It’s time to Break It Down!
Last Thursday, the same day she was sworn in as a member of the 116th Congress’ Freshman Class, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who supports efforts to impeach President Trump, underscored her position right out of the gate. On Day 1 in Congress, January 3, 2019, she called for the impeachment of Trump in an op-ed article she co-authored with John Bonifaz for the Detroit Free Press. In that regard, she instantly distinguished herself from most of the Democrats’ top leaders, who caution that movement on the issue of impeachment, if there is any, should be set aside until after Special Counsel Mueller completes his criminal investigation.
Under normal circumstances, that move, in and of itself, would be a potently newsworthy step. It did, after all, instantly differentiate the newbie from a number of her moderate and centrist Democrat colleagues in general, and from Party leadership in particular. As it turns out, however, the op-ed was just the prologue.
Later that day, Tlaib attended a reception for the MoveOn campaign and spoke on stage. She ended the speech recounting a conversation she had with her son: “Look, mama, you won. Bullies don’t win,” Tlaib said. “And I said, baby, they don’t, because we’re gonna go in there and impeach the motherfucker.”
Social media exploded, the news media was abuzz, and Trump and his base feigned everything from shock to disgust, to flat out apoplexy. In making my personal assessment, I am willing to give social media and the mainstream news outlets a pass. After all, that’s what they do. When a public persona, especially a politician, runs afoul of generally accepted standards of communication in the public square, they pounce. For them, this was no exception.
I am not a proponent of whataboutism. I routinely challenge it whenever conservatives point to what President Obama did or didn’t do, or what Secretary Clinton said or didn’t say. I add the undebatable caveat that neither of them is President, because in almost every case, the matter I am discussing applies to the current President and his behavior, practices, and/or statements.
At this point I submit that conservatives and the media outlets they prefer seldom express similar concerns with the legendary and multitudinous profanities of Donald Trump. As a matter of fact, in the instances I have engaged with conservatives about such matters, and in many other instances which I have simply observed, conservatives spend an inordinate amount of time defending, justifying, reframing, and in a (concocted by me) word, Trumpsplaining his frequent off-color language choices.
As an example, in discourse with a Trump supporter over the weekend, I shared a link in which Donald Trump was captured using the same profanity as the one that instantly elevated Mrs. Tlaib’s media profile. His response? That was a bit old, and was before he was President. He also emphasized the way she spoke to a sitting President. Not one to be easily deterred, I then shared the link to a story about a meeting last Friday with Democratic leaders, in which Trump fired off so many expletives that Trump, the Donald Trump, is reported to have actually apologized to Speaker Pelosi. To that, this Trump supporter responded that he gets the way Trump uses language, and then noted that Trump says he has no time for PC. With that, he reiterated that Tlaib “used it towards a POTUS…not to mention the level of immaturity.”
It’s almost as though he parroted Trump talking points. At that juncture, this was my response:
“The way she used it towards a POTUS.”
“So…when he does it, it’s merely using language and avoiding PC. When his opponents use it to address him…it’s out of bounds?
I don’t think so. Moreover, the things he said before he was president, especially if he said them while he was running, count, since his supporters voted for him, either because or despite the fact he said them.
He didn’t invent coarse language. But he cannot immerse himself in it, and then have immunity from having it used against him. It’s either acceptable or it’s not.”
Trump, who is known for being Mr. clapback, responded to Congresswoman Tlaib’s comments, which also included the “I” word (impeachment), by saying she had dishonored herself, and also her family. He added, he also thought it was disrespectful to the United States of America. Isn’t it interesting how neither Trump nor his acolytes e-v-e-r think that he has dishonored himself, his family, or our country? FYI, below are the two links I shared with the gentleman.
So where does that leave us? I will not even attempt to speak for anyone other than myself. I have friends who call me Old School, and OG. I crossed a significant chronological milestone 10 days ago. Some would say I’m just old, and I’m OK with that. Leading with that allows me to say I tend to side with the view of the Democratic leadership on the question of pursuing impeachment, possibly for reasons that differ from theirs. In fact, I may actually view the situation more conservatively than some of them. I do not think it’s wise to pursue impeaching Trump now, or at all.
Why, you may ask? Simple. I view it as an arithmetic thing, a practical matter, and a strategic issue.
The House almost certainly has the wherewithal to navigate impeachment proceedings and indict Mr. Trump. Howsumever, the Senate is an altogether different animal, operationally. The decision on a conviction resides in the Senate, and requires a 2/3 (67 votes) majority. This is not 1973. In the hyper-partisan age we find ourselves, there is a virtually nonexistent chance that the current Senate, which has a GOP majority, will evict the current tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (Washington, DC). That’s the arithmetic thing.
Doing so without the imprimatur of compelling evidence from the Mueller investigation is a matter of zero probability in my estimation. That’s the practical matter.
Finally, when an overzealous GOP House successfully indicted Bill Clinton on Articles of Impeachment, the fallout was such that Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House at the time, who pressed the Clinton impeachment process, would eventually resign. Top Republicans of that era came to believe that Clinton and his Party recovered primarily because Americans voters viewed the GOP’s aggressive investigations and impeachment effort as misguided and politically motivated. Republicans serving at the time also believed Clinton profited politically from government shutdowns they forced to extract budget concessions from Clinton. Consider the parallels; tread lightly. That’s the strategic issue.
I suspect the Mueller investigation will yield evidence that will undoubtedly tempt some House Democrats to impeach Trump. My Advice is don’t do it! Take a deep breath and investigate, investigate, investigate. Remind every American, over and over, and over again of the litany of reasons Donald Trump and his cast of shady characters does not deserve to have its collective contract for services renewed for a four-year extension.
That’s my rant for today. “A Congresswoman Used Profanity: Trump Declared She Dishonored Herself, Her Family, and Her Country!”
I’m done; holla back!
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