Carnes: Impeachment rarely a partisan issue
When Tricky Dick Nixon stood on the precipice of impeachment during the summer of 1974, it wasn’t so much a political party issue as it was the sheer audacity of the cover-up.
Republicans and Democrats agreed that the concealment attempts of the Watergate burglary were much worse than the robbery itself, and Nixon wisely chose to step down before dragging the nation through more embarrassment than had already occurred.
Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 was a little more cut and dry — the president flat out lied and was caught with his pants down, quite literally it turned out.
Though partisanship played a role in his eventual impeachment, the official rebuke by Congress was demanded by most Republicans and Democrats. Not due to the man’s womanizing and “sexual relations with that woman …Miss Lewinsky,” but the simple fact that he lied under oath to the American people while also obstructing justice.
The Senate, however, was not able to achieve a two-thirds majority for conviction, and though embarrassing for Clinton, he was smugly able to finish his second term.
Which brings us to our current pending proceedings in which the Democrats are riding an impeachment missile made by ACME, while Trump — not the GOP — up until now has been the roadrunner standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue holding a cell phone and always somehow able to slip through the conspiracy net.
But not this time.
More and more elected officials, regardless of party tribalism, are reaching the obvious conclusion that something — anything — must be done to reign in this sad little man who apparently is mentally incapable of accepting consequences of his own immoral and, in some cases, flat-out illegal actions.
This entire impeachment fiasco will, sadly, do little more than continue to split the nation further apart, and of course by party lines, up until the election in 13 months.
But party membership is not the issue. Neither is the esoteric and grossly misused labels of conservatism vs. liberalism, right vs. left, capitalism vs. socialism, etc.
The single issue is the never-ending incompetence proven on a daily basis by the insecure narcissist that is clearly incapable of understanding the duties of the office.
In spite of the Republicans’ gut instinct to protect their own no matter the cost, they desperately need to come up with a viable candidate to go head-to-head against whomever the Democrats end up choosing next summer, as these next few months will be filled with little more than daily tweetstorms of insecurity and increasingly deranged bouts of extremism on both sides and never-ending desperation attempts by Trump retain his fantasy seat on America’s pretend throne.
The GOP’s anti-Clinton crusade and impeachment 20 years ago accomplished nothing in the end, and the Democrats’ anti-Trump campaign will backfire as well unless both sides unite to galvanize voters into removing this man who clearly does not know right from wrong, and will do whatever he can to not be responsible for his own actions.
False equivalencies and phony narratives spiced up with repeated bouts of whataboutism — Hillary’s emails, Biden’s son, Obama’s anything, etc. — are not going to work this time.
And no partisanship will be required.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.