Saturday, June 15, 2019

Weak And Wrong Thus Far

Watch Bill Maher on Real Time make a very bad point (Democrats can impeach President Trump merely because he said he would take dirt about a campaign opponent without reporting it to the FBI) and later a very good point.

Listen as New York Times editorial board member Bari Weiss, evidently pining for the days of the Tip and Ronnie show and never having noticed Mitch McConnell, remarkably comment "let's focus on restoring the country, not tearing it apart." Watch conservative Republican and Never Trumper Charlie Sykes recognize the Democratic Party as "feckless" and "gutless," noting "if you're not potted plants, if you're serious about your constitutional responsibility, you need to have this impeachment."

Most of all, view former New York State Attorney General recommend Democrats not begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, afterward inadvertently making a particularly strong argument in favor of doing just that.

The fun begins at 18:03 of the video below. But at 18:37 Spitzer intriguingly comments

I want to make a different point. I was a prosecutor for a lot of years. I wouldn't want to bring a case I wasn't going to win and the House can vote for impeachment (but the Senate wouldn't convict).

They are not analogous situations, especially because impeachment is both legal and political in nature, but the argument is not without merit.  However, a few moments later (at 23:59), Spritzer would undermine his own argument by maintaining

You're right about all that. So let's vote an article of impeachment. Pass a budget. Pass a gun control bill. Pass a good environmental bill. Pass an infrastructure bill. Pass a tax reform bill. That's- the House should do stuff that affects votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Then we have a policy to run on. Then we win.

They've done that. As of late May, the Democratic-controlled House had passed 49 bills, resolutions, and suspensions. But Senate Majority Leader McConnell is the self-proclaimed "Grim Reaper" and virtually everything has died in the Senate.

Nonetheless, House Democrats have continued, will continue, and should continue to legislate. It's not only right and proper, but also good politics. Similarly, initiating impeachment activity in the House is not the right thing to do only because the standard for lawlessness should not be set in the White House. Democrats also must demonstrate to voters that they are not going to sit on their hands, and that when they control one-half of one branch of government, they will not shrink from doing what has to be done.

If an impeachment resolution is approved, it very likely will die in the Senate. However, the public will have viewed- endlessly- witnesses in the House Judiciary Committee describing deep and extensive lawbreaking and abuse of power in the presidency. Watching Senate Republicans condone a president demonstrated to have committed obstruction of justice to cover up collusion with a foreign enemy would be quite entertaining. If Majority Leader McConnell short-circuits the process in the Senate, it will be clear he has subverted the will of the people. The public will see Democrats acting and Republicans sabotaging.

That is how "we win."  And that is why Maher (though he meant "change" rather than "lead') was dead-on when he noted of avoiding an impeachment inquiry is folly because

We don't know what the right politics is because they go by the polls and again, Republicans lead polls, Democrats follow polls.  If they would do that, maybe they would change the polls because because it (i.e., dodging impeachment) looks weak and the problem is the Democrats always look weak. 

Bill Clinton believed voters respond to politicians who are "strong and wrong than someone who's weak and right." Strong and right works, too.

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