The Corner

White House

The Costs of Impeachment to the Country Aren’t High

President Donald Trump talks with reporters next to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Roy Blunt as he arrives for a closed Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill, March 26, 2019. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Impeaching the president when conviction is politically impossible, Rich Lowry writes, “diverts the time and energy of the nation’s political institutions as if the survival of a presidency is at stake, even when everyone knows it really isn’t.” Congress, he adds, “needn’t drag the country through a melodrama” given the known conclusion.

What has impeachment diverted the time and energy of Congress and the White House from? Raising the age to buy tobacco? Passing Trump’s tweaks to the North American trade deal? Spending more money? None of that was actually vital to the national interest, but all of it happened during impeachment anyway. This Congress and this president weren’t going to be getting a lot done together under any circumstances, and impeachment does not appear to have shrunk that amount.

We heard the same complaints in 1998 and 1999, with the parties reversed: Republicans were dragging the country through the trauma of an impeachment, poisoning the political landscape, etc. In retrospect, though, 1998 and 1999 look like pretty good years in the history of the country, and it was the warnings of the dire consequences of impeachment that were unnecessarily melodramatic.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Roger Stone Sentencing Fiasco

The first thing to grasp about the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is that Stone, even accepting the worst plausible gloss on his crimes, is a 67-year-old nonviolent first offender. If the criminal-justice “reform” fad were authentic, and not a stratagem of social-justice warriors who have taken Washington’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Roger Stone Sentencing Fiasco

The first thing to grasp about the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is that Stone, even accepting the worst plausible gloss on his crimes, is a 67-year-old nonviolent first offender. If the criminal-justice “reform” fad were authentic, and not a stratagem of social-justice warriors who have taken Washington’s ... Read More
Elections

Hunter Biden’s Devastating Influence

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day — grab roses or chocolate or something on the way home from work today. They’ll be more expensive tomorrow. On the menu today: the fair question of whether Hunter Biden cost his father the Democratic nomination; Bernie Sanders warns Democrats not to try any funny business at ... Read More
Elections

Hunter Biden’s Devastating Influence

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day — grab roses or chocolate or something on the way home from work today. They’ll be more expensive tomorrow. On the menu today: the fair question of whether Hunter Biden cost his father the Democratic nomination; Bernie Sanders warns Democrats not to try any funny business at ... Read More