In just two days we will watch the ball drop and welcome 2020. Here are some predictions:
Nancy Pelosi will let the Senate impeachment trial take place – Once Congress returns, she will stop playing politics with the impeachment. President Trump will not be convicted.
The impeachment will not be a major factor in the fall election – Once the Senate trial is over, it will quickly fade from the headlines.
Democrat’s flirtation with socialism comes to an end – A year ago Occasio-Cortez seemed to be running the party. She can still make noise but has relatively little influence.
Neither Warren or Sanders get the nomination – I’m not sure who will get it but don’t think it will be either of them.
Health care will be an issue in the election – Right now nobody is talking about it except the Medicare for All crowd. Republicans and moderate Democrats will need to address it.
President Trump wins reelection
Neither party will do anything to address our needs – This is the one I am most confident about.
Rather than discussing what President Trump did or did not do, I would like to look at the Constitution and how some are interpreting it.
The House voted to impeach him on two counts. The first deals with his actions toward Ukraine. They have said he was trying to affect the outcome of the election and was so dangerous he should not be allowed to run for reelection. He went about it in his usual clumsy manner but he was doing opposition research. That has been done since the republic was founded. He also campaigners and gives speeches to try to affect the election. Should he be prohibited from doing that?
The second charge relates to obstruction of Congress. Among the items he is charged with withholding are those he has gone to court to prevent their release. Apparently, he shouldn’t be allowed to do so. Other charges are regarding things he said. Doesn’t he have First Amendment rights?
Now we have a situation in which the Constitution is clear that Nancy Pelosi should turn the results of the impeachment vote over to the Senate. Instead, she is playing political games.
This has nothing to do with ideology or the people involved. I am greatly concerned when public officials say that people they don’t like shouldn’t have constitutional rights or that they can ignore the Constitution.
Fortunately, James Madison’s system of checks and balances is working. It seems extremely unlikely that either party could get enough Senate seats to remove a president from office for political reasons.
Ever since the 2016 election many Democrats have been frantically trying to find a way to get rid of Donald Trump. Their efforts have not been well thought out. They were suffering from what conservatives called Trump Derangement Syndrome. There was talk about the 25th Amendment and impeachment even before he took office.
Then they staked their hopes on the Russia collusion scandal. It turned out that the only evidence was a document bought and paid for by Democrats. They were desperate when that collapsed so pursued impeachment on multiple fronts. A committee is still trying to make the collusion story stick.
Once news of the Ukrainian phone call broke, even Nancy Pelosi couldn’t stop the impeachment effort. In spite of all the hype, they realized there was no way he would be convicted. However, they thought they could inflict enough damage to prevent his reelection. This was the same strategy Hillary Clinton followed. So much mud has been thrown at him that there is a diminishing return.
Now I believe they have a new strategy. Some have realized that going to the voters having done nothing but harass him is not a winning formula. They are now moving at lightning speed (something Congress rarely does) to get him impeached before Christmas. Then they can actually get something done. They already approved a budget and game President Trumps things like the new Space Force.
News cycles are very short. It is possible that the impeachment will not be a major issue in the fall elections. I don’t know if that helps Democrats or Republicans but it is good for the country.
During the heated debate over impeaching Donald Trump, some Democrats came up with a new argument for throwing him out of office. They said he was so dangerous that he shouldn’t be allowed to stand for reelection. In other words, they are saying that the people cannot be trusted to elect a president. They are using the same argument against democracy that tyrants have used for centuries.
Obviously, they are not calling for a dictatorship. They clearly want a system in which a bunch of self-appointed, so-called elites have all the power since the rest of us don’t know what is best for us.
I have written many times that preserving our democracy is far more important than which party is in power. Having our elected leaders show a lack of faith in democracy is not a good sign.
There is a new version of the old childhood taunt: “Sticks and stones may break your bones but names can get you impeached”. Among the many charges was that President Trump criticized people.
Some may compare the House Intelligence Committee to a trial. It was really just the first half of one. The defense was not allowed to call witnesses or present a case. In an actual trial the prosecutor couldn’t produce false evidence or obtain the phone records of opposing counsel. Nor would the jury has reached a conclusion before the trial started.
Their charges fall into two categories. First is the infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president. I don’t think they proved their case. Even if they did, I don’t believe it rises to the level of an impeachable offense.
Next was obstruction of justice. This consists primarily of not waiving executive privilege, taking the dispute to court and calling people names. Again, I don’t think there is anything impeachable.
Just because he hasn’t committed serious crimes does not mean Trump hasn’t done wrong. He should have never had that phone call and treats people abysmally. We should expect better from him.
Note: Unlike the TV networks, I don’t believe in reruns. There is one exception. I will repeat the following post every December 7 as long as I am blogging.
Today marks the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a devastating strike that resulted in 2,400 deaths. Virtually everyone in the country was affected. Millions traded work clothes for uniforms. Many women went to work in factories. Everyone had to cope with shortages.
We were woefully unprepared. Earlier that year maneuvers were held in Louisiana. Many men carried wooden rifles. A bill to extend the term of draftees was passed that summer by only one vote. It took almost four years but the war was won. Over 400,000 American soldiers never returned home.
Anyone that has the chance to go to Hawaii should go to Pearl Harbor. Visiting the memorial, built atop the Arizona, is an incredible experience. It’s hard not to think about the men permanently entombed below your feet. Nearby is the Missouri, the ship upon which the Japanese surrendered.
When I think of Pearl Harbor, I think of one young man. He was already in the service. He had a 30 day leave starting on December 6. When he reached home, a telegram was waiting ordering him to return. Eventually he caught up with his unit. They were in a California desert since it was feared the Japanese would capture the coastal cities. Soon he was shipped out to Australia. On his second day he was in a truck accident and broke his back.
That man will turn 99 next week. He feels the effects of his injuries every day. Most call him Perry. I call him Dad.
One of the most important responsibilities a president has is to be Commander in Chief of our armed forces. Establishing discipline and a chain of command is key to military effectiveness. Presidents should respect that and stay out of issues that should be resolved well down the chain. The Obama administration involved itself so extensively in rules of engagement that it was often very difficult for the military to achieve their mission.
If anything, President Trump has been too hands-off. Recently he intervened in a situation in which should have stayed away. Three men had been charged with murdering prisoners. One had been convicted and one was awaiting trial. The third, Edward Gallagher, had been found not guilty but was convicted of posing with the prisoner’s corpse. He was given a reduction in rank and an investigation was being held to determine if he would remain a SEAL.
The president pardoned all three men. He then ordered that the Navy stop the investigation and Gallagher’s rank be restored. I certainly have no problem with the pardons. However, a president should not be the person to decide whether or not a sailor should be a CPO or a SEAL.
Let’s hope that this was a one-time occurrence. Promotions should be based on merit, not knowing someone who has the president’s ear.