But first, a mea culpa
One of the virtues of being a good citizen is admitting when you’re wrong. So, after a couple of days of continuing breaking news, it appears that my article from Monday, Impeachment Cynicism, was slightly off the mark. In the piece, I lamented the fact that the Democrats were hapless and feckless in their initial oversight of Trump corruption. I did not feel that anything resembling an actual impeachment inquiry would happen. Well, that all changed yesterday.
Finally, Nancy Pelosi lowered the hammer and declared that an official impeachment inquiry was underway. With the newest allegations of the president abusing his office to go after a potential political rival, Pelosi couldn’t stand by any longer.
While she was late to the table, so be it. As the news continues to break, as of this writing, the Trump administration released a ‘memo’ of the conversation he had with the President-elect of Ukraine. In the call, it appears that Trump asked for a favor, linked to planned military aid to the country. The favor, of course, was looking into former Vice-President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and possible corruption, which by the way has been debunked by numerous news outlets.
Look, there’s much more to this story that we haven’t been able to ascertain as of yet. We’ve yet to hear from the whistleblower, nor have we heard from the acting Director of Intelligence. Both, as of now, are due to testify before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. But, as we know, these things could change on a dime. Also, we’ve learned that the Justice Department won’t release the initial whistleblower complaint. In other words, we’re in the beginning stages of all of this.
And while my cynicism has been quelled a bit, I’m still a bit skeptical as to how this ends up. But certainly, this is a major step in the right direction. Stay tuned.
Impeachment vs 2020 Election
Before the latest allegations though, there’s been a debate in the political world as to whether impeaching the president, as opposed to waiting for the 2020 election to defeat him at the ballot box, was a good idea for Democrats.
One of the underlying themes as to why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t backed impeachment until now is the idea that the election of 2020 should take precedence. In other words, the narrative suggests that if the Democrats move forward with impeachment, they risk losing not only to President Trump, but also the possibility of losing the House and or Senate as well. I get this viewpoint. But I don’t agree with it.
I want to share something with you today. Over the past year, my wife and I have become good friends with our neighbor John. We’ve had him over to the house several times, as we have to his.
We mutually enjoy each others company, with good food and drink, and a lot of laughs. While our laughter covers the gamut of subjects, clearly the number one subject of our guffawing is none other than the current president himself. Hard to believe, right?
The irony in all of this, though, is that John voted for Trump in 2016. To this day, he regrets his vote, and when we asked him why he voted for the man in the first place, he’s not been able to come up with a valid reason. We like to razz him a bit on that fact, but I can tell he struggles when trying to come up with an explanation.
In the end, he admitted to his lack of engagement. While he heard about the infamous Access Hollywood tape, much of the hoopla escaped him. He’d voted Republican for most of his life, and he wasn’t ready to change. And it wasn’t until inauguration day that he finally figured out that the man he voted for was a con man and liar. He’s regretted his vote ever since.
Now, he’s fully engaged in the political turmoil we see occurring every day, and cannot wait to cast his vote for whomever the Democrats put up against him. While certainly not a liberal in the real sense of the word, John believes wholeheartedly in the dangers of climate change and wants much stricter gun safety legislation. While he’d prefer a more centrist candidate from the Democrats, it’s not a game-changer if a more left candidate emerges.
So, we have much in common politically; much more than you would think, considering his lifelong Republican history. But, we do differ in one particular area: he thinks impeachment would be a significant mistake. I, on the other hand, believe it’s a necessity.
While John has never been a big fan of Nancy Pelosi, he’s gained much respect for her in how she’s handled things concerning Trump. To him, Pelosi is a veteran politician who understands the political landscape as well as anyone, and if she thinks we need to focus on beating him at the ballot box, so be it. She knows best.
I realize many people believe the same thing. The idea is that impeachment will be a good thing for Trump and incite his rabid base of followers so much that the Democrats will lose big in 2020. I don’t see that happening.
The Mueller Report notwithstanding, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Trump has committed severe offenses as president. At the very least, an impeachment inquiry is a must, so that the American people can decide for themselves. Whether it’s emolument violations, lying to the public, obstructing Congress, or the current situation regarding his actions with Ukraine, this president has far exceeded what would ever be considered abnormal behavior by any president. By not acting, the Democrats further enable the president to continue abusing the office as nobody else has in history.
In my view, by going ahead with impeachment, or at the very least, an inquiry into whether to impeach, Democrats strengthen their hand in 2020, not weaken it. It shows they care about our norms; they care about the rule of law; and most importantly, they care about our Constitutional republic. And if we get to the point where the House has the votes for an actual impeachment, it will put the Republican Party on the spot. Make them go on the record defending a lawless president. How can that not be the right thing to do for Democrats?
I’ll continue to debate my friend John on this issue. I haven’t talked to him since the latest Trump scandal; funny, there’s so many it’s hard to keep track. But, it’s interesting to hear from former Trump voters who are now Never Trump voters. Most of them feel duped. Most of them, like John, are horrified at what has transpired since the 2016 election.
Now though, we’ve entered a new phase. Speaker Pelosi has turned up the heat. Now, it’s up to the various committees to do their work. In the end, though, articles of impeachment seem imminent. It’s highly unlikely that Pelosi would go this far if she didn’t think she’d have the votes. Time is of the essence. The longer it drags out, the longer Trump has to obstruct and bloviate. Already, he’s labeling the whole thing a witch hunt. Of course, he is.
I have to admit, I was getting a bit impatient with Speaker Pelosi. But then I started thinking there was a method to her madness all along. Perhaps she thought the Mueller Report wasn’t enough to change public opinion to the point where impeachment was acceptable. Maybe in her mind, it was worth it to wait this whole thing out; that eventually, knowing Trump as she does, he would cross the line as President.
And sure enough, it appears that he has done just that, although we’re still early in the process. If so, it would cement in my mind that Nancy Pelosi is one hell of a politician and strategist. I’ve always thought that, but her failure to act before now made me question her judgment. I should have known better.
And the difference with this latest scandal? Before, all we’ve seen is former Trump officials obstruct and follow Trump’s demand that all communications with him must be considered privileged, regardless of whether they were officially in his administration or not.
Now however, we have a whistleblower ready and willing to testify under oath–publicly, about Trump’s conduct as President. It’s a huge difference. If it is a public testimony, the American people will certainly get a better understanding of what went on. And by coming forward, the whistleblower risks not only continued employment, but retaliation and ridicule. That could and should resonate with rest of the country. It seems as though Pelosi must have figured the same thing.