Thursday, December 19, 2019

Beyond impeachment

This WP piece by Jennifer Rubin summarizes the conventional reasons for Nancy Pelosi to hold off on handing over impeachment to the Senate.
She need not face that question, since there is another possible off-ramp. If McConnell and Republicans refuse to have an actual trial and three Republican senators are not brave enough to object, Pelosi could deploy a backup plan that also addresses Republicans’ professed concerns that they wait on witnesses Trump has blocked by assertion of a phony “absolute immunity” claim.

Pelosi can wait to transmit the articles, now that impeachment is complete, until such time as the cases involving senior officials wind their way through the courts and reach a final ruling (likely at the Supreme Court level where cases concerning production of documents now rest). In short, she can wait until the Supreme Court frees up former White House counsel Donald McGahn and former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman (whose case Bolton said he would rely upon for guidance) to testify.
Cute, but we all know that Mitch will never call them as witnesses -- not unless Bolton first spills the beans in some other forum. And even then, they'd have to be some very remarkable beans.

I think Pelosi should draw the line elsewhere. She should declare that, before there can be a Senate trial, Mitch McConnell must recuse himself. He has already announced that he is working with the White House, and that announcement conflicts with the oath of impartiality which he would be called upon to take.

Make it all about Mitch. It's not as though he's popular.

Since a Senate trial can do the Dems no good under current circumstances, things should remain in a state of suspension. Dems should open up secondary mpeachment hearings as soon as new charges present themselves. One of the predictable things about Donald Trump is that he will always give us new proofs of criminality.

(How about an investigation of Donald Trump's drug abuse?)

The public should be made to understand that, as long as Trump is president, at least half the country -- the productive half -- will always hate him passionately. The nation will remain in a state resembling a "Cold Civil War." Non-Trumpers do not view this man the same way previous Democrats viewed previous Republicans. We consider Trump a crook, a traitor, a schemer, a liar, a dummy, a fascist, a brat, a vulgarian, a mentally disturbed individual, and (in all likelihood) a drug abuser.

In short, we will never accept him.

It's not about policy -- at least, not just about policy. It's him. He's not one of us. He appeals to rude mechanicals who take teevee wrestling seriously, and whose idea of multitasking is to hunt for Sasquatch while calculating the date of the Rapture.

Trump is not civilized. He does not read. Every time he talks, the sentences seem to have been hacked and shredded and weirdly stitched back together. His attempts at written communication are hilarious.

(After receiving that letter, Nancy Pelosi should have congratulated him. "No spelling mistakes this time, Donald. Congratulations! There were still a few grammatical issues -- but all in all, you've really improved." Then she should have sent the letter back with a gold star pasted on the front page.)

We will never accept him.

We've made that message quite clear and must continue to do so. The Trumpers will always react to our message with their usual macho arrogance, violent rhetoric and hoots of disdain. That is to be expected. Theirs is the haughtiness of the insecure. But some of them -- the brighter ones -- will start to ask themselves: "Do we really want to end the American experiment over one man?"

The closest historic parallel to the strife now tearing this country apart may be the Dreyfus Affair. As most of you know, the Monarchists, the theocrats and the anti-Semites eventually lost that battle. The right-wing conspiracy-mongers of that era all claimed to be patriots, yet they clung to an absurd theory which threatened to destroy their nation. That dichotomy could not last forever.
Since Nancy seems to lead with a finger to the wind and sentiment is for holding off sending articles of impeachment to the Senate we might get our wish.
If McConnell recuses, does Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) or VP Mikey Pence take over the Senate hearing?
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