Be Careful What You Wish For

I can’t get Mick Jagger’s voice out of my head. “You can’t always get what you want…” And now it seems we’re actually living in an era that could reasonably be called The Big Chill–except for climate change, and the fact that our entire state seems to be ablaze.

And how can any reasonable solution to this catastrophe–these myriad man-made fires, which can only be expected to worsen each year forward–be reached? How about, in the fifth-largest economy on the globe, we just turn off the juice? How about an electrical shut down? Does that make any sense, after who knows how many years of this problem we have faced, yet mounting, while the power companies seemingly have done nothing to harden their infrastructure against wind? Wind!

Because they can’t argue as to substance–can’t even face it, in fact–the Republicans for weeks now have been decrying the process of the Trump Presidential Impeachment Inquiry. They’ve called the “behind-closed-doors” depositions “Soviet style,” whatever that is supposed to mean, “secret testimonies,” and have raised a hue and cry for the process to be transparent.

As if no Republicans were numbered among these House committees. But they do sit on them. It’s just that they’re in the minority. They feel poorly for it. And if you’ve noticed, none of them has protested that Trump is innocent of what he’ll potentially be impeached for.

It seems they may have forgotten the fact that the current House impeachment process rules were adopted by their own party, back when John Boehner was the Speaker.

It also seems they’re about to get what they claim to want when the proceedings go public, apparently sometime later this month.

How more farcically can our dear Republican leaders possibly comport themselves? Especially in the furtherance of a president who seems keen on contorting the party into some personal branch of government?

To begin with, as per their own rules, depositions–not to be confused with testimonies, which indeed are public–should be heard behind closed doors so a committee may determine the course of evidence it might care to pursue. So, for the present, at least, the Republicans are actually enjoying–if not benefitting from–this perceived secrecy.

What will they protest later this month, when the process goes public and all the facts are fully aired?

They certainly will not be able to cry foul at a flawed process. They’ll have to go on defense properly, and I’m curious as to the absurd line they’ll take.

It was bad enough when they impugned the patriotism of some pretty solid witnesses–a decorated veteran, no less, among them. And it’s beyond the pale that they still seek to identify the whistleblower.

Their best defense might just be to play it straight.

Public support for impeachment–and removal from office–is growing. The last poll I saw put that opinion at 49%–which I surmise will only increase when the process, inevitably, becomes televised. The question is how high that number may yet soar. A few weeks back , during game 5 of the World Series–in Washington, D.C., of all the cities it could occur–a contingent of spectators, large enough for their chant to be clearly audible, clamored for the president to be locked up.

Which, by the way–while deliciously hilarious–I disagree with. We Democrats are better than that. Besides–Donald Trump should have been put in a straight jacket decades ago. And eliminated from Twitter, to boot. He’s murdering the gravitas of our nation. These tweets, at some point, will be seen as evidence that the Trump Presidency was, in particular, egregious. As he continues, he’ll only erode the very office itself.

Face it: If your under-aged daughter were releasing this many unhinged tweets you would have a talk with her.

At what point does public opinion dislodge Republican intransigence?

It may, in the coming weeks, prove that doing the right thing will finally be in their own self-preservation interest.

Like I said–play it straight. For starters, Republicans could quit whining about the process, engage in it, and fashion some kind of push-back against the Democrats. Only for the Senate to acquit. That would seem to be a win for them.

But if public opinion against Trump swings high enough they can dump the president and claim to be following the will of their constituents. They cleanse their party of the poison upon it and the country moves forward–with Republican honor fully restored. Make no mistake–the Republican party is tarnished now, and History will reflect so. Future books will describe in detail exactly how far off the moral rails the party has run itself.

Leaving the Future to its undisclosed mysteries, a Senate conviction could seem to be a win as well.

As it stands now the Republican party is in a state of disgrace while it allows Trump to be its puppeteer.

However you feel about the Democrats, at least they are willing to defend the Constitution. Still, they need to be careful as well. Impeachment is a political minefield no sane soul is happy to step through.

One false move can blow the butt off the impeaching party if it is seen to have overreached. If it chases the partisan as opposed to the factual. After his impeachment proceedings, Bill Clinton’s rating reached a zenith. He stood at 73% approval. Leaving office, he tallied an impressive rating of 65%–the highest such approval since Harry Truman. To say there was Republican chagrin would not begin to address their misstep in that minefield.

The Democrats, then, must proceed with the greatest care to the highest bar. With the utmost clarity. And all of this with an election in the offing.

Want my prediction? So do I!

Because I likely could not have predicted that last Sunday the president would have so cavalierly refused to pledge that he will not shut down the government, in his own imperial judgment, to counter or stall the impeachment inquiry.

According to Huffpost:

Asked on Sunday during a press conference outside the White House whether there is legitimacy to concerns that he will hold up a government spending deal in order to trigger a shutdown later this month, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens,” before pivoting to a rant against Democrats.

Pressed to confirm that no shutdown would occur, Trump declined to offer any assurances.

“Depends on what the negotiation [is],” he said. “I wouldn’t commit to anything.”

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) raised the possibility that Trump could once again bring the government to a grinding halt, stating that he is “increasingly worried” about the prospect.

“I hope and pray he won’t want to cause another government shutdown because it might be a diversion,” he told reporters during his weekly briefing.

The government’s temporary funding measure expires on Nov. 21, meaning lawmakers have until then to either extend it or enact spending bills for the fiscal year, which started in October. Without a solution, a number of federal operations would freeze. 

How’s that for your quid pro quo? As if a quid pro quo were required to level articles of impeachment. It would be enough if it can be confirmed that Trump sought foreign assistance. That is the threshold. Although their last engineered shutdown didn’t do the Republicans any favors, this president is apparently not averse to applying it again for his own political gain. He should be. It should not even be on the table. And if the government does shut down, and he can be demonstrated to have used such a maneuver for his own selfish purposes, it seems to me that is an impeachable offense in and of itself.

Could the president possibly collude with, or seek assistance from, our own government in furthering or even justifying his personal political agenda?

Ask a Republican senator.

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