Saturday, June 01, 2019


Peggy Noonan is not a Trump fan, but she opposes impeachment.
It is still a terrible idea.

It is a grave matter to overturn an election result. Why more cuttingly divide an already divided country? There is no argument that impeachment would enhance America’s position in the world....
Impeachment wouldn't enhance America's position in the world? Really?

... and no reason to believe it would not have some negative impact on the economy, meaning jobs.
We should just spare Trump the burden of thinking about impeachment so he can ... focus on imposing more tariffs? Yeah, that ought to be teriffic for the job market.

Noonan runs through the usual reasons to oppose impeachment -- it won't succeed, the election is imminent -- then proposes her alternative:
What is the best way forward? There’s a good idea floating around Washington. It is congressional censure of the president.

... Congressional censure would be a formal registering not of Congress’s political disapproval but its moral disapproval. It is a rarely used form of shaming. Congress has censured its own members over the years, including Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954—but no president since Andrew Jackson in 1834.

Republicans, who control the Senate, wouldn’t vote to remove the president, but to morally disapprove of him? They would. There’s plenty of suppressed resentment there at how he’s mortified them and lowered things.

That is the less invasive path, the less damaging to the country, the less pointlessly polarizing.
Senate Republicans would vote for censure? The hell they would. Fear of GOP voters would prevent censure from getting even a single Republican vote in the Senate. Even though a censure resolution would be, in effect, Democrats apologizing for bringing up impeachment and asking Republicans politely whether they'd please consider some mild punishment of Trump, Republicans -- yes, including Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Cory Gardner -- would respond to the inevitable right-wing messaging: This is a Democratic attempt to punish the president for beating Hillary Clinton in an election. They'd also respond to the mainstream media's messaging: This is a partisan effort that received only one Republican vote in the House, that of Justin Amash of Michigan. (Assuming Amash even votes for it. He might decide that nothing short of impeachment is an appropriate constitutional response to Trump's criminality.)

And if a censure resolution somehow had the votes, Mitch McConnell would simply not bring it to the floor. He might feel that he has to have at least a pro forma trial in the Senate if the House impeaches -- Senate impeachment trials are in the Constitution -- but censure isn't in the Constitution. Nothing requires McConnell to consider it. He'd bottle it up.

And if, for some reason, a censure resolution is given a vote and somehow passes the Senate, do you think Trump will be abashed? He'll call it a slap on the wrist -- accurately -- and tell us it reminds him of lawsuits he faced in his business career that (he'll say) were meant to force him out of business and never succeeded. He'll say that the failing Democrat Party did this only because it couldn't impeach him. Oh, and he'll sue to have the censure overturned, because it's what he does, and why not.

Impeachment may be futile, but censure is no alternative.

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