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THE IMPEACHMENT PARADOX

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE IMPEACHMENT PARADOX
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For those of us who thought a paradox was a couple of medical providers, it is not. The dictionary defines the word as “a self-contradictory and false proposition.” We certainly seem to have a paradox going in Congress these days.
Just when the House of Representatives is seemingly all consumed by trash talk, we discover that it’s not all garbage. Even as the two parties mud-wrestle over impeachment, those same two parties are crafting important bipartisan legislation: a new, slightly modified North American trade agreement, and a bill that will avoid another chaotic government shutdown just as the holiday season is in full swing. One could argue that these two antithetical political dynamics exist not in spite of one another, but because of one another. Why, you ask, should these poles apart factions of our government be cooperating? Because they need to prove that they can actually govern.
Nevertheless for obvious reasons, the main preoccupation is still impeachment, considering that if it ultimately were to run its full course, President Donald J. Trump would be wrenched from office before his term is completed.
The Democrats, who are presumably going to get their way in the House, decided to shape debate with only two counts of impeachment. First is that Trump’s corrupt dealings with Ukraine and its president were an abuse of his power and that “he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.” Count two is probably the more serious one, charging Obstruction of Congress, and violating the very balance of powers that the founders designed to separate this republic from any other.
Courts have ruled that congressional oversight of the executive branch is a fundamental part of that balance. However, as the second article of impeachment points out, this chief executive ordered his administration to defy any oversight, even when it was backed up with subpoenas: “In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies and officials not to comply with those subpoenas ...”
Serious charges. But Donald Trump’s Republicans have several advantages. For starters, they’re shameless. While Dems are somberly laying out their case, the GOPs are clouding the merits in a fog of dilatory tactics, half lies and full lies. In the model of their great leader, there is no truth, only spin.
They will make their same twisted arguments when the ominous legislation hits the House floor, although the Democrats, who hold the majority, will probably prevail, and Trump will become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. But as Democratic President Bill Clinton, who was also impeached, will attest, that turned out to be no big deal when the process ground to a predictable halt in the Senate. It’s just as foreseeable this time around.
Donald Trump and his Republican enablers hold the majority in the Senate, and party loyalty, uh, trumps any sort of loyalty to the nation. Any hopes for his removal from office by the Senate are pathetic fantasies.


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When the smoke clears, the Democrats will still have to deal with Trump as president and try to remove him the old-fashioned way, in the upcoming election. Whether they can pull that off is also questionable. The Trumpster’s supporters are as fanatic as ever, while his adversaries wallow in confusion, discouraged that they haven’t been able to make a convincing case that he’s unfit to remain in office. They are also are caught up in their party’s bedlam seemingly incapable to rally around an opponent or coherent message. Most heartbreaking is the huge chunk of numbed Americans who ignore the free-for-all.
The only positive sign of life is that even with all the debilitating pandemonium, the two battling sides can be bipartisan when it suits their interest, and it suits their interest to show that they are here for reasons other than waging war on each other.

© 2019 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 14, 2019 6:33 AM.

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