Kool Aid

Lawfare, The Mueller Report Demands an Impeachment Inquiry

Ezra Klein, The Problem with Impeachment

So, here’s the thing about public policy decisions. Sometimes, all or almost all of the relevant factors point one way, not the other, in which case it’s pretty easy to decide which is the right option. (Doing the right thing may still require some moral courage and intestinal fortitude, but, even so, you can pretty much figure out what the right thing to do is, even if it’s hard to do.)

Sometimes, however, the relevant factors point in all sorts of different directions. Sometimes, there isn’t a rule to determine which of these factors are more important than which other factors. Typically, in such cases, a member of the punditocracy will seize on one factor and proclaim it dispositive. Typically, your Uncle Ralph and your friend Butch will do the same thing. And so will you. And so will I, if I’m not careful.

Thinking about tough choices is really hard. And generally unpleasant. It’s much more convenient to seize on one piece of the picture and go with it. Pretty much the same error made by all six of the Six Blind Men of Indostan.

If you don’t want to think about the hard issues around impeachment, then by all means, go somewhere else, like here.  If, however, you do want to investigate the issues, you would do well to consult the two articles cited at the top of this post.

For me, Ezra Klein makes the more compelling case. Please read him, because he’s very wise and very learned, and I won’t repeat every important issue he raises.

My bottom line is this: the Constitution provides a good way to get rid of an asshole president. But the framers of the Constitution—who both loathed and feared extreme partisanship—did not write a governing document for a nation of assholes. Nor did they write a document for a country where 42 percent of the population would give their full-throated endorsement to a reality TV show star. (Or maybe only 37 percent.)

Trump is a rara avis. Some people may have enough star power to come within spitting distance of the presidency, yet lack the intellectual capacity for the job. Some may have the intellectual capacity, but lack the moral authority. Some make have intellectual capacity and moral authority, yet suffer from major character flaws, such as laziness. By contrast, Trump is egregiously unfit on all three grounds.

Even so, it seems that at least a third of the population and around half of the senators will not support the Senate’s removing him from office. At this point, it seems that an effort to impeach him is likely to strengthen the resolve of the third of the population who have drunk the Kool-Aid. And it’s likely that when the Senate fails to remove him, that will only dishearten the progressive base. Ezra Klein makes a persuasive case that we don’t need to go down this road.

Some will “argue” that eschewing impeachment evidences lack of manhood.

Some will assert that it shows a lack of moral courage.

Think in clichés is so much more fun than actual analytical reasoning.