You will pardon me if I don’t take it seriously. As I said on Twitter, Trump better be careful, or next time the Dems will hit him with a double-secret impeachment. The grave, somber faces of the Dems, and their cosplay Grim Reaper-black wardrobe, are obviously disingenuous. Same with the po-faced media. All of the above were giving a hostage to fortune when they pretended to be sad yesterday: Just one candid photo of any of them in party mode would expose them. (The first one turned out to be one of delighted WaPo political reporters celebrating “Impeachmas.” There will be others.)
I tend to agree with Ramesh Ponnuru on the merits of the Democrats’ case (see his new piece in our print edition today). But impeachment to me has no point unless it’s bipartisan. Otherwise it’s like indicting someone when you know a judge is going to throw out the indictment. So I’m with Jonah Goldberg, who has been saying: It’s impeachable but don’t impeach.
The reason the Dems couldn’t sell impeachment to the GOP is the hyper-polarization, which is getting sillier by the minute (Republicans invoking Pearl Harbor and Jesus Christ in defending Trump). But polarization is certainly a bipartisan vice. Jonah says politics has become “fan service,” which is a great way to put it. It’s all Theater of the Stupid.
The Democrats and their media arm would have had a stronger case if they hadn’t been banging a gong for impeaching Trump about matters completely unrelated to what they actually wound up impeaching him for since Day One. “Impeachment is not going to happen,” I wrote in an August 23, 2018 column. Based on events that had occurred by then, I was right! (In that column, I wrote, “maybe something so egregious will emerge that the Senate becomes open to removing Trump” but not “based on what has emerged so far.”)
David French said in his “French Press” newsletter yesterday, “Impeach him anyway.” A case could be made that impeachment is itself a sort of administrative punishment, a great big constitutional blot on Trump’s record. I disagree. I think you don’t go through with it unless you’re going to be able to take out the big dog. I don’t think it was wise for the House to impeach either Trump or Bill Clinton. What if Trump does something really spectacularly bad? I doubt he’ll get impeached again. He’s already made it clear he thinks various sorts of rules and standards don’t apply to him. If Dems truly fear him, they ought to fear him even more now that he has reason to think the legislative branch lacks the wherewithal to send him packing.