The question has now been posed in a great many less vulgar ways, but is it time for the Democrats in the House of Representatives to shit or get off the pot? If they believe that Trump has committed “high crimes or misdemeanors,” has engaged in impeachment-worthy conduct, then the Constitution offers them a means of addressing it.
The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The question isn’t whether Trump has committed an impeachable offense(s). The question isn’t whether it’s a political, rather than legal, determination. The question is whether there will be more speeches, more investigations, more subpeonas, more accusations, more calls for action, all for the sake of the performance when the Constitution provides the mechanism to address the problem.
But the Senate? So what? If the House voting impeachment is dependent on the perception of the Senate’s willingness to convict and remove, it renders the House a slave to politics rather than a body of putatively principled people. At some point, a decision must be made whether the political calculus is more important than the performance of a constitutional duty.
Granted, the Senate did exactly that in its refusal to vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, and it got away with it. But that was a disgraceful act by Senate Republicans. Are the House Democrats similarly lacking in fealty to the Constitution? Is the worst the Reps can do the new bar for the Dems?
Some cynics argue that it’s in the Democrats interest to keep Trump in the White House if they’re going to take back the presidency in 2020. After all, Trump is already Trump, and will no doubt continue to be Trump, for the duration. He’s the best argument for voting Democratic, since their policies would otherwise be anathema to most Americans and stand no chance of garnering support.
If Trump were successfully impeached, the Dems would lose their best argument for a 2020 win. Is that reason enough to continue to cry impeachment while taking no action toward accomplishing it?
The alternative in the political calculus is that a failed impeachment would result in energizing Trump’s base; fail to remove him from office and make the Democrats appear weak, petty and, perhaps, wrong. Maybe the accusations of impeachable offenses are revealed to be more hyperbole than reality? Maybe Trump’s actions are a reflection not of his malice, but his “common” ignorance of the duties and norms of the presidency? Even if they’re wrong, are they understandable or forgivable? Or is he every bit as venal as the House Dems say he is. And if he is, how can they claim the mantle of integrity while doing nothing to deal with this fiend in the Oval Office?
Without an indictment from the House and trial in the Senate, there is no point in arguing about which way it would turn out now, as the political ramifications are purely speculative. Maybe the evidence will be so overwhelming that even Senate Republicans will have no option but to convict and remove.
Is it time for the House to stop playing politics and do as it keeps threatening to do, vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump? Forget the many harebrained workarounds, the investigations and lawsuits. The Constitution, Article II, Section 4, provides the mechanism for the removal of a president. Is it time to either employ the constitutional answer or shut up already?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply.