SocraticGadfly: Impeachment failed: Why, and a retrospective

February 07, 2020

Impeachment failed: Why, and a retrospective

First, of course it failed in the narrow sense because Republicans control the Senate.

But, it failed for broader reasons, too.

First, why the Ukraine issue?

An ethically stronger issue, in my opinion, was Emoluments Clause violations. Given that an appellate court recently reinstated, and remanded back to district court to resume proceedings, on an Emoluments Clause lawsuits by several state attorneys general, House Democrats already had a roadmap. And, members of Congress filed their own suit, though the DC appeals court just bounced it today. (I agree on the grounds for that ruling; individual members, or a group of members acting individually, don't have standing.)

Politically stronger, IMO, was good old "misprision of funds" over the border wall. And, given injunctions filed over that, House Dems could have learned legal strategies, etc.

Each would have been easy to explain by analogy to the general public.

Emoluments Clause? You tell the average American this is no different from putting the logo of whatever company they work at on personal products they sell on Amazon or eBay.

Misprision? You tell them this is like a spouse or other relationship partner raiding the family budget, for families that do an actual budget.

Plus, misprision of funds or the functional equivalent of or similar? Congress can't do that. It passes a budget and that's that. Only the executive can do that.

Emoluments Clause? Members of Congress CAN violate that, or their version of that, though; that's why old friend Greg AtLast wondered if many national Dems were worried about bits of their own dirty laundry airing. Or, given that the lawsuit mentioned in the first link was more than 40 Democratic Housecritters and 15 Senatecritters short of the plenum joining the suit, maybe support for impeachment on this grounds was that weak.

No matter.

Still less likely than Joe Biden family laundry coming out on Ukraine.

That's why I have to agree with Peter Beinart that, beyond the impeachment process benefiting Trump, it actually hurt Biden. It kept Hunter's name in the news, Biden looked weak in response and more.

I'm not sure I agree with Beinart that Biden was the best Dem candidate against Trump a year ago. At the same time, I don't necessarily agree with Berners that, then at least, Bernie was either.

So, why?

I don't consider this a conspiracy theory; I don't think it can really be proven or disproven.

I think some national Dems wanted to boost Biden, were worried about Hunter Biden coming up anyway, and sought to "insulate" Joe.

Anyway, after almost three years of doing nothing in general, ignoring calls for impeachment by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Al Green and others, it's pretty "amazing" that Ukraine was decided on as being impeachable, and the relative speed with which things happened. Not a conspiracy theory, but empirical facts.

And it backfired. Blew up in their faces, even.

Other national Dems, like John Bolton, actually planted their flag on the semi-coup at the Maidan, and everything else Russophobic. This by no means was the hill to die on, especially since the Trump-Putin collusion claims were untrue and the Mueller Report petered out like Bob Mueller was two Viagras short of shooting a real wad.

Biden has now imploded in Iowa, as has the state Democratic party over the caucuses, with Trump running out a triumphalist State of the Union on the heels of all of this.

So, no, certain Twitterers, whether Joe, Bernie, or Liz is your candidate, it won't be easy to beat Trump.

Also empirical fact? An impeachment case on either the Emoluments Clause or misprision could have been started much earlier than Ukraine, and thus, for better or for worse, been out of the way before the Iowa caucuses. You also wouldn't have had the same problem of new information of importance popping up after the impeachment vote in the House but before the Senate trial.

(Howie Hawkins, in his piece on his campaign website rejecting Chomskyites' call for the Green Party to run a "safe states" strategy, lists campaign financing and other impeachable matters besides the ones above. I don't think everything Howie lists is impeachable, but some of it certainly is.)

A few other bits and pieces.

Of COURSE Rick Scott wants to raise the threshold for impeachment. Whether the grifting is financial or non-monetary, he's never missed a grifting angle within the wingnut world.

Second, the Salt Lake Trib may call Mittens Romney a hero, and within the circumscribed moral world of today's GOP and also of politics in general, he may be. But, 1868 Kansas Sen. Edmund G. Ross is not, contra its analogy. There's pretty good evidence that all of the "sinful seven," speaking of grifting, got some patronage type payola from Andy Johnson.

Meanwhile, the animosity, and the issues on both halves of the duopoly caucus, continued into that SOTU address. And, it's percolating down.

At the start of local candidates forum hosted by county GOP women (no Dems running in any primary in a local race), organization members  talked about the State of the Union address and about Speaker Nancy Pelosi tearing up a copy of Trump's address. Hey, wingers, it was neither illegal nor unethical.

Is this a constitutional issue? So they claimed. It isn't that, either.

But? Pelosi fired the first snub gunshot, arguably, not using traditional SOTU language to introduce Trump.

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