To Restore Article II, Elect Trump

 

Clinton, TrumpA 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.

Members have made 18 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Ron Selander Member

    I think that you have nailed it, Rand!!

    I especially like your paragraph that says: “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.”

    • #1
    • October 13, 2016 at 4:18 pm
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  2. Profile photo of Mike H Thatcher

    Too bad the independent low information voters that he’s now losing and need in order to be dragged across the finish line couldn’t give two whits about the Constitution either.

    Impeachability is probably the best argument in favor of Trump. Unfortunately, it’s a little too cute to vote for the guy in the hope this might happen.

    • #2
    • October 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm
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  3. Profile photo of Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Mike H: “Impeachability is probably the best argument in favor of Trump. Unfortunately, it’s a little too cute to vote for the guy in the hope this might happen.”


    You misrepresent the thrust here. Nobody wants to elect him and then impeach him. That’s kook stuff.

    Trump can be impeached. Hillary cannot. Obama cannot be impeached. Electing Trump would be a factual return to a more constitutional, more conservative government. This is true no matter what Trump thinks, says, or does.

    As I have been saying, *it is not about Trump*.

    Please indicate whether you understand. I don’t care if you agree. Do you understand?

    • #3
    • October 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm
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  4. Profile photo of jetjock Member

    Perfectly states what I’ve been thinking. Thanks, Rand. Thanks Ricochet.

    • #4
    • October 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm
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  5. Profile photo of Mike-K Coolidge

    Rand Simberg: 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.

    I don’t accept this as given. Certainly, he is not a politician or a student of government. He has many vices, although those of Lyndon Johnson and Jack Kennedy far exceed his. I am not aware that Trump ever let a young girl of his acquaintance drown while he concocted a story to exonerate himself. I am unaware of any “Waitress Sandwiches” he has participated in.

    I am resigned to a Hillary corrupt administration and am planning to make personal arrangements to cope. One will be to buy more ammunition. I may need it.

    • #5
    • October 13, 2016 at 8:01 pm
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  6. Profile photo of Ansonia Member

    This is so good.

    Thank you for taking time to write this, Mr. Simberg. I’m sending it to my son.

    • #6
    • October 13, 2016 at 8:03 pm
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  7. Profile photo of TempTime Member

    Ansonia:This is so good.

    Thank you for taking time to write this, Mr. Simberg. .

    Ditto!

    • #7
    • October 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm
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  8. Profile photo of Randal H Member

    Impeachment of presidents and judges occurs far less frequently than it should. Impeaching Hillary would trigger a constitutional crisis and not impeaching Trump would trigger a constitutional crisis (using the left’s terminology). As Rand’s post points out, impeachment is not a crisis but a normal constitutional remedy for unconstitutional behavior. If it takes electing Trump to make impeachment great again, I’m all for it!

    • #8
    • October 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm
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  9. Profile photo of Clare Day Member

    That’s it in a nutshell (or well-condensed brief), my thanks too Rand.

    From 1968 to 1998 I was a progressive (D.) and a feminist. After ’98 I was Republican (constitutionalist) and a post-feminist. For that I thank not only both Clintons but every Democrat, progressive, and feminist who proved to me over the course of that year that our principles were lip-service, our power its own justification.

    Seems awkwardly just, as narratives go, that I find myself so completely committed to Trump’s election that I don’t really care about anything anyone accuses him of now or in the next few weeks. I’ve come to admire his courage and – wait for it – his intelligence, but as Ball Diamond Ball says, it is not about him.

    Even Trump knows this: “I could shoot somebody and not lose voters” is, I believe, his way of saying ‘My voters are after something bigger than me, you can’t destroy them or their ideas by destroying me.”

    • #9
    • October 13, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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  10. Profile photo of cdor Member

    Trump is the nominee for the Republicans. This is a binary choice…no matter how much protestation that statement will invoke. There is no way that the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate without a Trump victory. Very possibly they could lose the House as well (although less likely), but certainly would have their margins there trimmed substantially. So by crucifying Trump at every turn, by vociferously agreeing with every Democrat oppo expose, the never folks, as pure and honest and true as they may be to themselves, are unfortunately helping establish a Democrat controlled National government that will turn out anti-constitutional, anti-individual freedom, anti-sound economic policy that will crush this country. That is my belief and I think it is well founded.

    So yes@randsimberg, I agree that of the two, only Trump could be impeached. That, however, is not my driving motivation.

    • #10
    • October 14, 2016 at 7:00 am
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  11. Profile photo of Bruce Caward Member

    We don’t know that Trump will do anything impeachable. (It is a practical certainty that Hillary will, though as you point out she will never be impeached.)

    Trump is many things, including bombastic. It’s very possible that he carries on as he does because it might be the only way to keep the Clinton Machine off-balance. Might be the only way to topple them and win the election. After that, we don’t know.

    The craziness he has shown during this campaign cannot be his normal management style. He is an extremely successful businessman, in difficult businesses like big-time real estate, book-writing, and television. He has had to negotiate at a high level with unions, financiers, entertainment lawyers and agents, probably the mafia. He could not do this effectively and profitably if he were the simplistic say-whatever-comes-to-mind-no-matter-how-crazy-or-outrageous-sounding dude we’ve been watching lo these many months.

    I don’t think he’d have been successful in business to the high level he has unless he were someone who approaches every deal fully informed of the upsides and the downsides.

    As president, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be the same. Shrewd, sure. Calculating, who isn’t as president? Upsetting of the status quo, I hope so. But he doesn’t want to be impeached. Once he gets there, we all might be surprised by how good and effective a president he might make. The people who will hate him and do everything they can to precipitate his destruction are all those we on this site have been lamenting all these years, the entrenched self-serving political class.

    • #11
    • October 14, 2016 at 7:45 am
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  12. Profile photo of Del Mar Dave Member

    You hit it out of the park, Rand – thank you!

    When this most bizarre of elections is over, we will have to deal with the realities of whoever wins. (I think it’ll be HRC.) And I hope that the Republic can survive long enough for a few brave souls to begin a long, successful repair effort. Maybe the night is darkest just before dawn.

    • #12
    • October 14, 2016 at 7:46 am
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  13. Profile photo of Z in MT Member

    I have been saying for the fall this is the best reason to support Trump, and it is why I hope he wins over HRC. Yet, I cannot bring myself to vote for the man. That is the problem.

    • #13
    • October 14, 2016 at 9:21 am
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  14. Profile photo of Mike H Thatcher

    Ball Diamond Ball:Mike H: “Impeachability is probably the best argument in favor of Trump. Unfortunately, it’s a little too cute to vote for the guy in the hope this might happen.”


    You misrepresent the thrust here. Nobody wants to elect him and then impeach him. That’s kook stuff.

    Trump can be impeached. Hillary cannot. Obama cannot be impeached. Electing Trump would be a factual return to a more constitutional, more conservative government. This is true no matter what Trump thinks, says, or does.

    As I have been saying, *it is not about Trump*.

    Please indicate whether you understand. I don’t care if you agree. Do you understand?

    In general, only Republicans are impeachable.

    • #14
    • October 14, 2016 at 9:25 am
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  15. Profile photo of Topher Member

    This is the best description of the situation that I have read so far. Bravo!

    • #15
    • October 14, 2016 at 10:30 am
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  16. Profile photo of Bill Nelson Member

    Rand Simberg: 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.

    Not an impeachable offense. A High Crime? Hardly. This is government operating as expected, by protecting the common good from the hostile rhetoric of those who seek to deny the people the “Common good”.

    • #16
    • October 14, 2016 at 11:27 am
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  17. Profile photo of Invisible Hand Inactive

    I don’t understand how anyone who supports the Constitution as a governing document can argue with anything Simberg writes here. It’s the argument I’ve been making to friends ever since I got stuck with Trump as my general election choice (I have never, and will never, vote for a Democrat in a federal race because of that party’s disdain for Constitutional principles). Thanks, Mr. Simberg, for articulating this so perfectly. I’m printing out your post and keeping it in my back pocket for use from now until Election Day.

    • #17
    • October 15, 2016 at 6:23 am
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  18. Profile photo of Keith Preston Member

    @billnelson an impeachable offense is anything Congress wants to use. (High crimes AND misdemeanors) Use of the IRS is abuse of power, which is why the House Judiciary Committee included it in their report on Nixon.

    Benjamin Franklin’s ghost is watching to see if “we have kept it.”

    • #18
    • October 15, 2016 at 10:56 am
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