We have a system without rules

January 14, 2020

Having read Don Flood’s piece on impeachment, I feel compelled to write in response.  The actions in Washington seem almost beyond belief.  The one thing I would say is that I for one would not like to be tried under the process employed by the House of Representatives.  On the other hand I don’t believe that the Senate working with the president to address the charges is appropriate either.  The fact is that none of this bears any relationship to the way we’ve been taught how the process works on “Perry Mason” or “Law and Order.”

But then the process isn’t nor was it ever intended to be what we’ve learned on TV.  The Constitution notes that the president can be removed for several noted bad acts, assigned tasks between the two legislative branches, but failed to provide rules.  This left it to each chamber to write their own process.  The Constitution’s provisions are explained in Federalist #65, a document written by Publius before the advent of modern political parties which is incredibly prescient. 

Specifically, Federalist paper #65 notes that impeachment “will connect itself with preexisting factions and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by comparative strength of parties, than by the demonstration of innocence or guilt.”  

Thus by design we have a system without rules that will be manipulated by the party in power in each legislative chamber.  With that in mind, look at where are today.  

When you look back over the period since the president was elected, it’s difficult to see anything but a politicized process, a chess game, leading to impeachment by the House controlled by the left wing-Democrats and its rejection by the Republican-controlled Senate.  Today it seems those Democrats will do everything possible to tar and feather the president ahead of the 2020 election, and the Republicans will do everything possible to prevent that from happening.  And since no one expects the Senate to convict without a yet-to-be-found “smoking gun,” it all seems to be for public consumption.

(Sorry, Mr. Flood, the transcripts aren’t smoky enough, and I don’t think Mr. Trump’s tax returns will be either.)  But the real question is what motivates Mrs. Pelosi.  She didn’t favor impeachment and seems to have bent to the whims of her more militant colleagues to further the effort.  So I for one would say its foolish to look for justice in a system designed to gain political advantage. This isn’t about truth; this is about votes. And the polls would say it’s not your vote or my vote, it’s about Mrs. Pelosi getting the votes within her caucus to remain speaker.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and that requires a healthy dose of skepticism regardless of party affiliation. I for one would prefer the Trump situation be taken up again by the House; make them do the job they should have done in the first place.  After all, they made this mess, they write their own rules in this process and nothing prevents them from doing this. If they do and they put together an irrefutable case before the American public, the Senate will have no choice but to act impartially. If they don’t do that, they are wasting our time.

Mrs. Pelosi, the ball is in your court. 

And Mr. Flood, personal dislike for the man is not the basis for impeachment. 

And Publius, who authored #65, it’s hard to believe that you could have seen this coming over 200 years ago!  

As for the Bidens, it’s clearer every day that the son is a mess, and it’s more likely that he got ahead with his father’s help (his U.S. Navy appointment) or because people wanted to get closer to the father through the son (Burisma) than his own personal talents.  But the father chose to be in public service and that opens him up to public scrutiny.  Objectivity says that the father be no less open than he demands of the president. 

Lee McCreary
Rehoboth Beach



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