Author Topic: Impeachment  (Read 16297 times)

miss jane marple

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2019, 09:23:56 AM »
Show me how it harms me

Once upon a time there was this fellow named Martin Niemöller.....
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aside

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2019, 09:36:48 AM »
Show me how it harms me

Once upon a time there was this fellow named Martin Niemöller.....

Indeed!  And by the time you realize how it harms you, Descartes, it will be too late.  Now is the time.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2019, 10:17:27 AM »

I've generally favored impeachment since before the inauguration.  However, it is necessary to balance the obvious gains from impeaching Dump with the serious negatives that will accrue with a Prez. Pence.

Pence sucks, but I'm pretty sure he can't win a national election. If Trump's not on the ticket, I don't think his base is likely to turn out for Pence. From what I've seen, Pence isn't a great campaigner. Hell, he wasn't even especially popular in Indiana.

Or, at least, I think he's a much weaker national-level candidate than Trump is. Almost certainly much more competent overall, and probably worse along several dimensions as a result, but not much of a campaigner.


This reminds me a lot of the Kavanaugh vote. 6 Democratic senators were up for re-election in very close races. 5 voted against confirming Kavanaugh, because "it was the right thing." Those 5 all lost and polls suggest this vote really hurt them -- which makes all the difference in a tight race. (The 6th Democrat voted to confirm, got attacked by the base on Twitter, and was nonetheless re-elected. Because Twitter users aren't a huge voting block.)

Now, there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats in the Senate (counting the 2 independents). In an alternative world without this symbolic vote, it might be 48 Republicans and 52 Democrats.

I don't think this is the right calculation, for a few reasons. For one thing, I think that principled political stands are important, especially as symbolic gestures, even when they're losing propositions. They're important for future accountability, for moral reasons, and as a rallying cry for those who are on-side. They're part of how you differentiate yourself from the opposition, and that matters to longer-term political engagement, as well as to your ability to effect change. Just look at Sanders 2016. That was a losing campaign, and it was pretty much lost from the get-go. But because he stuck in the race, he completely changed the political conversation. He moved that dial more, with one losing campaign, than I've seen it move in my entire life. (Obama talked the talk, but failed to move the dial at all--not least because his follow-through wasn't good, and he stopped organizing once he got into office.)

Second, the result of that loss is, I think, much worse than you've made out. While those 5 Democrats got turfed, the long-term effect of appointing Kavanaugh will be court-packing. And while it seems to me that the SCOTUS could stand to be a bit bigger (and, obviously, better balanced), packing will not stop with a Democratic administration. Any Democratic packing will be replied to with Republican packing, which will necessitate more packing, ad infinitum. The SCOTUS will find itself at the heart of a much bigger political and existential crisis in the not-too-distant future. Similarly, I think that the long-term institutional damage for not impeaching a president who's committed a number of crimes while in office is pretty serious. Again, forget the Justice Department memo--it's a memo, not settled law, and it's bad for your political institutions. It needs to be tested. If you lose the battle, fine, you lost it, but you at least blaze a clear trail for the future. If you just suck it up and accept it--just like you suck up and accept presidential crimes--then you set a precedent that's very difficult to unset. It was the same deal with Garland, and it's the same deal with Kavanaugh.

Third, I don't think we should care about individual political careers, or even really about having our "own" side in power--at least, not to exclusion of having our politicians serve us, and enact our will. If doing what the people want goes against that politician's electoral interests, by golly, they ought to be doing it anyway. They're instruments of the people, nothing more.

Finally, I don't see the point in having 52 Democrats, as things stand. The House of Representatives currently has 235 Democrats to 198 Republicans, and what has it accomplished? It's funded Trump's border agencies. What else? It pretty much has no noteworthy legislative accomplishments. Democrats have shown themselves to be cowards, poor strategists, and incompetent bargainers. A few more senators won't fix that. What you need, instead, is a wave of new legislators who are willing to take principled stands and immediate action at the expense of the next election. (I mean, this isn't really all that different from what the Republicans did during the Obama years.) As things stand, Democrats will be running for re-election with nothing to show for their previous electoral success. That's not great electoral optics. It's much easier to run on actual accomplishments, especially over the long term.

If Democrats really want to stick it to Republicans, I think they should impeach Trump and forget about losing in the Senate altogether. Drag the proceedings on until the election is over, if you need to. But do it, and show voters you've done something. Similarly, they should be proposing all kinds of bold new bills, and not worry about having them passing in the Senate or being signed into law. Hammer the Republicans over and over, forcing them to vote against popular policies. Keep them on their toes, so that they spend their election cycle wrongfooted and responding, rather than attacking. And, at the same time, you'd be showing Democrats and new voters that you're actually good for something, that you could get something done if only voters would give you more Senators and Congresspeople.

Again, that's not a novel strategy. It's basically what the Republicans have done for the last eleven years. And it clearly works.
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Ruralguy

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2019, 11:51:35 AM »
Keep in mind that some of those Dem senators were in anywhere from moderately to extremely unfavorable demographic situations. Sure, they were when the got elected originally too, but its difficult to get lightning to strike twice in the same spot.  Also, a lot of the Dems in that situation were coming up at the same time. 2020 is expected to be more favorable to the Democrats. I doubt it would be enough to make removal from office a possibility after impeachment, but I agree that we have to try anyway.

Puget

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2019, 12:09:29 PM »
I believe the original title of this thread on the old forum was "when will there be impeachment?". It was a long time coming, but finally, have an answer to that question:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/24/us/politics/democrats-impeachment-trump.html?action=click&module=Alert&pgtype=Homepage
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pigou

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2019, 12:28:40 PM »
This Biden and Ukraine stuff is a distraction.  Show me how it harms me and why I should favor impeachment.
It depends on how much of it is hype and how much of it is substantiated. With the breaking news that Pelosi will not oppose beginning impeachment processes, it may well turn out to be largely substantiated. Withholding funds approved by Congress and of strategic importance to the US global interest to coerce someone in helping a re-election campaign is not a minor infraction. This also isn't on the level of a technicality or of coordination with Russian trolls.

It remains to be seen how damning the evidence is. But I'm going to go with "Pelosi knows more than the public" when it comes to this whistleblower complaint. Congress does actually have a lot more access to information than any of us -- and if Pelosi has shown one thing, is that she's not pulling the trigger on impeachment just to appease a fringe group of the base. That gives her support meaning and credibility.

Just look at Sanders 2016. That was a losing campaign, and it was pretty much lost from the get-go. But because he stuck in the race, he completely changed the political conversation. He moved that dial more, with one losing campaign, than I've seen it move in my entire life. (Obama talked the talk, but failed to move the dial at all--not least because his follow-through wasn't good, and he stopped organizing once he got into office.)
He might have shifted the Overton window, but he hasn't shifted policy. The most likely scenario today is Biden being the next president with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans controlling the Senate. That's not a strong position for policies like a $15/hr min wage or abolishing private insurance. The majority of the candidates running for the Democratic primaries may be sharing his policy views, but that doesn't mean the nominee ultimately will.

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Second, the result of that loss is, I think, much worse than you've made out. While those 5 Democrats got turfed, the long-term effect of appointing Kavanaugh will be court-packing.
The key part here is that the 6 Democratic senators could not have prevented the confirmation. But if the 3 of the 5 Democrats who voted against it and ended up losing their seat had not lost their election, they could have prevented dozens (hundreds?) of confirmations of federal judges. It was a symbolic vote that probably lead to material costs.

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The SCOTUS will find itself at the heart of a much bigger political and existential crisis in the not-too-distant future.
Personally, I doubt it: the politicization of SCOTUS is way over-reported, given the realities of the decisions. Most decisions are either unanimous or have a single dissent on a technicality. And rulings like Citizen United are absurdly misreported by the media: nothing in that ruling said Congress couldn't pass campaign finance regulation that remedied the problems raised in the ruling. It's a political decision not to do so. You can't look at SCOTUS to fix problems in Congress -- that's not their job.

In many ways, some of the hallmark rulings of the Court are clearly over-reaching on the merits. Take the ruling that the federal government could prohibit restaurants to discriminate on the basis of race. The outcome, obviously, very much desirable. But the reasoning... the argument was that a restaurant discriminating against African Americans would purchase fewer products (like meat), and this drop in demand would affect interstate prices of ingredients used by restaurants... and that's why it fell under the interstate commerce clause. There's just no way to look at this decision through any lens other than that there was a desired outcome that had to be justified. Either that, or our decision to post on this forum also falls under the interstate commerce clause, because it's time we could use productively, which would (if nothing else) shift labor costs.

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Finally, I don't see the point in having 52 Democrats, as things stand. The House of Representatives currently has 235 Democrats to 198 Republicans, and what has it accomplished? It's funded Trump's border agencies. What else? It pretty much has no noteworthy legislative accomplishments.
*Because* there's no majority in the senate. 52 Democrats means regulatory committees have majorities of Democrats on them. This would have protected net neutrality, among other things. There's a million little things that happen in the underbelly of government (aka the "deep state") that would be materially more progressive if Democrats, and not Republicans, had the majority on committees.

Funding border protection is also perfectly sensible. Yes, the whole "build a wall" drive is nonsense... but of course you want to have border protection in place. Trump is exaggerating drug and human trafficking, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist... and, importantly, it doesn't mean that it's not responsive to border checkpoints.

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If Democrats really want to stick it to Republicans, I think they should impeach Trump and forget about losing in the Senate altogether. Drag the proceedings on until the election is over, if you need to. But do it, and show voters you've done something. Similarly, they should be proposing all kinds of bold new bills, and not worry about having them passing in the Senate or being signed into law. Hammer the Republicans over and over, forcing them to vote against popular policies. Keep them on their toes, so that they spend their election cycle wrongfooted and responding, rather than attacking. And, at the same time, you'd be showing Democrats and new voters that you're actually good for something, that you could get something done if only voters would give you more Senators and Congresspeople.

Again, that's not a novel strategy. It's basically what the Republicans have done for the last eleven years. And it clearly works.
Some of the students I work with also have positions in the military. One of them put it fairly succinctly to me once: if you're not willing to compromise, you better be willing to kill every last person from the other side. Because no matter how overwhelming your power, they'll find ways to sabotage you on the last mile -- the one point where they have some local knowledge that you're missing.

I think that's exactly right in politics, too. When ACA passed, Republican governors prevented Medicaid expansion in some states... we now know this lead to over 10,000 preventable deaths. I don't know what the Obama administration could have done differently to loop them in, but clearly one side cares less about those lives than the other.

Keep in mind that some of those Dem senators were in anywhere from moderately to extremely unfavorable demographic situations. Sure, they were when the got elected originally too, but its difficult to get lightning to strike twice in the same spot.
Sure, but when 5 out of 5 don't get re-elected and the one who voted to confirm does, and when polls suggest this was an issue voters cared about (and they favored a vote to confirm), it's not a huge stretch.

nebo113

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2019, 04:06:46 PM »
It is happening.  I am sad.  My 3rd impeachment.  And will be the ugliest.

pedanticromantic

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2019, 05:30:01 PM »
It is happening.  I am sad.  My 3rd impeachment.  And will be the ugliest.

Sad?? SAD?? Today was an amazing day for all--Boris Johnson got spanked and Trump got spanked. Last week Netanyahu got spanked.  We're coming for you Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Putin ....!

mamselle

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2019, 05:36:41 PM »
It's heartening to think that the UK and US systems can at least begin to address imbalances through these means, but I do understand why someone might feel sad.

It's an indication of a deeper kind of failure that such things get to such a point at all.

Our lives are built largely on trust, and it's hard to have to recognize how fragile that thread really is.

So, it might be fitting to modify your rapture just a bit (pax, G&S).

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spork

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2019, 05:43:57 PM »
Sorry, but the only reason anyone has to impeach him is because you hate him so much. 

I'd say there are numerous reasons to impeach him that have nothing to do with hate. Many of my reasons relate to financial corruption by him, his family members, and his appointees, perhaps including Elaine Chao.

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The economy is doing BEAUTIFULLY, things are going great, we're still at peace - Yeah, he wasn't lying when he said we'd be winning.


Not really. Business investment is negative, federal debt has increased, economic growth is still below 3 percent, manufacturing is headed for a contraction, and income inequality is still at record highs. And in case you haven't noticed, we're still fighting wars in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc.

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This Biden and Ukraine stuff is a distraction.  Show me how it harms me and why I should favor impeachment.

This "stuff" is driven by Russia's foreign policy interests, which Trump seems eager to facilitate to the detriment of U.S. interests. Maybe by your definition having a President serving a foreign power doesn't harm you personally, and therefore you don't care, but I prefer a President who bases his actions on what's best for the U.S., because of stuff like the Constitution.

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2019, 08:18:21 PM »
The UK situation is looking serious for Johnson.

He stands to be the shortest-tenured PM ever if he resigns as he is being pressured to do.

It's really not nice to make the Queen look bad.....

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Parasaurolophus

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2019, 09:19:55 PM »
FWIW, it sounds to me like the Hunter Biden thing is potentially a perfectly legitimate instance of corruption. I hope nobody loses sight of that amidst the excitement about this other bit of corruption.
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downer

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2019, 05:59:38 AM »
FWIW, it sounds to me like the Hunter Biden thing is potentially a perfectly legitimate instance of corruption. I hope nobody loses sight of that amidst the excitement about this other bit of corruption.

Maybe that would mean that Biden would also be out of the election.

It isn't clear that the impeachment investigation is in the best interests of the Dems winning the Presidency. I know many who argue that the only consideration in anything at the national political level should be to get Agent Orange out of office. I don't agree. For one thing, impeachment is obviously merited at this stage. For another, the Dems need to work at a much more systematic plan, winning back the Senate and Governors, and providing a model of politicians people can respect.

It is true the economy is doing well by standard measures. I keep on seeing headlines in the financial pages about the coming recession though.
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Kron3007

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2019, 06:04:16 AM »

This Biden and Ukraine stuff is a distraction.  Show me how it harms me and why I should favor impeachment.

Really?  The president requesting that a foreign country investigate their political rival to help his election bid dosn't bother you?  It harms you because it is yet another step away from democracy and toward dictatorship with rigged elections.  If this were an isolated incident perhaps it would not be impeachment worthy, but when it is one of many examples in a pattern of similar behavior it seems like the straw that broke the donkey's back.

I don't see the senate following through with it, but I see how democrats don't have much choice at this point. 

Kron3007

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Re: Impeachment
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2019, 06:08:08 AM »
FWIW, it sounds to me like the Hunter Biden thing is potentially a perfectly legitimate instance of corruption. I hope nobody loses sight of that amidst the excitement about this other bit of corruption.

It is true the economy is doing well by standard measures. I keep on seeing headlines in the financial pages about the coming recession though.

Yes the trajectory of the economy from the Obama administration has thus far continued, but once Trump's policies have had time to kick in and his tax stimulus fades we will see how it does.  The weird part is that Trump was handed a great economy and is running huge deficits, but who has benefited the most?  What policies has he introduced that help out the average person using these resources?