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The Best Reason

There’s a post at WaPo about moderate Democrats defecting in order to not lose their seats. Don’t worry, it’s just a handful of cowards.

In the comments section, I found a reader whose argument for impeachment goes something like this:

If your office has more power than the Constitution, maybe you shouldn’t have the office.

That summed it up for me. The reasoning goes like this:

The Framers gave all branches of government checks and balance powers on the others. But in the end, they gave a lot of power to the Executive, ie the president. And then they wrote the oath. It’s very simple and short:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States

In other words, regardless of the power of the office, the president promises not to exceed his boundaries and step all over the other branches.

That means, if he gets a package of spending from Congress to protect our allies, he’s supposed to respect that legislation or go back to congress with a a better deal. He’s not supposed to dangle that money over the heads for personal gain. If he has the ability to talk to Congress to get the legislation done, he’s supposed to do it because that’s in the oath. Never mind that he can ignore congress if he wants to. He made an oath not to. We need to take that seriously.

Likewise, just because he has the power to withhold information from congress in terms of documents or witnesses, doesn’t mean he should. He agreed when he took that oath that he wouldn’t do such a thing. He agrees to stay within the boundaries of the Constitution. If he didn’t want to self-incriminate, he could take the fifth amendment. That’s what it’s there for. The fact that he didn’t turn over documents or take the fifth shows that he has no respect for the Constitution, which may have protected him.

Well, you might say, it doesn’t matter because we can’t indict a sitting president. But is that true? Is it written in the Constitution? It says that a remedy for a rogue president is impeachment. But if the office holder doesn’t respect the process, because he doesn’t respect his oath or Constitution, who’s to say he can’t be indicted?

You can’t have more powers than the Constitution gives you. It makes you not a president because the oath of office to defend the constitution means you agree to constraints. If you don’t agree to those constraints, there’s nothing in the constitution preventing the SDNY or whatever jurisdiction he’s been violating rules in lately, from indicting him.

Is there.

So, the commenter is right. If your office is more powerful than the Constitution, you shouldn’t have the office.

By the way, this is the oath that all congress members take:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

How many members of Congress are keeping their oaths?

6 Responses

  1. Why is it that every time I try to listen to the impeachment I land on some Republican giving the lamest excuses or screaming or whining that some hearing wasn’t fair because they couldnt get their witnesses to come and tell lies? Where are the reality based congress critters? I am so sick of hearing these obstructionists putting up roadblocks while lying to us like we are a nation of Cindy Lou Whos.

  2. All very true! My five minutes of watching recess commentary today, shows me Andrea Mitchell and Susan Page discussing whether some Democrats will defect, and how worried the Democrats in the Trump-won districts might be. The narrative is already the one the Republicans want, that impeachment is unpopular and risky. But the poll numbers have held steady in favor of impeachment. Page says that “The Democrats want to go on to other things, like the trade bill.”This would be unfortunate, if true. This cannot be some kind of “pro forma’ thing; okay,we did our duty impeached; now the Senate will acquit, and we will go back to passing bills which McConnell will leave to gather dust. This all has to be a major referendum on the President, because if he wins another term, it is really bad.

    Republicans in the House are indeed just whiners. They want to always win, they usually do; when they are not, they complain and whine and act bellicose. They are exactly the people they were when they ran in the first place: a bunch of entitled bullies who think it is wonderful to have all that money behind them, and the ability to cheat in elections, and then to grift off the taxpayers, and hold parties on the White House lawn to cheer the massive tax breaks to themselves and their donors. There used to be some people of probity on that side, but no more. They are all the same, I suppose like the Borg? Or maybe the Daleks, I don’t watch these too much, though I know that the Daleks are focused o “annihilate,” just like the Republicans, except that the Daleks seem more polite.

    Their main goal is the soundbites, and also the “both sides” thing, where any two opposing arguments are deemed valid by the media. I well remember the Clinton impeachment, and all those self-righteous comments about “he lied to Congress”” (about a consensual affair), and how he should not be allowed to hold the office, on and on. But this is a wholly different thing to them. They were talking about impeaching Hillary as soon as she got elected. And they would have, over and over. They would have tried to turn her Presidency into so many investigations and impeachments, that she couldn’t function, and the media would say that she was ineffective, because of what the Republicans were doing. “We need an end to divided government” is what the media would declare. The Republicans are hypocrites, they are liars and would-be thugs, they will never accept not winning, they bully even their own House members and the Chair. It is a sorry spectacle, only vitiated by those honorable Democrats who talk about facts and responsibilities.

  3. If Republicans in the Senate do not intend to all witnesses, then the Democrats must keep repeating to the American people that the rRepublicans do no want to hold a fair trial. It seems that via polling, most people want a real trial, not a sham. So play on that, let people be angry that the Republicans don’t want the people to hear the truth. Frustratingly enough, the results of the Senate trial are predetermined; all that is left is trying to win the support of the voters next Fall. I hope our Senators are ready to make some powerful speeches against Trump. We know that part of the reason that the House Republicans keep yelling about how unfair the process is, is that they know that the Senate is going to roll right over the Democratic members’ rights, but this will help “both sides” the whole thing.. Their motives and strategies are always obvious and childish, but they do seem to often evoke the desired response from the media, and they’ve always got Fox News to amplify them hourly.

  4. I’ve been treating the rThug’s longwinded factless speeches like commercial breaks: grab a snack, hit the loo, call a random Dem congress person to say “Thank you! Hold fast!”

  5. I guess you must have supported Impeaching Obama and Holder over Fast and Furious, and Obama and Hillary over Benghazi. That there was Obama’s hot mic moment with Putin’s seat warmer. That was a quid pro quo. So was Biden’s extorting Ukraine into firing the prosecutor investigating Burisma.

    Exactly what was Burisma paying Hunter Biden $81,000 a month to do?

    BTW – when you argue that abused his powers because there was no justifiable reason to investigate the Bidens, you open the door to evidence of corruption against the Bidens.

    • Tsk, Niles; you’re slipping.

      You forgot to include how the little gray space aliens beamed the basement of Comet Ping Pong aboard one of their starships, so the evidence against Witch Queen Hillary, the Consort of Lucifer, would disappear. 😛 😆

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