A Word Or Two About Impeachment

June 2, 2019

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I read through this Daily Kos post about support from African Americans in particular for the impeachment (or what may turn into that) of our Tiny-Handed Orange Dictator Wannabe, and I had some thoughts in response that I was going to share at first, but then thought better of it. Then, I turned on “Real Time” last night and heard someone named Jonathan Swan of Axios say that if we had another U.S. House speaker besides Nancy Pelosi, Trump would have been impeached by now.

And I then shut the TV off right away because I thought “this guy is just a damn idiot.” And I then decided, for better or worse as they say, to speak my mind on this subject.

For those who didn’t live through the Nixon Watergate ordeal or the Clinton fiasco with Monica Whatsername (who, by the way, knew exactly what she was doing and Clinton, smart as he was and as good a president as I thought he was overall, was dumb enough to fall for it), let me just review for you what impeachment is all about.

The U.S. House has the responsibility to draft articles of impeachment against a president and vote on whether they should go to the U.S. Senate. So, yeah, it would be up to the House to make the case (which, again, I think they definitely can do with Trump on obstruction and violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution all by itself, and I’m sure they could find other charges). Then, the Senate would conduct a trial of the president and vote on whether or not the president should be removed from office.

And here are the practical consequences of this from our history over the last 45 years or so. The reason Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 wasn’t because the House voted to impeach him, and he resigned in shame. No, the reason why was because he was told by Barry Goldwater and other leading Republican senators that, should he be impeached and a trial was held in the Senate, there would be enough votes to convict him and remove him from office. It wasn’t because Nixon gave a damn about the Democrats in any way whatsoever.

In the case of Bill Clinton, you had both chambers of Congress under Republican control and working in unison, so Clinton had no choice but to wait out the entire process (and to say that Newt Gingrich in the House and Bob Dole in the Senate dragged out the damn thing interminably is an understatement to say the least – for what it’s worth, the group MoveOn.org was formed in response, echoing the sentiments of many in this country who said to Congressional Republicans “censure and move on,” which of course they abjectly refused to do). And when the Senate failed to convict, it strengthened Clinton and the blowback ended up costing Newt Gingrich his position as House Speaker.

Now, let’s return to the present day. And I would ask that you keep in mind the fact that the current Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, knows that her party’s victory last year came from swing districts who could just as easily flip back to the “R” column in November 2020. And I don’t know what the polling is on impeachment in those districts, but my guess is that they may be moving in the right direction when it comes to the “I” word, but they’re not there yet.

But suppose they get there faster than we think. And suppose the brave example of Repug U.S. House Rep Justin Amash of Michigan (who, let us not forget, is otherwise staunchly conservative) sets forward a groundswell of support, and the House does indeed end up drafting articles of impeachment and sending them to the Senate for a trial to remove Trump from office.

Sending them to the U.S. Senate, where Mitch McConnell is the speaker Majority Leader, to hold a trial to remove Trump from office…

Did I mention that we’re talking about the U.S. Senate? You know, where McConnell takes up space along with other cretins like Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, our very own “No Corporate Tax” Pat Toomey, Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, Cindy Hyde-Smith (and where Roy Moore could conceivably still get in next year, believe it or not)? Shall I go on?

Does any biped life form with a pulse and at least a double-digit IQ actually think these thoroughly compromised grifters and lowlifes will actually vote to convict Donald Freaking Trump and remove him from the White House? In the “Fox News” era (which, had it existed in 1974, might have actually allowed Nixon to remain in office)?

Oh, and here’s something else to consider. Suppose the vote to convict takes place, and Trump is acquitted (which, as I just said, would very likely happen). Does anyone think that actually WOULD NOT embolden him and consolidate support among his base, and heading into the 2020 election no less?

And here’s another nightmare scenario…suppose Trump is actually removed from office by the Senate. That means we’ll now be dealing with a whole other brand of crazy in “Onward Christian Soldiers” Mike Pence. And putting him into Trump’s spot would give Pence a head start on his own 2020 campaign for president.

Do I still think we should go forward with impeaching Trump? Definitely. But I guarantee you that Nancy Pelosi knows everything I just pointed out, and she’s absolutely doing the right thing to “slow walk” all of this (and again, that’s why I think Jonathan Swan is a damn idiot).

Taking the road to impeachment, though I think it’s a necessary path at this point, is a path fraught with danger. Republicans (who, unfortunately, are better at playing the “long game” on stuff like this than team “D”), I think, know that very well.

I just hope our side figures out all of this, and acts and speaks accordingly. Or, at a minimum, if we can’t, leave it in the hands of Pelosi, because I believe she already has. And we should stop trying to beat her up over it.

Update 6/4/19: My point exactly (here)…

Update 7/14/19: Once again

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On Sotomayor, It’s “Lock And Load” Time For The NRA

July 30, 2009

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In an example of still more gun-related cowardice by the Democratic Party, Think Progress tells the following from here…

Noting Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record on the Second Amendment, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) told Roll Call that that he is “undecided” on her nomination to the Supreme Court (although he added that he is “leaning toward voting in favor”). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) expressed similar uncertainty:

Both senators’ equivocal statements come in the wake of the NRA’s decision to “score” the Sotomayor vote in determining where each lawmaker stands on the NRA’s pro-gun agenda. The NRA claims, falsely, that because Sotomayor once upheld a New York law against a Second Amendment challenge this somehow proves that she is hostile to gun rights. That decision, however, did nothing more than apply well-established law.

Because lower-court judges are required by law to follow the commands of the Supreme Court, Sotomayor once joined an opinion which followed a Supreme Court case holding that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the states. Nevertheless, the NRA launched a smear campaign against Sotomayor this month, claiming that she “deliberately misread Supreme Court precedent to support her incorrect view” in this case.

(It’s pretty sad when a Repug shows more courage than a Dem on the gun issue, by the way, as Lamar Alexander does in the Think Progress post.)

Also, as noted here, conservative judges Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner, both appointed by The Sainted Ronnie R, also held that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states in accordance with a prior ruling from Judge Sotomayor.

All of this comes in the wake of the vote on an amendment sponsored by Senate Repug John Thune of South Dakota here which basically would have allowed an individual who owned a firearm in a state with looser gun laws to transport it to a state and use it – and thus supersede what could be tougher laws in the state where the gun is transported – as he or she saw fit (or, as Think Progress explained, “31 states currently prohibit ‘habitual drunkards’ from carrying guns. The Thune amendment would render these provisions useless.”).

As the prior posted linked to above also tells us, the Thune Amendment was barely defeated in the Senate by a vote of 58-39; as noted here, Colorado Democratic Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet voted Yes, as well as PA’s own Bob Casey.

To me, this prompts the following question: with “Democrats” like these, who needs Republicans?

I realize that such laws pertain primarily to smaller caliber weapons, but I cannot help but wonder whether or not such an amendment by Thune or anyone else (assuming the dark day ever comes when it passes and is signed into law, thus ensuring my political opposition to any person responsible for such an atrocity, be they a Dem or a Repug) could somehow make it easier for someone to sneak a decidedly more lethal weapon (such as an assault rifle) into a public place.

And with that in mind, I should note that last July 18th marked the 25th anniversary of the San Ysidro, CA McDonald’s massacre, in which James Oliver Huberty murdered 22 people (including himself) and injured 19 with a 9 mm Uzi semi-automatic (the primary weapon fired in the massacre), a Winchester pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, and a 9 mm Browning HP (as noted here by Wikipedia).

I tried really hard to find some principled Democratic opposition to the NRA and the pro-gun forces in this country, but unfortunately, aside from Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, I couldn’t. However, I was able to find the following from columnist Mark Shields here from last April, in which a legendary Repug with whom I frequently disagreed spoke what I would call “truth to power” on assault weapons…

Washington and the leadership of both political parties in the city need a collective vertebrae transplant. Just listen to what one of the country’s great conservative leaders, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., said about these assault weapons in 1990: “I am completely opposed to selling automatic weapons. I don’t see any reason why they ever made semi-automatics. I’ve been a member of the NRA. I collect, make and shoot guns. I’ve never used an automatic or a semi-automatic for hunting. There’s no need to. They have no place in anybody’s arsenal.”

So much for the sportsman’s argument for assault rifles of the kind that the Binghamton (NY) killer used to fire, according to police, 98 shots in one minute.

Shortly before Goldwater made his position so abundantly clear, the then-California Attorney General John Van de Kamp, a Democrat, stood on the floor of the Assembly in Sacramento holding in his hands an AK-47 semi-automatic weapon and said to the legislative body’s 80 members: “Ladies and gentlemen, take a look at your watches and start counting. You are lucky that I am the attorney general and not some nut. Because if I had the ammunition, I could shoot every member of the Assembly by the time I finish this sentence — about 20 seconds.”

But 1994 will forever be remembered as the year when Democrats lost their heart for standing up to the gun lobby. The Democratic-controlled Congress and President Bill Clinton had enacted a ban on 19 types of automatic weapons. That ban had passed the House on a 216-214 vote, guided by the then-Clinton White House adviser (and now Obama White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel — and it was blamed by many Democrats for their party’s November loss, for the first time in 40 years, of House control.

(By the way, I read the comments to Shields’ column, one of which chided him for not knowing the difference – as far as the commenter was concerned – between a fully-automatic machine gun and a semi-automatic rifle…as if that would have made any of the victims described by Shields “less dead” as a result.)

And on the matter of the Dems’ ’94 loss of Congress owing to the assault weapons ban, I thought New York Times editorialist Dorothy Samuels made the following good points last May here…

It is hard to make a case that the assault weapons ban was decisive in 1994.

The law certainly enraged many N.R.A. members and might explain the loss of certain Democratic seats. However, there were other major factors in the Democrats’ 1994 loss, starting with perceived Democratic arrogance and corruption (overdrafts at the House bank came to symbolize that).

Add to that voter unhappiness with Mr. Clinton’s budget, his health care fiasco, the Republican Party’s success in recruiting appealing candidates, and that ingenious Republican vehicle for nationalizing the elections known as the “Contract With America.” The contract, by the way, did not mention guns.

Mr. Clinton’s successful 1996 re-election campaign actually stressed his gun control achievements. James and Sarah Brady spoke in prime time at the ’96 Democratic convention, and Clinton campaign ads trumpeted his role in enacting the assault weapons ban and the ’93 Brady law requiring background checks for gun buyers.

And returning to the Shields column once more, I would advise Casey, Udall, Bennet and the other “chicken Dems” on this issue to read the following…

President Obama has long been on record for a permanent ban on assault weapons. But one respected Capitol Hill Democrat, a longtime champion of gun control, despairs: “These (recent) killings have, unfortunately, not moved the needle.”

What would be required to get this Congress to act? “It would take at least a major massacre of kindergarteners.”

I can think of no more damning indictment of our politicians – and really, our country’s collective retreat on this issue – than that.


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