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Don Rogers: Dems rash to impeach

Don Rogers

Whataboutism and its near twin — What if? — can be instructive. What if this were a Democratic president? What if the party majorities all lined up? What if the Senate majority were Democrats and the House Republicans? What if, what if?

After all, today’s hypotheticals will likely become tomorrow’s realities. A little foresight now could help break the ongoing revenge cycles … for Nixon, for Clinton.

But the comparison of then-Vice President Joe Biden pressing for Ukraine to police itself better with President Trump’s translucent shakedown for personal gain is just silly, and pretty obviously so. I cringe at the Republicans putting this one forward with straight faces. They know better now, as they did back then.

That and calling out the whistleblower whose report proved to be perfectly in line with the rough transcript the president pulled from his double-secret vault and made available to the public. Um, guys, it wouldn’t be less true if Edward Snowden or Julian Assange had revealed it.

Still, the current GOP rhetoric seems to fly with the Fox News crowd for the moment, though history is unlikely to be so kind. Blind loyalty, like blind hatred, is just the flip side of the same coin. Such is the political psychosis, the big problem with partisanship today.

But the biggest howler has to be the complaints that the people who were actually there haven’t testified. Well, only because they were ordered to disobey subpoenas. The president could make his closest advisers available just as he did with the transcript. I think we all know exactly why he hasn’t.

Does anyone doubt what the eyewitnesses would have to say under oath? Those who couldn’t duck certain questions by taking the Fifth, that is.

Still, the current GOP rhetoric seems to fly with the Fox News crowd for the moment, though history is unlikely to be so kind. Blind loyalty, like blind hatred, is just the flip side of the same coin. Such is the political psychosis, the big problem with partisanship today.

But there are better arguments, ones that persuade even me — a never Trumper — that impeachment is not the best remedy, at least not yet.

One is straight-up realpolitik: The Republicans are unmoved, and they have the majority in the Senate, where a trial on the removal of the president from office requires a two-thirds vote. Not going to happen.

Another ties to procedure. I think it’s ultimately right that both parties should agree on an impeachment before it goes further. This inquiry, like the even faster one in the case of President Clinton, has been too expedient, let’s say, for such a momentous step.

More crucial for the health of the republic than a rash, rushed impeachment is working fully through the courts to compel eyewitness testimony. Let the election year play out as it will. That’s less important than doing this right, with all the checks and balances.

Instead, the Democrats have set up a bum’s rush to a show trial of another sort in the Republican Senate, which will end in “total exoneration” and such rhetoric. The proceeding should be a serious, measured affair, full of gravitas rather than kangaroos and bananas, courtesy of the House so far.

As for evidence, there’s plenty of foul smoke, all right, and the Republicans labor to explain how there’s no fire underneath. The Moral Majority has grown feckless with its values, eager even to trade for what, naked power?

Too bad the Democrats in their own zeal are enabling them, between rushing the proceedings and fielding such a weak, off-putting field of presidential candidates.

The president’s supporters should be well pleased. The Democrats are right on pace to help deliver what they dread most: a second term for President Trump.

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at drogers@sierrasun.com or 530-477-4299.


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