Should They Have Removed Pres. Reagan From Office?

A lot of people even now don’t realize it. But with the Iran Contra Affair, they did have enough evidence to remove President Ronald Reagan from office. Look it up. But Senate Democrats thought it would be political suicide to do it. So they didn’t.

But should they have?

What would have been the outcome? Because I don’t have a degree in psychology. But I have still noticed people tend to accept things after they happened. Most of the public was against impeaching Richard Nixon. But when he finally resigned, he was one of the most hated men in US history, especially after Gerald Ford pardoned him.

What would the outcome have been? And would we have gotten a President Dukakis as a result? Why not?


The is an incoherent assertion: “…they did have enough evidence to remove President Ronald Reagan from office. Look it up.”

“Enough evidence,” is meaningless in the sense that Congress needs no particular threshold of evidence to impeach and convict.

I often argue that as a political reality, though not as a legal necessity, Congress must have sufficient evidence of a crime committed by the President. If you adopt that view, again your statement fails, because that was not present.

Perhaps you meant merely that you’re confident that such evidence would have emerged if an impeachment investigation had been begun. Obviously that’s a defensible opinion, but one that can’t really be supported by “looking it up.”

So my answer to your poorly framed question is “No.”

I think you’ve answered it yourself by pointing out all the confusion and turmoil that would have resulted. Not that those are sufficient reason by themselves, but that if you’re going to cause them, you better have very strong reasons why doing nothing would be disastrous.

To be honest, those shenanigans seem almost quaint. I understand that contextually it was bad to give/sell parts to Iran after the American hostage situation there. I understand that America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, except when we do. The entire thing was mishandled.

Could Congress have impeached the President for breaking the embargo? Technically, yes. Should they have? No. There were other remedies.

Impeaching Reagan would have been political suicide for the Democrats. They couldn’t even get a conviction to stick to Ollie North. Reagan was a heck of a lot more popular than North, and not nearly as involved.

President Dukakis? Not a chance in hell.


The United States is, if not THE biggest, one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. We make deals all the time for a myriad of reasons, all political. Some times political bed fellows turn into enemies, and we end up ducking our own bullets in battle. In other words, shit happens. To pick on that one arms deal and remove a president because of it would have been a joke as far as I’m concerned.

So, it’s okay when a popular president violates the law, because AMERICA!

Got it.

This statement is ridiculous. Impeachment and removal from office requires zero evidence; it’s a purely political effort. So by definition there is always “enough evidence” to remove a President. The question, as always, is whether or not there is sufficient political will in the Senate to obtain the required 2/3’s vote to remove.

Yes if it’s Reagan, No if it’s Clinton. Or maybe it’s the other way around - I can never keep it straight.


Perhaps Reagan should have been removed for his declining mental state. I think it’s clear (at least in retrospect) that he was showing signs of Alzheimer’s while still in office, possibly even in his first term.

Illegal weapon sales and using the proceeds to illegally fund a guerrilla war isn’t fucking quaint. Trump’s campaign shenanigans don’t even come close.

You have it straight. If it’s “your” guy it’s right and if it’s “their” guy it’s wrong. Both sides of the aisle do it, and both sides take their turn at being hypocritical.

It’s not just in politics either. Look at Ohio State. If you’re an alum, Urban got screwed. Everyone else thinks Ohio State fans are are hypocrites. Just wait until the shoes on the other foot.

His doctors say otherwise, who actually examined him. So no, it isn’t clear.


How old is Ronny Jackson, anyway?

He’s 51.

Who holds the major league record for strikeouts against a left-handed pitcher during the month of August from 1965-1992 inclusive? That seems equally relevant.


Versus allowing another country to interfere in our elections? Quaint. Versus allowing that same country to hack into our infrastructure and financial institutions? Quaint. Breaking the emoluments clause so many times it may as well not be in the document? Quaint. Breaking treaties, in ways minor and major. Quaint. Separating children from their parents and putting them in “camps”. Quaint.

Reagan was wrong, but Trump makes him look like a schoolboy who took a lolly.

Leaving aside questionable language, I think joining forces with a hostile foreign power to do novel and illegal acts during an election is probably worse than conducting illegal foreign policy that has, say, 45% support in Congress.

I’m going to try to address the OP. Yes, we should have impeached Reagan for what were clearly nontrivial and illegal acts; democracies benefit from having the possibility of a vote of no-confidence. GHW Bush would have been fine. Impeachment used as a routine tool of clearing out bad Presidents wouldn’t be a bad thing. If they overshot and replaced Bill Clinton with Al Gore that would have been ok as well.

I’ll restate the OP though. Should a majority of Republicans supported the replacement of Reagan with Bush? Yes. Should a majority of Democrats supported the replacement of Clinton with Gore? Only if you think making narrowly accurate statements about sex, using bizarro definitions proffered by the prosecution is an impeachable offense.

The problem with the above is that basically I’m advocating something closer to a Parliamentary system with strong parties, which we don’t have. But the OP asked about should rather than would.

Seriously? Iran Contra specifically flouted the power of Congress. It got people killed, yes only Nicaraguans. I know Trump sucks but get some perspective.

Of course his doctors said that. They were protecting his legacy. Watch him freeze and act confused during the Mondale debate. Or need Nancy to feed him answers to the press. Plus people have said that Reagan was unable to discuss policy during cabinet meetings. He was definitely declining mentally while still in office.

Forst of all, while impeachment may be a politicized process, from a purely evidential standpoint it isn’t clear that Reagan was aware of and authorized the diversion of funds from the arms sale to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. (Most historians believe he did and was insulated by Weinberger, McFarlane, et al.) The sale of weapons to Iran via Israel, while against stated policy of the Reagan Administration, ethically suspect, and geopolitically bizarre, did not comprise a criminal act. However, Congress added amendments to the appropriations bills specifically prohibiting providing aid to the Contras (the Boland Amendments), which was the mission proposed by John Poindexter and managed by Col. Oliver North using Southern Air Transport planes. This was a blatantly illegal operation run using CIA assets but without being formally authorized or managed by the Agency.

A bunch of people were convicted but pardoned by George H W Bush while appealing their sentences, and Oliver North’s conviction was overturned on Fifth Amendment grounds. Nobody in the administration served a day in prison so expecting to justify impeachment and conviction of Reagan, especially in the waning months of his last term, would have been an exercise in futility. It also would have been disruptive to relations with the Soviet Union as the Warsaw Pact began to crumble, so there were practical reasons to not pursue the quixotic course of impeachment.

Personally I think Reagan was aware at least at a policy level even if not of the mechanics of the operation or the shady contacts involved in the arms deals and banking manipulations, and they policy makers who actually led the operations should have been held accountable for not only violating Federal law but (knowingly or otherwise) facilitating the very drug trade it was so aggressive in prosecuting domestically. But opinions differ.