Here’s where I think we are In The Matter of Donald J. Trump.
One. Impeachment is not possible…now. Trump’s job approval rating, as of this writing, is 39%. That is historically LOW for a President at this stage of his presidency but it’s too HIGH for impeachment. When Richard Nixon resigned in August of 1974, his job approval rating was 23%.
Two. Remember Lincoln’s Law. “Public sentiment is everything. With it, anything is possible. Without it, nothing can be accomplished”. Let me volunteer Callaghan’s Corollary to Lincoln’s Law. “Public sentiment is in constant flux. It is moved, for better or worse, by interested parties advocating for their version of the public interest. The most skillful, intense, and persistent win. Their version of the public interest becomes the prevailing public sentiment. They get their way.”
Three. After Nixon’s Second Inaugural in January of 1973, his job approval rating was 69%. One year later, in January of 1974, his job approval number was 23%. If Nixon could lose 46 percentage points in a year, Trump can lose 15 percentage points by August. Precedent has shown August is a good month for Impeachment. At a 24% job approval rating, Trump would be ripe.
Four. Has Trump committed an impeachable offense? Absolutely. Trump’s epidemic lying about all matters, large and small, has done such violence to the fabric of trust that holds us together as a people, that it easily meets the “impeachable offense” standard. Former President Gerald Ford said “an impeachable offense is whatever the House of Representatives says it is.” If the Senate, by two-thirds vote, agrees — that’s that. There is no judicial review of the Senate’s Verdict of Removal. When the details emerge on Trump’s “Russia Problem” and the firing of Jim Comey, there may well be an Obstruction of Justice charge as part of an Impeachment package.
Five. Some, including me, are amazed that Trump has been able to keep his job approval numbers as high as he has given the ridiculousness of his performance to date. This is a function of Rendell’s Rule. Ed Rendell, the former Governor of Pennsylvania observed that “in politics, hate is a far greater motivator than love.” Trump’s core supporters have such an acute dislike for anything that reminds them in any way of Clinton and her core supporters (the political correctness crowd) that they’d rather get hosed with Trump than desert him and admit they were wrong. So, they’re still with him. The good news is that nothing is forever and nobody wants to back someone who continuously demonstrates that he is hopelessly lost. Self interest wins…eventually.
Six. The whole Jim Comey firing matter will continue to erode Trump’s job approval numbers. Trump (and his supporters) are deeply invested in the image of Trump as competent and strong. The more we learn about the episode the more it becomes apparent that it was a total bungle and cowardly to boot. Trump did not have the guts to meet with Comey face to face and tell him he was fired. To use a favorite Trump expression, Trump “choked like a dog”. The day after Comey’s firing, Trump’s hamming it up in the Oval Office with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador in front of TASS, with the US press excluded, was a new low, even by Trump standards. (Prediction: It will eventually become known that Putin knew about Comey’s firing before Comey himself knew.)
In a recent piece in the New York Times, a Trump partisan referred to Impeachment as a “fantasy.” Nothing new there…so far. What was interesting was some of the 1300 comments that accompanied the piece in the on-line edition. The comment that received the most “likes” was from Debbie R. of Brookline, MA. It began as follows:
“The fantasy is that we can continue with business as usual for the next four years with Trump at the helm. One way or another, he needs to be gotten rid of because he is deeply incompetent–so unprepared and so unqualified as to not even understand the extent to which he is unqualified. He is also a pathological liar who is capable of believing his own lies.”
I think Debbie R. nailed it. Let’s leave it at that for now.
I will post again on Wednesday, June 07, 2017 or before if the news flow dictates.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.