Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Down In the History Books

Nixon: Dare I ask, will I be remembered?

Eleventh Doctor: Oh, Dicky. Trick Dicky. They're never going to forget you.

-- "Day of the Moon"

Never happened to John Tyler, although Congress tried. Never happened to James Buchanan, although it almost came up in committee. Never happened to U.S. Grant. Never happened to Warren Harding, but shoulda.

It happened once to Andrew Johnson, who barely survived by one vote. It happened once to Bill Clinton, but the charges were so farcical he was never at any risk.

It almost happened to Richard Nixon, who was the most likely candidate to have actually lost the matter and would have been the first President removed via Impeachment, except that he resigned before a full vote in the House could send the matter to the Senate.

Most of those names are for men who went down in U.S. History - save for Clinton, who's generally packed in the middle of passable Presidents - as the Worst Presidents our nation have ever seen.

They are joined by one more, a man more divisive than inspiring, a man more con artist than competent, a man who was already making the Worst Of list during his own tenure by historians who didn't want to wait the customary 20 years before passing judgment.

Except that donald trump has now set a standard no other Worst President ever reached:

Getting impeached twice in a single term of office

To David A. Graham at The Atlantic (paywalled):

This afternoon, Donald Trump, the third president in American history to be impeached, became the first to be impeached twice. The House of Representatives voted 232–197 to impeach Trump for inciting the attempted coup on January 6 and for trying to overturn Joe Biden’s election as president. The matter now goes to the Senate, where a trial is unlikely before Biden’s January 20 inauguration. No president has ever been convicted and removed.

It takes effort to get impeached, and it must be doubly so to be double-impeached. And to think, trump's been the laziest least-working President Loser of the Popular Vote (Twice! Oh hey, it's a trend) since Coolidge (and at least Coolidge had an excuse). Back to Graham:

No matter what happens now, Trump will leave the presidency by January 20. But the circumstances of his departure and his future in politics are up in the air, because we don’t yet know what will happen in the Senate. It is not clear where Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stands, nor how he might manage his caucus. It is not clear if GOP senators will break with Trump. It is not clear when a Senate trial will begin. It’s not clear who will defend Trump in a Senate trial or how the trial will run...

Yesterday evening, The New York Times reported that McConnell “has concluded that President Trump committed impeachable offenses and believes that Democrats’ move to impeach him will make it easier to purge Mr. Trump from the party.” Other outlets matched that reporting; Axios says McConnell is in fact leaning toward conviction. (His wife, former Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, resigned from the administration after the attempted coup.) In a letter to colleagues today, however, McConnell said he had not made a decision about how to vote.

Parsing these reports is difficult. Such stories don’t get out without McConnell and people around him wanting them out, for whatever reason. The powerful Republican leader is sending a message, but it isn’t clear what he’s signaling, or to whom. McConnell’s support for conviction would be essential to any effort to convict. While the past month has already shown the cracks in his normally rock-solid control, the 17 Republicans needed to convict will not break ranks without his go-ahead, but his support might encourage senators who have long disliked or even loathed Trump privately to turn on him publicly...

It is unlikely the Republican-led Senate - which will flip soon when the Democratic winners from Georgia take their seats - will risk party division by getting the two-thirds needed to convict and remove trump. Even if the Democrats hold a legitimate Senate trial if the process is delayed long enough for them to hold it, they'll need 17 Republican Senators to risk the wrath of trump's voting base.

However, the Republicans themselves are at a crisis point: The two major factions - divided between the Old School pro-business tax-cut deregulation types who don't want to break the nation, and the New Blood Anti-Government Rapture-seeking nihilists who want to watch the world burn - know that whatever happens to trump decides the near- AND long-term future of their own party.

The Senators are going to have to gamble on the possibility that if they impeach trump, they break his hold on the political reins of the Far Right fanbase, who might move on to the next demagogue who can promise them cruelty and pain upon their enemies that trump can no longer offer. But they risk the possibility that the rabid Far Righters are already too far gone, that they will still follow up on their attack of the Capitol and on Congress to continue their Anti-Government Crusade and unleash more violence across their homes as well as the liberals'.

The thing is: The Democrats tonight are more organized and outraged by trump's acts of sedition and lawlessness than the Republicans are trying to defend themselves or defend trump. The Republicans are finding a little too late they cannot defend both.

One week to go, before Biden gets sworn in.

One week to go, to see the Worst President Loser of the Popular Vote trump go down not only in the history books, but going down to the local precinct to get booked for his crimes against the United States.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Disqualifying Fergus from holding office is important. Remove that eventuality from their menu of options and the Pig People have less reason to misbehave the way they are currently planning to misbehave.

Then we need all Republican office holders to publicly announce that Biden won a free and fair election and that all claims of widespread election fraud are lies cooked up by Republicans to fleece their followers.

Only then can we move toward unifying the country, as that unification must happen around accepted reality.

-Doug in Sugar Pine