If you’re a President, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball lottery than you have of being impeached. I mean that literally. If you buy a ticket, you at least have a one in some odd million chance of hitting it lucky, but no sitting President has ever been impeached.
Andrew Johnson was the only sitting President to be impeached in his first term, mainly because he only served one term, ascending to the presidency with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Johnson’s impeachment was in fact a purely procedural political impeachment. Nine of the eleven House counts against Johnson stemmed from his firing of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, a violation of the Tenure of Service act. After almost needing a hanging chad Supreme Court recount in the Senate, Johnson survived.
Both Nixon and Clinton were impeached in their second term. Nixon mainly because the incident that started the whole ball rolling, the bungled Watergate break in, occurred during his reelection campaign. And Whitewater had been swirling around ineffectively through Clinton’s first term, but it wasn’t until after his reelection that Monica Lewinsky splashed onto the scene.
The Democrats, and especially Nancy Pelosi are in a box. Billionaire Tom Steyer has been baying for Trump’s political blood since shortly after the inauguration, and he has millions of signatures on his petition to show for it, yet the option of impeachment remains underwater in public opinion polling. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the democrats ran on, and were elected in the House in 2018 as bringing accountability to a lawless White House, and impeachment is the ultimate form of oversight. Pelosi complicated matters by appearing to take the topic of impeachment off of the table until after receiving the Mueller report, and only bringing it out if there was a “smoking gun” that could attract Republican support. Initial analysis seems to indicate that there is no such product in the Mueller report, especial;y since the remaining GOP incumbents have apparently tied themselves to the mast of the SS Trumptanic.
I do not doubt for one moment either Pelosi’s toughness, nor her spine. Madame Speaker has more balls than a brass monkey. In 2009, the GOP had successfully labeled the ACA sa “socialized medicine,” replete with “death panels for granny.” Obama was committed to passing the ACA, but the outcome in the House was murky at best. There was a cadre of “blue dog Democrats” who were balking at supporting the President’s signature issue, fearing it could endanger their reelection chances. Speaker Pelosi’s response? She dragged her entire caucus into a private eeting, where she bluntly reminded them that they were elected to serve the people of the country, not their reelection campaigns.This bill would give health insurance to millions of Americans, even if they didn’t realize it yet, and she expected to do their damn jobs. The end result? Pelosi cracked the whip, Obama signed the ACA into law, millions got insurance coverage, and some of those incumbents lost their seats in the fallout.
My strong personal preference is for Speaker Pelosi to once again crack the whip, rally the troops, and tell Chairman Jerry Nadler to start impeachment hearings. But there are two differences this time that change the basic equation. First, this time around, Pelosi is not rallying flagging support for a controversial bill proposed by the sitting President of her party. She is considering attempting to remove a sitting president of the opposition party, with public opinion against her, something to be immediately branded as hyper partisan. And second, while many 2018 Democratic candidates ran partially on providing much needed oversight on a rogue President, almost none of them ran on actually impeaching Trump. The oversight was just one component in a much rucher blend of domestic, kitchen table issues. Pelosi and the Democratic party themselves hid impeachment under a bushel basket during the 2018 midterms, for fear of riling more intense support among Trump voters to show up and prop up their idjit. And it worked. To start impeachment hearings now, 18 months before the 2020 election, would allow the GOP to scream that the Democrats had misled voters, promising meaningful, constructive legislation, and instead dropping everything once they got to power, to engage is a rank, political vendetta against Trump.
There is an old as dirt political axiom that both parties love to throw around when they’re about to pull a naked, dick power play, “elections have consequences.” And tight now the Democrats are gleefully shouting those words from the parapets, as they demand Trump’s taxes and business records, and call incompetent Trump sycophants in front of their committees for a slow roasting over a televised open fire.
We all screamed, wailed, gnashed our teeth to the roots, and pulled out great fluffy tufts of our hair when
Ditch Mitch McConnell pulled the ultimate dick power move, in refusing to even hold hearings on allowing President Obama to fill the Antonin Scalia vacancy on the Supreme Court with Merrick Garland. His totally transparent and outlandish excuse? Obama was a lame duck. This appointment could change the ideological make up of the court for a generation. Let the people decide which political ideology the next President represented in choosing a justice whose decisions could impact their lives for a generation. And he got away with it. Trump got elected, and the court stayed conservative with the appointment and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch.
I never thought that I would say these words, but after long and soul searching consideration, I agree with Yertl the Turtle. Stay the course. Continue passing legislation that we ran on, but by all means, continue and even accelerate the hearings into Trump and his Kabal of Klowns. Demand as much as you can, and when His Lowness refuses to comply, cast the darkest of aspersions about his covering up his criminal deeds. Hold Trump appointees responsible for their incompetence and harmful policies. Don’t ask William Barr to appear in front of the House Judiciary Committee, subpoena him to appear, and then use the next 11 hours to make him into a Da Vinci “dissected man” sketch on national television. Let Robert Mueller explain himself to the committees in a public hearing.
because there’s a wild card at play here. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is running against Trump in the GOP 2020 primaries, and he seems intent on making a serious case. One recent poll of GOP voters showed Trump at 54%, with 20% “lean Trump” but flexible, and 8% already firmly backing Weld. Look, I don’t give Bill Weld a may fly’s chance over a trout stream of actually knocking off Trump. But the blacker the Democrats tar Trump, the more ammunition they give Weld. And the more support he garners, the more terrified and enraged he makes Trump. And the more unhinged Trump becomes, the more Weld supporters that may just decide to sit out 2020 when Trump is renominated.
I personally would love nothing more than to see Trump have to stand trial in the Senate, if for no better reason than to have 23 GOP incumbent Senators have to publicly back him up. But there isn’t time to do it properly, and the headwinds are still too strong. I keep circling back around to the fact that almost no Democrat, newly elected or incumbent, ran on a platform of impeaching Donald Trump, so they’re not violating any promise to their voters in not dong it now. Elections have consequences. So let the voters decide, and on January 21, 2021, the New York state police can perp walk Trump’s well padded ass out of Trump Tower, and off to Rikers Island to await trial.
Historical Reference. The term “balls on a brass monkey” carries no secual connotation. A brass monkey was originally a flat brass plate, with measured indentations in it, used to securely hold cannon balls on the moving deck of old warships.
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