Politics & Policy

Impeachment Blather


Nobody said the Democrats have to be internally consistent or logical. Nevertheless, what a strange day of constitutional bloviating yesterday was.

‐One Democratic bloc took up the Alcee Hastings/Barney Frank school. Hastings was the Florida Judge who was impeached and then ran for Congress. He is fond of arguing that the Indpendent Counsel has usurped Congress’s Constitutional obligation to impeach the President. Indeed, he is trying to impeach Ken Starr for this, and other reasons. Similarly, Barney Frank complains, often, that the holy of holies—The Rodino Model—has been violated because Congress has not fulfilled its role as “fact-finder” as it did during Watergate. Nevertheless, this group of Democrats argue constantly for ending this as soon as possible, time limits, closure, etc. But if the Republicans followed the Rodino model in this regard, the hearings truly would be endless. And, since the Democratic proposal called for taking up only the Starr report, wouldn’t that obliterate the Rodino model too?

‐And the whopper of Constitutional disingenuousness is this gobbledy-gook about “over-turning” or “undoing” an election. Nonsense. As I tried to argue with some C-SPAN callers this morning, impeachment doesn’t nullify an election. It doesn’t reverse an election. Impeachement fires someone who has been elected. If you can’t fire an elected person for breaking the law, among other things, then we live in a country which elects a king for four year terms. Of course it should be hard to fire a President. But, as a matter of principle even the most loyal of Clinton’s loyalists cannot want to live in a country where a President is above the law until elected out of office.


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