New York Times article: Impeachment risks becoming a new norm in the future

This NYT article might be lurking behind a paywall, so I’ll give a gist/summary:
[li]It used to be the case that things like filibusters were rare, and Supreme Court nominees sailed through the Senate by unanimous votes.[/li][li]Now, however, filibusters are commonplace, and Supreme Court nominees only pass the Senate through a bitterly contested party-line vote.[/li][li]Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) already said a few days ago (Dec-16) that a Republican House could impeach a future Democratic president.[/li][li]Kelly Armstrong (R-North Dakota) says, “in the future…it will be impeachment every single time one party controls the House and the other party is in the White House.”[/li][li]Rahm Emanuel said that “there is a risk we are going to normalize impeachment.”[/li][/ul]
Now, before someone jumps in and says, “But the difference is that Trump has actually *done *things worthy of impeachment, whereas Clinton didn’t” - that doesn’t take a partisan lens into account. Even if, say, Clinton didn’t deserve impeachment and Trump did, partisan ®s can still decide that “We are going to impeach future Democratic presidents anyway.” So the precedent risks being set now, even if Trump’s impeachment is totally legit.

It’s been an all-out knife-fight for years. Hopefully Democrats are finally getting the memo. Of course Republicans will try and impeach the next Democratic president, if they see the slightest opening and advantage to doing so.

So what? What are the Democrats supposed to do with this likelihood? Stop trying to do their duty of oversight on the executive branch? This is where the country is at, at this point. The only possible ending is for the GOP to change from it’s current incarnation of a morally corrupt and fundamentally dishonest organization. Whether that will happen from an upcoming massive electoral defeat or a violent, bloody revolution after 50 years of the Trump dynasty’s gluttonous tyranny, who knows?

Impeach the GOP.

Depends on this impeachment, how it is conducted, and the result. Too many variables there to make predictions on how any outcome affects the future.

I’m fine with the impeachment being called for in the case of even the slightest abuse of power, bribery, or treason, although censure should be used if there’s no reason to think removal is necessary or will occur from an impeachment.

Frankly, I don’t know why Pelosi didn’t make the house Republicans vote against a censure, then leaving the senate Republicans to explain why they aren’t even holding a vote for censure.

I agree with this. If the Democrats get spanked badly in 2020, that might a lesson from which both sides can learn.

All this stuff about “when we do it, we are protecting Democracy but when you do it, it’s partisanship” doesn’t cut any ice. Because Democrats aren’t really any better than Republicans - that’s just what they tell each other.

Some Congressman yesterday said something to the effect that Dems were trying to drum up an impeachment before they could pick out Ukraine on a map. For heaven’s sake - liberals were trying to impeach before Trump even took office.

No backsies is not a principle on which to base policy.


Nor is spite. And yet…

I think you’re still thinking in terms of ‘normal’ circumstances. I believe the article is talking about what the new normal will look like.

I don’t think Trump & Party would care less about censure. Do you?

What If: Democrats *don’t *get spanked badly but win by an overwhelming margin; What might both sides learn from that?

Yes, Trump won’t allow them do it. A solid majority of the country thinks Trump did something wrong and the republican congress refusing to acknowledge it will work against them and Trump. This should have been done before the impeachment as another justification for it. It’s easy for people to say they don’t think Trump should be impeached or removed, or that the process is wrong or some such nonsense. They won’t so readily state Trump did nothing wrong and shouldn’t be called on it.

That wouldn’t change the direct result of the impeachment but it would have a big effect on the next election.

Trump & Co. have lied, obstructed and gaslighted from day 0. They conceded nothing. They even went so far as to openly admit that they have no intention of playing fair or being honest in the future.

Why is the burden consistently on the Democrats to have given GOP more benefit of the doubt, or taken more time, or tried a more deliberative and cautious approach before getting to what ultimately had to be done?

That article *might *have been appropriate in 1999, but right now a president is being impeached for impeachable behaviour. And let’s not forget, there’s a truckload of stuff they could have impeached him for previously if Dems really were all about weaponizing this power.

Next time around, could the republicans be craven enough to impeach the next Dem president over, I dunno, Pizzagate or a tan suit or something? Yes.
But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. You don’t get to complain about leaving toilet seats up being the new normal before anyone has done so.

The burden is on the Democrats because the Republicans won’t do anything. And it’s not the cautious approach, you soften up your enemy before you launch the main attack.

That impeachment works.

Keeping in mind that *both *sides learn the lesson, and I am assuming they would. I wouldn’t bank on the assumption that never again will there be a Democrat in the White House, while the GOP controls the House.


Is it possible the lesson could be “impeachment works when the President used his power to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival”?

Of course that doesn’t cut any ice, because the judgment of whether impeachment is warranted is based on the facts of the case, not which party proposed impeachment.

Conservatives were trying to impeach Obama for not being a Republican, as opposed to any actual wrongdoing. Not sure what you’re trying to prove here.

Heck, if we’re talking doomsday scenarios, chew on this: There is a potentially troubling element in Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, troubling in the sense that it’s a necessary provision but I can see the potential for abuse:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office…”

Emphasis added. I can see a hostile congress (that is to say, a congress of a different party than the president) deciding to establish a Presidential Fitness Evaluation Board (PFEB), run by staff of its choosing with the purpose of constantly analyzing presidential actions to see if they indicate a lack of fitness. I expect any president would veto this, but let’s assume the congress can override. Then the PFEB can constantly subpoena presidential staff (possibly the president himself) and ask over and over if a particular decision taken by the president might indicate unfitness. The PFEB will have whatever powers congress gives it by law. Picture another endless round of Benghazi-style investigations, ramped up several orders of magnitude, with the constant threat that the PFEB can transfer power to the vice-president, not because they particularly* like* the vice-president, but because they like the idea of declaring the president unfit for office and forcing him to repeatedly deny it. It could very easily become abusive and I think at some point the Supreme Court would have to step in.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised the Republican-controlled congress didn’t give this a shot during the Obama years. If things continue as they are, I kind of expect a future Republican congress to try this on a future Democratic president. I just hope me writing this doesn’t give them any ideas that hadn’t previously occurred to them. I’d hate to be partly responsible for destroying America.

Good post.

The Republicans were always going to go full scorched-earth. They did it with Bill Clinton, they’d have done it with Hillary Clinton, they’d have done it with Obama if they had the votes. They went low first, and they’re going to sink even lower than we can imagine.

This is not about some vague unattributable polarization, this is about Republicans consciously deciding that every Democrat is illegitimate, fighting tooth-and-nail to destroy them, and when they encounter any meaningful pushback, they do these pearl-clutching soccer-flop jeremiads bewailing the loss of civility.


What do you mean “liberals were trying to impeach”? That some advocacy groups got together to form an hoc organization that wouldn’t tolerate Trump? You make it sound like it was some official position.

Of course, I’m sure you have no idea why “liberals” might not want to wait to go after a racist pussy-grabbing demagogue conman.