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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thoughts on impeachment

I'm coming around to believe that the House should vote to impeach Mr. Trump.

I don't say that lightly. While I have believed from day one that Mr. Tump is unfit for office, I found calls for his impeachment, coming from about the day he won the election, to be overdetermined. There's nothing that delegitimizes impeachment more than saying you're going to do it because the target is probably going to be guilty of something. Even if all's fair in love and war and politics, that seems a stretch and not much different from Mr. McConnell dedicating himself to making Obama a one-term president.

While I'm indulging in whataboutism, how well did that work out for McConnell? Well, he's still a senator and his party still controls that house of Congress, even if its hold is precarious. But Mr. McConnell's chief aim, at least as he stated it, failed when Obama won his second term. I think an attempt to impeach Trump will likely have the same effect. The House impeaches. The Senate tries the impeachment and acquits, or declines to try the impeachment in the first place. Mr. Trump declares victory, and his base gets fired up just in time for November 2020.

There is, though, something to be said for doing the right thing. If Mr. Trump has done what he's accused of with the Ukraine incident, then to my mind that counts as a high crime or misdemeanor, whether one uses a strict standard for such determinations or whether one uses the looser and more convenient "impeachment is a political decision" standard.

Sometimes you have to do the right thing even when doing so is counterproductive. True, prudence is a virtue. Disregarding prudence enough to endanger your cause might often, even usually, be the wrong thing when the cause is right. Even so, there comes a time to register your objection, a time to take a stand. Success, by itself, doesn't make right any more than might does. And failure doesn't necessarily make wrong, any more than weakness does.

And maybe impeachment will work.