Sunday, February 2, 2020

Please Excuse Our Appearance While We Renovate Our Democracy

I'm sure you caught Alan Dershowitz eviscerating the constitution last Wednesday, but in case you missed it, here's the money shot:

“Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest,” Mr. Dershowitz, a celebrity defense attorney and member of Mr. Trump’s legal team, said on the floor of the Senate. 
He added: “And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

I hope Mr. Dershowitz has a towel absorbent enough to get all the junk off his face.

We knew that the Republicans would do anything to move this trial along, and quite honestly, the Democrats in the House did  not help themselves or the case against the president by  punting on issuing subpoenas and fighting the denials in the courts. This gave the Senate majority the excuse to consider only the narrow evidence from the House and to reject new witnesses.  John Bolton could have testified in the House, but decided to get cute, or maybe stall until his manuscript was safely in the White House on December 30, so his offer to spill it all in the Senate rings a bit hollow. Not that I agree with much of anything John Bolton believes, including taking the US out of the UN, but it seems that he has a few vertebrae which sets him apart from the slithery amphibians who inhabit the New Swamp.

And Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is the first runner up to Dershowitz, saying that the president was guilty of what the House charged him with but, well, we can't throw him out because that would be too, you know, incendiary. And besides, we have an election coming up so we'll let the people decide. This kind of reasoning makes Mitt Romney, who did have the backbone to vote to hear witnesses, the conscience of the Republican Party. 

Strange days indeed.

For a political organization that's won the national popular vote ONCE since 1992, the Republicans sure like to throw the dice on elections, once for a Supreme Court seat in 2016 and the other this fall. They won the first. Let's hope they lose the bet this November.

And speaking of, with Iowans caucusing and generally making mayhem on Monday night, I certainly hope that the more moderate candidates win or hang in the top three until more representative states can vote in their primaries. I am not a fan of Bernie Sanders and believe that he is a McGovern/Mondale landslide waiting to happen. I like Elizabeth Warren a bit more, but again, I don't see her ideas winning the states she would need to defeat the president.

I'm going to nail my tent spikes for any of Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar or Mayor Pete because I truly believe that they can win in November. We are deep in a conservative era now and absent an economic disaster, which I certainly don't want to happen, I don't see the country swinging back to the farther left in a few months. 

What the Democrats need to do is give those people who voted for Obama, then Trump, a reason to come back. The focus should be on health care, jobs, the environment and a more common sense approach to immigration and foreign policy. These are the winning issues. I have no doubt that more will come out about the president's destructive policies in Ukraine and other spots around the world, so even without an impeachment inquiry, he is eminently vulnerable to someone who can make the argument that we need a more practical approach to policy. 

I could be wrong, but I think that beneath the seeming intransigence of people's political views, or at least what the media is telling us about that, is a recognition among many Americans that we can do better than the minute-to-minute tweetfest that we're currently engaged in, and that we can elect a chief executive who can speak about our aspirations and promise rather than appeal to our darkest fears.

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