Impeachment has been rushed, and it shouldn’t have been

This image has nothing to do with my topic, but I went looking for a picture of House leadership, and I thought this one very interesting on its own terms.

This image has nothing to do with my topic, but I went looking for a picture of House leadership, and I thought this one very interesting on its own terms.

I’ve actually meant to say that for a couple of months, but there’s never been a day when I felt I had enough time to explain all the reasons I think that. And I don’t have time to explain it all today, either. But I thought I should at least say it, before the whole thing is over with.

Oh, and I have another excuse: I haven’t always been sure I felt it was being rushed. But it’s a thought that has occurred to me, many times. And this time, I’ll go ahead and say it before I doubt it again. And if I’m wrong, y’all can tear it to shreds.

The Democrats have been hurrying this thing because they want it over well before the 2020 elections. And that makes a certain amount of sense as electoral strategy, except for this great, big flaw: Impeachment itself has NEVER been in the electoral interest of the Democrats — or the nation — since a conviction in the Senate was never in the cards, and it increases the chances of a Trump re-election.

But the thing is, they had to go ahead and do it. If you’re a sworn member of the House, and a president has done what this one has done, you have to impeach him. Just as the Republicans had to with Clinton 20 years ago. Clinton’s behavior was impeachable from the get-go, and so has Trump’s been.

So, good for the House Democrats for doing their duty, as the House Republicans did last time around. But they’ve tried to have their cake and eat it, too — to do this thing that honor requires, but try to minimize the political cost.

They should have insisted that the process wouldn’t end until, for instance, Mulvaney and Giuliani testified. At the very least, they should have continued to pursue that — through the courts as well as in the court of public opinion — for a few more weeks. At the very least, it would have made Trump’s obstruction more painfully clear, even if that didn’t move the Senate.

Now, the Senate is going to rush this through even faster and we’ll never hear from people we should have heard from.

And Trump will still be in office, and his base — which is immune to reason or facts — will still be ticked off about it, so you will have paid the political price without a concrete result.

All of this said, it’s better to impeach him than not to impeach him, even if you rushed it.

But I do think they’ve rushed it, and I’m not persuaded that was necessary or advisable.


269 thoughts on “Impeachment has been rushed, and it shouldn’t have been

  1. Mr. Smith

    “At the very least, they should have continued to pursue that — through the courts as well as in the court of public opinion — for a few more weeks. At the very least, it would have made Trump’s obstruction more painfully clear”

    This is where your argument falls flat – and indicates that the Dems are smarter:

    1) A few more weeks wouldn’t have made any difference – either in the courts or the court of public opinion. Things would have remained where they are now.

    2) Trump’s obstruction is already “painfully clear” and wouldn’t be made any clearer by several weeks delay.

    3) The Senate won’t call up any more witnesses – McConnell has made that clear. The White House is no more willing to allow them to appear there than it was for the hearings in the House.

    4) The “concrete result” will be that the case will have been presented – and Senate Repuglicons fully revealed as the toadies they are.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      See, now you’re talking like me on the days when I doubt that it was rushed.

      And to carry the devil’s advocacy a bit further… On the days when I think they HAVE done this the right way, I think the Democratic leadership was right (and by the way, whether it was rushed or not, my respect for Pelosi has grown through all this) to make honorable public servants such as Fiona Hill, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, et al., the public face of impeachment.

      The process would indeed have been tarnished by having such sleazeballs as Giuliani and Mulvaney squirming in the witness seat…

    2. bud

      Mr. Smith is 100% correct. The vote should have been taken a month ago. Nothing new has been added since then and nothing new will be added going forward. This has become a process of diminishing and really negative returns. Giuliani, Mulvaney, Bolton and the other sychophants can still be called to testify. Frankly the House should take the vote and just sit on it. No point in sending this to the senate. That place is nothing but a swamp.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        “Frankly the House should take the vote and just sit on it. No point in sending this to the senate.”

        So…a censure?

        1. Mark Stewart

          Trump deserves to be not just impeached but convicted of impeachable offenses.

          He is the poster child of what the founders feared.

          When I hear people say otherwise I want to understand how they came to another conclusion. Something has run amok in America; that gerrymandering “safe” districts is the root cause of our national disfunction. Trump does not represent conservativism, he is an ego centered free radical. A loose cannon. Nothing more.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “He is the poster child of what the founders feared.”

            Absolutely, Mark. Unfortunately, people with zero knowledge of or interest in the founding of our nation don’t know and don’t care. And here is the scandal of our system: Such people are allowed to vote. Not only that, but each of their votes counts as much as the vote of the wisest person in the land. And there are a lot more of them.

            I have to remind myself of people’s lack of interest in history constantly. Because, you know, it explains so much…

            1. Mr. Smith

              “And here is the scandal of our system: Such people are allowed to vote. Not only that, but each of their votes counts as much as the vote of the wisest person in the land.”

              Who would be…? You?

              Y’know, I was with you – up until you made that sudden elitist jerk. When you could have said instead, it’s our responsibility to educate these folks better. THAT would have been a responsible response.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Dang. For a moment, Mr. Smith was with me. Then I blew it…

                Tell me how we’re supposed to educate them better. We try, and they call it “fake news.”

                And I must object: I was very careful NOT to say I was talking about me… 🙂

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Also, Mr. Smith, I’ve got to ask: Are you never impressed by certain people’s unfitness to vote (much less hold office)? Don’t you have even a moment’s doubt on that score when, for instance, you read such tripe as this:

                This guy could not get elected by an electorate that collectively possessed a clue.

                1. Mr. Smith

                  Well, I actually live with his electorate. And, yes, some of them certainly could do with a bit more larnin’. (And, believe me, I’ve written to Duncan more than once to inform him he’s unfit for the office he holds.) But I tend to react to suggestions of taking away anybody’s franchise as negatively as I do to suggestions that certain people not be allowed to marry or have children, solely owing to their alleged lack of intelligence. It may be a good idea to ask them to think twice about doing one or the other, but that’s not good enough reason to ban them from participating in either.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I like the idea of encouraging people not to, as you say.

                    How about this: Every polling place would have two rooms. You could only go into one. One of them has the voting booths. The other has multiple big-screen monitors showing all the most popular “reality” TV shows. Reality TV would be banned from broadcast and streaming services so that this would be the ONLY chance they’d have to watch it.

                    The people, all of them, would be free to choose!

                2. Mr. Smith

                  “The other has multiple big-screen monitors”

                  No, No, NO, absolutely not!
                  No more screens ANYWHERE.
                  I hate it that so many of our public spaces, especially restaurants, have yielded to our worship of screens.
                  Keep our voting zones free of monitors!

                3. David T

                  “Reality TV would be banned from broadcast and streaming services so that this would be the ONLY chance they’d have to watch it.”

                  Speaking of which, does anyone realize that the Miss America pageant was on last night? I watched the lineup and apparently physical beauty is no longer a requirement for this pageant. Nor is talent, the winner did a glorified Mentos and Coke demonstration.

              3. Brad Warthen Post author

                Don’t get me wrong. I agree that representative democracy is the worst system, except for everything else that’s been tried.

                But seeing it as the least-bad approach doesn’t mean I’m blind to its flaws…

  2. Doug Ross

    Of all the things Trump has done that might cause the House to pursue impeachment, the Ukraine call will end up being a big zero. He was on a call where he asked for an investigation of Hunter Biden’s activities as a paid flunky trading on his father’s name. He didn’t ask Ukraine to come up with phony evidence. And so some aid was held up for awhile until it wasn’t. That’s it. Trump got nothing out of the supposed quid pro quo. Was it a dumb idea? Yes. Impeachable? Hardly.

    What we’ve learned is that Comey and the FBI were unethical. Schiff is a liar. Nadler is incompetent (and likely very ill and should have resigned long ago). The impeachment process was a comedy of incompetence on display. The whistleblower who started it all never appeared to testify (although he was very well known by Schiff and his staff). A lot of the testimony was based on second hand information, people who weren’t in the room when the call was made…

    As for the speed of the impeachment, here’s what Pelosi said this week:

    “MODERATOR: “One of the biggest criticisms of the process has been the speed at which the House Democrats are moving. If this —”
    PELOSI: “Speed? Hmm.”
    MODERATOR: “But seriously, though, seriously.”
    PELOSI: “It’s been going on for 22 months, okay? Two-and-a-half years, actually.”
    MODERATOR: “There has been some criticism, though, I will say, about whether or not you should move toward the end of the year or wait for the courts. Why do you think now is the time to move?”
    PELOSI: “I think we’re not moving with speed. This — was it two-and-a-half years ago that they initiated the Mueller investigation?”

    So what we’ve had for two and a half years is the Democrats trying desperately to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING to try and impeach Trump. And they bet it all on a phone call finally when nothing else was available. Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, and Nadler. What a stellar crew to lead this country into a new decade! Self-interested, partisan, sad faced clowns…

    Trump may as well start writing his next inauguration speech. (And, no I don’t support him and won’t vote for him — or any Democrat except Sanders, Mayor Pete, Tulsi),

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “So what we’ve had for two and a half years is the Democrats trying desperately to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING to try and impeach Trump.”

      That is absolutely untrue. Unless you’re employed as a spokesman for Trump, and you’ve actually been brainwashed into believing that the likes of AOC and the “Squad” actually ARE the Democratic party.

      The party and its leadership took NO moves toward impeachment, in fact avoided it with all their might, until it became clear that this guy used the power of his office to try to enlist a foreign government in an effort to tar a domestic political rival.

      In other words, until it became clear, far beyond any doubt, that he had done something far worse than the worst anyone suspect him of in 2016. AS PRESIDENT, and USING THE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENCY, he had PERSONALLY — not just through surrogates — vehemently and as a matter of ongoing policy tried to enlist a foreign power in helping him get re-elected.

      There has never been any doubt of this, from the moment when the White House itself released that memo describing that phone call. Of course, since then, that evidence and that call have diminished in importance as witness after witness has told us this WAS the policy, as have close associates who have NOT testified (Giuliani and Mulvaney).

      Everything changed when all this came to light. Which is why the Democratic leadership and Democratic moderates (who are the REASON the party has the majority in the House) decided in September to pursue impeachment, something they had had NO interest in doing before.

      That is the truth of the matter…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And if you ask me why Pelosi said that about 22 months, you’ve got me. Because this started in September.

        Trump being someone who should be impeached started 34 months ago. But impeachment started a few weeks ago, and yeah, they’ve rushed it.

        1. Doug Ross

          So she’s a liar or incompetent? Which is it? She said it twice.

          Here’s my question to you: Is James Comey an ethical person based on the IG’s report? You either have to believe Comey is ethical or believe the IG is a wrong.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t believe either. I haven’t read the IG’s report. I was satisfied with the summaries.

            Remember, I wasn’t terribly curious about this stuff to begin with. So, “The investigators weren’t motivated by partisanship in launching this probe, but they screwed up a number of times in the process of it” pretty much satisfied my curiosity.

            I can’t remember when I’ve given the impression I was any more interested than that. This was another one of those anticlimactic things like the final report on Hillary’s emails. I never cared all that much about THAT, either, so the headlines were pretty much enough for me…

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            “So she’s a liar or incompetent? Which is it? She said it twice.”

            I dunno. Those quotes surprised me. I can’t imagine why she said it. I doubt she’s lying or incompetent. As I said, she has gained my respect through this. I didn’t think all that much of her, one way or the other, before…

            So I’d like to hear her respond to that.

            Maybe she means, “Trump has been under investigation for encouraging foreign interference in our elections on his behalf for 22 months.” That would be true, I suppose. That’s the factor that the Mueller thing and this have in common…

        2. Doug Ross

          What started in September was Pelosi bowing to the pressure of her members to finally do what they wanted her to do since Trump was elected. She used the phone call as an excuse to shut them up.

          God, I really hate that we have a country that puts people like Pelosi and McConnell in control. They are worse than Trump because at least Trump can’t stay in power for more than 8 years and he has to win a national election. Pelosi was elected by 140K voters in one district in San Francisco. She’s the most powerful woman in politics today (sorry, Hillary). That’s awful.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            No, what happened in September was that the moderates — about whom Pelosi cares FAR more than the lefties — said OK, we didn’t want to deal with this, but we just don’t have any choice with this Ukraine thing. We have to impeach.

            And Pelosi went along with THAT…

          2. bud

            You are completely wrong on this Doug. Pelosi absolutely did not want to impeach Trump. That is abundantly clear watch her speeches over the last couple of years. But you just can’t ignore an act of Bribery by the president for personal gain. She had not choice.

            1. Doug Ross

              They didn’t list bribery in the articles of impeachment. Funny, huh? Because there wasn’t any. #facts

      1. David T

        I have been known to regurgitate when reading bud’s comments. But then I figured out that he’s just joking and only trolling.

  3. Mr. Smith

    “A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Trump and Giuliani ‘set out to undermine every U.S. and European program in the region, every diplomatic and educational initiative, every single ideal that the United States has ever stood for in that part of the world.’ But now I see that the situation was far worse than that. Not only was Trump pursuing conspiracy theories in Ukraine; not only did he want the Ukrainian government to launch a fake investigation into one of his rivals; not only did he seek to exercise political influence on another country’s judicial system; he was, in addition, doing all of this at the behest of Giuliani, in Giuliani’s direct personal, financial interests.
    The implications of this story are immense. If U.S. foreign policy is now for sale — then how many other people are out there trying to buy it? Yovanovitch sums this up as well as anybody could. ‘The harm will come,’ she writes, ‘when bad actors in countries beyond Ukraine see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system.’ How sure are we that there were no private interests at stake when Trump promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan he could invade northern Syria? Can we be certain there are no private interests shaping the United States’ relationship with Russia or Saudi Arabia? The answer is no, no and no. This is the most corrupt White House in modern U.S. history, and we cannot be sure of anything at all.’
    — Oct. 11 op-ed, Anne Applebaum

    Take care of this house
    Keep it from harm
    If bandits break in sound the alarm
    Care for this house
    Shine it by hand
    And keep it so clean the glow can be seen all over the land
    Be careful at night, check all the doors
    If someone makes off with a dream, the dream will be yours
    Take care of this house
    Be always on call
    For this house is the hope of us all
    Beware of false smiles that lead you astray
    When someone is telling you lies let truth lead the way
    Take of this house
    Be always on call
    Care for this house
    It’s the hope of us all
    – L. Bernstein: The White House Cantata

    1. Bob Amundson

      Yes, both parties “Take Care of This House;” right now my thinking is a pox on both of your houses. I am so sick and tired of seeing our “leaders” change talking points just to please their base, hoping for re-election.

  4. Bryan Caskey

    The “obstruction of Congress” article is pretty weak. The House set some really short deadlines for the Executive to produce documents and witnesses. When the Executive challenged certain requests in Court, the House decided not to wait for a judicial decision. Under this theory, the House can set a super-short deadline for the Executive to produce documents that may be privileged, then impeach a President who properly seeks to claim a legal privilege before the claim is adjudicated. That’s not allowing the process to play out.

    The same holds true for the abuse of power article. In all of the testimony and evidence, there is no direct evidence that the President ordered, or asked for, a quid pro quo. There were witnesses who testified the believe a quid pro quo existed, but that is all based on the assumptions of those witnesses who do not have any first-hand knowledge. Mulvaney and Bolton are critical witnesses who the House never compelled to testify. Accordingly, it’s a case lacking critical witnesses. It’s not a complete case.

    Could the process have been more complete? Sure. Could the Democrats have built a more complete case? Absolutely. However, they were in time crunch due to political deadlines. So, we have what we have.

    1. Mr. Smith

      “That’s not allowing the process to play out.”

      You’d have us all, as a country, live out Dickens’s Bleak House in real time.

        1. Mr. Smith

          Bleak House is the tale of justice denied as the result of court proceedings playing themselves out painfully slowly.

          Other rejoinders to your criticisms:

          1) The timelines set by the House for the White House to produce documents and/or witnesses were not “super short.” And White House could have made a good-will gesture by producing at least some documents or witnesses (as both the Nixon and Clinton White Houses did). Instead, it refused to produce anything beyond an after-the-fact reconstruction of a call “transcript.”

          2) Impeachment is the rough equivalent of an indictment by grand jury. It merely has to demonstrate sufficient grounds for prosecuting the case (probable cause). While it may be nice to have more information, including all fact witnesses, the House would be remiss in its responsibilities for it to allow the process to be strung out interminably. The House did its utmost to compel testimony from Mulvaney and Bolton by issuing subpoenas. But the witnesses ignored them on White House orders. It then becomes incumbent upon the Senate to have them appear during the trial phase. But McConnell is not interested in seeing that happen. Any further delay of justice is justice denied (which brings us full circle to the Bleak House reference).

          1. Bryan Caskey

            “The House did its utmost to compel testimony from Mulvaney and Bolton by issuing subpoenas. But the witnesses ignored them on White House orders. It then becomes incumbent upon the Senate to have them appear during the trial phase.”

            First, the House did not issue a subpoena to Bolton. Second, even if it had, issuing a subpoena isn’t doing the “utmost”. I do this all the time in my litigation practice. If a non-party witness ignores or fails to comply with a subpoena I issue, then the next step is to file a motion to compel with the court. At the hearing, the non-party witness can appear and challenge the subpoena in part or in whole. Perhaps it was overbroad, or perhaps it was unreasonable. In any event, the Court will issue an order either compelling the testimony or documents…or not.

            At that point, if the court rules in my favor the non-party witness is now subject to a court order requiring their compliance. If they continue to refuse, I file another motion seeking to have the Court hold them in contempt of court. At that hearing, if the witness cannot demonstrate a good reason for non-compliance he will be found in contempt and possibly jailed, fined, or otherwise sanctioned.

            That’s the process. Justice stems in large part by following the correct process, not taking a short-cut because you don’t like the time it will take to get to the end result.

            Finally, if it’s a known fact that McConnell isn’t going to further develop facts, isn’t it even more incumbent on the House to develop the case on its own, rather than do an incomplete job and then whine that McConnell isn’t going to help them?

            1. Doug Ross

              Bryan – I have watched 11 episodes of Law & Order so I feel I have the necessary background to tell you how I think impeachment should work.

              Thank you for your service in providing background that will be ignored by those who already decided three years ago how that should play out.

            2. Mr. Smith

              As with other relevant fact witnesses, the White House also blocked Bolton from testifying. Furthermore, Bolton’s attorney had already advised Bolton’s deputy, Kupperman, not to comply with a subpoena to appear before the House, again on objection from the White House (which claimed that “the President and his immediate advisors are absolutely immune from testimonial compulsion by a congressional committee on matters related to their official duties” – a position that rings of absolutist tyranny). It was therefore clear to the House that subpoenaing Bolton, too, would be fruitless.

              As to your comment that the House Dems shouldn’t “whine that McConnell isn’t going to help them,” this tacitly concedes that the witnesses McConnell refuses to call would not serve the narrative supplied by the White House. If he believed they could provide exculpatory evidence, he would call on them to testify. But he will not. That is his dereliction, not the House’s.

              Otherwise I stand by what I said previously, that it is not the responsibility of the House in pursuing impeachment to provide an exhaustive trove of evidence. It is not merely the responsibility but the DUTY of the Senate to do that. However, I do believe it would have been better to have included additional articles of impeachment, derived from the Mueller report and violation of the Emoluments Clause. Doing so would have demonstrated a broader pattern of abuse and corruption on the part of this so-called president.

              Lastly, even though it is highly unlikely he will be removed from office, act of impeachment itself, set to come later today, offers a rebuke that no other measure, such as censure, could afford. And I applaud it.

              1. Doug Ross

                “, offers a rebuke that no other measure, such as censure, could afford. ”

                If it’s all Democrats voting for impeachment, it will appear to be a purely partisan effort and will work to Trump’s advantage.

                When Clinton was impeached, only 5 Democrats voted for it. In the Clinton case, he was absolutely guilty yet Democrats did what Republicans are doing today. Just as it was then, it will be positioned by Republicans that Democrats are on a partisan witch hunt.

                During Watergate, Nixon only had 15 Senators on his side. There’s nothing that came out of this Ukraine process that rises to that level (when using the low bar of politics as usual) where Republicans won’t fall in line. It won’t hurt them at the ballot box — and it may even help when they position it as a do-nothing Congress that has been focused only on defeating Trump for the past three years..

              2. Mr. Smith

                To follow up on the above. Here is what Noah Feldman (one of the Constitutional law professors to appear before the Judiciary Committee) has to say about the matter of executive privilege:

                “Trump’s defenders may say that president must have the legitimate right to go to the courts to challenge subpoenas against the executive branch, and that doing so should not count as an impeachable offense. According to this view, Trump’s directive to the executive branch and its officials is not obstruction of Congress, but rather a justifiable assertion of executive privilege that should be fought out in the courts.

                No doubt the Supreme Court’s creation of the doctrine of executive privilege affords a president some latitude in challenging congressional subpoenas directed at his personal communications with his senior advisers. But that is distinctly different from a blanket order to stonewall Congress and refuse to comply with any subpoenas at all. To begin with, most officers in the executive branch are not in close personal contact with the president, and executive privilege would not apply to them. As for those to whom it might apply, they ought to appear before Congress and refuse to answer any questions that he or she (or the president) believes violate the privilege. As the federal district court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has recently held, there is no “absolute immunity” for senior presidential advisers to refuse to appear before Congress, notwithstanding Justice Department memoranda to the contrary.

                The upshot is that while it is not obstruction of Congress for Trump to seek judicial review of particular subpoenas—or even to assert “absolute immunity” for senior aides—it is obstruction for him to refuse all of the House’s efforts to investigate him for the purpose of impeachment. One of the articles of impeachment against Nixon was for obstruction of Congress. Nixon engaged in far less obstruction than Trump. Despite his refusal to hand over the White House tapes until compelled to do so by the courts, Nixon permitted some executive branch officials to testify and provided some documents requested by Congress.”

                1. David T

                  Obstruction of Congress, sounds like another word for filibuster. Why do we need to hear about your grandkids school play or how you planted a garden as a child when discussing a bill up for vote?

    2. Scout

      ” …..then impeach a President who properly seeks to claim a legal privilege before the claim is adjudicated.”

      Did the President do this – properly seek to claim a legal privilege? Or did he just send a letter saying he thought the whole thing was stupid and he wouldn’t play?

      Did the President take this to court and try to give any rationale for privilege for specific witnesses or documents – or did he just send a letter with a blanket refusal?

      It seems like it should be obstruction of the Constitution. He swore an oath to uphold the Constitution but then claims Constitutional processes don’t apply to him.

      Yes, actually they do.

    3. bud

      I would have gone with a Bribery count. Much easier to understand. The White House could have said they needed more time but they just flat said they weren’t going to provide anything. Pretty simple case when you look at this from a factual perspective and forget about all the legal stuff. Impeachment is not a legal process so nothing formal is really needed.

  5. Doug Ross

    U.S. foreign policy has always been for sale. Quid pro quo didn’t start this summer. The decisions that are made are driven by highly paid lobbyists for various entities, foreign and domestic, each with their own set of objectives motivated by greed. It’s what funded the Clinton Foundation. It’s what allows Obama to now somehow magically become a multi-millionaire as soon as he stepped foot out of the White House (the quid came first, the pro quo was handled after). It’s why we run trillion dollar deficits voted on by Democrats and Republicans while ignoring the needs of Americans. This isn’t a Trump phenomenon. It’s ingrained into the system…

    1. bud

      Classic “but what about” defense. So if John robs a bank and gets away with it does that mean if Bob robs a bank we should just let him go? Terrible, irrelevant talking point Doug. You do realize by making such a comment you acknowledge Trump did commit a crime.

        1. Doug Ross

          What was the quid? Asking for an investigation that didn’t happen. What was the quo? Aid that was withheld briefly then released. Ukraine got something for nothing. Seems like Trump didn’t read his “Art of the Deal” book.

          The fishing expedition caught a minnow.

          1. Mark Stewart

            This is just unbelievable, Doug. Why be obtuse? Do you enjoy being confrontational for the sport of it?

          2. Scout

            It was never about an actual investigation. It was about an announcement that would create a negative perception. So fine, if you like – an announcement that didn’t happen. doesn’t matter.

            I’m sure he didn’t read it, just like he didn’t write it. He’s definitely not very good at it.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              But to be more serious:

              “The fishing expedition caught a minnow.”

              There was no fishing expedition. Everyone was going about their business when a whistleblower brought something to our attention. Then the White House itself put out a memo confirming what the whistleblower said.

              And what it, and many witnesses, confirmed was something that indisputably was an impeachable offense.

              This was immediately apparent. In fact, on days when I think I’m wrong for thinking the Dems have rushed it, I think there was no point in ANY hearings. We knew what we needed to know to impeach in September. One day we didn’t know; the next day we did because it dropped in our laps — no “fishing” involved. The White House handed it to us. Mulvaney admitted it.

              It was like the day we first heard about Monica Lewinsky, and I thought, Well, if this is true and he lied about it in testimony, that’s it — he’ll have to be impeached. I recall George Stephanopolous, who had WORKED for the guy, saying basically the same thing the same day. Any unbiased person could see it. And yet the Democrats hooted and hollered and yelled about it, as though the fact that it was impeachable were something that could be disputed…

        2. Scout

          One did. Doesn’t matter that the follow-through of the second was thwarted.

          It happened that without having the authority to do so, the President held up money appropriated by Congress for a particular national security purpose. The money was held up for months. That is a fact. That happened. He held up the money for an intended personal gain. He put his personal interests above national interests using public resources and put the national security of the country at risk in the process.

            1. Scout

              He put his personal interests above national interests using public resources and put the national security of the country at risk in the process.

              You think this is nothing? You think this is OK?

              Ukraine is not in a safe enough position to be honest about it, but I doubt they think it is nothing. Now they are in a weakened position relative to Russia, and Russia is strengthened, which is not to our benefit. Trump doesn’t care or doesn’t notice (not sure which is worse). He just wants bonus points with the despots of the world. As if they will give him any. He is too emotionally wrong and broken to realize the difference between being valued and being used.

              1. Doug Ross

                It’s not nothing. It’s also not an impeachable offense in my opinion. Censure is fine. Getting a punishment that doesn’t end up as a partisan vote is more damaging than giving Trump the ability to say it was a witch hunt and motivated by disgruntled Democrats.

                Think of the precedent this will set for the future. The bar for impeachment has now dropped to a phone call made openly with a transcript released that resulted in no benefit to Trump.

                How much worse is it for a sitting VP to have a son working as a lobbyist for Ukraine dealing with the U.S. government? Didn’t Biden have a personal interest in that situation? Why didn’t he do something to stop Hunter from acting in ANY role related to the government?

                1. Doug Ross

                  is it worse than the Democratic candidate for President in 2016 having a foundation that accepted tens of millions of dollars from countries like Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman? Was there no personal benefit and expectation of future quid pro quo involved there or are we all just totally naive?

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, y’all…

    I heard McConnell on the radio a little while ago. He said two things that at first blush seem to contradict each other:

    — The Democrats rushed this, and therefore did a shoddy, incomplete job, showing how unfair they are.
    — We’re going to do an even shoddier job by not calling ANY witnesses.

    I am, of course, paraphrasing.

    These statements together only make sense if what he REALLY means is:
    — Thank God the Democrats didn’t call more witnesses and nail this down better.
    — We’re sure as hell not going to throw away that gift by calling any witnesses ourselves. They might tell the truth, and then where would we be?

  7. Doug Ross

    Tulsi Gabbard is calling for censure of Trump.. Which is the smart move. He’s not going to be impeached. Might be some Republicans who vote for censure who won’t vote to impeach.

    Censure and move on to 2020. But that’s too rational.

      1. Doug Ross

        Yeah, and then if he is reelected it will be a waste of time for the past three years. Focus on 2020. If it’s Biden, Trump will be President for another four years.

    1. Mark Stewart

      The Constitution sets forth Congresses’ duties. Impeachment and removal are among them. Censure is not. This is a Constitutional matter. It deserves a vote for history.

      Tulsi Gabbard will not even be a footnote in history (neither will I so that isn’t meant as a put down, just a – likely – fact.

      1. bud

        As Bryan pointed out impeachment in the house without sending the articles to the senate is sort of a de facto censure. I’m thinking more and more that perhaps that’s the way Democrats should play this. Nothing positive can come of sending this to the senate.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          That’s actually a rather intriguing idea — deny Republicans the pleasure of deep-sixing the impeachment. And more importantly, denying Trump the opportunity to crow that he’d “won”…

          1. Bryan Caskey

            That would make the process look even more political, not less. You also just said, “But they’re doing it anyway, because it’s their duty. You can’t NOT impeach a president who has done what Trump’s done.

            So which is it? Is this impeachment a somber, Constitutional duty being done, or are we just playing political games for funsies?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              It’s “a somber, Constitutional duty being done.”

              But of course, the Senate has stated its intention to make a farce of that duty.

              So I found the suggestion intriguing. For the House to do its duty, and deny the Senate the chance to make a mockery of it.

              But I’m a conventional guy in the end. I think we need to see it through…

            2. bud

              So which is it? Is this impeachment a somber, Constitutional duty being done, or are we just playing political games for funsies?

              Not sure how a decision to NOT allow the senate to make a mockery of the process is “funsies”. Sure there would be an element of politics involved in such a decision. Since the House did its job in a respectful manner they are entitled to a little bit of political gamesmanship given the utterly horrible tactics used by McConnell and company. I’m ok with that. McConnell has already stated the senate is not going to do it’s job so the politics of the situation are already in play. The Democrats shouldn’t just bend over backwards and say “thank you sir may I have another”. Sometimes you have to play against the rules. M.L. King understood that. Given the complete and utter lack of any integrity by the Republicans in this whole affair this may be one of those times.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                It would be pretty funny if the House impeached but then refused to let the Senate consider it.

                Pretty sure McConnell (and Trump) would be fine with that.

                1. Bob Amundson

                  It appears that Speaker Pelosi is playing “three dimensional chess.” I think it is a wise move to delay sending the articles to the Senate until Senators Schumer and McConnell meet, which may not end up changing anything. Not sending the articles to a Senate that will not even seriously consider the charges seems a wise political move; this could be a strong talking point throughout 2020. Granted this is a political decision, but prosecutors make similar decisions (i.e., going to trial) within the Judicial Branch.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    You think McConnell cares if the House sits on the articles? He would be fine with that. It actually spares moderate Republicans like Susan Collins and moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin from having to take a difficult political vote, either way. Pelosi has no leverage, here.

                    If I were McConnell, I would say: “We don’t have anything to discuss in the Senate about impeachment until articles are transmitted. Until then, the Senate is going to carry on doing the people’s business. If the House wants to send us the articles of impeachment, we’ll certainly take them up as required by law. Until then, there’s nothing to discuss.”

                    What does Pelosi do then?

                2. bud

                  But McConnell is NOT saying that. He’s saying he WON’T seriously consider the articles. Makes no sense for Pelosi to play that game.

                3. Doug Ross

                  If Pelosi sends it over and the vote sees even one Democrat switch, she’s exposed.

                  An impeachment should involve a “crime” that CAN get 2/3 vote in the Senate. Otherwise, stick to censure or, I know it’s crazy, get to work on things that matter.

                  Pelosi, Schiff, Schumer, and Nadler delivered a gift wrapped package to Trump.

                4. Bob Amundson

                  If I were Speaker Pelosi, I would patiently wait for Senator McConnell’s next move and then respond. I’m sure she’s thinking several moves ahead, but she doesn’t have to make her move yet.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    McConnell doesn’t need to do anything, either. And McConnell is totally fine with the articles never coming over to the Senate. So where does that leave Pelosi…never sending it?

                    If she’s thinking “several moves ahead” what is the next move after McConnell says “Nuts!” to her demand that the rules be agreed on before she sends it over?

                  2. Bryan Caskey

                    Even if the argument Pelosi makes is “The Senate isn’t going to give a fair hearing to our articles”…fine. But why the hell would Pelosi wait do this after she’s made the most vulnerable members of her caucus take an agonizing vote to impeach? All the freshman Dems from red districts just walked the plank and now Pelosi decides that the Senate is too corrupt to proceed further? The time to make a stink about Senate procedure was after Schiff’s hearings wrapped up, before moderate Democrats like Joe Cunningham in Charleston were forced to anger a great deal of his constituents by deciding to follow through on impeachment.

                    Every day that passes strengthens the argument that we’re close enough to the election to let voters settle the issue. The whole reason Pelosi and Schiff didn’t bother going to court to get Mulvaney and Bolton to testify was that time was of the essence. But now…time isn’t of the essence anymore? Huh?

                    Heck, the only political silver lining for the Democrats is they can force some vulnerable Republicans in the Senate to also take a tough vote. They’re going to give that up?

                    None of it makes any sense.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Maybe, like Tippi the Turtle, she just wants to “bother those hammerheads.” And it’s working, with Lindsey. He’s quite upset:

                      He was SO looking forward to showing his contempt for the process, and now that mean lady is threatening to make him wait…

                5. Doug Ross

                  What compels McConnell to do ANYTHING without it being sent over? We’re heading into holiday season. Americans in general are apathetic. By next Wednesday, they won’t care what is happening in Washington at all.

                6. Mr. Smith

                  Oh, Lindsey, didn’t anybody ever tell you that deranged people should never bring up the topic of derangement?

                7. Barry

                  I think Bryan is wrong.

                  I believe Trump wants to be cleared in the Senate. Just leaving it as is won’t satisfy his screwed up personality.

                  Regardless, he’s been impeached and that’s a perfect legacy for a fool.

                8. Scout

                  I agree with Barry. McConnell may be fine with articles never coming to the Senate but I think Trump is very very bothered by being impeached and is anxious to have it resolved so that he can claim he is exonerated. As long as this limbo continues, he’s going to get more and more agitated and potentially do even more stupid stuff than typical. I think Pelosi knows this. He just alienated alot of his base in Michigan and now Evangelicals may be wavering. If his unraveling is so over the top that these cracks continue to appear, will McConnell and Republicans stick with him? Probably unlikely, but if his base falters, they will follow their own self interest.

                  1. Bob Amundson

                    It will be interesting to see how President Trump acts during the two weeks he is away from the White House.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “He’s not going to be impeached.”

      He almost certainly IS going to be impeached.

      He almost certainly is NOT going to be convicted by the Senate.

      1. Doug Ross

        Sorry, I used the word incorrectly. My intent was to say he will not be convicted in the Senate.. This is a waste of time.

  8. Harry Harris

    President Trump has shown how out-of-bounds he is willing to play and that the interests ans security of the country are secondary (at best) to him. The Guiliani trip demonstrates the likelihood of ongoing undercover efforts to mask his wrongdoing. A drawn-out process to bring about the indictment (impeachment) by the House could allow further cover-ups to be put into place. The results of the Senate trial is predetermined, so nothing could be gained in the legal process by delays. I have never favored impeachment in this case, but see it as a necessary response to a President who will continue to test how far out of bounds he can operate without being restrained. He refuses to be restrained by any morality or civility or even experience-based counsel, so the restraint must be legal – thus impeachment.

    1. Doug Ross

      Could you expand upon what the “security of the country” had to do with the impeachment? Were we under some threat that was only held back by releasing the funds? If so, please describe the threat.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Perhaps you didn’t read about it, but the case involved about $400 million in military assistance to an ally engaged in a bitter struggle with an adversary of this country.

        Trump held that money back, in defiance of the Congress that had appropriated it, in a bid to gain the assistance of that ally in a domestic political matter…

        It’s not like he fell asleep on guard duty or something. He deliberately held back $400 million in military assistance.

        I’m surprised you haven’t heard about it…

        1. Doug Ross

          I heard about it. Were we under threat while the money was withheld? If so, how? Was there imminent national security dander at that time? What will that $400 million accomplish to protect us? Obviously the that most have been dire to afford to spend another $400 million of deficit funded dollars.

          What exactly do you Russia haters think they are going to do to us?

  9. Bryan Caskey

    This is all going to be a dim memory by November of 2020. It’s going to be a long run for zero actual results.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, that’s what both Democrats and Republicans are counting on — that it will be forgotten by then.

      Democrats want voters to forget that they impeached the guy rather than waiting for the election to deal with him.

      Republicans will want people to forget the unconscionable way that they insulted the country by acquitting him, without considering any evidence.

      Of course, in both cases I cite above, the parties are concerned about those few voters who are still persuadable… As for the rest, Democrats will trumpet to their base that they did their best on impeachment, and Republicans will remind their voters that they didn’t let facts get in the way of sticking up for their master….

    2. bud

      To that point I’d like to see it over with because, as a liberal, the Democrats have the better arguments on the issues and I think they win. Healthcare, college tuition, fiscal responsibility, the environment, income inequality, border security, women’s rights, civil rights, and yes guns, the Democrats positions generally align with the will of most Americans. It’s only when Republicans are able to distract, deflect and flat out lie that they win elections. The impeachment mess works to the advantage of the GOP.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And that’s what makes the Republicans’ accusation that the impeachment is just a partisan attack by the Democrats so absurd.

        NOTHING about this is in the Democrats’ partisan interests. It’s much more likely to hurt than help them. But they’re doing it anyway, because it’s their duty. You can’t NOT impeach a president who has done what Trump’s done.

        Joe Cunningham, for instance, is probably committing political suicide voting for impeachment. But it’s the right thing to do, so he’s doing it.

        The remarkable thing, the really ugly partisan thing, is that none of the Republicans are willing to do THEIR constitutional duty in this matter.

    3. Barry


      Trump’s legacy, like Clinton’s, will be of an impeached President. Fifty years from now, he’s still be a President that was impeached.

      Clinton’s political allies have said that legacy has worn on him heavily for years (back when hypocrisy filled conservatives were perfectly ok with making the argument that a president could be impeached and removed from office for not upholding good morals)

        1. Barry

          No, you again missed the house for the water spigot.

          Clinton’s lie isn’t what wears on him. Being impeached is what wears on him. He’d lie about the affair again and again even today as many in Congress (and as a former Page – as those in the state house do)

          As I correctly stated, Trump’s impeachment will hang on his neck forever, and it should. Nothing can change that fact.

        1. Barry

          It’s not even that. He’s impeached and that is over.nothing will change that regardless of whining by Doug and right wing radio / Fox News.

    1. Doug Ross

      Schiff? One of the biggest frauds in this whole process?

      Anyone who thinks Schiff is anything but a slimy hack is blind.

  10. Doug Ross

    I’m glad Tulsi voted present yesterday. It’s the perfect response to this farce… basically “I was present during this ridiculous moment in history, observed the partisan stupidity, and refused to participate.”

    Her own words:
    “A house divided cannot stand. And today we are divided. Fragmentation and polarity are ripping our country apart. This breaks my heart, and breaks the hearts of all patriotic Americans, whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. So today, I come before you to make a stand for the center, to appeal to all of you to bridge our differences and stand up for the American people.”

    We need more Tulsi’s and fewer Pelosi’s. But that’s not happening. Pelosi gift wrapped the 2020 election for Trump.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Voting present is exactly the kind of impetuous, selfish and obtuse action that, in my mind, makes her absolutely unfit to lead. Doug, I know you are a fanboy, but this is exactly the kind of move that telegraphs a willingness to run as a third-party candidate and somehow believe that that is a morally right thing to do.

      One does NOT vote “present” in the most momentous impeachment vote our country has ever faced. That was a ridiculous stunt.

      1. Doug Ross

        SHE IS NOT RUNNING THIRD PARTY. It’s more likely she will drop out of politics altogether. She is already giving up her seat in Congress. She’s been in the cesspool of Washington and has decided to get out rather than bathe in it.

        Momentous? Hardly. This is the problem. Everything is couched in such hyperbolic terms.
        Trump is going to be President for the remainder of his term. He might be re-elected. This wasn’t Watergate. We survived that — and what happened? We got Jimmy Carter — who was actually a decent, ethica, intelligentl human being. And all he got was one term before the country switched back to a Republican doddering actor who read his lines for eight years.

        Momentous? It was Monica Lewinsky level impeachment – a partisan farce played out over years during which the minority party did nothing but try to sabotage the Trump because they got beat in 2016 and couldn’t accept it. All this has done is emboldened the Republicans. Turnout will be record levels in 2020 for them… and the Democrats will put up good old Uncle Joe and hope he doesn’t mangle the chance. Joe Biden — who less then a year from the election hasn’t got the support of even 2/3 of the country. You think HE’S going to get people excited about voting? Especially if the economy is still good?

        1. Doug Ross

          On the day following this momentous impeachment, when asked about it by reporters, Nancy Pelosi said she didn’t want to talk about impeachment.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Neither do I. It’s depressing. I thought David Leonhardt said it fairly well:

            He was impeached on only two counts, but President Trump has violated his oath of office in so many other ways as well — lying constantly, obstructing justice, encouraging criminal behavior, corruptly profiting off his office, refusing to defend the United States against foreign attacks and more.

            What did congressional Republicans have to say in response yesterday, as they voted unanimously against impeachment? It was like bad satire. They compared Trump’s impeachment both to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that killed more than 2,400 Americans. Trump, at a Michigan rally last night, offered his usual childish insults, including one about a recently deceased member of Congress who had represented Michigan for six decades.

            I tend generally toward optimism, but this is a dark moment for America. And 2020 will be a very important year.

            A dark moment indeed.

            Normally, I prefer the commentary of conservatives (real conservatives, not the posers who support Trump) on all this. But here’s a case where a liberal (Leonhardt) said it well…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Some thoughts on that word, “conservative,” from Bret Stephens:

              There are people who believe that law, morality, traditions and institutions are at least as important to the preservation of freedom as the will of the people. Such people are called conservative. What Republicans are now doing with their lock step opposition to impeachment — and with their indifference to the behavior that brought impeachment about — is not conservative. It is the abdication of principle to power.

              I might think differently about impeachment if Trump had shown any sense of contrition. Or if Republicans had shown any inclination to censure him. But Trump hasn’t, and they haven’t. Whatever the political ramifications of impeachment now, history will judge members of this Congress harshly if they fail to state their revulsion at the president’s behavior in the strongest terms they can. Impeach and convict.

              1. Bill

                “The Trump administration has tried to turn the American constitutional framework on its head, and Republican members have signaled their willingness to accept presidential intransigence in the face of efforts by Congress to perform its most basic functions. The White House has claimed that it is not for Congress to question how executive officers are conducting their duties, but rather that it is for the executive to judge whether legislators are performing theirs — and to ignore, stonewall and obstruct Congress when the executive is not satisfied with the answer. In doing so the Trump administration is, in effect, seeking to undo the constitutional checks put in place at our founding.

                The administration has made its obstructionist position clear. A letter to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, from Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, stated flatly that the impeachment inquiry was “invalid” and “illegitimate.” The administration instructed current and former officials with relevant information not to cooperate. It has refused to seek an arrangement by which it could voluntarily assist the investigation, and it has refused to comply with subpoenas for testimony and evidence. When pressed, it has pursued litigation meant to run out the clock on any congressional proceedings.”
                David Leonhardt

                1. Doug Ross

                  How is pursuing litigation obstruction? There was a process that could have been followed. Oh, that would have taken time? Not fair!! Impeach!

            2. Mr. Smith

              Check out the WPo’s staff conservative, Jennifer Rubin, who wrote that

              “[Schiff’s and Hoyer’s speeches] speeches were miles from Republicans’ juvenile, screeching and irrational remarks. Republicans insulted and ridiculed their opponents, stomped and snorted; they deflected and twisted evidence. They glared, rolled their eyes, booed and (in the case of the minority whip) melodramatically tore up papers. All in all, it was a remarkable display of how far the party’s collective intellect has deteriorated. Today’s Republicans talk and act like thugs, trash the institution in which they serve and make no effort to engage on a rational basis with their opponents.

              How did it come to this? Well, stewing in the nonsensical arguments and conspiracy theories gushing from Fox News, proudly adopting know-nothingism (e.g. climate change denial) and repudiating legitimate journalism and scholarly expertise come with a price. The mind atrophies; the ability to discern what is absurd from what is persuasive falters. Never encountering those who refuse to adopt your alternate reality means never having to exercise one’s powers of analysis or learning anything beyond what Fox News hosts spoon-feed them.”


    2. Norm Ivey

      I thought she voted present because she’s running for president, and she’s going to need some Trump supporters to swing back her way if she’s the nominee.

      1. Doug Ross

        She’s not going to win the nomination. She wants to be a voice of common sense in a partisan environment. Every minute spent on this ridiculous impeachment process prevents the country from addressing real problems… we have been in deadlock since Obama took office because all Democrats and Republicans (and the media) want to focus on is the drama of political theatre.

        1. Barry

          She did. That’s why I said her action was cowardly- and it was.

          And no Doug, once again I’m not giving you my full name so you can stalk me like a mad ex girlfriend. Sorry about your obsession but it’s your problem alone.

          1. Doug Ross

            It’s not a problem. It’s an observation. If you think someone is going to stalk you for your biased opinions, you have a real ego problem. I’m guessing you’ve spent a lot of time cyber stalking me then?

  11. Doug Ross

    Which institution/person came out of the impeachment process looking better than it had prior to it occurring?

    The President?
    The House Democrats?
    The House Republicans?
    Senate Democrats?
    Senate Republicans?
    The Media?
    The FBI?
    Robert Mueller?
    James Comey?

    They ALL were exposed for what they are.

    My life spent as a cynical observer of government/politics has never felt more validated than today.

      1. Doug Ross

        Mark – I assume by “Good God” you agree that all of those people/institutions deserve our scorn? Unless, maybe, you think some of them actually look better today than they did six months ago? If so, which of those I listed are the heroes?

        Did the IG’s report on the FBI and Steele Dossier improve the perception of the FBI and James Comey? How is that you seem to be on fire daily about Trump bringing the end of civilization as we know it but apparently don’t find the facts released by the IG in the least bit troubling? It’s really amusing how little attention has been paid to the IG’s report by liberals. Almost as if they can’t allow facts to get in the way of their outrage. I do recall a time when the “clever” talking point for liberals was “You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts”. Seems like this would be a case where the facts about Comey, the phony Steele dossier, and the FBI in general should give Trump haters just a moment of pause… but, nah, keep raging.

        1. Bob Amundson

          “My life spent as a cynical observer of government/politics has never felt more validated than today.” You just warned Mr. Smith of confirmation bias. Good God, Doug. I don’t know why I post this because you won’t understand and will just argue with me; it gets very tiring. You just attacked Barry because he has a strong opinion of someone you support. I may read your response but it is unlikely I will waste my time responding.

          1. Doug Ross

            Do you think I sit around waiting for you to respond? Do you think I care what anyone on this blog thinks of what I think? Seriously? This is just a forum to vent, not educate. If you’re thinking you or me or anyone else is providing some sort of public service, go ahead.

            I attacked Barry. Ok. Hope he/she recovers from the brutality of my words.

        2. Mark Stewart

          I am a conservative. Not the kind that came on stage in the Tea Party populism/nihilism.

          As a small “c” conservative I am appalled at a lot of this. But they are not at all the same. To think so is just as wearying to me.

        3. David T

          According to Mark, the only person who came looking better was Nancy Pelosi. Afterall she is the best politician this century (see below). She showed up just back from a recent trip to her plastic surgeon where she ran into Joe Biden.

  12. Realist

    It was thought that once the House voted to impeach, the articles would be sent to the Senate to complete the process. At this moment, Pelosi is holding up submitting articles until she is told how the Senate will approach impeachment and is in no hurry to forward the proper paperwork to the Senate.

    Now it has become a total political ploy by Democrats as demonstrated by Pelosi’s actions. If anyone defends her actions, then they have been hiding from the obvious truth from the beginning.

    The fact is that since Trump’s election and swearing in, Democrats have been working toward December 18th, 2019. They have the votes and it is now official, Trump has been impeached by the House. The other fact is that once the articles are forwarded to the Senate, Trump will not be removed from office.

    Republicans have been anticipating impeachment since Trump was sworn in and have been ready to defend him and leave him in office.

    The circus inside the Beltway so far has been a one-ring circus by the House Democrats. Now it is the time for the other one-ring circus run by the Senate Republicans to take center stage.

    The constant rhetoric about a constitutional crisis, the worst POTUS ever, high crimes and misdemeanors, emoluments, abuse of power, and a host of other accusations against Trump has been a 24/7/365 campaign and finally, the first goal accomplished, articles of impeachment. Cries of the destruction of our republic have been sounded from the rooftops and any other venue possible by Trump’s critics and enemies.

    Pelosi has accomplished her mission but is reluctant to see it though to the final step. If she doesn’t send the articles to the Senate, then all of her work will be nullified through perception of raw political revenge against Trump, nothing else but. This will resonate with Trump’s supporters and beyond. If anything, it will most likely move his numbers into the positive side because of perception of being a victim.

    If in the end the House does nothing more than censure Trump, it will be a mosquito bite on an elephant’s rump because once again, perception will rule the outcome, nothing else.

    This man has divided this country more than any other individual in our brief history and will continue to do so for another four year term. He is a complete moron on so many levels but he still holds command over a very large portion of the electorate in enough states to carry him across the line to victory again.

    Whining and complaining about the electoral college accomplishes nothing, it is in place until it is removed. Once removed, the elections will be a popularity contest or as Thomas Jefferson wrote; ““A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one-percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” However, that is a discussion for another time.

    Consider the state of affairs in the political arena at this point. If a POTUS is impeached by the House, will not be removed by the Senate, is just about everything his critics and enemies proclaim him to be. Yet he not only can but is very likely to be re-elected. What does that say about us, the ones who vote yet refuse to work with the other side on just about anything because we are just as adamant defending our position, remain stoic and will not budge or compromise? All we do is disparage and demean Trump’s supporters openly and with very vicious, descriptive adjectives that do nothing to move their perception of Trump, only reinforcing their support.

    To make matters worse, Democrats have a field of candidates who do not begin to attempt to represent the nation as a whole but catering to divergent special interest groups or causes. So far, not one Democrat candidate would get my vote and neither will Trump.

    We are better than this as a whole but instead of standing firm against the self-serving candidates who want to “save America” from every disaster imaginable, we remain silent except within our own little tribes, parroting the same ideology back and forth to each other, never changing the compass needle.

    Either send the articles of impeachment to the Senate and let the Senate handle it or censure Trump and not move forward with impeachment. Politics have been played for much too long and if delayed with more political maneuvering, it will drive more and more into Trump’s camp. The country has been devoid of leadership for much too long.

    1. Bob Amundson

      Politicians being political shouldn’t be surprising; yes, the gridlock is inefficient and frustrating (damn checks and balances). It may be perceived as war, but for now, there is no bloodshed. I trust that at this point in US history, we as a country will not make the same mistakes that led to the Civil War.

      As I’ve read on this blog several times: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” – Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947

      1. Bob Amundson

        For many years I’ve been saying “a pox on both parties” and “vote the bastards out.” I’ve voted in EVERY election, as is my right, my duty, especially if I don’t like the current politics.

      2. Realist

        Great words from a great leader for his time. Except we are not a true democracy, we are a republic operating under a modified version of a democracy. A true democracy is perhaps one of the worst nightmares that could be inflicted on this country because of the nature of the easily swayed population on certain issues. Issues that can become the basis of voting for one individual’s idea, not ideas, over another.

        The republic protects us as it stands with few exceptions. The republic has insured that laws have been enacted that protect the minorities rights when in a true democracy, they might not. Without a republic and with a highly personable leader whose agenda is not what is best for the country, who is to stop him or her.

        And I too have voted in every election since I come of age and will continue to do so. My vote is my right and I cast it for the candidate from either party I deem worthy. If neither party’s candidate is to me a worthy person to lead us, then I will vote for a third party candidate even if my vote might be the one that swings the election one way or the other. It is my right and no one, not one individual has the right to question me on my candidate of choice. I don’t question anyone else and I expect the same consideration in return.

        All I would expect is that on election day, cast your vote. If you don’t, then as the wise John Denver said when the voting age was changed to 18, “If you don’t vote, don’t bitch.”

        1. Bob Amundson

          Realist, Churchill knew the difference. I agree with you that a representative democracy (I think that is what you mean by “the republic”) is the best system.

          I used to vote for third parties but no longer do so, as is my choice. In some local elections I don’t vote for any candidate (for example, didn’t spend the time to figure out which person would be the best water-sewer district representative). I usually get to know candidates running for local positions, even Richland One candidates running for their School Board (in a special election December 31, by the way).

          Statewide and nationally, it is unlikely I know the candidates personally (Brad knows that is not always true). Sometimes I feel very strongly about which candidate is best (SC Governor in 2018). I admit, nationally more and more I hold my nose and vote for the “lesser of two evils.” I spend too much time educating myself about a candidate’s character (most important to me) and policies (important, but secondary) to diminish my single vote by voting for a person that has no chance to win.

        2. Norm Ivey

          If you don’t vote, don’t bitch.

          I’ve heard this or a version of it since I was 10 years old. It’s a pet peeve. If a person chooses not to vote, he hasn’t surrendered his First Amendment rights. Bitch away.

    2. Mr. Smith

      T. Jefferson never said:

      A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one-percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.

      The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which runs Monticello, says there is no evidence Jefferson ever said or wrote this. It doesn’t even sound like something Jefferson would say.

      Check your sources better.

      1. Realist

        Mr. Smith,

        It is with humility and gratitude I post this in appreciation of your informative and zealous correction of my use of a quote by Thomas Jefferson deemed to be spurious by The Jefferson Foundation. The recognition of and manner in which you proclaimed the correction, “FALSIFIED QUOTE ALERT”, must have brought a fleering expression of satisfaction and a smile to your face so early in the a.m. Therefore, consider the misquote a gift to you to and to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

        Giving instead of receiving is always the better thing to do and apparently my gift to your didactic nature as demonstrated time and time again by your splenetic admonishment replies to anyone you disagree or disdainfully correct on this blog. So by choosing to follow the wisdom of someone who is a very down to earth individual and successful in his chosen profession, Dabo Sweeny, allow me to present his simple philosophy.

        “One of the best lessons I’ve learned is you don’t worry about criticism from people you wouldn’t seek advice from.”

          1. Realist

            To complete Dabo’s comment on his philosophy, “I get criticism and if it’s somebody I’d go sit down and seek some advice from I might listen to that.”

            Therefore neither you or I have a problem seeking advice or admonition from each other.

            By the way, surprised you didn’t call me out for not spelling his last name correctly. I left out an “e”, should have been spelled, Swinney.

          1. Bob Amundson

            Great word, I also like splenetic, as both describe some posts on this blog! PLEASE NOTE: no names …

  13. Doug Ross

    It’s certain that the only reason we are in this process now is because Democrats took back the House in 2018. Had that not happened, there would be no impeachment. And that speaks volumes for why impeachment should only be used when the case against the President is so strong that both parties agree to move forward with it. This was DOA.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Doug, the man is unfit for office – any public office. Anyone who supports him is complicit in the stalemate between the parties; it has always been apparent to a wide range of people that Trump is a threat to America, it’s not just left leaning Democrats. The fact is the GOP should not be supporting Trump, that they do is the problem that is of such greater consequence to our nation’s future.

      1. Doug Ross

        That’s why we have elections, Mark. Vote him out… don’t spend three years trying to drum up a charge to invalidate an election result you didn’t like. From day one, Democrats were talking about impeachment and as time was running out they had to find something, anything to feed to their rabid base.

        All Democrats have done is inspired Trump voters to double down in 2020. When he wins again, they’ll stay in their bubble of outrage rather than look inward. And we’ll see Schumer and Pelosi continue to try and hang on by blaming everyone else.

        I am not voting for Trump. I don’t support Trump.. But that doesn’t mean the Democrat alternative is any better. Pelosi, Schumer,. and McConnell are worse for the country than Trump.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Pelosi may go down in history as the best politician we have had so far this century.

          But anyway, you – and many others – don’t seem to be able to see the difference between unfit for office and a normal vote counting. Elected officials at every level of local, state and federal levels are occasionally removed for being unfit for office. It’s what the founder’s wanted – a process to invalidate an election and turn someone out of office. It’s normal. It’s meant as a remedy.

          1. David T

            “Pelosi may go down in history as the best politician we have had so far this century.”

            Apparently Mark attended his open bar Christmas party last night and is still feeling the effects this morning. Word is he was telling everyone at the party how great they are, how much he loves them, and then threw up on the boss’s shoes.

          2. Doug Ross

            If you measure success in being a partisan, self-serving politician who has no major legislative achievements in decades, then I guess she’s the best.

            I would think the best politician would not be held in contempt by half the country.

            1. David T

              We should all take a moment and honor Speaker Pelosi by doing what people she represents in her district do on a daily basis… let’s all go to the nearest public area, drop our pants and poop on the sidewalk.


              Rather than fixing things like this (homelessness and mental illness), it’s more important to her to spend the last three years on BS charges against Trump. I noticed she handed off her duties to another Representative from Minnedishu to fill in for her while she went back into her office and finished off a 5th of gin until it was showtime where she showed off her newest plastic surgery treatment while sucking on her dentures and giving her minions the evil eye and stop hand signal.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Yeah… I kinda think that’s a local problem, for the city’s sanitation people. Hard to see what role a member of Congress would play in it.

                Let me ask you something: Why do you Trump people — and Republicans, period, even before you were the mind slaves of Trump — hate this woman so much?

                1. Doug Ross

                  I’m not a Trump person nor a Republican but I find Pelosi and McConnell to be the worst people in politics. They ARE the embodiment of pure partisan politics. She doesn’t represent the country, she represents Democrats. I’ve never seen her speak clearly on any topic… it’s always rambling, incoherence.

                  What is her signature achievement legislatively over her long career? What has she delivered? Obamacare?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Yes, that’s probably her top achievement.

                    Now, name another legislative achievement of that magnitude since the 1960s. I doubt that you can.

                    Even if there were something, you’d have trouble thinking of it because your mind doesn’t work that way. You scoff at everything, and hold everything in contempt.

                    I find it slightly hard to imagine you typing “legislative achievement” without being ironic…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Speaking of the ’60s…

                      Mark’s statement only works (and it’s still debatable) if you note that by “this century,” he means the 21st.

                      If he’d said “in this past 100 years,” she would of course be invisible in the shadow of the likes of LBJ…

                2. Doug Ross

                  If Obamacare was an achievement, more than half of the Democrats running for President wouldn’t be trying to eliminate it. It was an insurance bill combined with Medicaid expansion. Whoopee!

                  The reason there are few legislative achievements is because the two parties don’t try to cooperate. Pelosi is just as responsible for the deadlock this century as McConnell. They are awful, awful people.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    “The reason there are few legislative achievements is because the two parties don’t try to cooperate.”

                    Well, that’s true. And the Democrats who want to scrap Obamacare are, by and large, the ones who want to make sure the parties never, ever cooperate. These people are so deluded they think the parties cooperate NOW, and do so too much (usually in the service of “billionayuhs”).

                    But as you say, the two parties don’t try to cooperate, and don’t do so…

              2. Doug Ross

                I have attended the Oracle conference in downtown San Francisco for the past 20+ years. Next year they are moving it (60,000 attendees this year) to Las Vegas for two reasons: cost of hotels and the presence of too many homeless people who defecate on the streets around the conference. How is it that the most liberal cities with the highest taxes and the supposed greatest concern for the homeless can’t ever seem to improve the situation?

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Nancy Pelosi is a person I was always fairly neutral about. But she’s won my respect since returning to the role of Speaker. She has led, and quite successfully, under trying circumstances.

              And if she is “held in contempt by half the country,” whose fault is that: Hers, or theirs?

              You understand, of course, that in this pathologically partisan country, the best (and worst) politician is always held in contempt by about a third of the country. It doesn’t mean anything, except that two-thirds of the country (the committed Democrats and Republicans) have surrendered their ability to think for themselves, and see things clearly…

              1. David T

                Bi-polar Nancy Pelosi this week:

                The President is a Clear & Present Danger to the American People, we must get him out NOW!

                The Next day…

                You’re invited to come to talk to us on Feb 4th. See you there! Thx

                1. David T

                  “Do you miss everything and every context?”

                  Well apparently I do, so tell me what I missed? You’re the one that is walking around saying Trump has been impeached, but it’s not official until it’s in the hands of the Senate. You apparently miss things like details. Just because you say your I do’s at the alter, it doesn’t mean anything until you sign the marriage license. If Pelosi doesn’t send the official impeachment documents to the Senate, its as if nothing has taken place.

                2. Scout

                  Mark’s not wrong. The House impeaches and that is done. The Senate holds a trial and can convict or not – that is an additional step and separate, not part of, Impeachment. Whether or not they do convict, he has been impeached by the House. That is now a historical fact.

                  Nancy Pelosi is not bi-polar. She understands and is following her constitutional obligations in both respects. Maybe you don’t understand what the Constitution asks of the Congress. As long as he is the President, he is required to give a State of the Union update. Nancy can follow the Constitution to invite him to give what he is Constitutionally required to do at the same time that she is calling for his removal, which she is also Constitutionally bound to do, if she feels it is appropriate.

                3. David T

                  “Mark’s not wrong. The House impeaches and that is done. ”

                  Actually both you and Mark are the ones who are wrong. The Senate can not begin the trial until Pelosi sends the impeachment documents to the Senate. As of right now, the Senate has nothing to try Trump for.

                  If Pelosi isn’t bipolar, then she’s on yet another gin binge.

                  Another thing you do not understand is the President can give his State of the Union from anywhere. It doesn’t have to be held in the House. He can do it from the Oval Office, Camp David, at a political rally or stand on the street corner. There is no official location for the State of the Union address. Its been given in the House traditionally because it’s large enough to seat everyone who would typically attend.

                4. Scout

                  I do understand.

                  “The Senate can not begin the trial until Pelosi sends the impeachment documents to the Senate. As of right now, the Senate has nothing to try Trump for.”

                  I don’t dispute this at all. That doesn’t change the fact that he has already been impeached. You said it wasn’t official until it is sent to the Senate. No, the Impeachment part is official right now, whether or not the Senate ever gets it and starts a trial.

                  I also understand very well that he can give the State of the Union anywhere. He doesn’t even have to do it as a live address, which is why I used the word “update”. Thomas Jefferson chose to give written updates to the Congress.

                  That doesn’t negate that Nancy Pelosi is aware that as long as he still is the President he is supposed to give an update to Congress. Her sending him an invitation to come to Congress and give the update in person, as has been the tradition for the past while, does not make her bi-polar. It just means she is aware of and honors both tradition and the Constitution.

                5. Scout

                  On second thought, I’m not sure this is right….

                  “There is no official location for the State of the Union address. Its been given in the House traditionally because it’s large enough to seat everyone who would typically attend.”

                  I think it’s been given in the House because the point is that the President is making a report to Congress. He can go to them and tell them in person.

                  The Constitution says the President…
                  “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Article II, Section 3, Clause 1

                  If he did it from the oval office or Camp David or a Rally, I guess, what….he would beam it into Congress on a big screen projection or invite all the Congressmen to wherever he is giving it? The point is not actually to update the people but the Congress.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    He doesn’t have to deliver ANY address. A letter to Congress would do.

                    And the your last point is completely true. It’s about sharing information with Congress, not the public.

                    Of course, you know how he hates to do THAT…

    1. Doug Ross

      Tell the truth — did you know that publication even existed before yesterday? Do you know anyone who reads it and talks about it?

      Confirmation bias on full display here.

      1. Mark Stewart

        I did know of it. Have seen it, never read it. Not sure I know anyone who reads it either. You could look up it’s paid circulation figure if you want.

        But that said, it would be one of the media sources I would least presume would come out with a scathing editorial on Trump. That’s what caught on people’s attention. But not yours, apparently.

      2. Mr. Smith

        To fill in the clueless: Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham and is the foremost magazine in the evangelical community.

        The fact that it is taking the position it is on this matter is significant for that community, which as we know (at least I assume you know) has expressed some of the strongest and most lasting support for the current so-called president.

        1. Doug Ross

          To further fill in the clueless, Frankin Graham came out today with a statement saying Christianity Today doesn’t represent the views of most Christians and has been taken over by liberals.

          “Christianity Today magazine has a print circulation of approximately 130,000, of which approximately 36,000 is free”. Most of those subscriptions are probably sitting unread on tables in reception areas in churches. So I’m guessing this isn’t exactly going to push the needle very far.

          But keep looking for nuggets of hope to keep your spirits up this holiday season!

          The question I have is how many liberal atheists/agnostics are touting the opinion of Christianity Today now? Maybe they should drop by a church to see what other good information is available.

            1. Doug Ross

              Yeah, they perform their acts of kindness personally or via the church, not through the government. That’s how it is supposed to work.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                What’s the objection to using government as one of your instruments of charity?

                Government is not inherently evil, Doug. A good thing done is a good thing done.

                And since we live in a representative democracy, people of faith must use our votes — and our voices — in favor of policies that are kind and charitable.

                We are not limited to the very limited charitable things we can accomplish personally. Any place where we have influence over the larger society, we should use it toward making the world a place in which such a charitable spirit flourishes.

                If you don’t think government acts in keeping with your notion of brotherly love, do what you can to move it in that direction. I firmly believe you have an obligation to do so…

                1. Doug Ross

                  Governments aren’t charities. They are a means to forcibly take and redistribute money.

                  Christians shouldn’t support killing innocent people in wars. Too many supposed Christians don’t follow the words of Jesus… including the war mongers.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    “They are a means to forcibly take and redistribute money.”

                    No, they are not. In a representative democracy the government is what we, working through our elected representatives, choose for it to be. With regard to money, we decide through our representatives what to spend money on, and what sort of taxes or other funding mechanism to fund that action or service.

                    And a person of religious beliefs would, one would think, make such calls on the basis of his or her beliefs. So if you’re a Christian, you would choose to raise and spend money in keeping with Christian principles.

                    In other words, no, Doug, the government isn’t some masked stranger coming out of nowhere on a dark street and robbing you at gunpoint.

                    It’s us…

              2. Scout

                You’re wrong here, Doug. God is able to make use of whatever means is there, including the Government, to use good people to reach those in need. Do you know how many students with disabilities living in poverty in rural areas would have access to therapies and educational support without the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act? Not many. It is very important to me to be able to serve the children that I do. I would not be able to do that without the government.

                1. David T

                  So those disabled students wouldn’t have this support without religion? Would the church not give this support if not for politicians?

                2. Scout

                  “Would the church not give this support if not for politicians?”

                  Just check what was the status quo for disabled students before 1976. No, the Church did not give this support. Not that they wouldn’t want to help – but logistically and financially, it is not feasible on the scale required to bring and pay qualified service providers to the places where these children are and to serve all the children.

                  “So those disabled students wouldn’t have this support without religion? ”

                  I am speaking for myself here. There obviously is no religious requirement to hold this job. For me personally, I feel called to serve these kids and I am grateful that the Government allows me the opportunity to do it. I could make more money working in private practice. I choose not to because this is important to me. I think you find a larger proportion of people motivated by serving the common good, which may well have a religious component, choosing to do Government work over making more money in the private sector.

                  So the Government is not religious but provides an outlet for religious people to serve the common good, if they are called to do so.

                3. David T

                  Well aren’t you just a regular Mother Theresa. You’re right, churchs can’t afford to provide these services, if they were to it would take money away from them setting up credit unions, daycares, and other money generating, non-religious businesses. Someone has to keep the minister in his million dollar home, provide him and his wife with luxury vehicles, and $1000 suits. There were discussions last week about the endowments that some universities and churches were sitting on. It’s reported that the Catholic church is sitting on over a trillion dollars in endowment money.

                4. Scout

                  Not really. Just doing a job that is meaningful to me and thankful for the opportunity. You did ask, but you seem determined to be cynical and not really interested in the answers, so I’m think I’m done here.

                5. Mark Stewart

                  Scout, thank you for what you do. Don’t let the guy who bitterly awaits his pension get you down.

                6. David T

                  Mark, what do you have against pensions? From what Scout writes she will soon be receiving one as well. Brad collects one, is he too a bad guy? Sounds a lot like pure jealousy. Did you make a bad career choice?

                1. Scout

                  Not sure why that follows from this discussion, but I like Biden or Butigeig or Klobashar better, personally.

            1. Doug Ross

              I guess wherever there are people who know him better than they know some random writer at Christianity Today.

              Maybe you’ve heard of Samaritans Purse? They only provided $600 million of aid to people around the world last year.


              Seems like a better run organization than Congress:

              Charity Navigator rating:

              Overall Score & Rating 96.66
              Financial 97.50
              Accountability & Transparency 96.00

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Um… it wasn’t “some random writer at Christianity Today.” An intern didn’t come in and scribble a rant and sneak it into the magazine when the bosses weren’t looking.

                It was an editorial, meaning it is the official, carefully considered position of Christianity Today, an institution founded in 1956 by Billy Graham. And it was written by the editor-in-chief….

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I just got around to reading it. It’s a good piece.

                  It reminds me of why I prefer the opinions of Trump’s conservative critics to those of his liberal ones. They speak from a frame of reference more like my own.

                  And much of this piece could have been written by me. I particularly identify with the editor, and with the publication, when he reminds people of what they had to say 20 years ago about the inexcusable, impeachable behavior of Bill Clinton. That was me, too, writing such words at those back then.

                  For me as well as for them, “the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president.”

                  And everyone in the country should read and heed the words that follow those:

                  Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments….

                  Amen. Good piece…

                2. David T

                  You give editors too much praise. Just because it was written by an editor doesn’t automatically make it well written. Especially when it comes from a closed publication such as a religious magazine. If you disagree then you might as well say Larry Flynt writes the truth in Hustler magazine.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Wow, you really missed the point there.

                    The topic under discussion was whether people who subscribe to the same worldview as this institution started by Billy Graham should take heed or lend credibility to something that Doug said was written by “some random writer.”

                    I was pointing out that this was written by the opposite of “some random writer.” And that is undeniably true.

                    We’re talking about evangelicals here, and not people who would call a religious magazine a “closed publication.”

                    For them, it’s rather hard to imagine it coming from a more respectable source.

                    Just as a sensible stockbroker is unlikely to dismiss out of hand the view of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. Even if you end up disagreeing, it’s worth paying attention to…

                3. David T

                  “We’re talking about evangelicals here, and not people who would call a religious magazine a “closed publication.””

                  Do the pandering bastards include a collection envelope with each issue of the magazine? Billy Graham was a con man who did nothing but screw up television for people who didn’t have cable. He’s the white version of Jesse Jackson. Both try to screw feeble minded people out of their life savings while living in luxury.

                4. Barry

                  “ Billy Graham was a con man who did nothing but screw up television for people who didn’t have cable. He’s the white version of Jesse Jackson. Both try to screw feeble minded people out of their life savings while living in luxury.”

                  LOL. You are as of off base as usual.

                  Graham actually urged people to support their local church over sending him anything. As someone who assisted with 2 of his carolina crusades, our directive from his organization was to urge people, if they asked, to get involved in a local church of their own choice and support it first before giving money to anyone else.

                  People like Paula White (who had an extramarital affair with Benny Hinn), is a prosperity gospel con artist (and Trump’s official hand picked spiritual advisor with a White House job) is the person with a lifetime of telling people to “send their last dime” to her.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Something that has fascinated me for a couple of decades now, although it’s truer than ever in the age of Trump…

                    Have you noticed how the most adamant “conservatives” — that is, the ones you tend to get the angry social media posts from — increasingly are alienated from traditional religion? Many of them seem downright contemptuous of it, every bit as much as the most aggressive secularists on the left.

                    This makes perfect sense to me, since they tend to be people who reject many of the basic rules for living that the major religions preach. But it’s yet another reason why they should not call themselves “conservatives.”

                    There’s nothing conservative about a person who hold traditional institutions — from the church to the government, and beyond — in contempt. And yet increasingly we see people who do that calling themselves “conservative”…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      There was that huge surge of religious conservatives joining the Republican cause back in the early ’90s. But since then, we’ve seen new recruits to the cause being, shall we say, less pious.

                      That’s what I’ve seen. I’d like to see a serious study done on that…

                5. Bill

                  I saw ,Billy Graham, Live in the 60’s;he was NOTHING like his son.Billy was a great guy,but
                  I never got saved…

                6. Mark Stewart

                  Many conservatives are actually reactionaries. The far right wing. Just because they yell the loudest doesn’t mean they have anything to yell about. So many empty, angry, bitter and lonely people out in the world. Social media gives them a megaphone that the end of the local bar never could have given them in the past.

        2. Doug Ross

          I can’t wait until Mr. Smith posts a link to an anti-abortion article from Christianity Today. Or one that says gay marriage is against the Bible.

    2. Bob Amundson

      Thanks Mr. Smith; from the op-ed: “To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.”

      Evangelical support of President Trump is one of many reasons why young people are straying (and staying) away from organized religion

      1. Mark Stewart

        I read it all. Wow.

        This was a ready, aim, fire considered shot. I hope many, not just evangelicals, will pay head to this message. Ethics should never be squandered. Compromise is often required, but abdication never.

        1. David T

          So the Evangelists are talking ethics? How much money do you have to send them to get this information? Are little old ladies their primary subscribers?

          Sorry, I doubt I’ll have time to read that… I’m too into a book written by a Baptist about the evils of alcohol.

      2. Harry Harris

        A huge portion of the “evangelical” community are being conned and exploited by President Trump, many right-wing Republicans, and their libertarian allies. They use the key triggers -abortion, homosexuality, and “religious freedom.” All three are great manipulators for folks who fear that their cherished “Christian America” is being destroyed. Each could be debated long and thoroughly, but my focus is the way President Trump, aided by leaders of the group, has made an “I use you; you use me” unholy alliance that has harmed all of us. The “evangelical” trade is support for Trumpism in exchange for judges, weakening of church/state separation, ill-advised support for the state of Israel (based on dubious prophesy), and a supposed entry into the circles of political power. What do the Trump group and right-wingers get? Gerrymandered government, voter suppression, unfettered political spending, increased lobbying power, control over tax policy, control over fiscal and financial affairs, weakening of public investments like schools, social security, and medicare coupled with continued concentration of wealth.
        Very telling, before his presidential bid Mr Trump never showed discernable interest in religion and is biblically illiterate, and was pro choice, Now he often talks the talk except when he slips up. He gets a pass for those occurrences. How convenient.

  14. Doug Ross

    I saw a good idea on Twitter today. If Pelosi delays sending the impeachment to the Senate (which means Trump is not impeached yet technically), then McConnell should schedule the Senate trial for February 3 to February 11 which would coincide with the Iowa caucus and NH primary. You think Warren and Klobuchar would appreciate that?

      1. Doug Ross

        Because if this is truly a momentous, historic trial, surely those three Senators would have to be present to participate and assess all the evidence in a fair and impartial manner.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m pretty sure they’ll be participating, to the extent there’s anything to participate in — something McConnell will do his best to prevent.

          As a piece I read this morning pointed out, the person who would be hurt most by that is Klobuchar. She’s clawing her way up in Iowa, and can’t afford a moment away from the trail. Warren and Sanders will be getting free media wherever they are.

          Of course, I don’t care what they’re doing. I’m just waiting for all these gyrations to be over, and for Joe to be nominated…

  15. Mark Stewart

    Lots of commentary about how Pelosi is playing politics with the impeachment out in the world of American political whack a mole and in comments to this post. Lots of spin regurgitation all over.

    I think Pelosi is being adroit here, taking advantage of the time of year and some other things for maximum effect. She’s already run circles around McConnell, and it seems he has only just realized he swam into the net she fashioned from his hubris Negotiation is a black art; what is seen is only very small pieces of a much more complicated and, often, almost inscrutable game of subtle pressure and exploitation. We can all watch it unfold early next year.

    1. David T

      “I think ” we don’t care what you “think”. Tell us what you know. “think” is just your opinion, which doesn’t hold up to anything. Pelosi isn’t smart enough to play 3D chess, her game is checkers.

      1. Mark Stewart

        When I tell you what I – or everyone else for that matter – knows you simply devolve into ad hominum attacks.

        Pelosi has a strategy. It appears to be working. Already additional documents have come out about Trump, Ukraine and the military funds hold Trump ordered. More facts are sure to surface.

        I’ve heard nothing mentioned of this yet, but as a now-impeached President Trump his ability to pardon those around him has now been closed. When the day, finally, comes it is likely that many more Trump advisors will be convicted and sent to prison than were in Nixon’s case. Who is going to decide to talk to Congress? An amended impeachment seems highly probable – another benefit of a holiday delay. That is just another way this will become like a water-boarding for Trump and his narcissistic insecurities.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Maybe I should change my tagline from “All the News that Gives You Fits” to “This is the place for telling what you think.” That states the case.

          Of course, I’m more of a wiseguy when it comes to taglines. I may even restore my previous tagline, “You’re either on the Blog or you’re off the Blog.” Although that was probably lost on people who aren’t Kesey fans. Or Tom Wolfe fans.

          That said, people who don’t know that the NYT’s slogan is “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” or that Rolling Stone’s take on that is “All the News that Fits” probably don’t get my current one, either…

          1. Bob Amundson

            Reading this brings back such fond memories of my youth. There was a time when it was really cool to stick it in the face of The Man, who in this case was our high school principal and his administration. Some of my classmates and I decided to publish an “underground” newspaper, The Cuba Weekly Reefer; our slogan was “All the News that’s Fit to Roll.” We were just being smart-assed kids, as none of us smoked “reefer.” We accomplished exactly what we wanted – a bunch of shocked adults. They would have loved to suspend us all, but that would have meant suspending most of the top of the class.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I love it, Bob.

              And I’m inspired to link y’all back to a post I did about the senior prank that Burl and I participated in.

              It would have gotten us into all kinds of trouble today, not only from authorities but from “cancel culture,” because what we did with ethnic stereotypes would probably make their hair catch on fire.

              And yes, we, too were smart enough to bring along the valedictorian. At least I think he was there. That crowd (about 12 or 15 of us), and that sense of humor, were just his style.

              Speaking of being offensive — our valedictorian was Italian, which is relevant to the following story. Some weeks earlier, three friends and I put together a very physical comedy skit for the annual Talent Show.

              While others were polishing their guitar work and folk songs, we concocted The Flying Marcellos Italian acrobat act. Lots of extremely silly stuff, which we rehearsed assiduously over a couple of weeks. The teacher in charge — Mrs. Burchard, the cool one — had seen it and (probably reluctantly) given her approval.

              Then, on the day of, we scrapped the whole thing and improvised new material. The jokes were getting stale for us. We notified Mrs. Burchard of this when there was no time left to perform it for her. This caused her heartburn, but she let us go on anyway.

              The comedy was… pretty broad.

              Anyway, the kids loved us. Huge ovation, everybody roaring with laughter. As we went offstage, we had folks congratulating us, when this sweet, pretty girl of Italian extraction whom I only knew slightly came up to us and said, in the nicest way, that she thought we had been insensitive and it hurt her feelings a little.

              Well, I was crestfallen to think I’d hurt her feelings, because as I said, she was really sweet and, as I may also have mentioned, very cute.

              Then Doug Capozzalo, our valedictorian, came up and start slapping us on our backs and yelling, “That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my LIFE!”

              I stopped feeling bad then. I felt validated. At that age, you can only nurse recriminations for so long, and then you move on…

              1. Bob Amundson

                RIP Burl; he reminds me of one of the “co-conspirators” in the Weekly Reefer. His passion is/was trains; we reconnected this past summer. Do you remember “50 mile hikes?” Bill and I did one the summer after we graduated, following an active rail line. Bill became a railroad entrepreneur, owning and selling 2 railroads; he made good money doing “short-line” work.

                We reconnected because of a rails-to-trails project that will benefit our newly acquired RV park, which is just outside the hometown from where we both graduated from high school. We are both pleased we can use our resources to “pay it back.” I wish you had the same opportunity with Burl …

    2. Doug Ross

      What will she negotiate? What leverage does she have to ask for anything?

      McConnell will wait her out happily. He’s in full control of what happens.

      I’m trying to imagine a situation where I would have confidence in Nancy Pelosi on any matter. I can’t. Same for McConnell. They are two shysters cut from the same cloth.

      1. Scout

        The leverage she has is that the longer the limbo lasts, the more the President unravels, and in the long run that is not good for McConnell.

        1. Doug Ross

          What evidence is there that Trump is unraveling? It’s amazing to watch people exist in bubbles of self validation. Polling shows Trump is at his highest levels. National interest in impeachment is waning day by day. Pelosi has no power to influence McConnell… That grows more apparent every day.

          1. Mark Stewart

            Doug, Trump is a headcase. There is no rationalizing his disordered mind; and to do so in the face of the open, self-revelling evidence he provides daily is to be wilfully ignorant. Why? Trump can’t help it, what is every one else’s excuse for this obtuseness?

            1. Doug Ross

              All I rationalize is that he will be President in November and if Democrats want to defeat him, they better find a strategy that doesn’t energize his base to vote in record numbers.

              Thinking that Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden are somehow the path to victory is setting yourself up for a big disappointment.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Doug wrote, “All I rationalize is that he will be President in November and if Democrats want to defeat him, they better find a strategy that doesn’t energize his base to vote in record numbers.”

                And one thing I do NOT want is anything that “energizes his base.” I don’t want anything that energizes ANY base. (Of course, we knew impeachment would energize his base. That’s unfortunate, but unavoidable. It would have been a gross dereliction of constitutional duty for the House not to impeach him, under these circumstances. It’s just something we’ll have to find a way to overcome.) What I want is a return to rationality on the part of the electorate as a whole. This is not too much to ask. For 227 years, from Washington’s election in 1789, we had that. For 227 years, neither Democrats nor Republicans nor Federalists nor Whigs nor any sizable body of the electorate seriously considered anything as insane as electing this guy president of the United States.

                All I want is the return of that eminently sensible country…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  This morning while working out, I rewatched a portion of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” for the umpteenth time. And of course, just as I did every other time, I got to wondering, Was George McClellan THE most contemptible figure in American history?

                  But immediately, I realized, No, because Trump.

                  He has spoiled all such speculation about history. All one can do is think, OK, who is the SECOND most contemptible person in American history?

                  Which isn’t as satisfying, or as interesting…

          2. Scout

            Probably nothing will come of it. He is always unraveling to some degree and his followers do not seem to notice or care when he increases his frenzy.

            But there is evidence: increased frequency of tweets, increased incoherency of rants (i.e. windmills and fumes), inadvertent alienating of his own base in Michigan (Dingle comment)….etc.

            He is in a heightened state (due I think to the Impeachment limbo) where any little new thing – like the CT piece, like Murkowski breaking with McConnell – does or could set him off.

            If polls don’t show a reaction that just means his bazaar base continues to be impervious to reality, not that he isn’t unraveling.

            Still it’s a gambit. The longer it goes on and the more agitated he gets, McConnell knows there is a greater chance he could do or say something really stupid that he is too tone deaf to realize may actually alienate the wrong people.

            1. Barry

              The windmills and the toilet flushing comments were nutty/crazy/mentally deranged on steroids.

              If obama had uttered any of that conservatives would have wanted to impeach on that alone. With trump, they ignore it.

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            Doug, it fascinates me the way you change subjects. You pose the question, “What evidence is there that Trump is unraveling?” And then you say “Polling shows Trump is at his highest levels. National interest in impeachment is waning day by day. Pelosi has no power to influence McConnell…”

            None of which has ANY bearing whatsoever on the point that Trump is unhinged, and seems to get a little more so every day…

    1. Bob Amundson

      Very wonky, written by a wonk, compelling to this wonk, but perhaps beyond the understanding of the average voter.

  16. Harry Harris

    The personal tone many of the comments in this thread have taken doesn’t advance the ideas put forward very much. I feel like I’ve stumbled into a different forum.

      1. Harry Harris

        Thanks. I was not calling for action. I just wanted to remind posters that rhetoric is more effective than personal attacks and is much more welcomed by many readers.

  17. Brad Warthen Post author


    I just checked, and this is the most active discussion of this blog’s post-civility policy history.

    At 257 comments (258, with this one), this post is exceeded only by posts from before the time I got strict about comments.

    Some of you may say I only got this many by being a little slack and allowing some marginal comment behavior, and that may be true. But it wasn’t an intentional bid to run up the numbers. I was just busy during Advent and probably not paying as much attention to the conversation as I should.

    It’s no “What’s all this then about immigration?,” with its 308, but give it time…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, I see the post just above this one in terms of number of comments was from the very dawn of the civility era: “Blog civility column,” with 305. Of course, that was way back in 2006.

      And neither can touch “The Monitor Group,” with 480.

      Basically, back in 2006, I decided to trade numbers for a calmer, more civil forum. Before that, I was getting more comments in a good day than The State ever received letters in a week. (Which is one reason why I added hours to my working day at the paper running this blog. I saw this kind of dynamic intervention as the future of editorial pages. Little did I know editorial pages didn’t have a future.) Heady stuff, but I finally decided to listen to my readers who wanted a more civilized venue…

  18. Harry Harris

    Didya see the list of recommended books President Trump promoted? Wow! What a long list of the works of Trump boosters and right-wing hacks! The chances he actually read more than a few are quite slim, though he probably likes reading praises about himself. I’ve long said, if you want to get paid, put out a book for right wingers full of red meat they will love, and you will get promoted and paid. Some of their organizations will even buy them in bulk to give out to the converts. You may even get some fat speaking assignments.
    The same strategy works to some degree on the left, it just doesn’t get the deep-pocket support.

  19. Doug Ross

    My last post of 2019.

    I predict Trump will be re-elected in 2020 but by a slimmer margin than in 2016. I predict he will not be up against Biden but not sure who it will be on the Democratic side. Biden will implode in the next three months as he is unable to get 50% in any state and finishes 3rd or worse in Iowa and NH. If he doesn’t win by double digits in SC, he’s done.

    This will also be my last post for the next year. New year’s resolution – don’t waste time arguing with people whose opinions don’t matter to me. That includes anyone who considers any of the following people credible: Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Sean Hannity, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Todd, Brian Williams, Rush Limbaugh, Anderson Cooper, or Donald Trump.

    Sorry, “Barry” and “Bill”. You’ll have to find someone else to obsess about to try and come up with “zingers”.

    Tulsi 2024!

    1. Realist

      Doug, agree with you. You might want to go back and read the quote I posted from Dabo Sweeney about advice. If you don’t have time, here it is again.

      “One of the best lessons I’ve learned is you don’t worry about criticism from people you wouldn’t seek advice from. I get a lot of criticism and if it’s somebody I’d go sit down and seek some advice from I might listen to that.” Not bad from a football coach, right?

      Another point to make about comments from some on the blog. It was noted that I was one who has my nose in the air and walk around with a chip on my shoulder. Fact it, it is true but with a reasonable explanation. I do have my nose in the air so I can metaphorically detect the smell of total bull crap when it is posted. The chip on my shoulder is used to metaphorically scrape said bull crap out of my mind like I would if it were on the bottom of my shoes. I have smelled and scraped many times relating to some.

      Have always appreciated your honesty and if you decide to post again, will look forward to what you have to say.

    2. Mark Stewart

      Chuck Todd? Brian Williams?

      Nancy Pelosi remains highly underrated – and oddly over-villified.

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