As my friend and colleague Renee pointed out in her recent piece, the Russian hacking of our election is such a crazy story that even equally-crazy people like former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh are making a lot of sense when talking about it. Ultimately, Walsh feels much the same as I do, and it’s best summarized in this tweet of his:
Trump won. But we need a bi-partisan investigation to find out exactly what Russia did. So it never happens again. https://t.co/Lhqwr13TKG
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) December 11, 2016
I completely understand the nervous desperation a lot of progressives are feeling about the Trump administration. It would be really cool if somehow the Electoral College found a way to dump him, but I fear what kind of lunacy that would inspire in his more rabid, loony followers. Most of them might now grab their guns and head to the streets, but we can rest pretty-well assured some — if not many — would.
So all the efforts and petitions to get certain electors to vote for someone other than Trump are noble, and I would never tell anyone else how to use their time. But in my estimation, it’s probably best if we move forward as if nothing untoward or impeachable happened, and then let a bipartisan investigation determine as best as possible exactly what happened. If the reports are true, that Russia did in fact hack the Republicans as well as the Democrats, but chose to stifle that intelligence, it paints a pretty easily understood picture.
Russia, Vladimir Putin most especially, wanted and preferred a Trump victory. The question is, “Why?” Finding that answer is why we need the congressional inquiry.
What I’m going to type next, even I can’t believe, but I think it’s really important for we liberals to keep in mind. Even Donald Trump, in the face of pretty damning circumstantial, preliminary evidence of at least a passing collusion with a foreign state to win a presidential election, deserves the benefit of doubt. In fact, he deserves due process, and goddamnit all to hell, he deserves presumed innocence.
If we’re going to yell and scream at the “Blue Lives Matter” group because they want to make cops wholesale judge, jury, and executioner with every interaction they have with suspects, we need to afford even bewigged, alleged billionaire sexual predators the same leeway. We’re never, ever going to come together as a country unless everyone on all sides sees that the tenets this country were founded on apply to both the most rich, white and powerful and to the indigent, minority, and voiceless.
In other words, we can in fact go high when they go low. Because I’m not saying we give the bloviating, unprepared, crony capitalist puppet of a tin horn douche wallet a permanent, four year pass. No president is worthy of a Get Out of Impeachment Free card. When and if he fucks up, or when and if we have concrete evidence he worked with a foreign government to subvert our election, we pull his dance card and rip the goddamned thing up.
But we can’t just mob rule this one. I mean, we shouldn’t be doing that with anybody or anyone, but we are going to risk our 240-year run of peaceful transitions of power if we don’t let the Trumpers have their moment. For right now, we have to carry on, pick up the pieces, and let congress — if they have the balls and spine — dig as deeply into this mess as they can. Trump is such an unmitigated abortion of a person, and his transition has been such an unprecedented shit show already, that I’m positive he’ll be impeached for something at some point, provided the people are awake, paying attention, and get angry enough about whatever it is that finally gets everyone on the same side against him.
If you’re a fan of history like me, I think you might see a lot of similarities between Warren Harding and Donald Trump. Both came to government after they were businessmen, and Harding — like Trump — stacked his cabinet with people who shared a similar, extremely pro-business mindsight. Teapot Dome is the most famous of the Harding scandals, but it was far from the only one. By all appearances, and remember I’m a comedian so take this all with huge grains of salt, it would appear that Trump’s cabinet is a repeat of Harding’s Ohio Gang, so when you have hubris, avarice, and bald faced ineptitude by the truck load in a presidential administration, someone will eventually slip on the wrong banana peel and the only question is how many people and how high-up the food chain it goes.
Hell, Trump might just get bored and quit before too long as well. He’s a spoiled, out of touch rich asshole who ran on a lark, won on a fluke, and has never shown any of the intestinal fortitude it takes to be president. Maybe if we just let the idiot get sworn in, all the pressure from the job, combined with a relentless investigation of his finances and ties to Russia, will be enough to disenchant him from the job.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that liberals need to have a little faith. I’m getting a little amused by the desperate calls for the Electoral College to do something drastic, and again while I totally get it, the fact is that right now we are at the beginning of this story playing out fully. No one on our side wants him to ever take the oath of office, but there is no statute of limitations on treason, which would be the ballpark his misdeeds would fall under, should real evidence of collusion with Putin were to surface.
I hate to say it but Joe Walsh is about as dead on target as one can be. Maybe Trump didn’t knowingly conspire with Russia, an investigation is what’s necessary to determine that. However, even if Trump merely benefited from Russian interference, steps have to be made to determine how they did it, and how to stop them from doing it again.
In our endeavors to be the most powerful country in the history of mankind, we’ve subverted democracies. We’ve meddled in other countries’ elections, and we’ve outright installed regimes we preferred when we simply didn’t trust the democratic outcome of elections in certain other countries. Perhaps our comeuppance as a people for turning a blind eye and staying silent to that stuff is have to clean up a Trumpian pool of political diarrhea for awhile.
We have time. We should let the investigation play out. And the moment there’s evidence that Trump did something impeachable, Congress can pounce. Even die-hard Nixon supporters toward the end supported his impeachment and wanted him removed, because the better part of people’s natures still win out. Forcing the issue and trying to get the Electoral College to buck 240 years of tradition isn’t smart, won’t do anything, and could be far more dangerous than simply letting the system do what it’s designed to do, and then impeaching the orange-tinted bastard when the Republicans know they have no other options in front of them.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.