In May 2018, with Robert Mueller well on his way to a crash-and-burn appearance before Congress, I wrote a column asking, “Will the Deep State Conspirators Ever be Held Accountable?”
We’re still waiting, and the signals are mixed. At the time, my favorite comment on the piece (in a gallows humor kind of way) came from someone who wrote, “No…next question.”
Now we’re asking again: will the Democrats be held accountable for their partisan and groundless impeachment travesty?
The key difference is that in the former question it is fundamentally the government which must act to bring the dossier peddlers, the FISA prevaricators, and the rest of the cabal of unelected malefactors—Brennan, Clapper, Strzok, etc. — to justice. In the latter case, it is the American people who must, with electoral judgment, right the great wrong perpetrated by Nancy Pelosi, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and the edifice of leftist hate that has so rent the body politic.
Victor Davis Hanson was on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Jan. 14, talking about the damage this impeachment has done to the foundational precepts of the nation’s governance. In his professorial way, with subtle condemnatory inference, Hanson expressed concerns shared by Republicans, Independents, and fair-minded Democrats alike.
In concise terms, Hanson warned that the Pelosi impeachment has cheapened and grossly politicized the means and purpose of impeachment as originally crafted into the founding documents. That successful impeachments might very possibly become standard operating procedure whenever the citizenry’s vote results in divided government betwixt the executive branch and lower House—which is quite often the case.
To paraphrase, Hanson stated that impeachment, with the Pelosi impeachment serving as Exhibit A, is in danger of becoming merely another operational tool in the toolbox of adversarial political parties, with potentially little or nothing to do with legitimate jurisprudential oversight.
Let’s put Hanson’s admonitions in play with some examples. Though the likelihood is nil, what if Joe Biden wins the 2020 presidential election, and Republicans manage to flip the House? Is there anybody out there who doubts that pressure from the Trump-aligned right—which is the preponderant alignment on the right—to immediately began an impeachment inquiry on Biden would not be extreme? Say for example that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan is elected speaker by the newly-installed GOP House majority. It’s a fair bet to say that the ink would not be dry on the ballots before he would be compelled to launch the same kind of impeachment against Biden that Pelosi and company perpetrated against President Trump.
Take it to the next election, 2024. Mike Pence runs and wins, and the Democrats either have held or managed to re-take the House. Is there anybody out there who doubts that a theoretical speaker like, let’s say Maxine Waters (talk about gallows humor) would not immediately begin to beat the drum for the impeachment of Pence?
A look back: Nixon would likely have been impeached by a bipartisan vote if he had not resigned. Bill Clinton was impeached, but acquitted by the Senate. In both the Nixon and Clinton cases, there were demonstrable crimes committed. If you don’t think that many Democrats wanted to impeach George W. Bush, you weren’t paying attention. Talk of impeaching Barack Obama was rife throughout his administration.
The merits of each of the above scenarios have filled books and inspired immeasurable discussion, but here’s the big-picture conclusion: never-ending impeachment drama is now a fixture in American political life. The only question remaining is will these continual accusatory impeachments come within striking distance of alleging real high crimes or misdemeanors?
If the Pelosi impeachment is any indication, that horse has left the barn. No.
Taking Mr. Hanson’s concerns to the nth degree, it is wholly plausible now that the term of any president will be at risk of impeachment without cause if that president’s time in office is concurrent with an oppositional House. If the president is also beset by an oppositional Senate, removal will always be a sword of Damocles over the presidency.
The increasingly extreme-leftist Democrat position is that because it is Donald Trump, a man they hate, any means necessary to damage him is a defensible strategy. There are indications however that the balance of the electorate understands exactly how the spurious and divisive tactic of groundless impeachment is rending the nation.
We may not be able to fully eradicate unending impeachment drama, but there may be a way to slow it down. Make the party-line impeachers pay.
Most Americans—even many Democrats who abjectly oppose the current president–want elections to decide who our leaders will be. Once in the voting booth, they will reflect with dire consequences on forces bent on impeachment based on partisan ideology and irrational hate.
All Republicans, a resounding plurality of Independents, and a courageous phalanx of Democrats who wish not to see our country continually roiled by scorched-earth partisanship must go to the polls in November and deliver the message.
Mark Ellis is the author of A Death on the Horizon, a novel of political upheaval and cultural intrigue. He came aboard at PJ Media in 2015. His literary hangout is Liberty Island. Follow Mark on Twitter.