March 7th, 2017

Impeachment, now and forever

Donald Trump is the only president I’m aware of who was the subject of a great deal of impeachment talk even before he took office.

And I’ve noticed that nearly everything he’s done since then has been met with a significant number of cries of “impeachment.” Here’s just the most recent iteration: “Trump’s Wiretap Tweets Raise Risk of Impeachment”:

…[I]f [Trump’s] allegation is not true and is unsupported by evidence, that too should be a scandal on a major scale. This is the kind of accusation that, taken as part of a broader course of conduct, could get the current president impeached. We shouldn’t care that the allegation was made early on a Saturday morning on Twitter.

The article goes on and on attempting to explain why this is so.

I’ll make a prediction right now, which is that the drumbeat of “impeachment” cries will not let up for Trump’s entire presidency, but they will be in response to a successive and nearly-inclusive series of things that he does.

It’s more a technique for rallying the troops than for anything else. It would take something quite egregious for the GOP-majority Senate to go along with a conviction, or even for the GOP-majority House to impeach in the first place. And why would the Democrats be so eager to see Mike Pence in office? I think Pence would be a formidable opponent for them. He doesn’t have Trump’s flair for drama and for the jugular, but he’s reliably conservative and no pushover.

Impeachment has become the background noise of politics these days. It was true during the Obama years, even though (as I wrote here, for example) it was almost certainly not going to happen. It’s even more commonplace now. Its purpose is to keep people as fired up as possible against Trump, and to give them a sense of hope about the impeachment possibilities. The consequences—Mike Pence as president—are usually not even mentioned.

I will say this, however: there is more chance of the GOP turning on Trump than there ever was of the Democrats turning on Obama. I don’t think it will happen, though, barring something far more serious than anything that’s happened so far.

26 Responses to “Impeachment, now and forever”

  1. Vanderleun Says:

    Must have missed the edition of the Constitution that reads “high crimes, misdemeanors, and tweeting”

  2. Cornhead Says:

    An irrational and unhinged notion clothed in the respectability of Harvard Law. Noah will be a CNBC guest within a week.

  3. David Aitken Says:

    This post by Richard Fernandez is worth a read: https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2017/03/06/long-knives/

  4. huxley Says:

    Here’s the author bio for the article neo quotes:

    Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

    I assumed the quote was from some leftie writer with a minor reputation and no legal authority. Boy, I got the one wrong.

    I suppose I should be over it, but I continue to be astonished at the naked partisanship exhibited by top liberal legal minds.

  5. huxley Says:

    I finished Charles Reich’s memoir and it was worth the effort. Reich was the author of “The Greening of America” in 1970, which was a blueprint/manifesto for the hippie movement in days of yore.

    Reich was not your typical counterculture apologist. Reich graduated from Yale Law, clerked under SC Justice Hugo Black, worked at top Washington law firms, then returned to Yale as a law professor. For all of his success, Reich was an unhappy, depressed man, so repressed he didn’t get laid until his forties.

    During a summer visit with a young friend at UC Berkeley, Reich experienced the hippie conversion. (Make no mistake — at its deeper levels the hippie movement was religious.) Reich didn’t start wearing beads and taking acid right off the bat, but it changed him forever.

    Towards the end of the memoir Reich makes his vision clear — one’s ultimate allegiance as a human being is to be a person working on transformation at the personal and societal levels simultaneously. Reich’s allegiance is to something he calls Consciousness III, of which the hippies were the most obvious flowering.

    My point is there is nothing in Reich’s vision about the Constitution or reason. Reich takes it as a given that Consciouness III will sweep away the lower, inferior levels of consciousness and he wasn’t interested in the details of what happens when people disagree about means and ends.

    This is what I see again and again with liberals and progressives. They are not as crude as Muslims in their drive to subjugate the world, but that is what they are up to. They feel a divine mandate for the project, though few would language it that way, and they can’t understand why anyone would object unless they are evil or ignorant.

  6. John Guilfoyle Says:

    This is simply the delegitimising of Trump narrative so there can always be that, “Well he got in only because the Russians hacked the election & everyone wanted him impeached from day one” cloud over his presidency.

    Somehow, I reckon President Trump is tougher than that. Swamp draining will continue.

  7. expat Says:

    Feldman and Reich sound like Obama’s mentors.

  8. blert Says:

    ” Its purpose is to keep people as fired up as possible against Trump, and to give them a sense of hope about the impeachment possibilities. The consequences—Mike Pence as president—are usually not even mentioned.”

    When I drop this bomb on other blogs// forums — it’s a thread killer.

    Heh.

  9. huxley Says:

    Feldman and Reich sound like Obama’s mentors.

    expat: Bill and Hillary Clinton were both students of Charles Reich while he taught at Yale.

    Reich also taught constitutional law to future SC Justice Alito.

  10. huxley Says:

    I don’t believe Reich would be so fast to press the impeachment button today, though I don’t doubt he holds Trump in contempt. Reich was carrying the flag for the earlier optimistic sixties vision in which the world would transform auto-magically:

    There is a revolution under way. It is not like revolutions of
    the past. It has originated with the individual and with culture, and if it succeeds it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence.

    It is now spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws, institutions, and social structure are changing in consequence. Its ultimate creation could be a higher reason, a more human community, and a new and liberated individual.

    This is the revolution of the new generation.

    –“The Greening of America”

    In a rare 2012 interview Reich was skeptical of the Occupy Movement:

    “They’ll never get anywhere with what they’re doing now because they’re appealing to someone else to do something,” whether it be Congress, President Obama or the business community, Reich says. “My message is: ‘You’re going to have to do it yourself.'”

  11. Roy Lofquist Says:

    At base, this is not about Trump. It is a fight for control of the Democratic Party.

    “The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation founded in 1985 that, upon its formation, argued the United States Democratic Party should shift away from the leftward turn it took in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. One of its main purposes was to win back white middle class voters with ideas that addressed their concerns. The DLC hailed President Bill Clinton as proof of the viability of Third Way politicians and as a DLC success story.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Leadership_Council

    Note that the Democratic Senators facing reelection in 2018 have been threatened with primary challengers if they support Gorsuch.

  12. Yankee Says:

    Such talk of a hypothetical impeachment reminds me of all the similar fantasies those on the Left had to somehow block Mr. Trump from becoming President between Nov. 9th and Jan. 20th. I believe that many on the Left only get their understanding of politics from sources that confirm their existing beliefs. Thus, they end up with a biased view of the world.

    As for the wiretapping, it may become evident that President Obama’s administration was using the intelligence agencies to collect information and conduct shenanigans on Mr. Trump during the campaign. That would be a major scandal, if true, and one damaging to Mr. Obama and the Democrats.

    It would also fit a pattern of behavior for Mr. Obama. He has always given the sly wink and a nod to others, while maintaining a surface deniability. He is an ideologue who sought to transform government, and was aggressive in using his executive power to further his agenda. And it’s already known that Mr. Obama “wire-tapped” other leaders, like Mr. Berlusconi of Italy, and Ms. Merkel of Germany. There is nothing unsubstantiated about those claims.

    President Trump is in a good position. All he has to do is release the real record of what was actually done during the Obama administration.

  13. n.n Says:

    release the real record of what was actually done during the Obama administration

    Too many overlapping and convergent interests to do it without catastrophic consequences. Americans rejected the Democratic platform. Rather than make his administration redistributive or retributive, he should focus on reform that will promote the general Welfare, including: revitalization, rehabilitation, and reconciliation.

  14. huxley Says:

    Too many overlapping and convergent interests to [release the real record] without catastrophic consequences.

    I agree with n.n., if I understand correctly.

    From what I could tell, a major reason Hillary’s email scandal couldn’t get enough traction to be legally prosecuted (as opposed to investigated) was that any such prosecution would likely take down Obama as well.

    And that would have been absolutely intolerable for Democrats, the Obama DOJ, and what we are now calling the “deep state.”

    Once such a prosecution got going who knows where else it might go. You can bet the Democrats know where some Republican bodies are buried too.

    I don’t know how much that changes with the power of the Trump presidency and Republican Congress, but I doubt it’s a pleasant calculation.

  15. Chester Draws Says:

    Of course Obama wiretapped foreign leaders.

    Are you suggesting that Trump shouldn’t? Because that would be weird. He will spy on every possible threat, and that includes ones from current allies, because he’s not an idiot.

    Spying on foreigners is a leader’s duty. It’s spying on your own citizens that raises very different issues.

  16. Yankee Says:

    That’s why I used the phrase “pattern of behavior”. Is it easier to believe that Trump was all wrong with his tweets over the weekend, or that the Obama administration did in fact do something to spy on him, or to conduct other sorts of shenanigans?

    On one level, Mr. Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the other Democrats are not very bright. If they attack or provoke Trump, he will fight back. As President, Obama could block many inquiries into what he did. But with Trump now in office, he can open up things. As one example, if a change in foreign policy with Iran is desired, everything about the Obama-Kerry deal could be released. We still know very little about this, but it is rumored to be a poor deal.

  17. brinster Says:

    298,000 new jobs created in February. If this keeps up, Democrats don’t have a prayer.

  18. Nick Says:

    “There is a revolution under way. It is not like revolutions of
    the past. It has originated with the individual and with culture, and if it succeeds it will change the political structure only as its final act.”

    I know that’s one quote out of context, but doesn’t Reich realize that all revolutions follow that pattern? You’ve got to make a lazy reading of history to think that all revolutions other than yours just started as political forces one day.

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    Welcome to the Bush days, Donald Trum. From the other side this time.

  20. DNW Says:

    “My point is there is nothing in Reich’s vision about the Constitution or reason. Reich takes it as a given that Consciouness III will sweep away the lower, inferior levels of consciousness and he wasn’t interested in the details of what happens when people disagree about means and ends.

    This is what I see again and again with liberals and progressives. They are not as crude as Muslims in their drive to subjugate the world, but that is what they are up to. They feel a divine mandate for the project, though few would language it that way, and they can’t understand why anyone would object unless they are evil or ignorant.”

    You and I have had serious differences (though I cannot at the moment remember what they are) , but you get top marks for that observation; which deserves repetition.

    It explains the moral certitude they feel, the confidence in their ‘right’ to dictate and rule, despite the inchoate, and even incoherent nature of their sociopolitical stances considered philosophically.

    Evolution, imagined as the God of the Material Machine, justifies all. It’s considered indubitable, even holy. Even when they are discovered furtively pulling the levers behind the curtain the faith and spiel persist. Imagining, and then doing, is after all, according to that scheme, its own justification.

    It’s a dynamic we learned in high school or as kids first exposed to this literature. Then we grow up, and we forget about that war between the Apollonian and the Dionysian life-stances our H.S. English teachers drummed into our heads; or the similarly dichotomous, if not identical stuff, our university professors jabbered on about.

    We stop thinking about it.

    Then almost 30 years or so later we find ourselves wondering: How can they possibly spout this sh–, eh, crap, with a straight face?” … forgetting for the moment that we have seen it all before.

  21. DNW Says:

    Nick Says:
    March 8th, 2017 at 11:01 am

    “There is a revolution under way. It is not like revolutions of
    the past. It has originated with the individual and with culture, and if it succeeds it will change the political structure only as its final act.”

    I know that’s one quote out of context, but doesn’t Reich realize that all revolutions follow that pattern? You’ve got to make a lazy reading of history to think that all revolutions other than yours just started as political forces one day.

    It’s been years since I was handed that text by a young professor but it can be considered as part of a more sweeping body of Marxist [in a very broad sense] influenced millenarian, emergent-evolution and consciousness raising literature which emerged in the 1960s or early 70’s and was fed to us a few years later in college by excited instructors and professors.

    Seriously, now that I think about it, we were not only fed a diet of Maslow and Rogers, and even Jung and Alpert, but even obvious crap like Carlos Castenada and was “submitted for our approval” as the saying goes.

    I cannot even imagine what those in Liberal Arts college in the mid to late sixties were learning.

    They apparently took it more seriously at first blush than we did somewhat later.

  22. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Donald Trump is the only president I’m aware of who was the subject of a great deal of impeachment talk even before he took office.

    On the other hand, Barack Obama was the only President I know of, for whom people were insisting that his predecessor resign… just so that BHO could take office early. I believe people were also clamoring for the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, so that he could serve more than 8 years, even before he was re-elected.

    While we’re at it, has any other American President had a phenomenon equivalent to “Obama Girl”… or to schoolchildren singing hosannas to the new President (and the networks broadcasting it)??

    I have something of a contrary nature. I was suspicious of President Obama, in part just because so many people were singing his praises too loudly, too early. And I have a sneaking sympathy for President Trump the same way, in spite of myself. (As Glenn Reynolds and others have said: do you want more Trump? Because THIS is how you get more Trump.)

  23. huxley Says:

    …doesn’t Reich realize that all revolutions follow that pattern? You’ve got to make a lazy reading of history to think that all revolutions other than yours just started as political forces one day.

    Nick: Slicing and dicing in the human realm is messy. Consider neo’s substantial investigations of the word “neoconservative.” It’s not like saying water is a liquid at specific ranges of temperature and pressure.

    In some ways revolutions are all the same and in others they are all different. The Consciousness III revolution was unusual in that it emerged from the most technically advanced, prosperous society in history and was in no small part fueled by quasi-mystical drug experiences. (LSD’s influence on the sixties remains underestimated.) At the start Consciousness III eschewed politics, conflict, and reason. IMO it had more in common with early Christianity than the American, French, or Soviet revolutions.

    Reich was educated at Oberlin and Yale Law in the late forties and early fifties, which is to say he received a far more traditional, conservative education than is available today. He excelled and became a prestigious member of society.

    So I wouldn’t say he had a lazy understanding of history. “The Greening of America” is a surprisingly dense book in sections. Furthermore Reich did write in the midst of what I would call a religious conversion. He could be, let us say, overly emphatic in “Greening.”

  24. huxley Says:

    DNW: Thanks!

    [“Greening”] can be considered as part of a more sweeping body of Marxist [in a very broad sense] influenced millenarian, emergent-evolution and consciousness raising literature which emerged in the 1960s or early 70’s and was fed to us a few years later in college by excited instructors and professors.

    Reich takes pains to distance Consciousness III from Marxism. The parallels are there, especially if we are speaking “in a very broad sense.” Plus Marxism has permeated 20th-century Western thought thoroughly enough that everyone is influenced by Marxism whether or not they read any Marx at all.

    However, it’s hard to imagine any real Marxist would advocate wearing bell-bottom jeans and long hair, smoking grass, listening to rock music as serious paths to revolution. There are still some observers from the left who argue the hippie movement was the product of a government cabal to neutralize the civil-rights and anti-war movements.

    More overt Marxism flowed into Consciousness III when the New Left glommed onto the hippie lifestyle and attempted to organize hippies into the New Left with mixed results.

    It’s interesting to look back.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical. Marx used it to describe the strategy of a revolutionary class to continue to pursue its class interests independently and without compromise, despite overtures for political alliances, and despite the political dominance of opposing sections of society.

    Trotsky put forward his conception of “permanent revolution” as an explanation of how socialist revolutions could occur in societies that had not achieved advanced capitalism. Part of his theory is the supposed impossibility of “socialism in one country”. Trotsky’s theory also argues, first, that the bourgeoisie in late-developing capitalist countries are incapable of developing the productive forces in such a manner as to achieve the sort of advanced capitalism which will fully develop an industrial proletariat. Second, that the proletariat can and must, therefore, seize social, economic, and political power, leading an alliance with the peasantry.

    if you want to know, hitler was just fulfilling Engels.

    you just have to be able to transalte and see synonyms..

    worldstorm / holocaust / shoa / world war

    there is more.. but if you dont know this, ignorance will not find it for you, and you need a Virgil to take you through hell without experiencing it.

    Weltsturm is the key word for holocaust till it was renamed to separate the marxists from that.. it then pushed the idea that these lenin stalin hitler, etc. attrocities were not marxism.. and they say so even today (like claiming a doseedo for dems and republicans.. )

    Weltsturm

    All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm (Weltsturm).

    “The Magyar Struggle.” Weltsturm is sometimes translated as “holocaust.”

    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Friedrich_Engels

    now isnt it funny jews are funding their own extermination? i dont think so, but they dont think that is what they are doing…

    From Cambridge University historian George Watson, we learn, for example, that the atrocities of Lenin and Stalin may not have been deviations from orthodox Marxism as modern Marxist sympathizers might like to believe.

    Marx was concerned that some nationalities might not be able to adapt to the coming socialist and communist revolutions he foresaw and championed.

    Certain groups Marx probably had in mind, which he referred to as Völkerabfälle, “racial trash,” included Serbs, Scottish highlanders, Basques, and Poles.

    Poland, in particular, was a country that Marx believed had no reason to exist as an independent state. [and hitler and stalin teamed up to start the holocaust following the doctrins that todays supporters dont read any more than the fools that enabled them before!!!!!!!! -artfldgr]

    The documentary commits a minor error of attribution here, though, since one quotation is actually from Frederick Engels—a small error in itself, since it’s unlikely that anything he published in Marx’s journal deviated significantly from Marx’s own thought.

    “The classes and races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way,” Engels wrote. He openly declared the need for these weaker peoples to “perish in the revolutionary worldstorm/holocaust [Weltsturm].”

    – From a Review i sent to neo years ago, called Soviet Story latvians produced. and also wiki listing for engels.. i guess people are too lazy to read it.

    and dont bitch at me for saying it:

    int he news yesterday that the big crazes are kids watching other people play games, and adults watching videos of other adults playing with farting foam.

    i mean… how lazy is it to sit and watch someone ELSE play farting foam on film?

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    The Austrian Germans and Magyars will be set free and wreak a bloody revenge on the Slav barbarians. The general war which will then break out will smash this Slav Sonderbund and wipe out all these petty hidebound nations, down to their very names. The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.

    “The Magyar Struggle”

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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