New Democratic Member: “We Gonna . . . Impeach The Mother**ker”

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After fueling impeachment calls in the election, some Democratic leaders are trying to tamp down on the issue despite the filing of impeachment articles on the first day of the session. The leaders could now have a serious problem in controlling dozens of members who secured their fees in part on impeachment pledges. That was obvious this week when newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) proclaimed the intention to “impeach the motherf**ker” at a reception for the liberal group MoveOn. The statement obviously delighted the crowd but undermined the credibility of the new Democratic majority in seriously examining the basis for impeachment. In a measure of the distemper that has taken over our politics, Tlaib has refused to apologize.

Tlaib quoted her son telling her, “Look mama you won. Bullies don’t win.” Tlaib reportedly replied, “You’re right, they don’t. And we’re gonna go in and impeach the motherf**ker.”

There may or may not be grounds for impeachment in the Mueller report expected. However, being a bully is not one of them. More importantly, the glee expressed by Tlaib is concerning enough but there also seems a lack of concern over the actual proof of a high crime and misdemeanor under the constitutional standard. Impeachment is not meant to be a partisan tool or some cathartic act. That might be a better — and less profane — lesson to share with one’s son.

326 thoughts on “New Democratic Member: “We Gonna . . . Impeach The Mother**ker””

  1. This is what it’s been like for many years. Democrats get applauded for using foul language and deeply personal insults against conservatives, while conservatives engender mass outrage against their fitness when they insult others.

    How about people perhaps use strong language without personal insults or vulgarity at all while addressing the public?

    1. How about people perhaps use strong language without personal insults or vulgarity at all while addressing the public?

      Again, a symmetrical standard contradicts Democrats’ insistence that they’re Special people, so won’t please them.

  2. She brings Third World values to Congress. What’s next? Fist fights on the floor? Our political class reeks. The DOJ is corrupt. Parts of the judiciary act as if they have the powers of the Executive. What a mess.

    1. which is why we, at home, have decided to consume less internet and interact more with our locals. Funny how all of the bad news is online but when we interact with people in our close proximity (what few of us do these days, that is), the doom and gloom aren’t measurable nor observable.

      Note to Americans: unplug your television, WiFi, electronic devices and do get to know your neighbor

      1. Yes, it seems all these electronic devices have been causing a madness to spread through society.

        And yet at the same time it feels like hiding from history & real events is the same as putting a blindfold on right before they shot us.

        Which reminds me of this movie: The Last Valley

  3. Abraham Lincoln –

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” After acknowledging that this plan’s “sudden execution is impossible,” he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”
    _______________________________________________________

    Federal naturalization laws (1790, 1795).

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790).

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person,…
    _______________________

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton
    _________________

    “…amendments…of such a nature as will not injure the Constitution…”

    ”And if there are amendments desired, of such a nature as will not injure the constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give satisfaction to the doubting part of our fellow citizens; the friends of the federal government will evince that spirit of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished.”

    – James Madison
    Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, June 8, 1789
    _____________________________________________

    We gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it.”

    – Ben Franklin

    1. Mr. Constitution objects, without the possibility of challenge. If the cause of the taxation is not “…general Welfare…,” the Congress does not have the power to legislate a tax at any level. Most certainly, punitive taxation is precluded. Similarly, Congress has merely the power to regulate the flow, exchange or trade aspect of commerce among the several states, omitting and, thereby, excluding the power to regulate the conduct of any free enterprise; the design, engineering, production, marketing or any other aspect of products or services of private free enterprise.

      Article 1
      Section 8

      The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

      To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

      To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

        1. Central planning, control of the means of production, redistribution of wealth and social engineering are not debts they are violations of constitutional limitations on government and the freedoms and private property rights of individuals. The Founders incurred debts traditionally and customarily for war. Seriously; you just said that? In case you didn’t get the memo, the American Revolution was against an unlimited, tyrannical and oppressive, monarchical government and taxation without representation. America got rid of that totalitarian dictatorship.

      1. Well, if you don’t like taxation you can always move to a place that doesn’t have any.

        New Georgia Island.

        1. DB Benson,
          … My comment was about your 91% tax rate proposal, not a comment about taxation in general.
          No need for me to move, and I understand your favorable views of stratospheric tax rates…for others.

          1. Since Bradford deLong (who to be sure doesn’t publish in this area but has certain biases and affiliations) has said that marginal rates in excess of 70% are self-defeating, it’s a reasonable wager for the rest of us that you’re on the wrong side of the Laffer curve with a 91% rate (though such rates were made use of during the 2d World War; pretty amusing that Benson the Quaker fellow-traveler would like the government to behave as if we were all in the midst of a general mobilization).

        2. I’m already in that land of no dictatorship, infinitesimal taxation and freedom sans central planning, control of the means of production, redistribution of wealth and social engineering, the United States of America. You, comrade, will find your home and fellowship in China or Cuba. Now, off with you.

  4. Those interested in discussing tax rates ought to be acquainted with “Utilitarianism” by John Stuart Mill. Probably also various subsequent thought on these matters. I recommend the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as offering suitable articles.

    1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feeding_the_multitude
      DB Benson,….
      I have a better suggestion for reading material, and I’ve enclosed a link instead of just saying go read this or that.
      When most of those advocating for extremely high tax rates for the wealthiest realize the actual amount of additional revenue that move will realistically generate, they’ll need to look for pointers on how to stretch out that sum .
      To achieve the lofty goals of using the actual amount of funds raised (cutting the deficit, bolstering MediCare, MediCaid, and Social Security, dealing with the homeless, Veterans programs), I provided this link on how to do much with very little.

        1. DB Benson,…
          I remember enough of Mill that I think I understand him.
          I can see where your students in the economics class you must have taught might not understand Mill.
          I didn’t even know WSU let engineers teach econ.

          1. Again your manifold errors.

            But to the point, do try to apply utility theory to the current situation. It is not merely academic.

              1. The wrong, wrong, wrong does not count; you need to learn to CAPITALIZE all letters, like it’s a news flash from HHHNN, to make it effective._ Tom, _ ( it may post as “anonymous”)

    2. In the United States of America, here’s all you need to know; to read – that which omits and, thereby, excludes any power by Congress to tax for individual welfare:

      Article 1
      Section 8

      The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

  5. REGARDING OCASIO-CORTEZ TAX IDEAS

    We don’t need to tax upper brackets at 70%. But upper brackets could easily pay 43 or 47%. The wealthiest could do their part to bring down debt and deficit. It honestly wouldn’t hurt them to pay a little more.

    We don’t need to cut Medicare and Social Security. And we can have ‘robust’ Obamacare and call it ‘Medicaid’. Whites like Obamacare when it’s called ‘Medicaid’. Hospitals and insurance companies were totally on board.

    The biggest threat to capitalism is ‘not’ socialism. The biggest threat is ‘discontented masses’. Workers who can’t survive on their low wages. Some are taxed by student loans that keep them poor for decades. This could be an issue with Millennials.

    Inequality comes in different forms: “Lack of union power”. “Weak minimum wage”. “Lack of affordable housing in major job markets’. “Wage discrimination based on gender”. “Outsourcing to Contractors”. “High premiums for healthcare”. “High Tuition Costs”. “Security Costs”.. The list goes on and on.

    No single government, city, state or federal, has sufficient funding to deal with all these issues in a timely manner.

    BUT ONE THING WE DON’T NEED ARE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH

    1. Peter, your tax proposals are not at all specific.
      For one thing, you don’t define what “the wealthiest” group is.
      E.G., does you proposed 43-47% top rate kick in on annual income above $200,000?
      Or $2 Million, or $20 million?
      Once you establish that, the next step should be a realistic, serious estimate of the amount of additional tax revenue that would be raised.
      If you’re completely in the dark on that as well, then you can’t make any assumptions about how much it would “bring down the debt and deficit”.
      And if you advocate using the anticipated additional revenue for additional spending on programs like health care, lowering/ paying for college tuition, etc., you can’t have it both ways.
      That is, you can’t say “let’s use this extra tax money for deficit reduction” and simultaneously say “let’s spend it on these programs”.
      If you come up with some specifics….let’s say your tax proposal would raise an additional $30 Billion a year….how much of that do you want to use to narrow the One $Trillion annual deficits that are ( not far) down the road, and how much do you use for additional spending.
      Again, you can’t have it both ways.

      1. Okay, Tom, let’s go back to rates that prevailed during the 1990’s. Bush Sr. raised taxes and Clinton raised some more. Yet we had a robust economic expansion from 1993-2000. That expansion was great for everyone.

        We didn’t need any of the tax cuts implemented under George W. Those cuts, combined with the invasion of Iraq, surged the debt and deficits. And they were foolishly timed. The Baby Boomers began retiring in 2011 putting increased pressure on S.S. and Medicare.

        So let’s rollback Trump’s tax cuts from last year. And rollback all of George W’s tax cuts. Neither of those rollbacks would be any hardship for the rich. They would barely notice. We could preserve S.S., Medicare and realize Obamacare as it was first envisioned. Real Obamacare would be greatly cheaper than Medicare For All.

        It’s ridiculous to advocate cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while promoting stupid tax breaks for the wealthiest. Why should commoners sacrifice for the very rich..?? It makes no sense at all..!!

        1. I EXPLORE UPSCALE CANYONS

          This past year I made an effort to explore every canyon community between Hollywood and Pacific Palisades. As a veteran canyon hiker it became a fun challenge. I can walk uphill 90 minutes on winding canyon roads.

          To my surprise Beverly Hills is bigger than I knew. More up in the hills than my old perception. Extensive canyon communities with mansions back to back; gorgeous streets of pastels smothered in flowers!

          It can take 3 hours to hike these communities. And during these hikes one sees countless beautiful designs. Incredibly rich patterns of landscaping and architecture. All completely hidden from the general public!

          So I assure Libertarians the rich are living splendidly. ‘More’ than you think!

          1. Most of that is outside the Beverly Hills city limits.

            But it is nice. Also now exceedingly expen$ive.

        2. I ask you some specific questions, Peter, involving anticipated amounts your proposed tax hikes would raise, how it would be used, etc.
          And you come back with more very general, unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky drivel about how raising taxes back to Bush41 or Bill Clinton levels is somehow related a “robust economic expansion”.
          Is there any point in asking you if you now want to go back to the 39.6% rate of Bush 41, Clinton, and Obama?
          Or are you back to your “old” proposal of 43-47%, which you made hours ago?
          Will you next advocate Hyphen-Cortez’s 70% top rate proposals?
          Agreeing with you that the tax cut trend has gone too far doesn’t mean that I’m buying some non-specific, unrealistic proposals by you.
          Maybe the Bernie crowd will try to sell this; having projected that the “MediCare for All” plan will save the average family $5,000+, why don’t we just take that $5,000 in imaginary savings from each family and use it to reduce deficits?
          I’m not interested in financial alchemy or the Jonathan Gruber approach to selling a program or proposal.

          1. Tom, contrary to what people on this blog might think, I’m not really engaging from the DNC’s basement. My comments aren’t talking points for them ‘or’ David Brock.

            So if I haven’t formulated a specific tax proposal complete with spread sheets and a laser point show, please forgive the oversight. I’m just telling you there is plenty of slack to rollback taxes on the wealthy without ‘any’ hardship to them. They won’t need to subdivide their mansions into rental units.

            But again, for the twentieth time: ‘We don’t have to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid’. None of those cuts are needed! We can have a social safety net, for the poor and elderly, without soaking the rich or driving them abroad.

            The problem is Republicans have been inundated with ‘Tax Cuts, Tax Cuts, Tax Cuts’ for 40 years. So Republicans naturally think any threat to tax cuts is a threat their beliefs. As though tax cuts in themselves can substitute for governance. That’s ‘why’ Republicans can’t govern; they are, first and foremost, stewards for the Koch Brothers.

            1. But again, for the twentieth time: ‘We don’t have to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid’. None of those cuts are needed! We can have a social safety net, for the poor and elderly, without soaking the rich or driving them abroad.

              Peter, we had a rather large increase in the size of the annual birth cohort between 1936 and 1957 (it has fluctuated around 3.9 million ever since). That would have influenced the dimension of the cohorts reaching retirement age even if there had been no improvement in the share of people living to the age of 65 (and that share increased from 66% to 77% between 1935 and 2010). And, of course, people who reach the statutory retirement age live longer than they used to (the life expectancy of a person at 65 increased by 4 years between 1970 and 2010).

              The math here is unforgiving, Mr. Barbie. You can increase payroll taxes, reduce benefit streams, increase the retirement age, or effect some combination of the three. No way out.

              1. Tabby, the Boomer generation was 1946-1962. There is a different name for the generation born in the 1930’s. I can’t recall it off hand.

                But anyway, you’re responding as I expected a Libertarian to react. You’re saying that retiring Boomers pose a mortal threat to tax cuts. And somehow, you reason, S.S. and Medicare must be reduced (or privatized) to accommodate tax cuts.

                Like seniors should live in homeless shelters so Hedge Fund Managers can buy $30 million penthouses. It shows how Libertarian ideals, as promoted by the Koch Brothers, have totally warped the minds of most conservatives.

                1. Tabby, the Boomer generation was 1946-1962. There is a different name for the generation born in the 1930’s. I can’t recall it off hand.

                  Peter, I’m not writing witless magazine journalism. The salient number for the purposes of this discussion in the size of the annual birth cohort. The Depression-era nadir was reached in 1936. A peak was reached in 1957 which wasn’t equaled for another 50 years. The year 1946 is interesting in such a discussion because the number of births that year exceeded the previous year by 21%. You didn’t have any year-over-year increases larger than that during the 21 year period in question, so it’s something of a curio. The year 1962 is not an obvious punctuation mark of any kind, though if my own observation of haut bourgeois youth is any guide, you do have a difference in outlook between those of that cohort and people 10 years their senior (on average).

                  But anyway, you’re responding as I expected a Libertarian to react. You’re saying that retiring Boomers pose a mortal threat to tax cuts. And somehow, you reason, S.S. and Medicare must be reduced (or privatized) to accommodate tax cuts.

                  Actually, no, I’m saying your accounts have to balance. It doesn’t matter what other objects I might have, your accounts still have to balance. I can explain something to you; I cannot comprehend it for you. (And I’ve stuck enough stilettos into a Baskin & Robbins selection of libertarians in fora like this that it’s pretty amusing to be mistaken for one).

                  Like seniors should live in homeless shelters so Hedge Fund Managers can buy $30 million penthouses. It shows how Libertarian ideals, as promoted by the Koch Brothers, have totally warped the minds of most conservatives.

                  He said ‘Koch Brothers’. Drink!

                  Per the Census Bureau, there are just shy of 600,000 vagrants in this country at any one time (the Urban Institute offered an estimate ca. 1990 of 600,000, btw). Ten different surveys of local vagrant populations were conducted during the 1980s which ascertained the number of the elderly among them. The median estimate was 6.2%. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218239/) So, our single best guess is that there are about 35,000 elderly vagrants in this country. There are 67,000,000 people over the age of 60 in this country. I don’t think large scale vagrancy is a likely result of efforts to make Social Security actuarially sound.

            2. Peter, I never mentioned David Brock or implied that you were working in concert with him, or promoting his views.
              I think it’s much more likely that you’re on Soros’ payroll.😉😊
              Every now and then ( rarely, actually) I’ll bring up Soros
              in response to the stream of Koch Brothers!😩😧 references that have appeared in these threads and never fail to cause a panic for the Soros stooges.

              1. Peter,…
                I’m not asking for, expecting, or offering detailed, specific tax reform “with spreadsheets”.
                What I did ask was a specific question on where you think the top marginal rate should be ( e.g., 43%, 47%, 39.6%, 70%).
                You’ve mentioned 3 of those 4 top marginal rates as recommendations to raise more tax revenue.
                It’s not too much to ask these questions;
                A… Which top rate do you want?
                B.. When you or others say this or that rate should apply to “the wealthy”, what is ( roughly) your definition of “the wealthy”?
                That’s important, because you should be able to give some idea of the level at which these top rates kick in.
                C. Once you’ve answered A and B, how much additional tax revenue ? ( rough estimate will do) do you anticipate from the rates and brackets you want ( A and B).
                D. How do you want to use that additional tax revenue that you anticipate?
                Primarily for deficit reduction? To prop up programs like MediCare, MediCaid, and Social Security?
                For the homeless?
                Again, I’m not pressing for a real specific, detailed allocation proposal from you.
                I’m asking, generally, how do you want to use whatever additional tax revenue your proposals will bring in?

                1. Tom, I’m sure Senators and Congressman can spend exhaustive hours crunching numbers with regards to tax policy.

                  I only mentioned seniors in homeless shelters because that might be a possibility if we actually cut S.S. and Medicare. The truth is that even ‘upper middle class’ seniors could have trouble surviving if benefits are reduced. ..I don’t mean to propose a massive new spending program geared at homelessness in general.

                  Ultimately what we pay in taxes can only be appraised by what we get for our tax money. Our ‘bang for the buck’, so to speak.

                  A 70% upper bracket rate wouldn’t be a bad value if we could get the national debt under control, maintain a dominant military, provide social safety nets for the poor & elderly and extend Medicaid (Obamacare) to everyone who wants it. If we could get ‘all’ that with a 70% upper bracket rate, it would be a ‘good value’ for the country.

                  But again I don’t have spreadsheets and a laser show to illustrate my tax ideas on this particular Sunday. So pardon me if I keep it a little vague. My main point has been, and continues to be, that we have a lot of leeway for rolling back mindless tax cuts of the last 18 years. Those rollbacks shouldn’t be considered a mortal threat to capitalism or call for class warfare.

                  And again I repeat: ‘Tax cuts in themselves are no substitute for real governance’. In fact Paul Ryan is leaving the Speakership with an approval rating of just 12%. No wonder! Ryan’s idea of governance is simply “cut, cut, cut’. That’s not leadership! No American of any age is inspired by a Speaker whose ideas begin and end with ‘cut, cut, cut’.

                  1. that might be a possibility if we actually cut S.S. and Medicare.

                    It’s also possible you’ll be run over and killed by a self-driving car today, Peter. I don’t think you’re planning your day with that in mind.

                    1. Tabby, my mom passed a few years back and financially she was better off than most middle class seniors. But those end of life costs were shocking! No middle class family has the means to shoulder those bills.

                      So I don’t see how seniors could really afford cuts to S.S. and Medicare. In fact, statistics show that a high ratio of retirees-to-be have totally inadequate savings. Some are still serving student loans!

                      Let’s not make seniors pay for low upper bracket tax rates.

                    2. Please focus. The subject of the discussion is Social Security, and not every aspect of the program, just the old-age benefits. The problems with the disability benefits are whole other matter. Discussions of Medicare are properly ensconced in discussions of medical finance generally. While demographic shifts put pressure on Medicare (which pressure could be partially relieved through one of the methods made reference to), the predominant problem is a subset of the problem of medical finance generally.

                      Now you’ve brought a discussion of long-term care to the fore. Social Security and Medicare are not designed to finance long-term care. Medicaid and certain state-based programs do that. Financing long-term care is a knotty problem which is ignored due to the obsessive focus on trying to find a magic formula for financing medical care which doesn’t incorporate pondering trade-offs.

                  2. A 70% upper bracket rate wouldn’t be a bad value if we could get the national debt under control, maintain a dominant military, provide social safety nets for the poor & elderly and extend Medicaid (Obamacare) to everyone who wants it. If we could get ‘all’ that with a 70% upper bracket rate, it would be a ‘good value’ for the country.

                    Peter, you don’t need income taxes to finance the federal government’s employee compensation, plant, equipment, and debt service. A value-added tax will do. The downside of the value added tax would be the compliance costs for businesses and the effect of a consumption tax on the real incomes of the impecunious. You can cross-compensate the impecunious with income tax rebates. You don’t need confiscatory rates to finance the rebates.

                  3. Peter,…
                    I”m not at all sure that “Senators and Congressmen can ( or do) spend exhaustive hours crunching numbers with regard to tax policy”.
                    Nor was our exchange any where near a discussion of extremely intricate details of tax policy.
                    The questions that I asked you were fairly basic; I can see that you have no intention of answering them, so I won’t waste any additional time trying to get a straight answer out of you.

                    1. Tom, you’re trying to discredit anyone who questions endless tax cuts as a means of governance. That was your sole purpose.

                      As a I said before, Republicans are so committed to tax cuts they can’t think beyond. Their entire vision begins and ends with mindless tax cuts.

                    2. I”m not at all sure that “Senators and Congressmen can ( or do) spend exhaustive hours crunching numbers with regard to tax policy”.

                      I think > 40% of the U.S. Senate consists of lawyers. The current chairman of the DNC admitted he enrolled in law school because he was bad at math. You look at how taxes and how penal code sentencing rules are structured, it’s about what you’d expect of people who are bad at math. Joseph Stiglitz told an economist of my acquaintance many years ago that intra-administration debates over policy during the Clinton Administration were commonly arguments between economists and lawyers. Economists are not bad at math.

                    3. Tabby, you’re hitting on something important there.

                      As an academic discipline, Economics is ‘not’ a branch of Mathematics. It’s one of the Social Sciences; a fact that is lost on many pundits.

                      In the Social Sciences variables are always fluid and subject to change. Math doesn’t work that way.

                    4. As a I said before, Republicans are so committed to tax cuts they can’t think beyond. Their entire vision begins and ends with mindless tax cuts.

                      You keep running these scripts. Neither of us have discussed tax cuts per se.

  6. Here’s the blueprint for rescuing our country. It’s lengthy, but it’s nevertheless a timely and thoughtful outline from Leonhardt which ran in today’s Times.

    Opinion

    THE PEOPLE VS. DONALD TRUMP
    He is demonstrably unfit for office. What are we waiting for?

    By David Leonhardt
    Opinion Columnist
    Jan. 5, 2019

    The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Since virtually the moment Donald J. Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it. He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied to the American people about his relationship with a hostile foreign government. He has tolerated cabinet officials who use their position to enrich themselves.

    To shield himself from accountability for all of this — and for his unscrupulous presidential campaign — he has set out to undermine the American system of checks and balances. He has called for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his allies. He has attempted to obstruct justice. He has tried to shake the public’s confidence in one democratic institution after another, including the press, federal law enforcement and the federal judiciary.

    The unrelenting chaos that Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office as Trump. And it’s becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question: What are we going to do about it?

    The easy answer is to wait — to allow the various investigations of Trump to run their course and ask voters to deliver a verdict in 2020. That answer has one great advantage. It would avoid the national trauma of overturning an election result. Ultimately, however, waiting is too dangerous.
    The cost of removing a president from office is smaller than the cost of allowing this president to remain.

    He has already shown, repeatedly, that he will hurt the country in order to help himself. He will damage American interests around the world and damage vital parts of our constitutional system at home. The risks that he will cause much more harm are growing. Some of the biggest moderating influences have recently left the administration. The defense secretary who defended our alliances with NATO and South Korea is gone. So is the attorney general who refused to let Trump subvert a federal investigation into himself.

    The administration is increasingly filled with lackeys and enablers. Trump has become freer to turn his whims into policy — like, say, shutting down the government on the advice of Fox News hosts or pulling troops from Syria on the advice of a Turkish autocrat. The biggest risk may be that an external emergency — a war, a terrorist attack, a financial crisis, an immense natural disaster — will arise. By then, it will be too late to pretend that he is anything other than manifestly unfit to lead.

    For the country’s sake, there is only one acceptable outcome, just as there was after Americans realized in 1974 that a criminal was occupying the Oval Office. The president must go.

    Achieving this outcome won’t be easy. It will require honorable people who have served in the Trump administration to share, publicly, what they have seen and what they believe. (At this point, anonymous leaks are not sufficient.) It will require congressional Republicans to acknowledge that they let a con man take over their party and then defended that con man. It will require Democrats and progressive activists to understand that a rushed impeachment may actually help Trump remain in office.

    But if removing him will not be easy, it’s not as unlikely as it may sometimes seem. From the beginning, Trump has been an unusually weak president, as political scientists have pointed out. Although members of Congress have not done nearly enough to constrain him, no other recent president has faced nearly so much public criticism or private disdain from his own party.

    Since the midterm election showed the political costs that Trump inflicts on Republicans, this criticism seems to be growing. They have broken with him on foreign policy (in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria) and are anxious about the government shutdown. Trump is vulnerable to any erosion in his already weak approval rating, be it from an economic downturn, more Russia revelations or simply the defection of a few key allies. When support for an unpopular leader starts to crack, it can crumble.

    Before we get to the how of Trump’s removal, though, I want to spend a little more time on the why — because even talking about the ouster of an elected president should happen only under extreme circumstances. Unfortunately, the country is now so polarized that such talk instead occurs with every president. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama were subjected to reckless calls for their impeachment, from members of Congress no less.

    So let’s be clear. Trump’s ideology is not an impeachable offense. However much you may disagree with Trump’s tax policy — and I disagree vehemently — it is not a reason to remove him from office. Nor are his efforts to cut government health insurance or to deport undocumented immigrants. Such issues, among others, are legitimate matters of democratic struggle, to be decided by elections, legislative debates, protests and the other normal tools of democracy. These issues are not the “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” that the founders intended impeachment to address.

    Yet the founders also did not intend for the removal of a president to be impossible. They insisted on including an impeachment clause in the Constitution because they understood that an incompetent or corrupt person was nonetheless likely to attain high office every so often. And they understood how much harm such a person could do. The country needed a way to address what Alexander Hamilton called “the abuse or violation of some public trust” and James Madison called the “incapacity, negligence or perfidy” of a president.

    The negligence and perfidy of President Trump — his high crimes and misdemeanors — can be separated into four categories. This list is conservative. It does not include the possibility that his campaign coordinated strategy with Russia, which remains uncertain. It also does not include his
    lazy approach to the job, like his refusal to read briefing books or the many empty hours on his schedule. It instead focuses on demonstrable ways that he has broken the law or violated his constitutional oath.

    Trump has used the presidency for personal enrichment.
    Regardless of party, Trump’s predecessors took elaborate steps to separate their personal financial interests from their governing responsibilities. They released their tax returns, so that any potential conflicts would be public. They placed their assets in a blind trust, to avoid knowing how their policies might affect their own investments. Trump has instead treated the presidency as a branding opportunity. He has continued to own and promote the Trump Organization. He has spent more than 200 days at one of his properties and billed taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    If this pattern were merely petty corruption, without damage to the national interest, it might not warrant removal from office. But Trump’s focus on personal profit certainly appears to be affecting policy. Most worrisome, foreign officials and others have realized they can curry favor with the president by spending money at one of his properties. Saudi Arabia has showered the Trump Organization with business, and Trump has stood by the Saudis despite their brutal war in Yemen and their assassination of a prominent critic. A Chinese government-owned company reportedly gave a $500 million loan to a Trump-backed project in Indonesia; two days later, Trump announced that he was lifting sanctions on another well connected Chinese company.

    These examples, and many more, flout Article 1 of the Constitution, which bans federal officeholders from accepting “emoluments” from any foreign country unless Congress approves the arrangement. Madison, when making the case for an impeachment clause, spoke of a president who “might betray his trust to foreign powers.”

    Then, of course, there is Russia. Even before Robert Mueller, the special counsel, completes his investigation, the known facts are damning enough in at least one way. Trump lied to the American people during the 2016 campaign about business negotiations between his company and Vladimir Putin’s government. As president, Trump has taken steps — in Europe and Syria — that benefit Putin. To put it succinctly: The president of the United States lied to the country about his commercial relationship with a hostile foreign government toward which he has a strangely accommodating policy.

    Combine Trump’s actions with his tolerance for unethical cabinet officials — including ones who have made shady stock trades, accepted lavish perks or used government to promote their own companies or those of their friends — and the Trump administration is almost certainly the most corrupt in American history. It makes Warren G. Harding’s Teapot Dome scandal look like, well, a tempest in a teapot.

    It’s worth acknowledging that most campaign finance violations do not warrant removal from office. But these payments were not most campaign finance violations. They involved large, secret payoffs in the final weeks of a presidential campaign that, prosecutors said, “deceived the voting public.” The seriousness of the deception is presumably the reason that the prosecutors filed criminal charges against Cohen, rather than the more common penalty of civil fines for campaign finance violations.

    Trump has obstructed justice.
    What should happen to a president who won office with help from criminal behavior? The founders specifically considered this possibility during their debates at the Constitutional Convention. The most direct answer came from George Mason: A president who “practiced corruption and by that means procured his appointment in the first instance” should be subject to impeachment.

    Again and again, Trump has interfered with the investigation in ways that may violate the law and clearly do violate decades-old standards of presidential conduct. He pressured James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to let up on the Russia investigation, as a political favor. When Comey refused,
    Trump fired him. Trump also repeatedly pressured Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, to halt the investigation and ultimately forced Sessions to resign for not doing so. Trump has also publicly hounded several of the government’s top experts on Russian organized crime, including Andrew McCabe and Bruce Orr.

    And Trump has repeatedly lied to the American people. He has claimed, outrageously, that the Justice Department tells witnesses to lie in exchange for leniency. He has rejected, with no factual basis, the findings of multiple intelligence agencies about Russia’s role in the 2016 campaign. He reportedly helped his son Donald Trump Jr. draft a false statement about a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.

    Obstruction of justice is certainly grounds for the removal of a president. It was the subject of the first Nixon article of impeachment passed by the House Judiciary Committee. Among other things, that article accused him of making “false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States.”

    Trump has subverted democracy.
    The Constitution that Trump swore to uphold revolves around checks and balances. It depends on the idea that the president is not a monarch. He is a citizen to whom, like all other citizens, the country’s laws apply. Trump rejects this principle. He has instead tried to undermine the credibility of any independent source of power or information that does not serve his interests.
    It’s much more than just the Russia investigation. He has tried to delegitimize federal judges based on their ethnicity or on the president who appointed them, drawing a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts. Trump has criticized the Justice Department for indicting Republican politicians during an election year. He has called for Comey, Hillary Clinton and other political
    opponents of his to be jailed.

    Trump has described journalists as “the enemy of the people” — an insult usually leveled by autocrats. He has rejected basic factual findings from the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office, research scientists and others. He has told bald lies about election fraud.

    Individually, these sins may not seem to deserve removal from office. Collectively, though, they exact a terrible toll on American society. They cause people to lose the faith on which a democracy depends — faith in elections, in the justice system, in the basic notion of truth.

    No other president since Nixon has engaged in behavior remotely like Trump’s. To accept it without sanction is ultimately to endorse it. Unpleasant though it is to remove a president, the costs and the risks of a continued Trump presidency are worse.

    What now?
    The most relevant precedent for the removal of Trump is Nixon, the only American president to be forced from office because of his conduct. And two aspects of Nixon’s departure tend to get overlooked today. One, he was never impeached. Two, most Republicans — both voters and elites — stuck by him until almost the very end. His approval rating among Republicans was still about 50 percent when, realizing in the summer of 1974 that he was doomed, he resigned.

    The current political dynamics have some similarities. Whether the House of Representatives, under Democratic control, impeaches Trump is not the big question. The question is whether he loses the support of a meaningful slice of Republicans.

    I know that many of Trump’s critics have given up hoping that he ever will. They assume that Republican senators will go on occasionally criticizing him without confronting him. But it is a mistake to give up. The stakes are too large — and the chances of success are too real. Consider the following descriptions of Trump: “terribly unfit;” “erratic;” “reckless;” “impetuous;” “unstable;” “a pathological liar;” “dangerous to a democracy;” a concern to “anyone who cares about our nation.” Every one of these descriptions comes from a Republican member of Congress or of Trump’s own administration.

    They know. They know he is unfit for office. They do not need to be persuaded of the truth. They need to be persuaded to act on it.

    Democrats won’t persuade them by impeaching Trump. Doing so would probably rally the president’s supporters. It would shift the focus from Trump’s behavior toward a group of Democratic leaders whom Republicans are never going to like. A smarter approach is a series of sober-minded hearings to highlight Trump’s misconduct. Democrats should focus on easily
    understandable issues most likely to bother Trump’s supporters, like corruption.

    If this approach works at all — or if Mueller’s findings shift opinion, or if a separate problem arises, like the economy — Trump’s Republican allies will find themselves in a very difficult spot.
    At his current approval rating of about 40 percent, Republicans were thumped in the midterms. Were his rating to fall further, a significant number of congressional Republicans would be facing long re-election odds in 2020.

    Two examples are Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine, senators who, not coincidentally, have shown tentative signs of breaking with Trump on the government shutdown. The recent criticism from Mitt Romney — who alternates between critical and sycophantic, depending on his own political interests — is another sign of Trump’s weakness.

    For now, most Republicans worry that a full break with Trump will cause them to lose a primary, and it might. But sticking by him is no free lunch. Just ask the 27 Republican incumbents who were defeated last year and are now former members of Congress. By wide margins, suburban voters and younger voters find Trump abhorrent. The Republican Party needs to hold its own among these voters, starting in 2020.

    It’s not only that Trump is unfit to be president and that Republicans know it. It also may be the case that they will soon have a political self-interest in abandoning him. If they did, the end could come swiftly. The House could then impeach Trump, knowing the Senate might act to convict. Or negotiations could begin over whether Trump deserves to trade resignation for some version of immunity.

    Finally, there is the hope — naïve though it may seem — that some Republicans will choose to act on principle. There now exists a small club of former Trump administration officials who were widely respected before joining the administration and whom Trump has sullied, to greater or lesser degrees. It includes Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis. Imagine if one of them gave a television interview and told the truth about Trump. Doing so would be a service to their country at a time of national need. It would be an illustration of duty.

    Throughout his career, Trump has worked hard to invent his own reality, and largely succeeded. It has made him very rich and, against all odds, elected him president. But whatever happens in 2019, his false version of reality will not survive history, just as Nixon’s did not. Which side of that history do today’s Republicans want to be on?

    1. Iam truly sorry Mark M, but you should know by now that JT has gotten himself a bunch of alternative reality folks and flat earthers. Their minds or whats left of them does not seek facts or truth. Every month it only gets worse. They are digging in and to hell with what others think or say. They believe they are right and no facts or reality can change their minds.

      1. You want “facts”? Here are some that are conveniently left out of most mainstream media coverage of Trump’s time in office. Thus far:

        GDP Growth of 4.1% in 2018. Obama’s people said it couldn’t happen.

        Holiday sales strongest they’ve been in 6 years, up 5.1% from last year.

        Lowest EVER black and Hispanic unemployment numbers.

        Lowest ever number of food stamp enrollments.

        Black-owned business startups surge by 400%

        Wages rising.

        Prison reform passed.

        Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! numbers that are exceeding expectations for all sectors.

        Manufacturing jobs have now increased by 491,000 during Trump’s presidency according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Remember, these are the jobs Obama said “weren’t coming back” unless Trump had some kind of “magic wand” to wave?

        Tax reform was passed.

        Corporate tax rate was lowered creating a competitive pro-growth, pro-business environment which is bringing business back and creating jobs.

        Trump actually did what every other president said they would do, but never did: he moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

        Trump is the first sitting US president in history to meet with a North Korean leader and his efforts have created positive movement toward peace and unification on the Korean peninsula.

        A new Harvard study found that 80% of voters say we need a secure border. So, contrary to Dem and media talking points, the public is with Trump on this issue.

        ISIS has been decimated.

        Trump is ending wars and bringing troops home.

        Trump continues placing women in charge of key posts, including the CIA.

        Trump appointed the first openly gay diplomat as ambassador to Germany.

        Trump is calling out and exposing the “fake news” media and showing us that much of the MSM actually runs damage control for Democrats.

        And on and on it goes…

        So, THIS is what the country needs rescuing from???

        The Dems and the media are shouting let’s “impeach the motherf***er” over this? These kinds of results??

        Three words for you: Not gonna happen.

        1. Awesome; you don’t read very much, huh?

          this is to “I just go with whatever hannity tells me, and to hell with the facts” T-Hott bobbie

          1. Then show me “the facts” I’m getting wrong. Lay it out. And please don’t refer to the “rinse, later, repeat” opinion piece blather you just posted above. If I had time to rebut that article, I would. Maybe someone else will.

              1. But, but, but….it’s not blather, you say. Nope, according to you it’s the “blueprint for rescuing our country”….

                How’s that Hannity man-crush going for ya?

                1. Actually, I didn’t post the outstanding column for any of the gullible rubes, dupes, klan wannabees, pocket-traitors or grifters on the make; none of your ilk really care about facts or evidence as rational people who live in the real world do. You and your ilk aren’t responsive to reality so you just keep on doin’ you, playa, and the authentic American patriots who care about the Constitution will save our beloved country.

                  this is to “I just had my ‘hannity was here’ tattoo on my lower back touched up today” T-Hott bobbie

                  1. Rinse, blather, repeat.

                    I’m still waiting for your response with “facts” that show me where I’m wrong.

                    Til then, you keep doin’ you, “playa”

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