It’s Not Just about January 6

I’m not breaking news when I say that at any given time, half the country doesn’t want to talk about important things we have to deal with. These days, for example, Democrats don’t want to talk about the effects of their myopic fiscal policy on inflation. They don’t want to talk about progressive policies leading to rising crime and homelessness. They don’t want to talk about their culpability in the threatened lives of Supreme Court justices. These things should be talked about, and voters should hold respective Democrats accountable.

Republicans, meanwhile, seem to think those are the only things we should talk about. Most notably, as we saw last week, they criticize the January 6 committee and its prime time event last Thursday, mostly saying that either the committee is illegitimate or that Democrats are focusing on the wrong problems facing our country. Fox News, during Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity’s two hours, was the only major news channel that didn’t air the committee’s evidence. Carlson argued that Fox News wouldn’t show it because it was all a lie. So fearful was he that people would accidentally hear the lies of the damning January 6 committee summary, his show didn’t even air commercials for his hour, a viewer-holding strategy almost without precedent. They so badly didn’t want to risk their viewers giving Congress three minutes of their time that they ignored the people who pay the network’s bills.

So while Democrats try to explain away the important day-to-day problems facing America, Republicans are seemingly ignoring something more existential to the country. Inflation rises and falls. So do gas prices and crime. Perhaps a Republican with ideas to fix these problems should be elected. However, I will not allow Democrats’ arguably bad policy to overshadow the most important political development of my lifetime — a President who acted the role of tyrant.

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Six Days Out: The Race for the Presidency

Yesterday, I determined that the safest bet of this election was that the House of Representatives stays in Democratic hands. In contrast, I wouldn’t feel confident wagering on the the presidential and Senate results. Of the two, I feel more confident — or, that is, less unconfident — in the presidential race, so today it is on that race I’ll focus. Later this week, I’ll look at the scramble for the Senate.

The Presidency

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“FAQs: Impeachment” Redux (with a new intro)

(Author’s note: Today’s post is mostly a copy & paste from an earlier one. Posted almost exactly a year ago, the piece explored the process of impeachment as we all braced for Bob Mueller’s report and testimony, which in retrospect we now know was as riveting as it was game-changing. I thought it appropriate, on the heels of the House of Representative’s impeachment of President Trump — just the third presidential impeachment in American history — to re-run it.

But first, it’s worth addressing why this site, which has the audacity to call itself “Presidential Politics for America” despite rarely analyzing the politics of the actual President, hasn’t waded into the impeachment saga. The answer might be a surprising one: it’s not all that exciting to me. Sure, it’s only the third time in history it’s happened, but we saw this coming a mile away. The post below was written a year ago, and it discusses how the Mueller investigation was completing its 18th month. President Trump’s call to Ukraine happened almost immediately after Mueller’s testimony. Therefore, we’ve been talking about this for two-and-a-half years of Trump’s not-yet three-year presidency. Many Democrats have wanted to kick the President out of office since his relatively unpopulated inauguration speech. It was a conclusion in desperate need of a premise. It was supposed to be Russia, but instead it was Ukraine. And if it weren’t Ukraine, there’s plenty of other Eastern European countries left to try.

Meanwhile, and some might say consequently, it was always clear to me, for reasons discussed below, that Republican lawmakers would resist. They have never taken this process seriously. Neither Republican Congress people nor the President have cooperated with this investigation. The President, in particular, seems to have no regard for Congressional oversight, which contrasts with Nixon and Clinton’s participation. Though the Constitution has given the House the authority to do exactly what it has done, the President and his allies don’t seem to want to recognize it. Their defenses include that there isn’t any evidence, when there was a great deal of testimony, and not wanting to “overturn the will of the people” or “remove a duly elected president,” neither of which make much sense since the will of the people actually preferred a different candidate, and, well, obviously someone needs to be a part of the government to be impeached at all. What, we’re going to impeach someone who lost an election? How silly. The Constitution says this is how it works.

It’s all so predictable really. And surely we must recognize that if this were President Obama, House Democrats would never have moved to impeach. Likewise, were this Obama going to trial, Republicans would almost certainly rehash talking points from the Clinton impeachment, talking points they now so hypocritically eschew.

I suppose the clearest way to sum up my apathy would be to share an analogy I recently heard. Imagine you were recording a basketball or football game while you attended a social gathering. You’re hoping to avoid news of the result so you can go home later and watch it without knowing the result. But let’s say your best friend accidentally spilled the beans in a text and now now you know who won. Not only do you have to get a new best friend, but the end result of the game is now a foregone conclusion. Would you actually go back and watch the game in the same way? Wouldn’t watching the game develop be a lot less exciting once you knew the final result? That’s me and impeachment. Everything has happened exactly as I thought it would, and I have no expectation anything will surprise me in the Senate’s acquittal. We know how this will turn out. Historic? Sure. Interesting? Not really.

Therefore, I prefer the politics of the people trying to become president. That’s a lot more unpredictable. On with the old post.)

Okay, I’ll bite. Some readers have noticed that I generally avoid Mueller speculation on this website, an approach that stands in diametrical opposition to the media’s favorite obsession of the past 18 months. (Yes, it’s been exactly 18 months since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Bob Mueller as special counsel on May 17, 2017.) It’s not that I’m apathetic about it; it’s just that I think liberal media have made an art of premature and exaggerated conclusions while conservative media have carried so much water for the President in his quest to undermine Mueller that they’ll have collective chronic back pain for years.

However, with the string of recent filings, indictments, sentencings, and namings of many people in Trump’s orbit, it does feel like Mueller is on the verge of submitting his report. While few people know what Mueller will say, I’d wager money that it’ll be somewhere between the Democratic hope of “Here’s the proof that Trump colluded with Russia and committed many crimes” and the Republican hope of “total exoneration.”[1] This gray area is fertile ground for his possible impeachment, a strange process a website like PPFA should have written about long ago.

With that in mind, here are Questions about impeachment that are surely Frequently Asked somewhere:

To what extent is “impeachment” related to the word “peach”?

That’s a good, important question. The words are totally unrelated. The word peach comes from the Latin malum persicum, or Persian apple, perhaps because it arrived in Rome via Persia’s Royal Road. “Impeach,” however, comes from the Old French word empeechier which itself derived from Latin’s impedicare — to become caught or entrapped. If it’s this process which ultimately takes down Donald Trump, I can’t think of a better Latin root.

Thanks for the etymology, nerd. What does impeachment really mean?

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PPFA Quick Hit: The Syrian Strike

One problem with my new, slower PPFA plan is when the relevance of a post I’ve been working on for a couple days, like the one posted this morning, gets blown up by new developments. In this case, the destructive culprits were Syria-bound Tomahawk cruise missiles courtesy of President Donald J. Trump. Like many others, PPFA reacted with a sort of “Finally!” The latest images of the chemical attacks on Syrian civilians might have been the worst ones yet, but appalling pictures and stories have been coming out of the country for years. There’s only so long you can watch a neighbor … Continue reading PPFA Quick Hit: The Syrian Strike