Reflections on Impeachment

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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  1. Avatar North
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    says:

    I have some sympathy for your sentiment even as I think you’re stretching that “both sides do it” narrative until it is screaming to try and fold the 90’s era Democratic Party into the same tent as the 2010’s era GOP.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to North
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      says:

      There is comparison even if there is not an equivalence. Clinton was (mostly) investigated for things that happened before he took office. Trump’s corruption is more extensive and more blatant. The case for impeaching him is not just Ukraine. It’s obstruction, corruption, emoluments, everything. But I believe that Clinton’s behavior rose to the level of impeachment (if not necessarily removal from office). And Trump’s certainly does.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Related Post Roulette gave me “Are you watching Game of Thrones yet?”

    Oh, yeah. I’m watching the hell out of it.

    Anyway, I’m more interested in seeing what else evolves from this. Sure, let Trump get impeached. Just, please, please, please also notice Hunter Biden’s payoffs. And whether that payoff is part of a trend.

    (I suppose, in some part, I’m kidding myself. Nothing really came from the Panama Papers… I doubt much will come from this.)Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Can you expand on the Hunter Bidens payoffs part? Are we going after all of the politicians and all of the managerial classes of both the private and public sector everywhere over this? Because what Hunter Biden did is that classic case of trading on his old man’s name to get a sweet sinecure that he probably didn’t earn. We’ve no indication that the old man in question was involved in obtaining Hunters sinecure and no indication that Hunters sinecure yielded any benefit for his employer at all. So that would place “Hunter Biden’s Payoffs” in the very very light off-white end of the scummy spectrum in which all these cases are scattered.

      So, what exactly are you saying is special about Hunter Biden’s payoff?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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        says:

        Are we going after all of the politicians and all of the managerial classes of both the private and public sector everywhere over this?

        PLEASE.

        As for the payoffs part, I just have this from TASS, the Russian News Agency:

        KIEV, November 20. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General has drawn up an indictment against the owner of the Burisma Holdings energy company, ex-Ecology Minister Nikolai Zlochevsky, that contains information that the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter, as a Burisma board member along with his partners received $16.5 million for their services, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada MP from the ruling Servant of the People party Alexander Dubinsky told a press conference on Wednesday, citing the investigation’s materials. According to him, the money came from duplicitous criminal activity.

        Is TASS running interference for Trump? I dunno. Is TASS reliable? I dunno. (They have a crossword.)

        Is this sort of thing just the price of doing business? Well… maybe it is. I can see why we wouldn’t want it to come to light, if it is.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Okay Don Quixote, oh and we’ll have to add in every business owner, manager and religious and charitable organization operator ever into the investigation as well now that I think about it. There’s a reason this seedy unseemly phenomena doesn’t get much heat on it.

          Hmmm… let’s see… the current occupant of the White House has a Hunter Biden and a she-Hunter Biden on his payroll who make Hunter Biden look like a piker.
          For that matter in 2000 we elected a fishing Hunter Biden to the fishing presidency.
          So why, again, is this particular Hunter Biden story significant currently while all the others are not?

          As to TASS, I am giving it more credence than it deserves by simply writing out this contemptuous sentence about it; 30 whole words- I am a paragon of charity.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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            says:

            I submit: Pulling a “Both Sides Do It” on a national level will result in no minds being changed about whether it’s bad that Trump is pulling this crap too.

            “Yay, I’m glad that someone on my team is finally in on the grift!” seems a more likely response.

            And we can trade whose turn it is at the teat every 8 years.

            (And you, apparently, know more about TASS than I do.)Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Hey, I’m diggin’ the fact that Republicans are now using the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union as a reliable source.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              I asked, Jay, if there was anything more to this than Hunter Biden engaging in what is, pretty unambiguously, some really weak tea nepotism. It appears that the answer is there isn’t.

              If Hunter was running for President I think his “Payout” would be cause to pour out at least as much scorn on him as was poured out on Bush Minor. But Hunter is not running for President.

              Unless it can be shown that Biden was more involved in Hunters “payout” in any way beyond sharing a last name with him perhaps that’d be significant for Bidens’ campaign. If not… then no I don’t think there’s much significance to Hunter Bidens “payout”. From what has been determined so far it looks like Burisma got taken to the cleaners by Hunter Biden; they paid him handsomely and then he got them zero influence and his Dad proceeded to prosecute US and EU policy on Ukraine that removed a Burisma friendly prosecutor in exchange for aid money. If I were Burisma I’d probably really want my money back from Hunter Biden.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                Eh, I see the weak tea nepotism as widespread corruption.

                Now, maybe it’s just how the game is played… and we can’t make it illegal for (foreign company) to hire the son/daughter of (politician).

                I mean, let’s face it: son/daughter of (politician) went to a very elite school and got elite training and, on top of that, was raised near the halls of power and knows how the game is played.

                But… eh. It still feels like, oh, when Trump does it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I mean, I get it, it sure, it doesn’t fill anyone’s breast with pride.

                How do you fight it though? What rule do you put in that prevents kids from trading on their parents names and reputation. For fish’s sake you’re talking about banning no small part of networking (and I HATE doing the work of networking). I think part of the argument against this being capital C corruption is that it is everywhere. You can find it at your local business, every level of government, every level of religious and charitable organizations, every level of business, just… everywhere. And usually it is much more nakedly self serving and corrupt than Hunter just trading on his dads name to rip off Burisma.

                So in our specific case you’re saying Hunter going out, trading on his dads name to con a private company into hiring him to no appreciable benefit for said company feels the same to you Trump literally hiring his own two children for duties within his own administration while also having them run his private businesses interests for him? Those two things feel the same to you?

                Can you, maybe, understand why liberals would look at that comparison and say they have questions about conservative peoples/your suspiciously selective “feelings” on the matter?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                What rule? I dunno. “No foreign companies”, maybe?

                Hiring people within your own administration strikes me as within acceptable parameters, believe it or not.

                It’s when, oh, lobbyists do it that it’s kinda gross.

                (And, yeah. I know that Lobbyist A will hire the kid from Politician B, and Lobbyist B will hire the kid from Politician C, leaving Lobbyist C to hire the kid from Politician A leaving no fingerprints and no QPQ and, there are enough letters to let you know that, hey, this kid has a last name? Part of the deal is to hire them without even knowing who the other Lobbyists have hired.)Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Hunter Biden, Ivanka trump, Jared Kushner, Don Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Chelsea Clinton, G.W. Bush, Jeb Bush – all traded on their daddy’s name and political success. Call it what you want, but it is rampant.

                Sorry to tell you but ONLY going after Hunter Biden makes it clear this is about Joe Biden. That’s what makes it wrong.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Then bring it *ALL* to light. Point out “Hey, *EVERYBODY* does this!”

                Then ask for rules saying “you know what? No.”

                And see who pushes back.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Funny but every time I bring the Trump kids to light for conservatives they invariably leave the conversation.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                I imagine they hate the idea of scrutiny for “their” team that isn’t equally applied to “the other” team.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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            says:

            NBC is reporting that the report is bogus.

            The incorrect story, first disseminated by the finance blog ZeroHedge, claimed that Mykola Zlochevsky, the head of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, had been indicted over money laundering related to the Biden family. Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was previously on Burisma’s board of directors.

            In fact, there was no announcement of an indictment. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, announced in October his office would conduct a wide-ranging review of all previous cases involving Burisma, and Wednesday said he was including possible embezzlement in the investigation, according to Reuters.

            Zerohedge is, indeed, where I first heard about it.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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            says:

            Did you stop and wonder how the ecology minister of a former Soviet Republic came to own the state’s giant oil and natural gas company that used to belong to the people? Exactly how did that happen? That’s like waking up one morning and finding out that the former US Secretary of the Interior, who was worth about $200K when he was appointed, ended up owning all of Exxon, Mobile, Chevron, Marathon, Occidental, and Conoco when he left office.

            Then, for some reason, he decided to have a board of directors when he owns the companies in their entirety. And he staffs the board with former politicians and their children.

            Then the parent of one of those children threatens the country with the cutoff of a billion US dollars if they allow anyone to look into it.

            Hrm… Does that seem a little fishy to you?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
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              says:

              Since it actually went down the opposite of how your Georgism couches it, it doesn’t seem fishy to me at all George.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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                says:

                So you’re arguing that Biden threatened to withhold $1 Billion in US aid unless Ukraine investigated Burisma. He seemed to completely omit that from his infamous story about how the threatened them.

                Casting that aside, why was the US State Department, Biden, and the rest of the Obama administration so adamant that nobody investigate Burisma?

                Fast forward to today: Interfax Ukraine News Agency

                YIV. Nov 20 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian members of parliament have demanded the presidents of Ukraine and the United States, Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump, investigate suspicions of the legalization of $7.4 billion by the “family” of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych through the American investment fund Franklin Templeton Investments, which they said has ties to the U.S. Democratic Party.

                John Templeton was a major Obama donor, and Thomas Donilon, chariman of BlackRock Investment Institute, a major holder of Templeton’s stock, was Obama’s National Security Advisor. $7.4 billion worth of foreign money laundering, run from the White House, is a lot of corruption to cover up. Why, someone might try to hurl impeachment charges just to hide their role.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Heheh, yeah the whole Obama admin (and the EU too) was secretly insisting that no one was to investigate Burisma instead of their stated desire for getting rid of the prosecutor because he was covering for Burisma. Who’re we gonna believe? Everything the Obama admin, the Europeans and the record said at the time or your Ouija board?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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                says:

                So, you’re saying that Obama, Biden, the US State Department, and the EU all got their way regarding corruption investigations into Burisma.

                So, given that they must have achieved their goal, over the last four years was there:

                1) A really deep and thorough investigation into Burisma?
                2) Absolutely no investigation into Burisma.

                The correct answer seems to be 2. Thus, we can conclude that the goal in firing the prosecutor was to make sure that there was no investigation into Burisma. Now why would politicians go to the mat to stop an investigation into an energy firm that was widely regarded as one of the most corrupt companies in the world’s third most corrupt country?

                The answer to that question is where the story is going to go, with a really thick paper trail of bank records, since some of the banks involved are wholeheartedly cooperating.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Correlation – that is two things occurring demonstrably together in time – does not imply causation – meaning one’s occurrence caused the other. Statistics 101.

                That’s the fundamental problem with your approach George. In spite of an extensive media record of all these events, and an extensive investigation record, you keep reaching to a conclusion that’s speculative.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                There is an extensive media record of silence about Burisma after Uncle Joe threw down with a billion dollars to either stop an investigation – or, as his supporters claim, make sure a far more serious investigation took place. There is no record of any follow up on making sure an investigation took place, and indeed, once prosecutor Shokin was fired, that was the end of it until John Solomon’s articles were caught to the attention of Donald Trump. I would venture that Biden got what he paid for.

                Lot’s of criminal cases depend on correlation. The entire impeachment inquiry is based on nothing but correlation about US military aid being held up at roughly the same time that Trump was urging Zelensky to look into both Burisma and Ukrainian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

                Indeed, how many convictions were obtained because every time A shipped drugs to B, B gave a bunch of money to A. These correlated transactions are taken as evidence of “quid pro quo”, the exchange of a thing for a thing.

                In Biden’s case, he threatened to withhold a billion dollars in US aid unless the prosecutor was fired, and wouldn’t you know it, they fired the prosecutor, and they made sure to never to look into Burisma again.

                Well, now they’re looking and the Ukrainian parliament says Burisma was laundering $7+ billion dollars through a US investment firm, one of whose principle investors was the head of Obama’s NSC, who employed both the whistleblower and Mr Vindman. How curious. It’s almost like the criminals were desperately trying to keep from getting caught.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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        says:

        Joe Biden threatened to snatch away $1 billion (with a ‘B’) in US aid unless they fired a very good prosecutor who was working two open investigations into Burisma. You may have heard a different version of these events because a DC PR firm was hired by BIden’s company to spread a different story all over Washington, once where there was a corrupt out-of-control prosecutor going after an innocent energy company.

        Now just ask yourself, how much is avoiding a prosecution usually worth to someone who’s not directly involved? Usually nothing, but perhaps someone of Biden’s stature would be willing to kick in $10K or so to some PAC or interest group to try and rein in some DA. Then you get into the $100K cases, and the million dollar cases. How far do you have to go before you hit a case that someone is willing to throw around $1 billion (with a B) dollars to stop?

        That’s an issue that won’t go away, because whatever Biden was hiding, it was obviously worth $1 billion to Biden and Biden’s boss (according to Biden). That’s a heck of a lot of smoke, and it sure makes it seem like there was a big fire.

        So what else do we have? We have claims from a former Ukrainian MP that most of the billions in US aid money wasn’t going to Ukraine, it was being kicked back to Biden, Kerry, and other top Democrats. There was the agreement, signed by Biden, in which no normal State Department oversight was placed on the funds. There was the Ukrainian government’s unusual interference in the US elections, running op-eds against Trump, as if their officials were desperate to keep the spigot flowing from the US taxpayer to their own pockets, and the willing collusion with top Democrat officials, which indicates that money may have been flowing into their own pockets, too. People like Vindman and the Whistleblower were directly involved in connecting the Obama White House to the Ukrainian government officials involved in these efforts.

        And then when have the impeachment itself, kicked off the very moment that one of these “interested parties” learned that Trump was urging with the new Ukrainian president to look into the matter. Those look like the panicked actions of criminals the instant they find out that the police are onto them.

        So Democrats need to explain why Hunter Biden was offered a job on a Ukrainian gas company days after Joe Biden was put in charge of US aid to Ukraine. What was so important to Obama, Biden, and Kerry that they’d use a billion dollars in taxpayer money to keep hidden? Where did several billion dollars in US aid end up? Why is Mitt Romney’s foreign affairs adviser, an expert in US counter-terrorism, on the board of Burisma? Was the CIA using Burisma’s dark money to fund black operations throughout the world? That possibility would perhaps explain a whole lot of the CIA’s involvement, including the IC who changed the whistleblower rules, in all the craziness around the impeachment push.

        These sound like things that might be worth looking into, and things so damaging that the guilty parties would try to impeach a President just to make sure nobody looked into them. It is an illegal cover up, but not from the White House. That’s going to be the “drip drip” that slowly fleshes out the details of this scandal. The GOP, at least in the Senate, is going to keep digging into it, and there’s probably nothing Democrats can do to stop that.Report

  3. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    Well, the new twist from Democrats is that it’s bribery to not invite someone to the White House unless someone does something. Obviously Republicans missed the clear opportunity to impeach Obama over his failure to invite the Detroit Tigers to the White House unless they won the World Series, and of course his failure to invite me to the White House unless I bundled $10 million in campaign donations for him. The latter is definitely an impeachable offense, conditioning my visit on handing him millions in cash, and I’m sure Schiff could make that charge stick even though Obama never called me and made the demand explicit.Report

  4. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    If you think that a consensual blowjob is the equivalent to soliciting bribes from foreign governments, and covering up hostile acts toward America and the democratic process by a foreign power, I have nothing to say to you.

    Seriously, take a look in the mirror.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      I never said they were equivalent. I said they were both impeachable. But thanks for playing.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Clinton was impeached for lying about said consensual sex act under oath. It was stupid of him to think he could get away with it. But ti was all the Republicans could really hang their hats on, what with Ken Star not actually being able to find any actual illegality by either Clinton in White Water. Frankly had he simply said yes, I received oral sex from her. So what? it probably would have ended there.Report

  5. Avatar JS
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    says:

    “And, in the end, no one doubted that Clinton had lied under oath, suborned perjury and obstructed justice”

    Did he?

    I mean if I recall correctly this happened in a civil suit against Clinton personally — thus separate from his office — the entire line of questioning was thrown out, the perjury was unfortunately very murky due to two lawyers playing games with semantics, and there was never a hint that any actual charges would be brought — not because he was President, but because the aforementioned semantics are sort of at the core of what lawyers do.

    “No one doubted” seems to be doing almost as much heavy lifting as your litany of supposed crimes.

    And for the record: I absolutely personally do believe Clinton very deliberately utilized the previous definition of “sexual relations” to truthfully answer the letter of a question while absolutely and deliberately conveying violating the spirit of it. And in the long run, he’d have been better off just answering the spirit of the question.

    I’m just saying that — maybe, just maybe — sometimes both sides aren’t the same. I mean after all, Nixon ended up resigning and going down in infamy — Clinton got more popular and actually won seats in the mid-terms. So you sure Trump is Clinton redux, and not Nixon?Report

  6. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    I watched a bit of today’s (one ring) circus, and I gotta say, there nothing there. Sondlands testimony was explicit in that there was zero QPQ, indeed that Trump asked for no QPQ specifically. Trump had already released the transcript of the call, cutting the wind from the D’s sails and leaving them with a whole lot of hot air. They have switched the terms of what they were looking for (now collusion, now bribery, what will it be next week!) and it is still a stinker. All the while desperately trying to avoid talking about the reason that the call was made, though their mouthpieces are working overtime trying to convince any and all that this was done to attack a political rival, one that hadn’t even declared yet. Sorry, we have a treaty dealing specifically with corruption with Ukraine, signed by Billy Boy his ownself. That dog don’t hunt.

    Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. No amount of trying to redirect the causes will change that. Did he get caught in a perjury trap? Yes, which is surprising considering how good of a politician he was. But it was a real reason, albeit a weak one. But it was bipartisan, both for and against in the house, unlike this Schiff show.

    But this whole shebang has confirmed the depths of Trump hatred. Most of the testimony boiled down to how people who ostensibly work for him didn’t like his foreign policy plans. Boo fuching Hoo. You don’t like it, you are allowed to quit anytime (except that military dude, but he knew that when he signed up.)

    In a vacuum (perfectly spherical Trump?), yes He is odious. But the world isn’t a vacuum, it’s relative to whom he is running against. And looking at the opposition, the faces of which have moved from the squaddies to Schiff-for-brains, he’s starting to look pretty good. Thanks a lot, Dems! To quote “HowDareYou!!!”Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      When even Devin Nunes’ cow thinks the game is over…the game might be over.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      Sondlands testimony was explicit in that there was zero QPQ,

      From his testimony:

      I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a “quid pro quo?” As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.

      indeed that Trump asked for no QPQ specifically.

      From his testimony:

      Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker, and others that President Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election. Mr. Giuliani expressed those requests directly to the Ukrainians. Mr. Giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us. We all understood that these pre- requisites for the White House call and White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements.

      Report

    • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      This is an embarrassing comment. Do you understand how reality works, or that testimony is recorded?

      Start with this: “I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo’?” Sondland said. “. . . With regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.” There’s video here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sondland-was-there-a-quid-pro-quo-the-answer-is-yes/2019/11/20/34741e3c-0b92-11ea-8397-a955cd542d00_story.html

      If you want to say that bribing Ukraine for political favors is ok, fine. Make your case. But to say Up is Down is to expose yourself (yet again) as a lunatic residing in an alternate universe.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Nevermoor
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        says:

        Hrm… You seem to be quoting from the first 10 minutes of an episode of “Ironsides”. As we all know, what happens in the last 5 minutes of the episode is what matters, when the witness totally retracts, clarifies, and recants what they said in their initial statements, under an intense and withering cross-examination that leaves absolutely no doubt about what had actually transpired during the events in question.

        What Sondland later established, without absolute clarity, is that there was absolutely no quid pro quo, no linkage, nor anything else the Democrats are looking for but abysmally failed to find.

        And Republicans haven’t even called a witness yet, because they aren’t allowed to. These are the Democrat’s witnesses.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Nevermoor
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        says:

        No, make your case that someone was bribed. You are claiming that as fact, but it is something that is only asserted at this point, and very poorly at that.

        Other than that, resorting to calling people names shows the paucity of your thinking.

        Grow up.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    An overlooked side story:
    The US Army is treating the President’s supporters as a threat to one of their own servicemembers.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/army-providing-security-assistance-vindman-key-witness-impeachment/story?id=67137282Report

  8. Avatar mike shupp
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    says:

    I hear you paint houses.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    “ They saw his election as being the result of electing too many squishy moderates and a signal that they need to move Right. And they were out to get him from the day he took office.“

    Serious question: In recent memory, has the GOO ever responded to a loss by thinking some other than, “Move right!”Report

    • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Sure. It was that time they responded to an economic change (in either direction, in any indicator) by concluding it meant something other than that the economy needs more tax cuts for the rich.Report

  10. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    Reflecting back on l’affaire du Clinton, I have to say that the biggest regret I feel about it was that we let ourselves think that Juanita Broaddrick’s story was not materially different from that of Gennifer Flowers which was not materially different from Monica Lewinsky’s. We just weren’t as woke back then, none of us.

    At the time of the Clinton Impeachment, I was going through some personal and professional activities that catalyzed my distaste for the Clinton Derangement Syndrome I’d seen pervade the conservative movement. Something about him made the righties go more than a little bonkers, as if there had never before been a Democratic President, and I thought it was a bad look. It wasn’t enough to say that the Clinton White House was offering bad ideas, it was important to demonstrate that Clinton was a bad man. In retrospect, I understand now that this was really driven by the need for the network of various right-wing and right-wing-adjacent groups to engage in fundraising like they’d never done before.

    I felt very conflicted at the time about removing an elected President from office for perjuring himself about an extramarital affair. The extramarital affair was, I reasoned, not the public’s business and didn’t reflect on Clinton’s merits as President. (Again, not woke.) But at the same time, the President needs to be lawful, and perjury is the opposite of lawfulness because it not only breaks a law but it erodes the integrity of the legal system.

    Take the me of today and put him in the Senate of 1996, and Senator Burt would have voted to remove Clinton. Whether I were a Republican or a Democrat. Clinton willfully engaged in corrosively unlawful conduct, and an immoral abuse of the power of his office.

    Today’s situation is a much easier call because the corrosively unlawful conduct is even worse, and the immoral abuse of power is even greater, and the incumbent President is neither competent nor likeable enough to proffer a political reason for retention. The only real political argument for keeping him in office that I can imagine is “the economy is still doing great,” which given that the recovery started eight years ago under Obama, is hardly to Trump’s credit, and to the extent that Trump is somehow better for the economy than Hillary Clinton would have been (a faith-based proposition if I ever heard one), I see no reason why President Pence would not be substantially similar.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      For what it’s worth, I have no doubt that people in 2039 will be saying “man, we really, really, really should have impeached Trump.”Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      I respectfully disagree on many points that you make, Over-Counselor. The derangement you saw over Clinton is no different than the Bush(!) derangement is no different than the Obama derangement is no different than the Trump derangement. And I am sure if you cared to go back far enough, it really is no different than the hatred of Johnson, Nixon, Regan or Lincon and FDR.

      To a subset of the electorate, the mere idea that the country has been moved in a non-proscribed manner is enough to enact our worst instincts about our fellow countrymen. What we have really created is a system where we do not have enough contact with the other and we have unfortunately allowed the other to be those countrymen. This has been furthered by the instant communication of the internet, allowing hitherto unlimited access to anyone with the same politics as us and the greater ability to shut out those who are different.

      Your thoughts on Trump as a president mirror many on the rights thoughts on Obama as a President, showing me, a libertarian, that it really boils down to what we feel is the right direction for the country and how best to achieve that. In other words, you take on him is just as good as TvanD’s take on Obama. No better and no worse. And just as meaningful.Report

  11. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    I haven’t read the comments yet, but I agree with you. My only difference (if it is a difference) from your take is that I was probably not on board with Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. However, in retrospect, I should have been.Report

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