leave office so soon needs to be removed. The claims I have read by some anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats along the lines of “How lucky do you feel?” as if it makes sense for a President who did nothing to harm the nation (though his foes did) in almost four years will suddenly go rogue in two weeks are too silly to be taken seriously, and if we had fair and objective news media, they would be leading the laughter.This scaremongering has been going on since Trump was inaugurated, and it was bats then.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi came right out and said that her objective in impeaching Trump this time was to stop him from running again. That’s not what the Founders designed impeachment for. She’s admitting that this Congress and her party regard impeachment as just one more political stunt, like ripping up the State of the Union message, boycotting the inauguration, or nominating Kamala Harris. Worse, unless the Senate agrees to rush through a trial the way Pelosi rushed through the impeachment, Trump will already be out of office and a private citizen before he can be convicted—which he wouldn’t be anyway. The Constitution speaks of impeachment and the Senate trial as a means of removing a President, not as a device to say “I hate you! Ooooh, I hate you to pieces!” to an ex-President.

Thus it’s a joke. The first impeachment was a dud. Trump hasn’t been embarrassed, Congress and the news media have been embarrassed and exposed as fools. Worst of all, impeachment has lost its teeth. We will see every President, good, bad and indifferent, threatened with impeachment. If a President is impeached, it will be seen as an expression of political enmity, not a principled and wrenching decision to protect the nation.

We need impeachment in the Constitution, but thanks to the petty, irresponsible, incompetent Democrats and their enablers in the media,the mechanism has been robbed of integrity and seriousness.

36 thoughts on “Nancy And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Impeachment

  1. Yup. Absolutely. And the only reason I’m responding is so I can see the commentary (sure wish Ethics Alarms/Wordpress had a “subscribe to topic” button).

    Nice pix of Spud, btw. I had no doubt from the descriptions, but your photos showed a much-loved and happy dog.

    • If you have a feed subscription tool (I use RSS Feed Reader) you can subscribe to comments on a particular post, whether you commented or not.

  2. What’s the latest thinking on whether a conviction would in fact bar Trump from running again and taking office were he to win? Clearly, Pelosi wants to drive a stake through the heart of Trump’s political career. How dare a business man beat pols at their own game. That must never, ever happen again.

    • There are plenty of attorneys among the EA commentariat, and I’m not one of them. That said, there’s nothing in the Constitution that states that an impeached public official can’t run for office (see: Hastings, Alcee, current Member of Congress). Which said: my understanding is that the Senate CAN add ineligibility to removal on a case by case basis. Not sure if that’s Senate rules or part of the US Code. But in that the Senate is highly unlikely to convict anyway, this is all just more political theater by Pelosi and Co. And I stand ready to be correct by the legal beagles in the group.

      • That’s because Hastings wasn’t disabled by the Senate when he was impeached. He was simply removed, by a vote of 95-0, if I recall correctly.

        Disabling an impeached official is a separate action by the Senate. It is not an automatic consequence of impeachment and removal.

    • A conviction does not carry automatic disability. That is a separate action. A conviction, as we know, requires a 2/3 majority of the Senate. Disability from future office can happen only if and after a 2/3 majority of senators vote to remove the officeholder from office. The actual disability vote only requires a simple majority to effect.

      So I would suppose that if the Democrats somehow disqualify enough Republican senators or convince a substantial number (17 I believe) of Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching what will then be private citizen, I suppose a vote to disable is a fait accompli.

      I’d pretty much stake my life that neither eventuality comes to pass.

    • The highly strained reasoning is if “convicted” of “insurrection” against the United States, Donald Trump would be barred by the Fourteenth Amendment from positions of trust in in government.

      They’re comparing an irresponsible speech before a peaceful crowd to the Civil War.

  3. “The talk about Trump being impeached twice “staining his legacy” is delusional.”

    Yup. The house is almost certainly going to flip in 2022, there are a lot of Democrats in Purple states that got down on their knees and thanked God that this wasn’t an election year for them. Unless the Republicans absolutely shit the bed over the next two years, I think that it’s more likely than not they gain control of the House, at the very least, and possibly the Senate.

    At that point, if being impeached twice stained Trump’s legacy, what’s it going to do to Biden when the Republicans run an impeachment a week for two years? Trump might have been the first President to be impeached twice, Biden will be the first to be impeached 104 times. Why not? It’s Kabuki theatre at this point. Impeachment means nothing other than “We have a majority and really don’t like you.”

        • The Roman Republic lasted 482 years, from the ousting of Tarquin and the famous declaration that “Rome will sooner open her gates to an enemy than a king,” to Octavian being declared Augustus (after throwing down his last rival, Mark Antony). What brought it down? Many things, but corruption and the reliance on charismatic hero-leaders were two of the big factors. It would be after 1050 when small republics (sort of) would start to arise in Italy, 1216 before John Lackland would be forced to recognize even the nobles as having rights at Runnymede and 1295 before Edward I Longshanks admitted commoners to Parliament. It would be the 1700s before the people of England (the UK after 1707) really had a part in their own government, and by that time certain groups were already fleeing for America in the hopes of greater freedom. It still wasn’t enough, and you know the rest.

          In 1787 the delegates departed the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, with Ben Franklin’s hopeful comment that the sun on the back of George Washington’s chair was rising and not setting, but at the same time his more sober answer to the question of what they had now with “A republic, if you can keep it. ” Two years later Washington was sworn in as the first President on the balcony of Federal Hall (which unfortunately no longer exists) in New York. A crowd of 10,000 cheered and cannons thundered. It was done, many thought, but the wise knew that this was the easy part. The real work was beginning then, and never would really stop.

          Through all the crises, while France went through two monarchies, two empires, and five republics, while the crumbling throne of Portugal gave way to a republic, while Spain descended into corruption and fascism, while Italy pulled itself together, and while Germany and Russia went to some very dark and evil places we don’t need to revisit, this country really only seriously came apart once. It came apart over slavery, sure, and, 20/20 hindsight, that was wrong, in fact we were behind the times (Brazil was the only country in the Western Hemisphere that did away with slavery after us). However, it also came apart because one half of a sharply divided nation lost repeatedly in the political arena, found its concerns rebuffed and scoffed at, found itself being bullied by the other half, which had greater numbers, and saw the balance of power tipping against it. As Ben Franklin also pointed out, democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, while liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. The South decided to be that armed well-armed lamb contesting the vote. It ended badly. We stitched up the nation’s wounds as best we could, but winning on the battlefield isn’t the same as winning hearts and minds, and bitterness remained. I question if, even if Federal forces had remained in the South for longer than 11 (!) years, whether they would have stamped out the myth of the Lost Cause, or the Southern desire to run things their way without the Yankees sticking their noses where they weren’t wanted.

          Still, the country held together for the next 150 years, until the parties began to split apart in the end of the 20th century. A president who butted heads with Congress and tarnished the office to the point of a doomed impeachment, a terrorist attack that brought us all together, then two wars that overreached, splitting us again, a president of borderline competence, elected mostly because of his color, who did his best to divide the nation along every line he could and paint a target on every police officer’s back, and a half-crazy celebrity who no one expected to get elected and who the other side devoted most of their resources to destroying just drove the two political parties and their bases farther and farther apart.

          Now we stand on the threshold of what follows. The base that elected that half-crazy celebrity sees themselves in the same place as the South saw themselves in 1860. Maybe it’s even a worse place, because there really wasn’t a question of dirty doings in the election of Abraham Lincoln, just four candidates that split the vote. They see their concerns being ignored, their voices muzzled, and their interests targeted, and they hear the accusations of traitor, seditionist, and so on, which angers them to the core since they have always considered themselves patriots. They see themselves, rightly or wrongly, as facing a questionable government that will not answer those questions has already stated in no uncertain terms that it is extremely hostile to their continued existence, and has made it clear that its first move upon taking power is going to be to wage a law enforcement and political war on them and everyone who sides with or represents them, expelling their representatives from the legislature, trying to throw their leader in jail, and generally denying them and their organizations access to communications networks financial institutions, and everything else necessary to get along in modern society.

          I won’t even say that’s pretty darn close to where the South stood in 1860. The gradual abolition of slavery, enfranchisement of the freedmen, and the shifting of the Southern economy from one that relied on one major product (which benefitted a very few) to one that was more diverse (which is where it was headed anyway due to industrialization) would have been a very tough pill for the South to swallow, but it might have been workable with appropriate compensation to slave owners (who bought in good faith), training of young slaves to function in society while pensioning of older slaves, and a few other steps. The left isn’t coming for the right’s property or way of life this time out. The left is coming for the right, period. The right’s already seem how it works. To a lot of the right it makes sense to rise up and resist now, or at least deal the left a sharp enough check that it backs off and thinks twice before coming again. The alternative is to live in fear, keeping your lips zipped and your profile, both on and offline, low, afraid one wrong word might compromise your ability to live, hoping the knock on the door isn’t because someone pointed out something you said, dreading the day when the mob comes to burn you out while the police and fire departments stand down.

          This only sounds like a republic in the sense that Iran is one or the Soviet republics laid claim to the title until 30 years ago. You can vote in Iran, but no candidate ever appears on the ballot unless the Supreme Ayatollah signs off on him appearing. You could vote in the RSFR or Moldavia or Estonia, but there was only one political party to field candidates. What is more, if you speak out in Iran or spoke out in the USSR, you might find yourself locked out of the necessary things in life or imprisoned. The republic the left is offering now sounds like a combination of all the worst elements of Communism and banana republics. We’re not at the point of it being like Nazi Germany…yet, but if the Democratic Party doesn’t curb this anti-white, anti-male rhetoric, then we’ll be there.

          I’d like to believe this is just one more wave coming to the shores of this republic, and we’ll successfully weather it, just like we did all the others. I’d like to believe the LOTR rhetoric about when the storm passes the sun will shine out the clearer. However, it’s also possible that the next wave will be the one that wipes the city from the face of the earth, or that the coming storm will be the one that brings the house tumbling about our ears. I can’t say I blame those who don’t want to risk it.

    • Not to totally disagree with you, but the entire House is up for reelection every two years. It is the Senate where one third is elected every cycle, with at least the exception of seats like Loeffler’s where the term expires in two years (yes, we’re going to have another Senatorial election in Georgia in 2022 — isn’t that exciting?).

      There are some purplish districts where the Democrats held on this year — the thinking was that the Republicans were likely to gain seats in 2022 as the out of power party typically does.

      The real question is how long the Capital riots will poison the well for Republicans — one has to believe that, if there were another election today, the Dems would cruise. But give them lots of effective power for two years? We’ll see.

      I am not happy with it, but I agree that it is quite likely Biden would be impeached if the Republicans retake the House in 2022. It’ll matter about as much as Trump’s impeachment, except that the media will be horrified at such a spiteful action.

      • Jesus that’s inefficient. Two year terms? That’s basically a constant election cycle. For some reason I had it in my head that they were elected for four year terms but only half the seats were up at a time. And with the relatively strong GOP results, there were a couple of seats I thought would be slam dunks for Republicans that they apparently did not win. Which is weird.

        But when I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and I’m wrong.

  4. The Republicans could turn a wet dream into a night terror, so I don’t doubt they can screw up the 2022 advantage they currently have by being a stupid as the Democrats have been.

    • Ronald Reagan was fond of the story in which the punchline was “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you.”

      The Dems are so nuckingfutz right now that if I was going to put money on it, I would bet on that theory.

      • That the Dems and the radical left will overreach is a given. Just give them enough rope to hang themselves. It’s going to be a brawl among the Dems.

  5. It seems likely to me that impeachment would have been announced for Joe Biden, in one way or another, no matter what the Democrats had done this week. Absent any bonafide concession from Trump or his loyalists, a substantial portion of Republicans believe that the election was stolen. If that were true, impeachment would be a perfectly appropriate action–as would storming the Capitol, for that matter. It isn’t true, but even those Republicans conceding such a thing seem obligated to add the softer versions of “stolen,” which only confuses and enrages hardliners.

    It’s all well and good to say that the Democratic Party has acted foolishly, which they have. But the most damaging narrative going on now is a right-wing one, fed for years by Q and other right-wing conspiracist narratives, largely gone unchallenged, if not outright championed, by the Republican Party. There is literally nothing the Democratic Party could do to have any effect on what is now a substantial portion of American rightwing dogma. If you believe that Joe Biden is a Chinese Communist stooge in league with a vast left-wing pedophile army, Pelosi deciding to let Trump have his last week as President unmolested is not going to change your mind.

      • The notion of a Deep State helping Democrats rape children in a pizza parlor–to name one thread in this narrative–predated the Trump administration. But we could play this game all night: each party’s most toxic side can be viewed as a response to its opponent’s. The point is that the ball of self-improvement is in the Republicans’ court. Supporting a narrative that the election was stolen is much more damaging than a useless process to impeach a President who is literally already packing his bags.

        • The child pedophile ring story seemed a lot crazier before the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. I don’t know anything about Q, and I doubt a pedophile ring would be run out of a pizza parlor, but one was certainly being run on Epstein’s private island.

          • Exactly the soft selling I’m talking about–pedophiles exist, so an enormous sex cult conspiracy bringing down Trump is a not-so-crazy idea to a substantial number of Repulibcans.

            • Baloney. It’s a standard Dem talking point that Republicans are gullible, low wattage idiots. You know, deplorables. None of them go to Ivy League schools, so their all morons. It’s this sort of thing that makes the Dems elitists. If you’re not smart enough to agree with a Dem, you’re beneath contempt. Baloney.

              • The right-wing paranoid narrative of Q Anon Pizzagate Deep State is not the result of Democratic talking points. The left has its own paranoid narratives, of course, but you don’t see them espoused within elected government at nearly the same rates.

                Plenty of Republicans went to Ivy League schools, and everybody mistakes “they’re” and “their” from time to time. Neither is a sign of being a moron.

                • Plenty of Republicans went to Ivy League schools,

                  Mmmhmmm, and now the Ivy League’s current student body is trying to revoke their degrees. I wasn’t aware that your degree was only awarded, like a professional license, “for the duration of your good behavior,” (I hate that expression, it sounds like a parent talking down their nose to a child) and that good behavior consisted of being a good, obedient little progressive.

  6. Um, if Biden is still in office after the 2022 election I will be VERY surprised. I am not sure he will make it to 2022 at all.

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