Impeachment and the Failure of Our Constitution

Ezra Klein wrote a piece yesterday that everyone should read on impeaching the President.  At this point most sane people have arrived at the conclusion that having a racist, misogynistic, pathological liar, who is unstable and may be losing his grip on reality for President is a very dangerous situation.  Ezra argues that impeachment should be used more frequently to protect America from temporary moments of insanity. Then he chronicles why it hasn’t.  I will just summarize here.

First the Founders put high crimes and misdemeanors as the justification, and then rejected defining those terms.  To make a long story short, it is up Congress.  We seem to be locked into the idea that it must be an actual crime or mental incapacity (25th Amendment) when in fact, it can be anything they want.  Ezra makes a good case that utilizing the 25th Amendment could cause a civil war as the deplorables who have their own reality, would see this as usurping power by the Republican elites.  It is a good point.

He also points out that the Founders put into place many checks and balances to ensure we would not be found in the situation we re in today, starting with the electoral college where the political elites were suppose to assert their better judgement when the rabble got it dangerously wrong.  Today we have a rubber stamp electoral college that overrides the popular vote.

He also points out that the Founders did not foresee the two Party system we have today that basically protects their own no matter how bad.  He noted that the impeachment process only happens when the opposing party to the President occupies Congress.  Today we see that in operation as a man who even many Republicans are calling unstable, protect him to protect an agenda.  But as Ezra pointed out, the Presidency is not what the Founders envisioned and the amount of power it has today is unparalleled.  In a moment he can destroy the modern world.

Yes, we should use impeachment more often, but as Ezra pointed out, not likely.  I think we are reaching a point where our Constitution does not work anymore.  On the tax cut debate, I listened to Bruce Bartlett, economist, historian, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, and Treasury official under George H. W, Bush, ask if we had lost our brains.  He is a traditional Republican who believes in controlling our debt.  He points out that the Republican Congress is in an alternate reality,  tax cuts have never paid for themselves, we are almost at full employment, and business are awash in money. A tax cut is not even called for, but tax reform is.

Further he makes a really insightful observation, the majority of the country is against this tax cut, and Republicans don’t care.  He points out that it is possible under our Constitution for 40% of the population to elect a super majority.  In other words we have a system where our representatives are not responsive to the electorate, but only to their donors with no fear of retribution.  In other words, our system doesn’t work any more, from the electoral college and gerrymandering, to unfair representation by rural states.

I really wonder as Ezra did if we have the wrong system for today’s world and we need a system similar to a parliamentary system where a vote of no confidence would force an election where the people can speak again and not wait 4 years.  We have a lot to fix and it is becoming clear that under our system, we can’t fix it.

There is one bright side, assuming with the latest with Flynn going for a plea bargain doesn’t send the President over the edge and start launching missiles, the Republicans may get their way on tax cuts and other policies, but the result will be a slow crash and burn because these policies don’t work.  See Republican Bruce Bartlett above.  As the nation is wrecked, Americans just might come out to the polls in 2018 and 2020 and turn this around.

I will add this caution. It is clear looking at the contacts with Russians, that there was collusion, they had a hold on Trump, probably through money laundering.  It is no coincidence that Mueller interviewed Kushner just before we find out Flynn pleaded guilty.  He was going to catch him in a lie and probably did.  Our unstable President will get more unstable and hopefully the generals in the White House will have a 24/7 watch on him.  The noose is around the neck and tightening and he could do anything.  We live in very dangerous times. If we get through this, we have a lot to fix.

 

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