The Republican-led senate listened to Mitch McConnell and his plan for their salvation but one day after their historic no witnesses vote, they’re already sensing that what they just did was transform the caucus into a herd of lemmings leaping off a cliff. Lisa Murkowski declared that she was “angry at all sides,” well good, because we’re not too thrilled with her either. And even Marco Rubio started squirming and feeling that he had to defend his vote. He went to the length of writing an explanatory essay on Medium:
Why does impeachment exist?
As Manager Jerry Nadler (D-NY) reminded us Wednesday night, removal is not a punishment for a crime. Nor is removal supposed to be a way to hold Presidents accountable; that is what elections are for.
The sole purpose of this extraordinary power to remove the one person entrusted with all of the powers of an entire branch of government is to provide a last-resort remedy to protect the country. That is why Hamilton wrote that in these trials our decisions should be pursuing “the public good.”
That is why six weeks ago I announced that, for me, the question would not just be whether the President’s actions were wrong, but ultimately whether what he did was removable.
The two are not the same. Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office.
Isn’t the last sentence incredible? Rubio comes right out and says that Trump’s actions “meet a standard of impeachment” but why follow the rules, and remove somebody from office when that standard is met? This is mind bogglingly stupid.
Here’s another jewel.
Determining which outcome is in the best interests requires a political judgment — one that takes into account both the severity of the wrongdoing alleged but also the impact removal would have on the nation.
Whut? Of course it requires a political judgement. And you are a politician, eh what? Are you not elected to make political decisions which impact the nation, collectively with the other members of Congress? If you’re not there to do this, then what?
I disagree with the House Managers’ argument that, if we find the allegations they have made are true, failing to remove the President leaves us with no remedy to constrain this or future Presidents. Congress and the courts have multiple ways by which to constrain the power of the executive. And ultimately, voters themselves can hold the President accountable in an election, including the one just nine months from now.
There you have it, the Republican bottom line: Voters, you do our jobs because we have utterly no intention of doing them. We’re here for the money, which is great when you work as little as we do, and to get whatever else we can. We’re not here to follow the mandates of the Constitution.
Now here’s where we get to intellectual dishonesty of the sublime variety:
Can anyone doubt that at least half of the country would view his removal as illegitimate — as nothing short of a coup d’état? It is difficult to conceive of any scheme Putin could undertake that would undermine confidence in our democracy more than removal would.
I also reject the argument that unless we call new witnesses this is not a fair trial. They cannot argue that fairness demands we seek witnesses they did little to pursue.
Nevertheless, new witnesses that would testify to the truth of the allegations are not needed for my threshold analysis, which already assumed that all the allegations made are true.
Look at what Rubio is saying here. “All the allegations made are true,” we know he’s guilty as hell, but it would be a coup d’etat to remove him??? I hope your head doesn’t explode reading this.
Here’s another gem, it is Rubio’s penultimate paragraph.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the President Pro Tempore Emeritus, once warned, “[A] partisan impeachment cannot command the respect of the American people. It is no more valid than a stolen election.”
If this is a partisan impeachment, it is only because numerous Republicans, who freely now admit that Trump was guilty, refused to act accordingly and pursue the dictates of the Constitution, preferring to leave the job up to the electorate.
Ben Sasse also went on record saying “Let me be clear; Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us,” to CNN’s Manu Raju. So, you’ve got Alexander, Sasse, Rubio and who knows how many others, all preferring to attempt to defend their indefensible actions with this level of sophistry. Fine. It is what it is.
The framers of the Constitution put together an efficient remedy for getting rid of a crook in office, but they did not foresee the impediment of a complicit and equally crooked partisan party. They weren’t able to draft a contingency for a time in our history when the real issue would be elected officials coming to work with shattered moral compasses and walking through the motions of impeachment, while intending that the most corrupt president* in history be kept in power for their own partisan purposes, the facts be damned.