The Real Impeachment Question

Is simple. The President of the United States openly and admittedly leveraged his powers of office for personal political gain, jeopardizing the United States’ national security and undermining the free and fair elections that are the foundation of our constitutional republic. The facts are indisputable, and, in fact, no one, not even the President’s most vocal defenders, disputes them.

So the question is simply this: Are we a society in which powerful white men can do whatever the fuck they want with impunity, or are we a society in which the same laws apply to everyone?

It really is that simple.

Impeachment Articles

There are two. One for hijacking US national security and foreign policy for personal political gain. One for the complete stonewall of Congress doing its Constitutionally-mandated duty. Both proven beyond the shadow of doubt, up to and including public confessions of wrongdoing. No Mueller material, no 2016 redux.

Is it the right play? Who the fuck knows? But I get why Pelosi and Nadler and Schiff et al decided to go this route. They’ve got the administration dead to rights on both of them. The Republican defense has involved a lot of squid ink and rhetorical questions about it could be more outlandish, tho, amirite?

I mean, it’s not like this is over. The Senate will have a trial, John Roberts presiding. In any actual court of law, the case would be a slam dunk. That it’s widely expected the Senate will fail to convict on a party-line vote doesn’t change that, much as the irrefutability of the evidence won’t change the party-line voting, probably.

There’s a kind of inevitability to all of it. But it’s also not over til it’s over. Keeping the prosecution focused on obvious and admitted wrongdoing that goes to the heart of our constitutional republic is probably the best of a bunch of bad options. The Republicans want the situation chaotic and complicated, so people throw up their hands and decide the truth can’t be known. But the truth is very simple. Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses, admitted it in public, and has obstructed justice to keep the consequences from coming down on him ever since. That he’s done a million other things that would be impeachable if we lived in the world we all thought we did til the last few years doesn’t matter.

I’d love him to answer for every last one of them. I really would. But why reopen old arguments? It just muddies things.

Keep it simple is a good plan. Will it work? Probably not. But neither would any of the other options. At least this way it’ll free up Bernie and Liz and Cory to get back to running earlier, and who knows? Maybe it’ll wind up the albatross around those Republican Senators’ necks that it would in a just world. Stranger things have happened.

Impeaching Donald Trump

Oh, man, would I love to see that happen. I mean, set aside my deep, abiding, decades-long dislike for Donald Trump, who not only represents but literally embodies the absolute worst in both human nature and late-capitalist rape-culture patriarchy. The man is just absolutely terrible at the job. I mean, after Abu Ghraib and torture and our pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation that – however awful a regime Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was, and it was awful – had not attacked and was not going to attack us; after dropping the ball on terrorism and the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina; after firing so many US attorneys for not prosecuting Democrats and trying to privatize Social Security and all the other terrible things George W. Bush did in office, I didn’t think we could ever have such a terrible President again. But I was wrong. Oh, how I was wrong.

I’ll spare you the litany of his crimes and incompetence. You’re either well enough aware I’d just be re-traumatizing you, or you’re hate-reading this and won’t believe any of it. Suffice to say, when they told me when I was growing up that anyone could be President, I should have realized it was as much warning as patriotic bromide, and been more diligent in my citizenship.

But we are where we are, and with the midterms coming up, it’s more important than ever to get out and vote, and to flip one or both houses of Congress so as to provide the checks and balances that are supposed to be the main feature of the world’s greatest democracy.

And let’s be real. Even if we flip both House and Senate, and fill them with Democrats, it’s going to be tough as shit to get anything done, because veto-proof majorities aren’t likely to happen. Hell, flipping the Senate isn’t likely to happen (though it’s probably likelier than it would be without Donald Trump in the White House). But even just flipping the House gets us an institutional brake put on the tax cuts and over-deregulation that is the GOP’s stock in trade.

And the investigations, oh the investigations. Into Russia’s Cyberwar on us, in 2016 and beyond. Into the Trump family’s shady financial and business history. Into – if we push hard enough – all the backroom dealing and chicanery that drives our policy choices. That alone would make it all worth it.

But impeachment? It’s a red herring.

I mean, sure, it would be gratifying. It would even be justified (hello emoluments, hello self-dealing, hello unregistered foreign agents). But in the end it would be a hollow victory. Without 67 Senators willing to vote a conviction on all those high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s no more meaningful than when the Republicans did it to Bill Clinton in the ’90s. A symbolic gesture. A feel-good moment, which accomplishes very little.

And even if we did succeed in removing him from office, what does it get us but President Mike Pence? Who, while decidedly not smart, and a real jerkwad, is at least politically savvy enough not to keep destroying the GOP and the conservative brand. I mean, unless those aforementioned investigations turn up something so horrible that we take Robert Reich’s suggestion – as unlikely as it is appealing – to annul the results of the 2016 Presidential election, I think we’re better off with Donald Trump right where he is, making noise, accomplishing nothing, and shrinking the Republican party down to the hardest of hardcore white supremacists, Christian Dominionists, and oligarch/kleptocrats. Besides, if we get rid of Trump, that open up the field for a smarter, slicker, more eloquent fascist to run, one who won’t have his handicaps or record of failure.

No, painful as it will be, I think we’re best off with Trump as a lame duck keeping the seat warm til January 2021.

And once we’ve voted him out? Well, I for one can’t wait to see his ass perp-wallked to the federal pen, where he can spend what little is left of his life regretting the choices that led him there, and we can get down to fixing all the things he’s broken, and some other things, too.