I am trying to move on, but feel compelled to take one last whack at the piñata. (At least, I hope it will be the last; can’t make any definitive promises, though.)
I write with these items primarily in mind:
- Senator Alexander’s statement,
- Senator Rubio’s statement, and
- a piece in Vox arguing, in essence, that Lamar Alexander’s position showed bad faith.
So, What Hath Impeachment Wrought?
First, I would say, looking at the process as a whole, and particularly as it has played out in the last few days, the Republican empty suits have been forced—literally forced—to climb down off Mount Bullshit and admit, tacitly or overtly, that Trump did what the House says he did.
Trump’s repeated denials have been shown to be such blatant lies that even his most fevered supporters among the politicians are no longer denying that he dunnit.
Weeks and weeks and weeks of blather about “no first-hand witnesses” and “no direct evidence” have, like Brigadoon, disappeared into the mists—shown up as the load of bad faith codswallop they were. Because when the witness with direct knowledge showed up, the Republicans ran away like a guilty thing upon a fearful summons.
Second, I don’t hear many voices, any more, claiming that Trump’s conduct was “perfect.”
Third, the Dershowitzian extremist constitutional position has pretty much gone over like a lead balloon.
And, fourth, any remaining doubt, except in the minds of those with the very meanest intelligence, that any Republican politician—any mother’s son or daughter among them—would ever, ever. even under the most extreme circumstances, act as a check on Trump, has been utterly dispelled.
In November, we will all remember.
And What is Left?
Two things at least.
One is that there is still no consensus understanding on how to tell what is a “high crime or misdemeanor” and what isn’t. And that, I think, should come as no surprise.
Insofar as any of the Republican suits has made some quasi-serious effort to address the issue, I think we are in the realm where reasonable persons may differ—and where, therefore, it really isn’t wise or helpful constantly to attribute bad faith to those who disagree with you. Even if you’re pretty sure of their bad faith. Especially if you’re pretty sure of their bad faith. Because attributing bad faith to your intellectual adversary almost always stops the conversation. And, by George, do we need more rational conversation in this country.
Lastly, I note that Rubio and others have made their point that removing Trump from office, and forbidding him from running again in 2020, would likely drive about thirty percent of the country into murderous batshit insanity. (My words, not theirs. But that is the gist of it.)
I believe that is as true as is the fact that Trump extorted Ukraine. I also think that, in both instances, it’s unwise to plan your affairs, and to argue your case, as if the facts were not the facts.
Fiat justitia et pereat mundus might have been the right call to make at the conclusion of the trial of Donald J. Trump, but a contrary argument is not necessarily, IMHO, a bad faith argument. I don’t think it was entirely unreasonable to fear the batshit murderous range of 30 percent or so of our fellow ‘Americans, and to consider that as one factor in your reasoning.
And, that said, I’ll sign off by saying that if these observations make you want to read me out of the progressive movement, well then, you will just have to do what you will have to do.
Uh, oh. Russian readers again this evening.