RED HANDED

Posted in Rants on January 3rd, 2018 by Ed

In a span of eight hours on Tuesday, January 2, the President used Twitter to:

-Spread InfoWars-level conspiracy shit about Deep State, undermining the Justice Dept. and legal process
-Taunted North Korea in game of nuclear chicken
-Took credit for the safety of commercial air traffic
-Unveiled upcoming awards for the worst media outlets and reporting, continuing to target and delegitimize the critical media
-Threatened Palestine with economic sanctions

This is, to strip our current situation down to its essence, exhausting and beyond insane. There is no reason we need to live like this. This does not have to continue. It continues because of the false narrative that Congress can't remove the president unless red-handed evidence of him committing a crime is uncovered. That simply is not true. Impeachment was added to the Constitution explicitly separated from the normal legal process. While a range of opinions exist on exactly what does and does not constitute impeachable offenses, any practical understanding of the process points to the conclusion that an impeachable offense is whatever a given Congress says it is at a given point in political time.

To play one of conservatives' favorite games, let us imagine what the Founders would say if we asked them, "Can a president be impeached for no specific crime but for being really, atrociously bad at being president?" Nothing in the historical record suggests that the people who put the Constitution together would dispute that poor performance and bad behavior are sufficient grounds for impeachment.

I am on the third day of the flu so I will cut directly to the chase: Everyone, Republicans included, can see where this is going. It is inevitable that this guy is going to start a shooting war somewhere, either through his bad temper and poor impulse control or because he is so stupid he will stumble into it by accident. This does not have to happen. And it's going to look mighty strange after it happens to look back at all the really obvious warning signs and rationalize why Congress did not act.

Republicans can get everything they want out of Mike Pence, but they are terrified of the primary challenges they'll face if they are perceived as the people who betrayed Trump. History offers us some pretty strange explanations for important events unfolding but I think this will top them all. "Everyone recognized that he was insane but we couldn't come up with a reason to impeach him that Fox News viewers would accept" and "I was scared of a Tea Party challenger" will stand out as particularly feeble reasons in a century or two when humanity tries to figure out what in the hell happened during the Great Insanity of the early 21st Century.