As Congress proceeds with seemingly endless rounds of impeachment hearings, I am trying to pinpoint when presidential politics became so vicious.
Maybe it was Clinton’s impeachment, where Republicans were about the only ones who thought it was a good idea to remove the president. Or, maybe it was that 2000 election, where the course of history could have changed dramatically if Al Gore had carried his home state of Tennessee.
Partisan politics have been around a long time, but sheer bitterness seems to have escalated since the turn of the century. There are no “good guys” in this battle. When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Republicans vowed to make sure his presidency would fail in his first term. The strategy failed miserably when he was re-elected four years later. Now, we have Donald Trump, who Democrats have targeted for impeachment since the day he took office.
Politically speaking, we’re living in two worlds, with totally different views of what’s good/bad, or right/wrong. Depending on who you talk to, Trump either is the greatest president since Abe Lincoln, or the most corrupt president since Richard Nixon. But unlike Nixon, who had the personality of a lamp post, Trump has lots of charisma and packs ’em in for his highly effective political rallies.
It seems preposterous to remove a president with such a high level of flare and following. Or … maybe he deserves to be bounced out. Again, it depends on who you talk to.
Dr. David Adler, a constitutional scholar from Idaho Falls, sees grounds for impeachment. And it’s through what Trump has done recently with the Ukraine situation. In Adler’s eyes, it’s flat wrong for a president to hold hostage military aid in exchange for investigating a political opponent.
As Adler outlines it, the question is a simple one: Is that an acceptable action by a sitting president? If members of Congress find it acceptable, Adler says, “that changes the nature of our constitutional democracy.”
It basically means that a president can do just about anything he darn-well pleases, with or without congressional oversight.
“Trump supporters, including Idaho’s congressional delegation, must face and answer a foundational question,” Adler wrote in a recent newspaper commentary. “Are they willing to support efforts by this, or any future, president – Republican or Democrat – to abuse the powers of the presidency and leverage the full weight and strength of the U.S. government to solicit foreign interference in American elections for his or her own political benefit?”
Congressman Russ Fulcher is not swayed by Adler’s argument and says that Idahoans shouldn’t be swayed either.
“I will continue to represent Idaho’s First District by looking at the facts, not making assumptions, and following this case with careful attention,” he wrote in a recent news release. “I urge my constituents to take the time to look at the direct testimony, read the transcripts, and form your own individual opinions on the matter.”
For one thing, Fulcher says, there is dirt about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, that warrants further examination and Trump had every right to raise the issue with the Ukrainian president. “In 2014, while then-Vice President Joe Biden was managing U.S.-Ukraine policy, his son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of the largest natural gas company in Ukraine (Burisma Holdings), and was paid $50,000 a month,” Fulcher wrote.
Along the way, Fulcher says, Biden threatened to withhold $1 million in military aid if the Ukrainian president at the time didn’t stop a prosecutor’s investigation into Burisma Holdings.
In the end, Fulcher contends, there was no “quid pro quo” on Trump’s part. Military aid was delivered to Ukraine, and Ukraine gave nothing in return. Fulcher sees absolutely nothing to warrant impeachment.
Of course, Democrats in Congress – along with Adler and other constitutional scholars – see plenty of evidence of a presidential shakedown of Ukraine. And they say that Trump should be held accountable. Yes, we’re living in two different worlds.
There’s a lot of high drama on Capitol Hill, but no real mystery about how this script plays out. The Democratic-controlled House will pass articles of impeachment and the Republican-led Senate will vote to acquit.
The best method for removing Trump is through the old-fashioned way – winning next year’s election. So far, Democrats are doing a horrible job building a case for themselves with their socialist rhetoric.