A few thoughts on this impeachment theater effort by long-simmering Democrats. First of all, the idea of the President being impeached today based on a phone call with another head of state is unprecedented. Furthermore, to have a CIA spy at the White House make the whistleblower report on information he’s not even privileged to know of is pretty close to treason—outright treason. The intelligence apparatus in this country has a real motive problem here since the President has campaigned on draining the swamp, and now they’ve assigned spies to conduct covert operations inside the WH? And Nancy thinks the Ukraine phone call is easy for the public to understand? Huzzah! I’ll take those odds.
That said, in hindsight, I wonder if Trump should have released the full phone call script. A summary would have been better, if not a straight out fight. The release of the script set a precedent, and a bad one. Democrats will make additional demands for other phone call scripts, you can bank on it. Fighting them will take a colossal effort and great expense. But that’s not why, in hindsight, Trump should have thought twice. It’s because now this will color every phone call he has with heads of state in the future. How could it not? There are already reports that point to this. It will take time to rebuild that trust. Probably until he is reelected, which, if this is all they have, he will be.
Now this is clearly either a Hail Mary pass or orchestrated theater (your pick, or both). Pursuing impeachment based on this transcript of the phone call, the opposition will be hard pressed to make the case with proof. The whole thing hinges on how to prove you can read the President’s mind and discern his intentions. That’s it. Of course, that is their favorite party game, so they are at least practiced at it.
To my mind, this looks like a defensive play. Trump has everything going for him in terms of reelection, especially this robust economy. None of the Democratic accusations have hit, and the electorate is clearly moving in his direction. Dems have a plate of unsavory candidates on offer themselves this year. This is the Dems attempt to agitate their traditional factions in order to protect their demographic silos. They need all of their people, even those that only occasionally tune in, to have a sound wall between them and the real state of affairs in this country. This impeachment noise is that wall.
They will make a show of this, definitely. This is the part that has happened before. Two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both Democrats. Both failed to be
prosecuted convicted* in the Senate. A House impeachment action is always a circus affair.
Now many believe that Bill Clinton’s impeachment was unnecessary, and many believe it was. I had a nuanced take on it, and it hasn’t changed much despite a transition in my political thinking. I can hold these thoughts simultaneously: 1) The sexual abuse suffered by some women who have powerful bosses is wrong and should not happen. 2) This impeachment effort wasn’t about that and wasn’t worth it. These were not “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
But what about Andrew Johnson? Well that was distinctly different. It doesn’t even matter what the charges were there, as it was the composition of the elected bodies and the unique circumstances of the time that drove that effort.
One of the many tactics Lincoln used to get reelected in 1864 while the country was engaged in the Civil War was to create a uniparty ticket. It was actually called The National Union Party. And it consisted of himself, a republican, and Andrew Johnson, a democrat. Johnson was born a southern son (NC), and later migrated to Tennessee where he began to accumulate his political power. He thus represented the willingness of some southern sons even as he represented the increasing power of the West to broker a peace between the traditional colonies.
Then Lincoln got assassinated a year later, and a HEAVILY Republican (75.9%) Congress was stuck with Lincoln’s f*cking Democrat as president. Not only did they have massive voting block power, they were very put out after the assassination of the President who guided them through the Civil War and very recently to victory. This impeachment was a power flex due to political imbalance and war, something the founding fathers had hoped to avoid. Everywhere in the FF’s world are processes to encourage compromise and share power. That doesn’t happen when there is lopsided political power. War agitates everyone.
In both cases the House made it a sordid public affair, relying as in so many of our civil courts on the feels of the story, instead of the standard of proof. But, at the end of the day, even with heavy margins in the Senate, there were some circumspect Senators in both cases who just really didn’t think the Senate ought to go there. It wasn’t even close for Bill Clinton, and Johnson survived for the lack of one vote.
So I expect this will go like that. It might be over by January, or they could drag it out until next summer or fall. But it will fail in the Senate. Design of the game. Two-thirds majority required. Democrats do not have the numbers to win there, and Republicans will likely be unified in defiance, even though they don’t have to be.
They could lose 8 without sweating, more if some Democrats defect, which they will. I don’t expect anything other than unified defiance from the GOP, minus Romney of course. These are the Dem senators that I think have to be worried about supporting impeachment because they are up for reelection in red or Trump states: Doug Jones (AL-1st), Tom Udall (NM), Gary Peters (MI-1st), Tina Smith (MN-1st). I’ve identified those who are up for their first reelection. Of course, Joe Manchin (WV) is always in play, though he’s not up for reelection, so that decreases the heat for him.
Now I expected it to go this route because it has become obvious to me lately that the GOP might not mind an impeachment effort and could use it as a unifying strategy with voters. Maybe galvanizing is a better word than unifying. Not necessarily actively pursuing it, but like, bring it when you’ve got brass knuckles in your jacketed hand. The benefit is to force the left into a rabid, hyper-partisan eeeeeend of the woooorld as weeeee know it tone and hyperreaction. Everybody will get sick of it outside rigid leftist ideological enclaves. This is not Iraq compounded by a declining economy and the exploitation of Katrina. They have no hook here. This is about a left that has been throwing a hissy fit since November 8, 2016 because they are such sore losers.
Keep all this in mind as Democrats execute Operation Batshit Crazy Exgirlfriend. They are going to be flinging as much poo as possible and hoping one of their monkeys turns out to be Shakespeare. (Fat chance at that.) But there is nothing they can do about the dynamics in the Senate. They know they are checked, and this impeachment effort is going nowhere. And they know they have to throw a lot of shade and drama just to give the appearance in 2020 that they are holding their own. I’d say don’t stress about it too much. Us wasting our time freaking out about every little thing is a byproduct of this effort known as gas-lighting. I’m not letting them do that to me. I’m going to keep living my best life. Irrelevance is the best revenge.