Fortitude

    As we seek to dig ourselves out of the moral and political abyss into which our country has sunk, it seems to me that two near-term projects are key.

    These are to retake both chambers in Congress and to obtain the president's removal from office at the earliest possible time.

    Through its stonewalling, cruel and stupid policy decisions, perfidy, and loud incompetence, the GOP Congress is making the former more likely.  By continuing to operate the way they are, they are doing continuing damage to the country.  And, in so doing they are also helping to build opposition, intensify pressure, and motivate turnout in November.  For the flip to occur in both chambers this will have to be a true wave election.  But the signs so far are encouraging that with sustained, intensifying effort it can be that. 

    I have a childhood friend who is considering running for the New Hampshire legislature as a Democrat.  He says that these days, in New Hampshire, public sentiment is so heavily and overwhelmingly against Republicans that if one runs as a Democrat one is virtually certain to win.  

    The GOP Congress and Trump Administration are mutually reinforcing one another's deteriorating reputation and legitimacy, in full, seemingly hourly, view.  

    Cass Sunstein's short book Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide, without mentioning Trump by name once, provides historical context for what the impeachment mechanism was meant to do, and spins that out to apply it to real and hypothetical case scenarios.  Alan Lichtman's The Case for Impeachment is another contribution. 

    If the impeachment clause was not meant for the current situation, it was not meant for anything.  Will we mentally disable ourselves from utilizing a constitutionally available mechanism for protecting our country from further danger and grievous damage inflicted on us by our present government?  Why?  What are the reasons that could justify such self-imposed impotence? 

    By "we" in the above paragraph, I mean very specifically individuals who are not now applying pressure to make this happen, through creative and conventional actions alike, who could nonetheless choose to do so, and those who have taken some action, but could choose to do more.   There is an enormous amount of activity that has been generated by the opposition.  That has not so far led to the needed breakthrough.  So far.  Some cracks in the seemingly impregnable edifice are visible.  There is opportunity for many more to become involved.

    If the current occupant of the White House is to exit, one way or another, this can happen suddenly and unexpectedly.  If and when it does, our country will have a different set of challenges to deal with, to be sure.  One foot in front of the other.  We may even look back and view surviving the present moment as the easy part.  The miscreants who have created it are helping generate the opposition necessary to thwart it and create opportunity to move in a different direction.  

    There will be more than enough time to worry and despair once we get to whatever comes next.  And cultivate and demonstrate the fortitude to somehow bracket the worry and despair and keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

    Oh and one other thing, one that will help a great deal: solidarity.

         

    Comments

    I vote no. 

    1. I'm not competent  usefully to  discuss whether he merits impeachment so I'll go with my gut feel which is :not yet. 

    2. With respect to political strategy obviously we should prioritize and ,for me, the  priority is winning in 2020. Doing anything making that harder  requires Trump  acting  so  the obvious answer to (1) is Yes.   

     

     

     

     


    Oh.  For a minute, on seeing the first sentence I was wondering if you were voting no on fortitude.  wink

    I'm not sure I am following what you are saying on #2 and I want to.  Could you please clarify what you mean on that.


    If you're gonna go, go first class. Or

    Don't strlke the king unless you're sure you will kill him.


    If it becomes clear that Trump covered up his subordinates Russians, he should be impeached. The emoluments clause is another possibility for impeachment. We may never reach the bar needed to press these charges in an impeachment trial. I do agree that the best option is to replace as many Republicans with Democrats.


    The recent highly inappropriate, politically motivated use of the impeachment provision in our day may have overly raised the bar for its next use.  Anyone contemplating using it may fear that their actions would be viewed as a kind of temper tantrum attempt to overturn the most recent election results, inevitably looked upon with strong disfavor by most of the public regardless of the merits of using it.  As it was viewed by majorities last time around with Clinton. 

    I harbor some hope that, prior to the conclusion of the Mueller investigation wherever that may lead, members of Congress, late night comics, editorial and opinion writers and yes, some bloggers, and others with actual power or influence on public opinion will begin to take a little time to look into the history and intent of the impeachment provision, to assess fairly whether they believe it is or could be appropriate in this instance.    

    I don't doubt there will be mixed opinions on that.  Some believe the threshold has already been met.  Jennifer Rubin is one--she has maintained for some time now that there already is ample evidence of obstruction of justice.  Others will conclude no, not at this point, anyway. 

    I don't have a sense of how the politics of it would play.  That probably will depend on, among many other factors, the tone those seeking impeachment adopt.  That will need to be fully above board, classy, and somber, true to the known facts and free of vituperative, over-the-top rhetoric, not in any way celebratory.  For this is not an occasion for celebration by anyone.  The tenor and conduct of those seeking to use it will need to say in every way, as Rubin says: country first.  


    That will need to be fully above board, classy, and somber, true to the known facts and free of vituperative, over-the-top rhetoric, not in any way celebratory.

    Have you met politics?  ;-)


    wink Yes, I sure have.  

    If the House were to impeach and there is a trial which moves to the Senate, one of my state's senators, Mark Warner, would do it just that way if he is involved.  He is very competent and respected on both sides of the partisan divide.  This is one of the advantages of having an honest-to-goodness devotee of bipartisan politics serving in that chamber.    

    At the impeachment phase, admittedly, it is difficult to identify any current GOP House member who seems likely to fit this bill.  The hope would be that the campaign and outcome of the fall elections might open up in enough key GOP members a change of heart.  This is true whether the chamber flips or not because if it is only Democrats pursuing impeachment, it's going to be even more contentious. 

    But if the chamber flips and no GOP members behave themselves, they can cry all they want and the Democrats will still have the votes to send the matter to the Senate for trial.  The proceedings will be televised so members of the public who are curious, as quite a few were during the Watergate era, can watch and make up their own minds on what's going down, whether there is merit and justification for whatever the decision turns out to be.

    Congress sure has changed a lot since the Watergate proceedings.  It was able then to pull off a highly credible process that, darn, even made our country look good, like we not only have standards on paper but occasionally insist on upholding them.  Of course, the GOP in that day was capable of feeling shame, and was able to rise to the necessary country and constitution-first mentality to do what needed to be done.    


    Most Democrats - House and Senate - thus far disagree with the impeachment push Tom Steyer has initiated.  They have good reasons.  Not the least of which is that his very public campaign has robbed them of the bipartisan avenue necessary for not only success, but quite likely public support.  His preemptive jump on the bandwagon hasn't helped.

    Watergate isn't the historic path we need to follow as memory lane directs - it's the Clinton fiasco that is the terra firma.

     


    Why does an impeachment effort have to associate itself in any way with Steyer's actions?  If he has adopted a partisan approach, that doesn't mean members of Congress leading an impeachment effort going forward have to do so.  


    Guys, why are we talking like this?

    We have a president who besides actively funneling money from Russia, he's letting Russia dictate our foreign policy goals, dismantling our state department, dropping our security to let Russia attack & target our elections and infrastructure, while giving Russia carte blanche in strategic regions abroad, while more than one congressman is leaking confidential info out of the hearings, and several appear to be actively blackmailed. Which hasn't been quite enough to diminish Republican support, but I'm supposed to be concerned that *we* might be acting partisan? Did *we* steal a Supreme Court seat and ram through numerous cabinet positions without Democrats allowed to review? Did *we* pile the budget full of thousands of pages of perks for the rich at the las minute that no one had a chance to read before voting? Etc etc. I simply can't give a fuck about what nicities they might expect.

    Here's just one of the everyday assaults on our system - similar to the massive bot attack over net neutralty -what's our "bipartisan" response?


    I see confusion on the thread coming from bouncing back and forth between big picture theoretical and this specific instance. There'd no doubt be a bi-partisan movement to impeach him long ago had he GOP not been so cynically desperate to work the devil's bargain result of him being president and them having control of Congress as long as they can. Don't forget how he got there while campaigning, calling all of them names, dissing them, most of them hate him and how he got there. They made a devil's bargain, and they are trying the best they can to play it out. Easy for the longtime safe or leaving guys like McCain and Graham, Flake and Corker to speak out and take a stand on the more big picture problems, for many of the others not so much. What has happened is that they take a stand against him on issues where it will agree with their constituency and/or donors, like Rubio on immigration for example, but they are making a devil's bargain on the Russia stuff. If their constituents or donors cared a lot more, they'd care. Otherwise, they're going to try to drag it out as long as possible. The more he idiosyncratically throws sand in their faces when they're trying to accomplish something that's a goal, the more difficult he is for them, the more they might get on board. Really, it's all over every story I read that's from a GOP p.o.v. He's a pain in the ass to them, a devil's bargain, there's no love lost. He knows how to manipulate certain swings they know they need against them. Understanding this is why I like to visit sites from the GOP p.o.v. It's not like they all love Russia or Trump, it's not a priority. It's not a priority because it's not a priority to the constituency.


    The reason I said what I did is not because I believe Democrats in Congress should feel any obligation to play fair with Republicans in Congress in a way Republicans in Congress have not.  Rather, it is because perceptions of fairness can impact public opinion.  No?  Majority public opinion needs to be brought along.  There will understandably be squeamishness about going down this road, plus lots of initial ignorance and confusion about its legitimacy that will have to be overcome through patient explanation. 

    We do not have to suffer this guy for 3 more years.  


    We do not have to suffer this guy for 3 more years.  

    But unless Mueller takes the whole shit-house down, we will be stuck with Pence as Pres.  He would likely not start a nuclear war, but he would be seen (and I disagree vehemently with this) as a sane alternative to trump.  That’s all the trump voters would need for 2022...a pristine, velvet-voiced hypocrite, who would end the evil Planned Parenthood, any Protections for LGTBQ people, and any semblance of voting protections.  

    Pence is probably not more dangerous than trump in the near term, but long-term, I am not sure.


    I like to throw in a extra added reminder to consider related to your p.o.v. expressed here: AND Trump's not going away until he dies. His fans don't care about Russian interference and won't care even if he is impeached. It is highly likely that he would become a martyr figure for them. It would even be difficult to get him to stop the communication with them if he were in prison. We are stuck with him influencing the national discourse unless he is disgraced in a different way than is available now. Not going to go quietly like Nixon did, he has no loyalty to party, wouldn't care if he did them damage, it is all about him and his fans.


    p.s. Which brings it around to: if it's going to be done on the whole Mueller investigation (impeachment or threat and forced resignation) it should be about the integrity of the election system, and not about getting rid of Trump. Because: we will not be getting rid of him! If convicted he will just not be president anymore.

    So one has to think about what bothers one about him actually being in the office as opposed to Pence or Ryan as opposed to him being out of the office. Certainly all GOP in office think about this, they know he's not going away, Dems should think about it too.

    Edit to add: 46.9 million twitter followers, even if he lost half of them, that's still major power to affect the national and world discourse.


    As president he has power to take action. Out of office his power is only to sway public opinion so his followers might take action and even than less meaningful action than he could make as president. The range of possibilities is greater for Trump than for Pence. Trump may be so incompetent that he accomplishes less than Pence might. That's what we've seen so far. If that continues I prefer him to Pence. Yet Trump might bumble into a war with North Korea or push Iran to develop nuclear weapons. A war with Iran or another Middle East country isn't out of the question with Trump. Pence would likely be more rational and restrained in dealing with foreign countries. It's Trump's narcissism and volatile nature coupled with his ignorance that worries me.


    Yes, as you and PP are I think suggesting, it defies comprehension how any US president who openly encouraged foreign meddling in our elections, and who has taken no action to protect our country from more of the same in the future, would still be politically standing.  The idea that a constitutionally available remedy for such an egregious abuse of public office and the public trust would not be utilized is similarly incomprehensible, to me, anyway.  

    We can overthink and over-analyze this.  In the end it seems to me we need to do what we need to do.  To protect ourselves from an existential threat to our country.  One more thing that boggles my mind is the argument that getting rid of this guy cannot be sold politically to majorities, based on what he has done.  Really?  Are we that far gone?  


    Yes.

    “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” That's still true for the @35% of the people who still support him


    The views of 35% of the people are not supposed to prevail.  


    They have rationalized themselves into hopelessness. They expect to lose.


    Half of his Twitter users are fake - he'd just buy more or more likely the Russians would replace.


    Completely agree Pence would be a different kind of disaster.  We can only hope Mueller is investigating his role in the Russia matter vigorously and that Pence will also be removed if the evidence points that way.  

    Talk about benefiting from a low bar.  It would be helpful if we are able to avoid a nuclear exchange.    


    I don't care about the so called nicities. There's just certain political realities we have to consider if we're to be successful. No matter how much I hate Trump and want him gone we haven't reached the point yet where enough of the public supports impeachment for it to succeed. It won't succeed either with a conviction nor will it help democrats to win elections.


    It doesn't, and a Congress made up of Mark Warners et al certainly wouldn't likely (arguably) do so.  However, even if Democratic members of Congress in both houses behaved in the most high-minded way possible the impeachment talk has already soiled the laundry - unless and until Trump is caught red handed doing/having done something clearly and demonstrably illegal.  At this point, anything ambiguous won't work.

    We also need to remember that there will come a time when a Democratic President is in office, and Republicans will point to what we do today to justify their actions.  We can decry partisanship 'til the cows come meandering home, but ignoring its reality is dangerous.  


    If a future Democratic President does what Trump has done, we should support impeachment just the same.  (Actually, we should mount a campaign to spare the country that tribulation by trying to bring about a resignation).  If that is not the case and it's more like the Clinton debacle, we distinguish the cases, right?

    The Republicans are going to do whatever they're going to do.  And they're going to own whatever they do.  The voters are going to decide who they trust to put in office going forward.  

     


    Obstruction of justice is sufficient legal reason for impeachment, anything really is sufficient legal reason for impeachment. Congress can decide anything is a sufficient legal reason. But politically there has to be a major crime Trump was trying to hide with his obstruction. While there is considerable reasonable speculation that crimes were committed there hasn't been charges for any major crime. My guess is that it's likely Mueller has found and will find more crimes but so far he's run a tight ship with few leaks. Discussing impeachment is premature until his investigation is complete.


    Good points.  I don't agree that anything at all is sufficient legal reason for impeachment, or conviction.  But I do agree that since Congress decides what is sufficient, it serves as its own judge of sufficiency.      


    Yes, that's what I meant. People may disagree with congress' decision but they have the final word. It's similar to the Supreme Court decides what is constitutional simply because they have the final word. It doesn't matter how much you or I or even constitutional scholars may disagree with their decisions.


    Because of course the Titanic has to hit ocean's bittom before we pull out the life rafts.


    Your comment makes me think about how this is where the fishy election results comes in. Because making impeachment and removal difficult is purposeful to prevent the elites from thwarting the people's will. But it wasn't the majority's will that this man be president and now he's working against the majority's will. There is also the complication that we were never meant to have a very powerful presidency. And the thing that with Trump, he is actually weak, complicates it further.

    He is mainly misusing a role of leader of national discourse and attention, the demagogue role, one that's not in the Constitution. President wasn't supposed to be a demagogue, we've given the whole role model thing to them, nobody forced us to. Makes me think how that happened. G. Washington was idolized, there was a huge cult for a long time, but after that, not so much, except for maybe FDR. But after we helped win the world wars, our president became the "most powerful person in the free world"? This is where Congressional approval for war acts and even foreign policy is so important, beyond the importance of blood and treasure being at stake, the president shouldn't be the "leader of the free world", they should? It's Congress, especially the Senate, who should be seen as having their "finger on the button"? If we really want to sell a democratic republic as the best of all the bad systems out there?


    No, as a political matter we just have to have sufficient provable evidence that a major crime has been committed. Not just reasonable speculation. Just as all we'd need is sufficient provable evidence that the Titanic will eventually hit bottom. We don't have to wait until the Titanic actually hits the bottom.


    Here's more crimes being committed, though not by any means all Russian. He's got a shingle out that says, "come buy me". America's open for sale if Trump can make a buck on it.


    You don't have to convince me. I hate the guy as I've stated time and time again even on Flavius' threads about how we shouldn't hate. But I have yet to see any poll on impeachment that broke 50% and he still has overwhelming support, @85%, from republicans.


    you know what drives me nuts about those type of polls that show a lot of support for Trump from "Republicans"? The irony is that it's clear that actual Republican politicians and politicos and party activists would love him to be gone, to be out of their hair. It's the Bannon wing only that's happy with him. So there's a total disconnect between people who identify as Republican to pollsters and the real party members and all powers that be therein, except for maybe the Freedom Caucus people, but they, too are a problem. It is maybe partly due to the question the pollsters are asking. The people answering naturally are happy that Republicans have control of both branches. But there is no way all of them are 100% happy with a crazy narcissist who is basically a Republican-in-name-only who sometimes favors Republican agendas and sometimes destroys them. They are not all Sean Hannity sympathizers, of that I am sure. They are not honest because of the artificially-imposed polarization, I think, it's a imaginary solidarity thing, believe it hard enough and it can be true? Answering that you approve of his performance only because Dems are attacking it?.....


    Yeah, it's one of my schticks here to point out that polls can't be taken at face value but must be thoughtfully considered to extract the information they contain, if any. I recently saw a poll that claimed 14% of republicans supported impeachment. That's the never Trump wing of the republican party. Some of the most astute critiques of Trump come from them, often better than the liberal critiques. How ever much other wings dislike Trump or tolerate him in their bargain for tax cuts, less regulation, and reducing or ending entitlements I think we can be sure they wouldn't support impeachment.


    If the G.O.P. were to vote yes for impeachment, they would be throwing out the margin that has built up their power over the last 6 decades. They won't do it.

    This element is sharply different from the partisan struggles that fell out of the attempt to impeach Clinton. Clinton was an effective coalition builder but he was not an agent of a political will whose removal would be tantamount to directly attacking groups who voted for him.
    In a way, only Trump can dismantle his role, either by proving conclusively to his "base" that he failed them or by simply leaving.

    Each morning, I rise up with the hope that he resigned in my sleep.


    Yes.

    But we also have all kinds of wild cards going on with the 2018 elections. Besides Dems threatening to take over seats and majorities, there's the anti-Trump GOP guys deciding to resign or retire because they are fed up with Trump and with playing to that part of the base. Who fills those seats is going to be interesting. The GOP party is in a quandary which way to go with that.  If they want to keep the MAGA people (protectionist, anti-immigrant, socially conservative, all the Pat Buchanan types and Tea Partying types and Reagan Dems) they alienate the moderates. If Dems run moderates in the swing districts, the GOP see they are losing those so far with anti-Trump feelings, like in Wisconsin. So enough Dems may win in 2018 to impeach in 2019? Especially if more anti-Trump GOP replace some of those that are lost?


    There are a lot of factors in play that challenge the G.O.P.'s efforts to keep all the different groups who vote Republican to hammer down a single platform. I am proposing that the party would not have the power it does today if had not courted the groups it did over the course of decades. Those two ideas do not cover the same ground. The conditions controlling the access to power are not coplanar with the conflicts that emerge once that dominant position has been achieved.

    From that perspective, the enormous ghastly omnipresence of Trump is oddly unimportant. He represents certain groups but he doesn't reflect them. He is their gun for hire, taking aim at whoever they wish. After years of restaurants who only offered complete menus, a shop opens up that is totally ala carte. Trump is a service industry, filling a gap in the market.

    Now, the people who hired this guy range from extremely literal minded hysterics to sanguine skeptics who shrug more often than they burp. The G.O.P. has got to know their chances of repeating such a range are very slim. They may hate the guy but he is the only one who won their own rigged contest they set up to keep guys like him on the sidewalk.


    This is especially great stuff from your comment, moat, I am in awe:

    From that perspective, the enormous ghastly omnipresence of Trump is oddly unimportant. He represents certain groups but he doesn't reflect them. He is their gun for hire, taking aim at whoever they wish. After years of restaurants who only offered complete menus, a shop opens up that is totally ala carte. Trump is a service industry, filling a gap in the market.

    Now, the people who hired this guy range from extremely literal minded hysterics to sanguine skeptics who shrug more often than they burp. The G.O.P. has got to know their chances of repeating such a range are very slim.


    "God sees the truth. But waits." Tolstoy

    We're stuck with Trump.  Until...

    .........no, we're stuck with Trump .He'll never "impeach himself" i.e. act so that a large majority of voters  wants him to be impeached.  AOBTW were he did  we're wouldn't  want to install a President Pence. 

    Sorry about that.     

    And an unsuccessful  impeachment would make it harder to win in November. So attempted impeachment?.......ditto. In spades.. 

    Unfair?Who said life would be fair?

    Next subject?


    Trump did not have to rescind DACA

    Republicans could have renewed CHIP

    When should Democrats stop giving in to Republicans. The choices Democrats are forced to make are GOP created

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-cant-compromise-as-trump-and-the-gop-take-political-hostages?ref=home

     


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