Nothing Has Changed, and Trump Will Be Acquitted Again - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Nothing Has Changed, and Trump Will Be Acquitted Again
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instructs House Democrats to move forward with impeachment article against Donald Trump, January 9, 2021 (YouTube screenshot)

The Senate voted 56-44 on Tuesday to proceed with the Annual Pelosi Trump Impeachment. Nothing has changed since I published my analysis on January 13 of how the voting will go and reiterated it on January 27. 

  1. Susan Collins is a genius at holding a Republican Senate seat in Maine. There are only two Republicans in all the Northeast who have been able to get elected and reelected to the U.S. Senate. Collins is one of the two. When she is desperately needed to uphold a critical Republican cause, like the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, she is there. To maintain her electability in Maine, she therefore carefully picks and chooses causes and issues on which she can maintain her image of open-mindedness and can show she is not a “lock-step Republican,” casting “open-minded” votes on bills and in situations where her vote does not matter. Her vote does not matter on impeachment. To convict, it will take a two-thirds “guilty” vote: 67 U.S. senators to convict. As things stand, there are 49 or 50 Democrats to convict, depending on which way Joe Manchin of deep-red West Virginia ultimately goes, and there are some five Republicans to convict. That leaves Pelosi 12 votes short at 55-45. It does not matter how Susan Collins votes.
  1. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is the only other Northeast Republican senator. He has done a great job, too, and the analysis for him is almost identical to that for Collins. The difference is that, while Collins just got reelected for six more years, Toomey is leaving the Senate in 2022. In brief, as I explained at greater length on January 13, he may be contemplating running for governor of Pennsylvania one of these days. Therefore, he does as Collins does, for the same reason, in the same circumstances. His vote does not matter on impeachment but may help him become a Republican Pennsylvania governor someday. OK with me.
  1. Ben Sasse is a Don Quixote, playing Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He is bright, passionate, and is there to clean up the U.S. Senate, which is like sanitizing a toilet. That is, it can be sanitized a great deal – until the very next use. He understands the great moral causes for which he fights, although no others on the planet do. So, like Don Quixote, he goes where the brave dare not go. He loves pure and chaste from afar. He even seems to enjoy being scorned and covered with scars. His vote mattered on Brett Kavanaugh, and he voted for justice and against perjury. He is there when Republicans need him. On impeachment, his vote does not matter. Let the guy be.
  1. Lisa Murkowski is complex because she would not even be in the Senate if her daddy, one-term Governor Frank who soon after got kicked out in an Alaskan primary that saw him iced by the widest margin ever lost in American history by a sitting Republican governor, had not appointed her to the seat. Since then, she has suffered her own slings and sorrows, as Republicans primaried her out — like father, like daughter — and she then needed Democrat write-ins to remain. So, like Toomey and Collins, she is a Republican U.S. senator highly susceptible to political danger without a strong Democrat base. Inasmuch as Alaska is very Republican, a real Republican could do quite well there and will replace her one of these days. In the meantime, though, that is Murkowski.
  1. Mitt Romney is envious.

Those five are who, what, and why they are. The sixth Republican vote to proceed with the Annual Pelosi Trump Impeachment, making the vote 54-46 to proceed instead of 55-45, is Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. That means nothing. He already saw that the procedural vote would pass anyway. So this makes him seem very fair-minded and impartial. He will vote to acquit. And that brings the analysis to the other consideration: How and why politicians lie for a living.

This is subtle and yet not so subtle. The final vote on impeachment is going to be somewhere along the lines of 55-45 to convict. Maybe Manchin, facing reelection in 2024 when Trump may again be on the ballot, will vote not to convict. Maybe some other Republican will vote to convict. But basically it is a 55-45 vote to convict — which means an acquittal. Trump again will be brandishing newspapers with headlines that say “Trump Acquitted Again!”

Here is the thing: In politics, very few of our politicians tell the public honestly what they are thinking and planning. They are concerned that too many Americans are too stupid to handle the truth or to understand the deeper issues and ramifications. For example, the vast majority of Americans have absolutely no idea what is going on when it comes to civics and government. They may soon be learning “critical ethnic studies” and may major in identity studies but have no idea what is going on. They do not understand that, if they want tough-on-crime laws, it does not matter as much for whom they vote in federal elections for the presidency and the Congress as for whom they vote to be their state governor and their state legislators. State law, not federal law, governs most crimes, torts, contracts, and property matters. So they vote for a congressional representative who promises to be tough on crime and yet for a governor who will open the prisons, and they do not fathom what they are doing. When I read of an illegal immigrant shooting a Californian to death in San Francisco, and of the family and friends all grieving thereafter, I ask myself whether any of them were among the two-thirds or more in San Francisco who elect a Democrat governor and state legislature that makes their state a “Sanctuary State” and a magnet for exactly what has transpired.

Since most Americans do not understand the system, they have no grasp that a law does not become a law when it passes the House unless it also gets 60 out of 100 U.S. senators to go along. That filibuster rule, and the way it has changed since the days of the Jimmy Stewart movie, accounts for most of the gridlock in Washington — why “nothing ever gets done.” When your party is in the minority, you love the filibuster rule that prevents an extreme-oriented majority from destabilizing the country. But when your party has the power, you hate the contemporary filibuster rule. Trump constantly pressured Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster rule when Democrats in the Senate tied up Trump legislative efforts, even though the Republicans could muster a majority of Senate votes but could not get to 60. Mitch stood up to Trump, though, and would not budge, and he became the target of some nasty tweets on that one. But now many Trump backers and other Republicans are ever so grateful that Mitch McConnell held the fort on the filibuster in contradistinction to Harry Reid’s colossal blunder in removing the filibuster requirement for presidential appointments, aimed at helping Obama but ultimately opening the door for passing President Trump’s nominees.

Because the filibuster rule somewhat helpfully prevents passage of destabilizing legislation by a majority that is bent on extremism, it also has given rise to two very unfortunate developments in American government: 

  1. Presidents routinely bypass Congress and sign “executive orders.” Obama took that vehicle and sent it into orbit. Trump emulated Obama the other way. And now Biden is on a binge. Fortunately, executive orders are as easy to terminate as they are to implement. The next president just signs one the other way. It is a terribly destabilizing system. One day you have no Keystone XL pipeline. Then you do. Then you don’t. And we eventually will again. Instead of legislation as intended in the Constitution, we get fiats by Keystone Cops. It is far better to have a functional Congress make the law. But Congress is more dysfunctional than ever, and that leaves the president, who is supposed to execute Congress’s laws, making the laws instead. It is not the way the system is supposed to work. It does open the door perilously to dictatorship some day.
  1. Since Congress cannot get laws passed because of the 60-vote filibuster rule and the parties’ inability to compromise with each other for the common good, the Democrats began running to the courts to make laws. In reality, judges are supposed to judge, not legislate. Imagine in baseball, where the umpire is supposed to call the balls and strikes and to call whether a runner is safe or out, if the umpires started also changing the rules. A batter with a 3-2 count argues that the next call is unfair, so the umpire says, “OK, it really was close. I’ll give you six balls and four strikes.” Or the batter hits a ball that is just barely foul, and the umpire says, “Y’know what? It was darned close, and a batter deserves to have more fair territory than the chalk marks allow. So start running the bases because I say it was fair enough.” Or a football referee saying that a missed field goal is good because “I say the uprights are too narrowly separated. Look, maybe that width is reasonable from 20 yards out, but you were kicking from 47 yards, and you deserve an extra five feet of width.” That is not the role of a judge. A judge is supposed to take a compendium of rules and laws, crafted by the people assigned to that role, and then make the call whether certain facts fall within or outside those set laws. The legislature — in federal terms, the “House” and “Senate” — are supposed to make the laws. But even though Congress has become dysfunctional and it is almost impossible to get 60 Senate votes on something other than naming a post office, if even that, laws still sometimes do need to be made. So the Democrats converted the judiciary into an alternative bypass legislature. By appointing judges who are willing to ignore the law as legislated and instead are eager to use their elevated status to make their own laws on the bench, the Democrats have enjoyed a half-century-long legislative bypass, going back especially to the Warren Court of the 1960s. In this, they have been aided by Republican presidents and RINO Senates that appointed and approved liberal judges even when the Republicans held Senate majorities and the Oval Office. So we got William Brennans and David Souters, even Anthony Kennedys, who changed American law, morality, and society by fiat. No one ever voted for that; yet it did not matter.

That is why Democrats started character-assassinating decent human beings like Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Most Americans do not understand any of this. That is why it started and continued unabated until Trump started naming reliably conservative federal judges, the first Republican president in the modern era to do so. Even Reagan inconsistently gave us Antonin Scalia but also Sandra O’Connor and Kennedy. And that is why so many Democrats now want to increase the size of the Supreme Court and to change all the rules of the judiciary. Because, while Congress is dysfunctional, the courts now make the laws, too.

In the same way, most Americans are too ignorant to understand what is going on now with the Annual Pelosi Trump Impeachment. The vote already is over. It just has not yet been taken. For a politician to say now “I will vote to acquit Trump” simply is not politic. So the Republican says instead “I will wait to see and hear all the evidence. I am coming in with an open mind. And my vote will follow what I see and hear.” That way, although the Republican is lying because he or she already is decided on acquittal, when he or she does vote to acquit, that vote seems to have greater strength: “I would have voted to convict if the testimony and other evidence had been persuasive, but it was not.”

The same is true of most Senate Democrats, particularly those in purple states: “I am not yet decided how I will vote. I will wait to see and hear all the evidence. I am coming in with an open mind. And my vote will follow what I see and hear.” In this one small way, the Democrats and the GOP sound alike. And then (except, perhaps, for Manchin) they all will vote to convict, and they will say that they would have voted to acquit if the evidence had been otherwise. But they are and will be lying. They already know how they will vote. It just is not politic to admit the truth.

That is the system of government we have. That is how so much of our world operates. When a person known to be conservative applies for a position as a tenured professor in the social sciences or to break into Hollywood or to be a reporter for the Washington Post or the New York Times, it all is a game. The interview is conducted “fairly” — but he or she has no chance and was rejected before the interview ever began. We live in a world of lies. As long as the average American is a mediocrity — and isn’t that the word’s definition? — that is what we always will have: a system by which our highest elected representatives feel obliged to lie most of the time. They are our leaders. They represent the American people who select them as their representatives. A House with the likes of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Alexandria Ocasio, Hank Johnson, Jamaal Bowman? The thing speaks for itself.

Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.
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