Under the hackery of the Democrats, impeachment has become the tribute that unproductive partisans pay a productive president whom they can’t beat at the ballot box. Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday was embarrassing to watch, as Democrats faked up outrage over suspended aid to a country they couldn’t find on a map. The aid got to their beloved Ukraine, aid that we’re told is central to America’s “national security,” but no matter. Trump, they intoned, had committed a thought crime, one he only corrected once he was caught.
This is the first impeachment in which a president is punished not for what he did but for what he allegedly considered doing. The chattering class oohed over this “historic” day, but future historians will be at a loss to explain it, apart from the fanatical partisanship of the Democrats, for whom every exercise of executive power by Trump constituted an offense.
The impeachment is the culmination of a partisan campaign that began before Trump even entered office. Official Washington and the media teamed up from the beginning to brainwash the American people into seeing every moment of Trump’s presidency as illegitimate. Almost every story that has come out of the dominant liberal media has been premised on the outrageousness of Trump exercising executive power. If he hired someone, that was an outrage. If he fired someone (such as James Comey), that was an outrage. If he changed the priorities of an agency (such as the State Department), that was an outrage. Endless stories poured forth about this or that bureaucrat whose oh-so-sage advice Trump had ignored. The simmering subtext of every story was: How dare this chief executive control the executive branch!
The impeachment marks the most audacious attempt by the Democrats to cripple Trump’s executive powers — the final act in a farce that began with Dems boycotting his inauguration. Historians will see it not as assertion of the legislative branch’s “coequal” powers but as a ploy to render the executive branch subservient to its partisan whims. They dressed that offense up as the “Obstruction of Congress.”
The Democrats, of course, will one day be hoist by their own petard. They have now turned impeachment into a routine tool of partisan opposition, no more significant than their “contempt of Congress” citations.
What a “stain” on his presidency, chanted the media chorus — the same one that idolizes the impeached Bill Clinton, a moniker they rarely ever apply to him. Unlike Clinton, Trump was found guilty not of lying under oath or anything like that but of the most nebulous of offenses — “abuse of power,” an elastic standard on which every president since the days of George Washington could have been impeached.
In Trump’s case, his grave offense was merely thinking about withholding aid to a country that is not entitled to it out of concern for corruption that actually existed. In Spygate, Barack Obama asked foreign governments for help in a meritless investigation against a political rival — an investigation that involved the bald violation of the civil liberties of Americans. The same media that shrugged at Spygate proclaimed itself appalled by cursory conversations about a merited investigation into the Bidens.
The sanctimony of it all is hard to take, with pundits pretending to care more about Ukraine than the Ukrainian president does. Even if one put the worst possible construction on Trump’s call, it still doesn’t come close to an impeachable offense. But the Democrats needed something, anything, to complete their nullification campaign. Settling on the oddity of Ukraine befits their trivialization of impeachment. One imagines children in schools a hundred years hence scratching their heads over this one, which is even more byzantine and difficult to explain than Andrew Johnson’s impeachment.
To understand it, the pupils will have to look back at the insanely unscrupulous partisanship of this time, in which a collection of crooks and charlatans sought to sabotage a successful president. They couldn’t beat him at the ballot box, and they feared his reelection. For almost three years, they stoked a Mueller probe that began in nothing and ended in nothing, then had to shift desperately to an impeachment about nothing. If they hold any historical distinction, it is that they engineered through sheer hatred the most partisan and least impressive impeachment ever.