|Get a Move On||
1 November 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The House of Representatives voted 232 to 196, with 4 not voting, to approve the rules by which the House will proceed on the question of impeaching Donald Trump. Not a single Republican voted for the rules, and only 2 Democrats voted against. The party-line vote is hardly a surprise as there is no incentive to buck party leadership over a procedural vote. The stage is now set for televised hearings. These are the vital ingredient in shifting public opinion from a 52-48 split in favor of impeachment and removal of the president to a 60-40 or 70-30 divide. Without that change, the Senate will never vote to remove the president.
The vote served another function, a nakedly political one. The Republicans have complained that the process has been unfair and has not been transparent. If that is the case, that is their fault as the rules were last revised in 2015 when John Boehner was Speaker and the GOP held the majority. Nevertheless, they demanded a full vote of the House on impeachment. Now, they have had that; the process now has the approval of the House. They can continue to whine that the situation is unfair, but they have had their vote.
On the substance, the GOP still has to figure out how to address the charge that the president withheld defense aid to Ukraine to pressure Kyiv into supplying dirt on Hunter Biden and his father the former vice president. The problem is that the White House has issued a Memorandum of Conversation (it's not a transcript no matter what the president claims. The document opens by stating it is not a verbatim transcript). In that MemCon, the president has an exchange with his Ukrainian counterpart that is smoking-gun proof of the charge.
The Republican situation is going to get worse with the release of the depositions given in closed hearings to the Intelligence Committee. That could begin next week. Then, the TV cameras will come into the hearing room, and witnesses begin telling their stories directly to the American people.
The rule will allow 45 minutes for a professional staff member to ask questions of the witnesses on behalf of the Democrats and 45 minutes for the Republicans. After that, each member can have 5 minutes of follow-ups. The president will be allowed legal representation, conditional on the White House waiving executive privilege or other claims of immunity so witnesses can appear. On the whole, it appears fair, but more importantly, it will make for good TV, viewing that could change minds.
In the balance is the issue of what is and what is not acceptable in political campaigning. Heretofore, foreigners have not been able to participate in the selection of American presidents. Mr. Trump and his collaboration with the Russian intelligence services in 2016 challenged this idea. His moves against Ukraine suggest he is of the opinion that help, regardless of its origin and cleanliness, is welcome. If he is not impeached and removed from office for the offense, that will become the new normal by default.
It is for that reason that the country should not hold off and defeat Mr. Trump at the ballot box. Normalizing bad behvior is destructive of the fabric of the Republic. Moreover, how much more damage could his ignorant incompetence do in the remaining 15 months of his first term? Quite simply, the country can't wait.
© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.