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A little over 42 years ago, Sen. Barry Goldwater and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, both Republicans, went to the White House and told Republican President Richard Nixon that he didn’t have sufficient support in the Senate to avoid removal from office if the House impeached him, as seemed almost certain as revelations continued to pile up in the Watergate scandal. As a result, he became the first president in US history to resign from office to avoid becoming the first to be impeached and removed under Article II Section 4 of the Constitution.
About a quarter of a century later, Democrats in the Senate refused to remove a Democrat President who had violated his oath of office and obstructed justice, by perjuring himself, and suborning perjury from others via bribes and physical threats, in order to prevent a young woman from whom he had demanded sexual servicing from getting a fair trial.
One of the articles of impeachment for Nixon would have been attempting to weaponize the IRS against his political enemies, something that Democrat Barack Obama actually achieved, while covering it up. Everyone knows that if the House were to justly impeach him for this, it would be accused of racism, and the Democrats in the Senate would once again refuse to serve justice.
What is the point of this brief history of presidential malfeasance? It is that Republicans, being devotees of the Republic and the Constitution on which it is anchored (the party name is not coincidental) are much more likely to discipline one of their own than are Congressional Democrats, for whom party loyalty and a lust for power almost always trumps the separation of powers and constitutional Congressional prerogatives.
We are in the last few weeks of a presidential campaign that presents the most horrible choice on offer in our lifetimes, and perhaps in American history. The worst things that each major-party candidate say about each other are largely true. The next President to take the oath to defend and preserve the Constitution will very likely either be someone who despises it (particularly the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights), or someone who has almost certainly never even read it. Both of them have high public levels of disapproval, and a large swathe of the nation will loathe the next president, regardless of who wins. That is where we are. But there may yet be a glimmer of hope.
Ignoring the self-righteous hypocrisy of the people who 18 years ago lectured us about “public” versus “private” morality, and are perfectly happy to prosecute their political opponents, let us stipulate that (like Bill Clinton) Donald J. Trump is a terrible, terrible person. He is a scoundrel. He is a con artist. He is a liar. He is a boor and a lout. George Will has a suitably caustic description of the creature.
Trump is also profoundly ignorant about our system of government, our military defenses, the nature and purpose of our alliances, basic economics, recent history, the principles on which the nation was founded … face it, the subjects about which he is clueless, and perfectly willing to remain so, would fill the Library of Congress. Yes, he is a would-be caudillo, and likely will want to continue the lawlessness of Barack Obama into a new administration, only in different directions.
Here is the problem. All that aside, Hillary Clinton is still worse. I will briefly go through only a partial litany which admittedly, by itself, does not demonstrate my proposition, but it is a necessary if not sufficient condition to convince.
She has shown herself to be incompetent in foreign policy, indifferent to national security and classified information, hungry for power over our lives and in fact indifferent or actively hostile to personal liberty. She is also, like the current occupant of the Oval Office, willing to trample on the Constitution to achieve her “progressive” ends. She thinks that it should be illegal to criticize her. Her economic policies will continue Barack Obama’s war on the energy industry and business in general. She will veto any attempt to roll back unconstitutional federal regulations that continue to pointlessly keep a boot firmly on the neck of the American economy. She will continue to flood the nation with people who don’t share our values and don’t want to.
She will have an opportunity to nominate at least one candidate to the Supreme Court (and if she wins, it is likely that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and perhaps others will finally retire, providing at least one other one). Her nominee(s) will share her limitless-government views, and could set us on a path by which the only way to preserve the Republic will be via the Second Amendment that she would eliminate with the stroke of a pen (or a court ruling) if she could.
And did I say Trump is a liar? They used to say in Arkansas that Bill Clinton would rather climb a tree to tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth. She’d be the same, except forget about trees; she can barely struggle her way to the top of a podium to do so. If she is elected, barring health issues (of which there are many), we can count on at least four more years of prevarication, evidence destruction, laxity with security, the selling (or at least subletting) of the White House, handing out favors to political friends and deploying the federal bureaucracy to punish her political enemies.
But having performed the prefatory throat clearing, here is the worst thing about her, and what makes her worse than Trump. Even if the Republicans, in the wake of their disastrous candidate, somehow manage to retain control of both houses of Congress, they will be just as powerless against her as they have been against Barack Obama. Because there is nothing a Democrat, and particularly a Clinton, can do that Democrats will ever accept as beyond the pale. And if she were to be impeached, it will simply be evidence this time that the Republicans are sexist, in addition to being racist.
The Executive branch has grown far too great in its power since the Founding, far beyond that envisioned by the Founders. This is because, as discussed above, due to blind partisanship (largely by Democrats), Article II Section 4 of the founding document has been used far too infrequently, and has had much less disciplinary power than they intended. If Hillary Clinton is elected, as we saw with her husband, this situation is certain to continue.
On the other hand, if he exists, a President Trump will have likely come into office with the lowest share of the popular vote since Abraham Lincoln, and will have alienated not only the Democrats (despite the fact that he’s been one for decades), but large segments of his “own” party, and will have minority support within it. And the man who would be his Vice President, Mike Pence, is hugely popular in his own party, and would be seen as a preferable President by most (many of whom currently think the ticket upside down, at best, if Trump should be on it at all).
In other words, a President Trump will be on probation with both parties from the moment he takes the oath of office. He is not a black man, or a woman of any color, so the Republicans won’t have to worry about going after one of the victim classes, other than septuagenarian orange people, a class for whom, when also considering John Boehner, Democrats feel few social-justice pangs. He will operate within the Constitution, or there will be bipartisan desire to stop him, and few on either side of the aisle will have any qualms in doing so.
Regardless of the electoral outcome, we are about to elect one of the worst presidents in American history. But only one choice will offer us a potential opportunity to rectify that situation.Published in