Remember…To Impeach Her, You Gotta Elect Her

Hillary Clinton Begins Presidential Campaign In Iowa

We’re going to take a pause on my “Top Ten Underrated Hard Rock Songs” to slip a final tidbit in regarding a pretty big deal that’s happening next week.

There’s been something that has been bugging me of late. The tumultuous 2016 General Election campaign has brought seemingly the worst out of people rather than their better angels. But one of the things that has been particularly annoying is the moves by the Republican Party – recognizing the fact that Donald Trump won’t get into the White House without an invitation or a paid ticket (as Bill Maher, who contributed the title of this essay a few months ago, has said, “It’s too late to get away, Republicans. You’ve handcuffed yourself to the dead hooker, now drag it to the finish line!”) – to already subjugate the prospective Presidency of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

First it was Arizona Senator John McCain – himself locked into a death duel for his seat in the Senate – who said that, should Clinton be elected, that the Senate would block any nomination she made for the Supreme Court of the United States. Then the reptilian Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, echoed the sentiments of McCain. Finishing it off, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, said his group had enough subjects to investigate Clinton “for the next two years.” (Imagine then the richness of the irony of Chaffetz potentially facing a similar investigation as Clinton for his use of a private server.)

It wasn’t always like this. Prior to the ascension of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency, the two sides – Democrats and Republicans – would often work together with the interests of the citizenry of the United States at the forefront instead of the political party they were affiliated with. It is well known that Reagan and then-Speaker of the House, Democrat Tip O’Neill, would often bash heads as opposition leaders, but they would also find a common ground and work things out for the betterment of the country.

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There was even that type of shared partnership in the 1990s during the Presidency of Bill Clinton. His opposite number, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and really…is there a better vermin name for a politician than Newt?), did at one time have the ability to negotiate with Clinton and work for improving the welfare of the people. Then came the incident that would separate the two leading parties in the United States into warring camps instead of able leadership.

The 1998 impeachment of Clinton – the charges were perjury (lying under oath about not having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky) and obstruction of justice (same situation) – only came about after the Republicans took charge following the 1998 midterm elections. Forgetting that the House of Representatives could bring charges but the Senate would try the President, the case led to the acquittal in the Democrat-led Senate, not even coming close to the two-thirds that were necessary for conviction.

From that point on, the fragmentation of the political structure in the United States – and the damage that it continues to do – has only gotten worse. The Gore/Bush 2000 election only exacerbated the situation (with the election eventually ended by decision of the Supreme Court), then the Second Gulf War and invasion of Iraq after 9/11 further separated everyone. The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency brought out a racial attitude from the GOP that was unprecedented (OK, maybe it was around from 1965, but it really came out strong after Obama’s election – twice). That attitude lead to the nomination in 2016 of a xenophobic, fascist, racist and misogynous misanthrope that allowed the id of the GOP to be displayed publicly to be nominated for President by the party.

Now we stand on the precipice of the final act of this Presidential season, where we will likely see Hillary Clinton become the first woman (and the first spouse of a former President) to be elected. The shape of the Congress is still under question, with many saying that the Senate is a lost cause for the GOP, but that the House will remain in the hands of the Republicans by a slim margin. This is important in that it will be a direct reflection of what we can expect for the next couple of years at the minimum.

In Washington D. C., it is who is in control of the Congress that is the most important thing. If the opposing party of the President is in control of both sides of Capitol Hill, then nothing gets done. If the sitting President’s party oversees both sides, then there’s too much of a rubber stamp for the President and no check on his (or, we will be able to say soon, her) actions. In a perfect world, there would be one side of Congress in one party’s hands and the other in the President’s party (House or Senate, it doesn’t matter). Normally this would force them to work together but, as we have seen since probably the late 1990s, that hasn’t been true.

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There is one problem, however. I’ve noticed that people are already tossing around the “impeachment” word when it comes to Clinton and that is outrageous. First off, the woman hasn’t even taken the goddamn office yet…normally you should impeach someone for the actions of their Presidency (both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached for actions during their tenures, not before they became President – same would have been true for Nixon IF he hadn’t resigned). To try to charge someone for their PREVIOUS actions before they are President is unprecedented and shouldn’t be an acceptable action.

Impeaching the President of the United States is saved for severe crimes and treasonous acts, not storing e-mails on a goddamn computer (or a blowjob, in her husband’s case). If you can SHOW where Clinton, through an e-mail, had a motherfucking effect on a foreign policy act or that said e-mail landed in the hands of a foreign power and they used it for ill intent, then you must be better than Congress, who has investigated her a minimum of 10 fucking times and for more than 30 years (to the tune of roughly $500,000,000) and hasn’t charged her with a goddamn thing.

Here’s a suggestion that will send the alt-right into a frothing, ravenous frenzy. President Obama, as he begins to see the sun set on his days in the White House, has the right to issue pardons to certain U. S. citizens, forgiving their actions and/or crimes they may or may not have committed. How about Obama save one of those Presidential pardons for Hillary, stating firmly that Clinton, prior to her inauguration on January 20, 2017, is absolved of any “actions” she may have done in the past. With a stroke of his pen, Obama could save the country a bunch of money and a bunch of bullshit.

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The GOP would go off the rails, looking for ways to circumvent Obama’s pardon, but they would be unable to do so. Without the specter of Chaffetz’s investigations (or someone else who might threaten impeachment) hanging like The Sword of Damocles, the fucking government might have to work together and get things done. And if it hasn’t been evident, the Democrats may have introduced obstruction, but the Republicans have perfected it.

I can get it if you don’t agree with Clinton’s political stance or her party’s ideas. I can even understand it if you’ve got legitimate problems with some actions she might have done in the past. What I cannot understand is why someone would want to continue to dwell on these issues (hello, GOP?) and even go to the lengths of putting the country through such a divisive and partisan exercise as potentially impeaching a President-ELECT who hasn’t even had a week in office. I also can’t stand it when people can’t rub two of their brain cells together to form a cohesive thought and simply run with whatever bullshit is fed to them by the alt-right, which has the potential to be the single most destructive faction in the United States’ history.

After Tuesday night, we’ll have a new President chosen (and we should, if Cheeto Jesus can be tossed in a straightjacket long enough to roll him to the asylum). Why don’t we try something unique…starting a Presidency by working together rather than tearing each other apart? It seems to work well for every other sane country in the world, why not us?

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How the Republicans Can Become Relevant Again

Watching the Republican Party debate on Thursday night, I was disillusioned by how far the Grand Old Party had fallen. Their Top Ten candidates (of a 17 player field, it must be reminded) consisted of the leader, a person who had never held political office, has filed for bankruptcy four times, traded in older wives for trophy wives twice and has little to offer the world other than a banal reality television program and the right to use his name on your properties; the third wheel of a familial dynasty that looks like he’d rather be somewhere else than running for President; a “bold visionary” who did nothing but hurt constituents that, while working for the state, suddenly found their rights to collectively negotiate their benefits was being pulled by his leadership; and, without droning on too long, a list of other religious sycophants, Tea Party dweebs and a Libertarian that lost his way. And this isn’t even looking at the JV team that played to a silent house before the Main Event on Thursday night.

There was a time when the Republican Party actually got things right. Richard Nixon was quite the embarrassment for the GOP in the 1970s in becoming the first sitting President to resign the position, but he did some great things before he was forced (rightfully, it must be added) from office. The opening of relations with China, the détente developed with the Soviet Union and the addition of several key agencies (most notably the Environmental Protection Agency) were all done under his watch. He was one of many in that era of Republicans who actually got the job done, except Nixon went a little too far.

The wheels proceeded to come off the Republican bus soon after that. While many look to Ronald Reagan as the “perfect Republican,” many in the party today would run him out of town if he were in the party because he wasn’t “conservative enough.” They would deride his sessions with then-Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill, a Democrat, after hours where the two men would commiserate – but not judge – about their jobs. Today’s Republican would have hated how, oh, just once or twice, Reagan would enter into a compromise with the Democrats, giving both parties the ability to say they got something done.

It REALLY went to Hell in the 1990s, however. The Republicans, granted control of Congress, worked with President Bill Clinton for a time before the ultra-right wing of the party decided that a blowjob in the Oval Office was a high crime and treasonous. Once the impeachment of Clinton was done – with his easy acquittal – the wedge was placed and, over the last 20 years, has been hammered in deeper and deeper.

Today’s Republican Party, while they like to say that they are “reflective of America (their word, not mine…we’ll get into that another time),” are about as far away from that as possible. It has become a political organization that looks out for business but doesn’t look out for their fellow man; it has become a political organization that is too beholden to religious interests, to the point of crippling the ability for their elected officials to do anything; it has become a party of “No” with zero credible ideas that would counter what is on the table and it has become a party that is way too old, male and white.

There’s still time for the Republican Party to resurrect itself, however. All they have to do is enter the 21st century and shed some weight.

Some of the platforms the GOP have are about as welcome in the 21st century as the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Their views on several social issues, such as abortion, immigration, drug legalization, gay rights and social programs, are rooted in a 1950s mindset when these “things” weren’t discussed, pushing them under the pillow in the hope of smothering them until the light that the 1960s was illuminated the surroundings. As it is a new age – one that is more “forward thinking,” you might hope – the GOP could change some stances and make greater inroads.

Abortion should be a right; the government should have no place to tell someone what they can or cannot do with their body. Even the debate participants the other night couldn’t bring themselves to allow for an exception for rape, incest or endangerment of the mother’s life! Such a view as this is going to cause a sizeable segment of 52% of that electorate to not exactly side with you.

Immigration also falls into a category like this. When the minorities in one state (California) outnumber Caucasians, it might be a constituency that you would try to reach. Estimates are that currently the U. S. is 62.6% “white” (discounting Hispanics that count themselves as white), a total that will continue to move closer to the 50/50 mark as the country moves forward in this century. If you can’t have a solid policy for immigration – and this counts those that are here illegally as well – then you’re going to continue to have problems drawing these people to your viewpoint.

It is also time to get over the gay “rights” issue. Why shouldn’t people have the right to marry the person they love, even if it is the same sex? Why is it such an abhorrent occurrence that it causes Republicans to try to shut it down at every angle? How can you say that a same sex union sullies the “sanctity” of marriage while people get married two, three, four or more times heterosexually? Time to get over it, Republicans.

Now that we have most of the social issues out of the way, it’s time to cut the weight. For too long, the Republican Party has been carrying people that have dragged it into the morass that it currently finds itself. It is time to tell this “dead weight” to head off on its own.

First we’ll start with the “Tea Party” movement, who says it is all about lower taxes but seems to drag the GOP down when they start talking about social issues. Unfortunately, to run a government you have to have revenues and “trickle down” economics has been proven to be a disastrous way of running a government (let’s ask the people of Kansas what they think of this). Social issues are also a part of running a government and require funding.

The GOP should cast those that call themselves members of the “Tea Party” and say, “Hey, here you go. You’re on your own.” If the party is viable, then it will be able to garner support and, perhaps more importantly, financial viability and survive…hell, maybe even become a solid third party. If they aren’t able to do this, then they will drift off into the mists of history along with the Whigs, the Federalists, the Bull Moose, Know Nothings and Dixiecrats.

The GOP also needs to wean itself from the religious zealots of the party, which do nothing but hold it back. The United States has a definitive separation of Church and State; while you can be religious as a politician, it shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all with every decision that you make on a government level. In that case, you are a theocracy and no better than Iraq or other nations that rule by religion. The GOP needs to let those folks go also and maybe their party will be a viable one in future elections.

So let’s see what we have left in our Republican Party 2016:  people that believe the federal government should not reach into every level of a citizen’s life; those that believe there should be financial responsibility in the operation of government; for the most part, the citizens should be left to do as they want unless they violate an extreme law of the land. This party already exists but is pooh-poohed by the two major parties…it’s the Libertarian Party.

If the GOP were willing to do these things, then they might be able to survive as a party. They sure as hell would be able to draw a more diverse following than they currently have.

I’d be pretty happy if there were a Democratic (and let’s be honest, that one could be hacked up itself), Republican, Libertarian, Tea and Church Parties and we’d probably have a pretty decent set of candidates for every election. We’d also have a keen insight to what mental motivation drives this person for office and what we could expect if they were elected. We would definitely have much better choices for President in 2016 than we have under the current situation.