The left side of the new media spectrum is furiously debating the question of whether, in the absence of any actual “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors,” or even any violations of the Constitution, President Donald Trump should face impeachment merely because the opposition does not like him.
In “The case for normalizing impeachment,” Vox’s Ezra Klein — a cheerleader for the Obama administration who backed the constitutionally dubious individual mandate of Obamacare and the flagrantly unconstitutional Iran deal, among other impeachable offenses — argues that impeachment should become a normal remedy for removing a president “unfit for office.”
This is a rather typical response from the Vox crowd, who declared the country “ungovernable” at the first signs of opposition to Obamacare in 2009 (just as NeverTrump Republicans who made their careers imposing democracy on other countries have decided, since their adopted side lost in 2016, that democracy is not all it’s cracked up to be).
Klein cites — wait for it — Trump’s tweets. He then expresses disappointment in those Democrats who are resigned to waiting until the 2020 election to undo America’s supposed “mistake.” He quotes, rather disapprovingly, one who points out, “We’re more or less a democracy” — as if that is an unacceptable concession to the political opposition. He goes on to argue that impeachment has a more flexible definition than the one Democrats insisted on when Bill Clinton was in office. Citing Cass Sunstein, he suggests a president could be achieved for “some egregious violation of the public trust.” And within that fungible category, the gears of the Voxmobile have already begun to churn.
“We are too afraid of the impeachment power, and too complacent about leaving an unfit president in office,” Klein concludes, unaware of the many grounds on which Obama might have been impeached, had Republicans been that self-destructive. “[W]e have come to see the impeachment power as too sacrosanct, as too limited,” he mourns. As for the consequences of “normalizing” impeachment: let’s dump Trump first and worry about that later, he implies.
Charles Pierce of Esquire is not convinced. He notes: “To argue that impeachment can be pursued if enough people in Congress believe a president’s policies to be wrong, or if enough people in Congress believe the president is not up to the job, is to turn separation of powers on its head.” And he asks the obvious question: couldn’t Republicans have removed past Democratic presidents for exactly the same reason? He cites the Clinton impeachment as a case of the opposition party abusing its power merely because it could (the perjury charge was “beside the point”).
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats, many of whom have been committed to impeachment since the day Trump took office, are busily searching for something for which he might be impeached. Their latest strategy, apparently, is to accuse the president of “obstruction of justice” — something that, Harvard Law School emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz argues, the president cannot actually commit in this context. “Normalization” may be their only hope.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.