I generally ignore political Facebook memes. If a ‘friend’ drowns me in political nonsense, I just ‘unfriend’ them, but I do make an exception for a few real friends and a few family members. One such meme has Donald Trump’s mother saying her son is an idiot and should never have political power. When a reader Snoped it and found it false (as common sense would probably tell you) the poster (a distant relative) justified and kept the post up with the rationale, “it doesn’t matter if she actually said it, it’s true.”
This anecdote is not uncommon; the message is that the narrative trumps (pun intended) the truth. It is a corollary of the ends justifying the means. If you think Trump is an idiot that should not be trusted with power, then just say so; if you need to fabricate proof you just undermine your credibility.
The Constitution as noted in Greg Weiner’s Madison’s Metronome is designed to mute the passions and rage that infects our politics, to slow down the ability of the elected to push through significant changes with consequences poorly considered.
The outcome of the impeachment is as predicted. The system worked as it should. The calm and reasoned Senate slowed down the passions of the House. Yes, both voted on partisan lines, but that was one of the reasons for acquittal (expected to come). The process is too serious to be used as a partisan tool.
Just as Susan Collins made the rare clearly reasoned statesmanlike speech to support Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation during the embarrassing mob ruled clown show of his confirmation, Lamar Alexander made the statesmanlike speech in the Senate to vote not to call any more witnesses. Addressing the specific articles of impeachment, Lamar accepted the charges as the truth and accepted the evidence submitted. The argument was that the charges did not rise to the level of impeachment, especially close to an election, and especially along such partisan lines. This did not condone his conduct and many Republicans sharply criticized it, but to raise this to a level of removing the president threatened the electoral process. Impeachment should only be reserved for the most serious violations, otherwise it will destabilize the government whenever the Congress is of a different party than the White House.
When the rage monkeys broke out of their cages after Trump’s election, I thought they would settle down and learn to appreciate the Constitution and its limits on executive power. They certainly quoted constitutional concerns to justify their vote, but as Kevin Williamson observed, “ My expectation is that the Democrats’ currently hawkish view of presidential power will last approximately 1.8 x 10−5 seconds after the election of the next Democratic president.” (Kevin is no Trump fan and supported his impeachment.)
The editors of National Review wrote, “ It would be better if Congress undertook a more systematic effort to take back prerogatives it has ceded to the executive branch and the courts. But we aren’t optimistic on this score, since the same Democrats who claim to be sticklers about congressional power on the Ukraine matter won’t say a discouraging word about Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s promised adventures in unilateral rule as president.”
Alan Dershowitz defended his position in the WSJ, Democrats are Lying About My Argument, “The main thrust of my hourlong opening presentation was that a president could be impeached if he committed crimes or criminal-like behavior, regardless of whether his claimed motive was the public interest. I made this self-evident point in response to arguments by House impeachment managers that mixed motives could turn innocent conduct into a crime, and that a motive to help one’s re-election could be corrupt. I never suggested that if a politician believed that his re-election was in the public interest, that would excuse criminal or impeachable conduct.”
The impeachment seemed liked a hail Mary from the inception, motivated more by rage than reason. That is precisely why the constitution designed the process as they did to start in the House and then move to the Senate. Rather than viewed as a Constitutional crisis, it should be affirmed as its proper functioning. It does not become a threat to the constitutional order just because you disagree with the outcome.