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Another Element of Governing Where No One Wins
Impeachment is hard.
There have only been three in the nearly 244 years of this nation’s existence. Considering the rogue’s gallery of insipid fuck-ups that have served as president, that means you really have to be a god-awful, whiz-bang, super-duper, bona fide monumental fuck-up to be impeached. This is Donald Trump. He has fucked up so many times it is a stunning understatement that he received a paltry two articles of impeachment. His entire presidency has been one continuous impeachment seduction. But, as stated, impeachment is a difficult and painful process for the congress, so much so the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi argued vehemently against it – one of the main reasons it was sketchy whether the rabid hate-addled left wing of the new wave of Democrats would allow Pelosi to have the gig in the first place. They wanted impeachment. She did not. Because impeachment is hard.
Of course, Trump forced Pelosi’s hand. It makes no political sense to impeach a president months before an election. This only riles up the opposition and eventually – because Americans have short attention spans and no idea how government actually works, otherwise no one would have actually voted for a game show host for president – there is impeachment fatigue. Impeachment fails on its face. Even if you have the votes, as the senate did in 1974, to remove Richard Nixon before the thirty-seventh president quit, there is always a political risk. People tend to forget how close Gerald Ford came to beating Jimmy Carter, even after pardoning Nixon, which may be the most unpopular idea not proffered by the current moron in office. The Republicans didn’t have enough votes to oust Bill Clinton in 1999, only serving to raise his popularity. If I had a dime for every time Pelosi went in front of cameras to try and convince the American people that there was no Democratic consensus for impeachment, I would have lots of dimes. Then the whole Ukraine thing – an insanely criminal maneuver for a president who had just been vilified in a lengthy independent investigation attempting the same damn thing – forced her hand. I mean, come on.
But, you know, impeachment is hard.
And it should be. Removing an elected official is a solemn and rare event – I am lucky enough to have seen two of the three of these in the time I have helmed this space. But if impeachment is a difficult decision and execution for the prosecution, just think of the poor defense, especially the current rhetoric that is apparently centered now – after many weird attempts – to focus on “Abuse of Power not being an impeachable offense” or as Senator Lindsay Graham, whose hard-on was clearly visible on CSPAN in 1998 during his leading of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, “The president was innocent in his mind.” I have since described these and other irrational oddities as something you might hear the crazy guy screaming as he wanders around the Bowery before you quickly cross the street. For fuck’s sake, Graham, I am sure Hitler and Charles Manson thought they were innocent “in their mind”.
Right now, the defense of the indefensible Trump falls on the U.S. Senate, controlled by Republicans, who come in having zero motivation to remove their president from office. As stated for months here, why would they? None of the anti-Trump tribe can answer this one. Because he’s guilty? What the hell does that mean? They are all guilty of something. Reagan should have gone to jail, so should have Johnson and both Bushes. This is politics, not justice. This is not a court of law, this is the U.S. Congress. The president is insanely popular among fellow Republicans and their constituents, the economy is booming, and he is currently running for re-election. We are weeks away from primary season. It’s bad politics.
This is why it was semi-curious, but when considering the source, maybe not, that Trump added Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz to his legal defense team. One, he doesn’t need them, and two, they are hacks (Starr) and evil (Dershowitz). I maintain that Dershowitz may be the evilest man in America. Defending Trump will make this a “Why Most People Hate Lawyers” trifecta; represent two murders (Claus Von Bulow, O.J. Simpson) and this cretin. Of course, it also makes sense for Dershowitz, not so much Trump, that he would celebrity sniff is way into this fiasco when considering the shit-ton of famous crazies he’s defended in court, from Patty Hearst to Mike Tyson to Jim Bakker.
Dershowitz’s hell-bound reputation aside, I keep hearing a lot of goofy stuff about the American spirit of truth and the nation’s soul at stake, and it is utter nonsense. This is politics, and politics rarely has to do with any of that. Think about most of the political movements in history, actually, all the political movements ever; even the American Revolution. Where was the revolution for the slaves and women? France. Cuba. Russia. China. Every country in Central America. A war on truth and justice has been the greatest and lasting crime of civilization, and all this impeachment “trial” does is re-affirm it. It is the element of governing that promotes stasis in governing. Trump is still guilty, forever impeached by the House and then acquitted by a politically motivated Senate. And that is also not assuming, which must be done, that impeachment wasn’t politically motivated in the first place. Because not only is impeachment hard, but it is a political mechanism with the possibility – check that – probability to be abused.
© James Campion Feb 3rd 2020
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. +, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” + “Accidently Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”
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