Home / General / Since the Beginning of Time, Democrats Have Yearned to Destroy the Legitimacy of Democratic Elections

Since the Beginning of Time, Democrats Have Yearned to Destroy the Legitimacy of Democratic Elections



You may be surprised to know that I did not find Prof. Barnett’s twitter thread arguing that people arguing that Trump may have committed impeachable offenses out of a desire to undermine democratic transfers of power entirely convincing:

Can somebody point me to the big Democratic push to impeach any president between Nixon and Trump? I’m having trouble finding the evidence.

To state the obvious, the idea that this was a normal election and Trump is a normal president and anyone suggesting otherwise disrepstc the electoral process is absurd. No important Democrat suggested that Trump wasn’t legally entitled to the office, but the fact that he attained office only because of an undemocratic selection process is a significant fact that does undermine Trump’s legitimacy. People are talking about impeachment not because Trump is a Republican but because he’s doing stuff like telling the director of the FBI to stop investigations and then firing the Director of the FBI to obstruct justice and admitting he was doing it. George H.W. Bush didn’t do this kind of thing, and hence there was no talk of impeaching him. Barnett is trying to preemptively protect Trump and his party from the unique problems his election and tenure in office presents by pretending that Democrats say the same things about every Republican president. Sorry, not only is this dog not going to hunt it’s not going to wake up from its nap.

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  • Nick never Nick

    And as always, what makes it particularly surreal is the palpable longing of Republicans to impeach Democratic presidents. Can you imagine what would have happened to Obama, under a Republican House and Senate, if he had — to take one example of many — let Putin trick him into giving his diplomats a meeting in the Oval Office, let Russian media attend but not American, let the Russians bring their own technical devices along, and then blurted out information on covert Israeli operatives to them?

    • Joe_JP

      A few years back, that would be seen as a somewhat ridiculous hypo to press the lengths of an argument.

      • Nick never Nick

        I know, the writers have let their material get out of hand, it’s not even remotely convincing anymore. I’d stop watching, but I’m curious to see how they manage to tie it all together without just resorting to a nuclear conflagration to wrap everything up.

        • The people who programmed the computer simulation we are living in are a bunch of hacks.

      • Domino

        I mean, Trump admitting he fired Comey before the Rosenstein memo happened a week ago, and it already feels like it’s in the distant past.

    • djw

      is the palpable longing of Republicans to impeach Democratic presidents.

      In fairness to the Republican party, this appears to be a case of them actually learning a lesson. They pursued a frivolous, unpopular impeachment of Clinton and suffered for it in the second term midterm, so they adjusted and didn’t pursue it for Obama. I have no doubt they’d do so if Obama had Trump’s impeachment resume, and he was polling under 40%, but that doesn’t prove a palpable longing, it proves a pulse.

      • Nick never Nick

        I object to your use of the words ‘in fairness to the Republican party’.

        You could write ‘in the spirit of academic debate’ or ‘one could make a fair argument’ or just ‘of course, it’s possible’, those would all be fine. I don’t mind being wrong, but I’ll be damned if I’ll be fair to the Republican party . . .

        • rea

          “In all fairness” is lawyer-talk for “I’m about to stick the knife in . . .”

      • Dilan Esper

        Even with Clinton, the calls for impeachment were not INFLUENTIAL until the Lewinsky scandal hit.

        The reality is you don’t get to a major position of party leadership, in either party, by floating impeachment every time the other party wins an election. Back benchers pull that sort of crap, but party leaders ignore it.

        Barnett, by the way, is smart enough to know this, which makes his tweets pretty brazenly dishonest.

        • ColBatGuano

          Weren’t they calling for Hillary’s impeachment even before the election?

          • Dilan Esper

            Who is “they”?

            The question is, would Ryan and McConnell be holding impeachment hearings right now for President Hillary? And the answer is “no” (unless some serious scandal had actually happened).

            Again, this is the difference between a backbencher or talk radio host and a party leader.

            • Nick never Nick

              Whut? You think that impeachment wouldn’t, at the very least, be on a platter making its way to the table? I’m trying to imagine the conversation:

              Ryan: So yeah, it seems that President Clinton just outed an Israeli operative in deep cover with Isis to the Russian foreign minister, that foreign spy guy who helped her beat Trump.

              McConnell: Wow, that sucks. Well, probably just an innocent mistake, I’m sure she didn’t mean to. It’s a big deal, but it would probably be best for the country if we didn’t overplay it. Benghazi and emailgate weren’t good for America.

              Ryan: That’s what I figure too, good we’re in agreement. OK, I’ve got to go to the negotiating meeting on Obamacare, we’ve almost come to a mutually acceptable compromise to make it more efficient AND expand coverage.

              McConnell: Oh, that’s amazing. I was hoping we could come up with a good compromise. Give my best to Hill.

              Ryan: Will do, bud, will do.

              • Dilan Esper

                Oh sure, if Hillary did those things, absolutely. I was answering a post claiming they were calling for Hillary’s impeachment before the election.

                • Nick never Nick

                  Oh, gotcha, sorry. On the other hand, isn’t ‘lock her up’ basically a reference to impeachment, just put in terms that Trump voters understand?

                • Dilan Esper

                  Yes, but that’s why I asked “who”?

                  If Hillary gets elected and there’s no scandal (similar to Obama), do we see impeachment hearings and support from the Republican leadership for impeachment? I don’t think so.

                  But backbenchers and talk radio hosts always call for impeachment. Their incentives are different.

            • I think they would be calling for her impeachment absolutely.

              • MyNameIsZweig

                I agree. They ginned up something against Bill, so I have no doubt they’d get plenty creative in finding a justification to impeach her as well.

      • Chetsky

        Wait, -is- that really fair? Over and over, I remember Rs in Congress talking about impeachment over … so many things. My memory ain’t so good, so I asked Wikipedia

        Suggestions of impeachment
        1.1 Job offer to Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak
        1.2 Preventing Obama from “pushing his agenda”
        1.3 Obama administration immigration policy
        1.4 “The most egregious cover-up in American history”, Benghazi attack
        1.5 Impeachment requested by a townhall meeting audience member
        1.6 Allegations of being born outside the United States
        1.7 IRS targeting conservatives
        1.8 Hearing on “President’s Constitutional Duty”
        1.9 Allowing transgender students to use bathrooms

        Might a fairer way to put it be “none of their attempts even succeeded in stirring the -air- around Obama, so they didn’t pursue any of them”.

        P.S. Of course, if you meant “to be exceedingly generous to the R party …”, that, sure, I buy completely.

        • Pseudonym

          You’re forgetting important scandals like #mustardgate and #momjeansgate.

          • Nick never Nick

            and the organic garden scandal
            and the latte salute scandal
            and the dark skin scandal
            and the umbrella Marine scandal
            and the secret Muslim scandal
            and the disrespecting veterans scandal (actually 19 of these)
            and the feet-on-the-desk scandal
            and the bust-of-Churchill scandal
            and the bowing to the Japanese emperor scandal
            and all the other scandals that have been pushed out of my mind by these scandals

            and this is not to mention the myriad scandals that were pushed out of my mind by all the other scandals that were pushed out of my mind by these scandals

    • Mark Field

      It’s not just impeachment which shows Republican contempt for democracy. It’s the recall in CA; voter suppression; pretty much every action by the NC legislature; state governments preventing cities from enacting their own legislation; abusive rhetoric (“treason”) in an effort to shut off debate; lies about policy; bullshit distractions offered up to voters in lieu of argument; and lots more.

      • Dilan Esper

        I didn’t favor the recall in California, but to call it “contempt for Democracy” is way, way off. Recall was a famous progressive reform, and voter recall is nothing like impeachment in terms of democratic legitimacy– it involves voters being permitted to change the results of their own election. In many ways, California has one of the strongest democracies in the nation, and recall is very much a part of that. Now, that doesn’t make us good (and indeed, we may actually have a problem with TOO MUCH democracy :) ).

        A number of other things you list look like the natural products of having a First Amendment, which is also perfectly democratic.

        (I agree about the state preemption and voter suppression, and the NC legislature though.)

        • Craigo

          I agree that CA almost goes too far. In LA, a city with a housing crisis, we could have plausibly enacted a ban on new housing – all because some rich guy was mad that a new development blocked his view of the hills.

          • The Lorax

            Yeah, that vote was just silly. Fortunately we have a great mayor and city council-people who came out against it.

            Prop 13 is proof we have too much democracy here.

            • Dilan Esper


              I criticize the US Constitution a lot (mainly because the perpetuation of slavery was a lot more central to the document than popular myth has it), but one area where the framers should get real credit is in the way they balance a certain amount of democratic legitimacy with notions of stability and protections against mob action. It’s very tough to do and the Constitution reflects a great deal of serious thinking about how to do it.

              California is what happens when you take rhetoric about “popular sovereignty” too seriously and eliminate too many checks.

            • efgoldman

              Prop 13 is proof we have too much democracy here.

              More than 40 years ago?

              • djw

                While I take no position on whether CA has “too much democracy” or whether Prop 13 is an exemplar of that, it seems worth noting that it remains good law despite grossly distorting both taxes and and the housing market, which it seem a lot less distant than noting the date of the vote.

                (Also, pedant that I am, I must note that the Prop. 13 vote was not “more than 40 years ago”, as it will celebrate its 39th birthday in a few weeks)

                • Dilan Esper

                  Not only good law, but basically politically untouchable in a liberal state.

                  It’s a very good argument against ballot initiatives.

                • The Lorax

                  There are good elements of, or at least good intentions behind Prop 13. But it makes it impossible to raise taxes even when you need to (and sometimes you need to). It also made it impossible to pass budgets without crazy concessions to the far right, and it has been de facto a giant transfer of wealth away from new businesses and homeowners to old ones. It gutted funding for schools, a hole from which we’ve never emerged.

                  But absolutely elderly shouldn’t be taxed out of their homes. The rest of the proposition is toxic.

        • Pseudonym

          We owe a big debt of gratitude to Ahnold for preventing Darrell Issa from becoming governor, the first two Terminator movies and True Lies, and pretty much nothing else.

          • Craigo

            Kindergarten Cop?

            • Thom

              “It’s not a tuum-ah!”

          • Leisure Suit Lawyer

            Predator. Has any movie in history starred as many future governors?

            • Pseudonym

              The Running Man?

          • twbb

            “pretty much nothing else.”

            He’s done yeoman’s work trolling Trump and the GOP as well.

        • bender

          I didn’t favor the recall, but both the recall and the subsequent election to replace the recalled gov were legal, free, fair and their results were widely accepted. IIRC, the winner of that election (Ahnold) ran as an independent because he was too liberal for the state GOP to nominate him; he beat both the Republican and Democratic candidates soundly, and that is as clear cut an example of democracy in action as you can get.

          ETA Also IIRC the Dem candidate in the replacement election (Dymally?) was a hack.

          • Pseudonym

            No, Ahnold ran as a Republican (as did McClintock; Issa and Riordan dropped out); the whole point of the recall election, i.e. why Issa originally pushed it, was that candidates didn’t have to win primaries to get on the general election ballot, which is how we ended up with something like 150 candidates. Bustamante was the Democratic hack. The recall vote and replacement election were also simultaneous, not sequential. And don’t forget that this was all due to Enron’s manipulation of the state’s electric power market causing continual rolling blackouts.

        • The Dark God of Time

          It was progressive reform by Hiram Johnson, whose stated purpose behind that and the initiative and the referendum was to keep California from electing a Democratic governor.

      • Matt McIrvin

        And the simple fact that the current President’s reentry into national politics was via conspiracy theories about his predecessor being ineligible for the Presidency.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    There was serious discussion of impeaching W, but most of it took place far away from Capitol Hill (though I think a tiny handful of Democratic Congresspeople argued for it). AFAIK, there was never any talk of impeaching Bush 41 or Ford. There was some talk — again, from far outside DC — of impeaching Reagan for Iran-Contra, but it gained absolutely zero traction in Congress (and if there were a longstanding desire to impeach every Republican president, this would have been a perfectly sensible occasion to at least explore the idea).

    • Indeed. W was eminently impeachable if Dems wanted to do it. In fact as you say some people far from the circles of power pointed that out but there wasn’t the slightest movement in that direction. Same with Raygun. This is total bullshit.

      • Dilan Esper

        Everyone’s impeachable.

        Gerald Ford’s one true valuable contribution to American political thought is his statement that an impeachable offense is whatever a House majority deems it to be at any particular time.

        There’s no legal standard for impeachment. We pretend to argue it with lawyers and legalistic claims when it comes up, but that is completely besides the point. If there’s enough votes in the House, it’s impeachable, and if there’s enough votes in the Senate, it’s removable.

        • Craigo

          Right. Impeachment is political, and not judicial, and it doesn’t fool anyone to pretend otherwise.

          And of course, Bush was not eminently removable, which brings us back to the question of why you would bother to impeach and hand your opponent a guaranteed victory – other than the feels, of course.

          • Phil Perspective

            And of course, Bush was not eminently removable, which brings us back to the question of why you would bother to impeach and hand your opponent a guaranteed victory – other than the feels, of course.

            Because C- Augustus committed high crimes? The problem was, if you remember, a fair number of Democrats went along with C- Augustus’ crimes.

            • Pseudonym

              Allegedly based on C- Augustus’s falsified intelligence, to be fair.

            • Craigo

              If I didn’t know better I’d think you were a bot that LGM had programmed to self-demonstrate every comment made about the fecklessness and quixotism of the “true” left.

      • Ken_L

        Kucinich moved to impeach Cheney in 2006, and Bush in 2008. Pelosi killed them

    • CP

      Quite frankly Reagan and Dubya absolutely should have been impeached, and lather-rinse-repeat until the GOP finally abandons its love affair with the unaccountable exercise of power.

      • The problem is that the conditions in which impeachment is possible are pretty much never going to overlap with the conditions where impeachment is necessary. It’s hard to imagine a situation where one party has two thirds of Senate seats but the other has the White House.

        • Dilan Esper

          I don’t think this is quite right.

          I think the conditions for impeachment are rare. We actually had them with Nixon, although Scott is quite correct about party alignment making impeachment more likely.

          What you would need for an impeachment to happen is for a scandal to occur that leaves a party’s base completely disenchanted with its President. Just because that hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it can’t. It has happened at the state level with governors being removed from office with the approval of their parties, for instance.

          Imagine, for instance, if instead of consensual sex, the Monica Lewinsky scandal had involved a rape. And suppose there was physical evidence of that rape. That could have caused a situation where Clinton lost enough support from Democratic women so as to make an impeachment possible.

          On the Republican side, it’s somewhat harder to imagine (because they tolerate more hypocrisy), but I don’t think it’s impossible even then. Perhaps an already unpopular-with-the-base President (say H.W. Bush after he raised taxes) engaged in clear financial theft or something similar.

          It’s important to realize that what is really keeping Trump above water right now is his popularity with a lot of rank and file Republicans. That popularity seems sturdy but you should never assume just because nothing has shaken it yet that nothing could shake it.

          • lunaticllama

            engaged in clear financial theft

            You do realize that it is well-known that Trump paid out 25 million dollars to settle the Trump University litigation, which involved a scam to steal the retirement savings of thousands of people. Rank-and-file Republicans are perfectly ok with financial theft.

            • efgoldman

              You do realize that it is well-known that Trump paid out 25 million dollars to settle the Trump University litigation

              You do realize that was a civil, not criminal, matter. Money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction are criminal.

      • scott_theotherone

        Exactly. But they never received blowjobs in the Oval Office. (Although if GW had, that would have been deemed just fine, since the Clenis.)

        • DrS

          Also, I find the idea that Clinton was the first person to ever have sex in the Oval Office and thereby degraded it, to be completely hilarious.

          I mean, wait til they find out what other rooms Presidents fuck in.

          • eh

            All of them?

    • ChrisS

      Kucinich and Wexler drafted articles of impeachment for W., but they were referred to a committee where it died just before Obama was elected.

      The GOP called for Obama’s impeachment almost immediately after he was elected, but never got as far as drafting any articles.

      Clinton was impeached.

    • D.N. Nation


      Even when it was becoming more obvious that the Democrats would retake the House in 2006, even when Bush’s numbers started to tank, Nancy Pelosi took impeachment completely off the table. And when the Dems did roll to a big win and Pelosi was named Speaker…

      Any effort to impeach the president “is off the table,” she assured the nation before TV cameras

      In conclusion BOFF SIDES

    • The Lorax

      John Conyers wrote a book arguing for the impeachment of GWB. But, it was plausible. If lying about a BJ is impeachable, surely lying us into a major war is, too.

      • Phil Perspective

        Remember all those “hearings” in the House basement, or where ever?

  • Moravagine

    I can remember some rants about impeachment of dubya. The difference being that no one taken more seriously by the mainstream than Amy Goldman was saying it.
    On the other hand I took ConLaw with Barnett’s book, with Jonathan Adler “teaching” it, and I gotta say, fuck those guys.

    • Thom

      George McGovern wrote an op-ed in the Post, in 2008, arguing for the impeachment of W. But despite having been a long-serving senator and party nominee, he was not taken as seriously as he should have been.

      I would say, to paraphrase Rick Perry, if you don’t want to have people argue for your impeachment, don’t commit impeachable offenses. Especially if you are in the party that impeached a president for lying about an affair.

      ETA: here is the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/04/AR2008010404308.html

    • Moravagine

      All that time to edit and I missed it. Amy Goodman.

      • Pseudonym

        Democracy A Minute Past The Edit Window!

  • Caepan

    Unlike Republicans who wanted to impeach Obama for providing mildly affordable health care to millions of Americans and paying for it by slightly raising taxes on very rich people?

    Or the Republican congresscritter who wondered out loud if Hillary could be impeached before she even took the oath of office? Because EMAILZ + BENGHAZI = INPEECH?

    The last time Democrats spoke of impeaching a Republican president was Bush II. Speaker Pelosi put the kibosh on that toot sweet. And With Few Noticeable Exceptions, Dubya was a Murkin patriot!

    • cpinva

      “Unlike Republicans who wanted to impeach Obama for providing mildly affordable health care to millions of Americans and paying for it by slightly raising taxes on very rich people?”

      they were talking impeachment before he was even inaugurated, just for having the audacity to get elected. “other high crimes and misdemeanors” stretched out beyond all reason.

      as many people more knowledgeable than I have noted, impeachment is primarily a political act. as long as Trump doesn’t do anything to fuck up a substantial number of republican’s chances of re-election, and stealing from the poor to give to the rich is still on the table, he’s not going to even have articles drawn up. his base certainly isn’t going to demand it.

      he enjoys high positives with republicans in general, and specifically with the baying at the moon group that now constitutes your “average” republican. this is the group feared most by republican pols, because they will primary (in a heartbeat) any goper who seems at least a tiny bit sane.

      • efgoldman

        as long as Trump doesn’t do anything to fuck up a substantial number of republican’s chances of re-election

        He already has. The president’s party generally loses seats in midterms; the question next year is, has Amber Asswipe so poisoned the well that thy lose the majority.

      • The Lorax

        goper “groper”, you mean.

  • Joe_JP

    To be fair, Randy Barnett still thinks PPACA is the greatest constitutional crisis of this era.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I'm sure the fact that Trump's impeachable offense du jour is making it harder for Republicans to RESTORE AMERICAN FREEDOM by cutting $880 billion from Medicaid and returning it to the very wealthy is not at all relevant to Barnett's Nonpartisan and Principled position that it is logically impossible for Trump to have committed an impeachable offense.

    • Nick056

      His debates with Orin Kerr were revealing. He couldn’t help but move from the high-toned “inactivity/activity” distinction to standard libertarian pablum.

      It’s easy to forget we literally did ACA in part because we believed they would favor an approach that relied on the markets as they were; they promptly showed us the error of our assumptions.

  • Little Chak

    I remember when I signed up for an Anthropology of Religion class thinking it would be an interesting course to fulfill my humanities requirement.

    Then the professor blasted in the first day ranting about “secular fundamentalists” (oxymoron much?), and spent a few minutes every class trying to turn what could have been fascinating historical discussions into a chance to rip into liberalism and “liberal orthodoxy” and the stifling of discussion of religion.

    I wish someone would have warned me that it was going to be three multiple choice tests and an angry old man whining.

    • CP

      But, you know, the real problem with our academic community is that it’s overflowing with liberal bias…

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    republican projection, “accusations are confessions”, etc, etc. In other news water still wet and sun still rises in east

    • Rob in CT


      Total projection.

      • Steve LaBonne

        I’ve been saying for years that if wingnuts didn’t have projection, they’d have to remain silent. It’s all they’ve got.

    • cpinva

      “In other news water still wet and sun still rises in east”

      oh sure, that’s what they want you to believe! that way, they can take your hard-earned disability income payments and welfare checks, and give them to those people, who haven’t done a day of work in their life!

  • cleek

    i’ve run across ‘conservatives’ on other blogs using this exact framing; Dem opposition to Trump is actually a “bloodless coup” and that they’re trying to remove him “at any cost” by “abusing the public trust” and “weakening the foundation of our democracy” (direct quotes).

    i suspect that this is Fox News’ take on the situation.

    • ChrisS

      Indeed, there’s no evidence of any crime that has been committed …

      The Russia stuff is all fiction made up by the media and their government career politicos in the Trump WH who are illegally leaking false information.

    • CP

      If that was a bloodless coup, then what does one call the Supreme Court’s electoral interference in 2000 and arguably Comey’s interference in 2016?

      • If you want to take the late Vince Bugliosi’s word for it, you would call it treason.

        ETA: When I glanced at the article as I was grabbing the URL, I couldn’t believe that was already 15 years ago, but on reflection it could only have been published pre-9/11.

    • sam

      This is more rhetorical than anything, but do they not realize that the line of succession is currently republicans all the way down?

      This is actually why I’m wondering why the GOP is so hesitant to impeach Trump, when he is so obviously unfit for office – if they impeach him (and even possibly Pence for his collusive acts) now, they get to install another republican – Pence if he’s still there, or Ryan, or another one of their cronies. Still absolutely horrible from my perspective, but slightly less likely to nuke someone in a fit of pique because someone pissed them off on twitter.

      If they wait until the Dems retake control of the House (and long-shot Senate), when they will ABSOLUTELY impeach him (although conviction is still an extreme long-shot) then Nancy Pelosi is suddenly third in line.

      (Even better in my fantasy government scenario – since the speaker of the house doesn’t actually need to be a member of the house, the 2018 Dem controlled congress takes a surprise turn and votes Hillary as Speaker. The rest of the above scenario still stands – it’ll never happen, but I just like to imagine trump and pence getting removed from office and Clinton kicking them out the door, finally victorious).

      • scott_theotherone

        …that is one delicious damn fantasy.

      • CP

        Because they’re afraid if they impeach the God-King of their mouth-breathing voter base, enough of them will stay home in 2018 and 2020 to cost them the election, so whoever in the line of succession replaces Trump won’t be there for very long.

      • rlc

        Remember that Trump vanquished the Establishment Rs by posturing as a rabid, irreligious, politically incorrect white power “populist” *outsider*. (yeah I know) The deal the Establishment Rs made, with the devil, it now appears, was Trump was going to run his noisy but content-free freak show from the WH while Congress, in the background, merrily transferred the financial base of civil society to their plutocratic sponsors. Occasionally they’d say hey Trump sign this please thanks What A Guy!. Trump’s “populist” posturing was to be distracting cover. Conveniently FOX and friends could use to it launder the 1%’s looting and lack of interest in actual populist policies to the base. Trump’s gonna fix healthcare and bring back jobs and keep out the brown people and so and so forth, just listen to him! That’s what my neighbors all say, at least.

        You’re suggesting that Establishment Rs kicking Trump to the curb for e.g. bog standard religiously insane career plutocratic looter Pence would have no consequences to the rabid base.

        From my experience in my non-urban community that is likely not true.

        • rlc

          … and with the consequences of what CP said before me.

      • Pseudonym

        As long as we’re strictly in fantasy-land, what if the House voted in Obama as speaker? (Any of Barack, Michelle, Sasha, or Malia would do.)

        • sam

          Well, if the fantasy is to position someone for presidential succession, 3/4 of those folks are constitutionally barred from that role (Barry by term limits and the girls have a few years before they turn 35!). And the other 1/4 has said she wants nothing to do with elected office.

          So I’d go with the person who has expressed interest in the job by not only running for it, but winning the popular vote (and also who got screwed by the very circumstances that have led to this fantasy impeachment in the first place)

    • The Lorax

      Hannity has said exactly this.

  • ASV

    Maybe Republican presidents should stop doing impeachable shit. I don’t recall anybody suggesting Bush Sr be impeached, for example. But one out of four elected GOP presidents since Nixon not being impeachable is a poor average.

    • so-in-so

      Once you realize that everything every Democrat does is an impeachable offense, but nothing any Republican does (except maybe cooperate with Democrats) is impeachable (to these nitwits) it all becomes more clear.

      They fully believe (even if they don’t yet state it) that no Democrat is a legitimate holder of power.

      • So, once again, it’s always projection with these guys.

        • liberalrob


    • erick

      And he might have been deeper into Iran Contra and got away with it.

      • David Hunt

        He definitely pardoned anyone would might name him as he was on his way out the door…

    • rewenzo

      Yes. It’s not our fault that every Republican president is an eligible candidate for impeachment. I mean, look at what they keep putting up:

      Nixon – Watergate, forced to resign
      Ford – finished out Nixon’s term, never re-elected
      Reagan – Iran-Contra, senior officials pardoned: strong chance many of them perjured themselves to cover for Reagan. Best defense of Reagan is that he had dementia
      Bush – literally the most respectable and successful Republican politician of the last 50 years. Of course, he is considered a failure by Republicans.
      Bush II – installed by Supreme Court; 9/11; Katrina; Market Crash and Recession; two disastrous wars that are still ongoing; torture; fired US Attorneys who wouldn’t prosecute fake crimes; lied to a nation to get it to go to war
      Trump – lost popular vote, worst cabinet in history, is dumb as a potato, interfered in federal investigations, god knows what else
      Pence – complicit in Trump’s infamy

      Now let’s compare it to the Democrats:

      Carter – said the word “malaise” – history’s greatest monster
      Clinton – lied about a blow job – destroyed the dignitude of the presidency forever
      Obama – apology tour – the worst president of all time

      • ColBatGuano

        is dumb as a potato

        Take back your vile slander of potatoes.

        • Pseudonym

          No tricks. This potato only generates 1.1 volts of electricity. I literally do not have the energy to lie to you.

  • tsam

    You made a typo, Randy. It should read “We fucked up. Trump needs to go, and Republicans need to cut all ties to foreign governments and stop suppressing voters.”

  • The Great God Pan

    Hilariously, this “opposing Trump = undermining democracy” bullshit has also caught on among the dumber denizens of the True Left.

    • CS Clark

      It’s nice that the True Left are split between them and those who’re willing to believe a comment from Nancy Pelosi about taking care with impeachment proves that she doesn’t want to impeach Trump at all because both sides are basically the same.

    • tsam

      That thread–FUCK

      I don’t like being ideologically related to people like that.

      • I’m surprised it took ten or so tweets before someone started talking about Pizzagate.

      • El Tigre Sabroso

        You aren’t. I recall seeing a depiction of political ideology as a ring continuum with communism and fascism so close as to be indistinguishable. These people as the true ideological descendants of the Stalinists. Only people fail, not ideologies, comrade.

        • tsam

          I guess the nominal left is just as bound as the right to have a contingent of loopy bastards who have completely amputated reality from their lives.

    • D.N. Nation

      Jill Stein’s Black Friend would like you to give Trump a chance, people.

      Shocked, shocked I am that Jill Stein’s running mate would want everyone to stop with all this talk, also JillSteinAndMichaelFlynnEatingAtAFancyPutinDinner.jpg

    • sam

      I see they’re still holding on to their fantasies of some great proletariat uprising that can only happen if we descend into fascism?

      I hate these people.

      • Craigo

        Historically, the proletariat has a habit of cutting the throats of the bourgeois “revolutionaries” who thought they were its leaders.

        Notable exceptions to this rule include the guy who was an actual goddamned gangster in the Caucausus, and the one who fought a land war in Asia for decades. Totally comparable to direct action via Twitter and Facebook.

      • so-in-so

        Take names.

        If it does come down to a rebellion against armed Fascism I vote we use them as human shields.

    • El Tigre Sabroso

      Honestly, I cannot tell if these people (the Stein voters and their ilk) are just plain stupid, or in their desire to remake American democracy in their own vision, they actually support authoritarianism as a means to an end to “heighten the contradictions” and hasten their own updated version of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It’s no doubt both, plus some other reasons I haven’t thought of. I just cannot believe that people can still support Stein after her explicit fangirl gushing over Vladimir Putin, and the fact that she and Flynn were seated at the same table at the RT gala, never mind the other crap that she has said.

      • tsam

        I get the feeling they have the benevolent dictator fantasy–something we all maybe have in our daydreams but are smart enough not to express them out loud or present them as a sort of political strategy. We’ll have our socialism, by any means necessary, and everything will be AWESOME…

        You referenced Stalinists above–they just might be. Close enough for my liking.

        • D.N. Nation

          In perhaps the Tell of the Century, Ralph Nader endorsed the prospect of a Bloomberg campaign for similar fantastic reasons.

      • Davis X. Machina

        They don’t know whether they’re coming or going.

        To wit: the intelligence community’s invisible impeachment of Trump is a clear and present danger…. to the survival of an American imperialist system so bourgeois and corrupt that it’s lost its legitimacy.

        We must stand, Tiananmen-Square-tank-guy style, in the pathof the Deep State juggernaut …that’s going to knock down the already-rotten door?

        What am I missing?

        • D.N. Nation

          “Hillary sucks.”

          • Davis X. Machina

            Ordinarily I’d say ‘yes’, but I checked, and it’s not in the Grundrisse

      • The Great God Pan

        I think it’s part “horseshoe theory,” part “the enemy of my enemy.” They genuinely see Trumpism as preferable to Elite Global Neoliberal Technocratic Imperialistic Centrism and they like some of what he does.

        • Pseudonym

          Their great fear is that the proletarian masses will see the center-left Democratic Party as a viable avenue for achieving progress.

        • tsam

          they like some of what he does.

          Wow. It’s not just Israel that got burned you fucking asshole. It’s an operator’s contacts and possibly an undercover operator him/herself. Sometimes they die when they get burned.

          • sam

            Ugh. And how many of these assholes praising the potential death of people who have risked life and limb to gather this kind of intel would ever put their own lives at risk?

            But, in addition to the very real possibility that more people will die from isis attacks due to the loss of these resources, they’ll heighten the contradictions in ways that
            – harm everyone’s health, women’s in particular
            – put people of color at much greater risk of violence from a newly emboldened police state
            – see mass deportations (already started)

            And on and on.

            I (and my cousins in Israel) have zero love for the current Netanyahu government. But just as with our own terrible administration, I can separate out the leadership from on-the-ground intelligence gathering.

  • sleepyirv

    I would say the Trump administration has not been libertarian/conservative legal academics’ shining hour (for example, this: https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/5/11/15625990/comey-deserved-fired-no-constitutional-crisis-liberals-hyperventilate), but that might suggest they had a shining hour at some point.

  • cpinva

    “Sorry, not only is this dog not going to hunt it’s not going to wake up from its nap.”

    that dog will not only wake up and hunt, it will be the headline for every FOX show, and RWNJ media spawn. the commies have been coming for them since at least 1919, if not 1848.

  • Mutombo

    Randy Barnett is the kind of guy who farts in the tub because he likes the bubbles.

    • Dennis Orphen

      But he won’t poop in the tub because he has to save it for the bed he’s going to shit that night.

      We cringed when they shat the bed in November. Now lets laugh as they roll around in it to convince the base it’s not shit and to crawl under the covers them and share the fun.

    • tsam

      I picture him as the kind of guy who gets out of the shower to pee.

      But hell, I’ll fart in the tub. I like the sound it makes.

    • Pseudonym

      Randy Barnett is now cherry-picking the random liberal tweets he’s most easily able to mock as a way to discredit the entire counterargument. He’s an intellectual fraud. (Primarily because he doesn't dare respond to my brilliant points, but not solely, definitely.)

  • The greatest “crime” is for DFHs to point out the fact that Republicans “are” criminal “goons.”

  • Am I safe assuming Randy Barnett once argued for Obama’s impeachment because Fox told him he liked pickle relish on his burgers?

    • ColBatGuano

      I believe his high crime was grey poupon mustard.

    • Mellano

      I’d like to see Professor Randy Barnett direct his “duty of good faith performance” doctrine of Presidential action at, say, Trump’s perfectly legal decisions to fire the FBI director or “declassify” code-word information to the Russian foreign minister. I think that might be illuminating.

  • Morse Code for J

    The Democrats have held the House majority 12 times since 1973, and they have never passed articles of impeachment against any of the five Republican presidents since.

    • Davis X. Machina

      This is why me must primary them. All of them. Now.


    • rea

      There have never been articles of impeachment for the president passed except when the Republicans controlled the House.

  • UncleEbeneezer

    Weren’t Republicans already talking about impeaching HRC prior to 11/8??

  • Fnarf

    I had an ITMFA sticker on my car for most of Bush Jr.’s term (Impeach the Motherfucker Already), but I’m a hothead (I bought it from Dan Savage).

    • Dennis Orphen

      One person’s hothead is another person’s passionate yet still rational actor.

  • Dilan Esper

    There definitely is a certain type of person who basically declares every politician of the other party the second coming of Hitler, calls for impeachment immediately, etc. I have found more of these on the right, but I know a couple of Democrats like that too. (For instance, I know someone who wanted to impeach George H.W. Bush because he supposedly knew about Iran-Contra and said he was out of the loop.)

    But Scott’s response is perfect– “influential Democrats”. Even after Trump was elected, which was considered a catastrophe by just about everyone in the Democratic Party, most influential Democrats were somewhere between “don’t work with him because we might legitimize him” and “work with him if he proposes stuff we like and oppose him if we don’t”. And honestly, if the Flynn investigation had been a nothingburger and there hadn’t have been an attempt to end the FBI probe, where we’d be now is probably some version of “he’s a failed President who can’t get anything done; let’s capitalize and crush the Republicans in the midterms”.

    The calls for impeachment by INFLUENTIAL Democrats mostly started this week, and were a response to obvious facts on the ground.

    (By the way, I’d extend this same argument to Republicans, in a certain way. There were Republicans like Dan Burton who were looking for an impeachment from the moment Clinton took office, but INFLUENTIAL Republicans really did not start calling for Clinton’s impeachment until the Lewinsky scandal. And while there was a fringe looking to impeach Obama, that fringe was basically ignored by the Republican Party leadership– neither Boehner nor McConnell ever took such calls seriously.)

    • Nick never Nick

      I think one error here is ignoring the disparity between radicalization in Republican and Democratic voters. One reason that Pelosi and Schumer are strong centrists is that the centrist wing of Democratic voters is strong. Similarly, Ryan and McConnell are weak leaders and Republican backbenchers are influential, because a substantial plurality of Republican voters are unhinged loons. Yes, Ryan and McConnell are powerful Republican leaders, but they have a leash that Pelosi and Schumer don’t, and the leash doesn’t run towards the middle ground.

      • Dilan Esper

        I think this is very true with respect to legislation, but it isn’t really true with respect to impeachment.

        Now I remain open to the possibility that someday, Republican voters will be so radicalized so as to actually effectively demand that their congressional leaders immediately convene impeachment hearings whenever a Democratic POTUS is in office, but that does not describe the current status quo. Perpetual impeachment is, as of now, a position taken only by talk radio and backbenchers.

        • Craigo

          I think it’s correct that, unless the fever breaks when the Boomers die out, this will eventually become the Republican norm. We still have a few to break a few other conventions, however.

          I don’t believe a Republican Senate majority will ever confirm a Democratic Supreme Court nominee in the medium-term (which has been my position since about 2010 and sadly proven correct so far). Next will be refusing to confirm Democratic executive appointments and other federal judges, then perhaps defunding departments, agencies, and the Executive Office when a Democrat is in the White House.

          After that? Either insta-impeachment, or they could cut to the chase and simply award the electoral votes in states they control to the Republican nominee, regardless of the how the state votes. We’re probably 3-4 cycles away from that.

          • Dilan Esper

            I think this is quite quite wrong.

            I know things look bleak, but the reality is that there’s a lot of shoes that Republicans have tried to drop and failed to, which indicates that it isn’t as simple as Republicans gaining power and then breaking every norm that is unfavorable to them.

            A great example of this is awarding EC votes by Congressional District. This was seriously floated in several states by Republicans, and it didn’t happen. They couldn’t enact it despite controlling the legislatures and ostensibly having the votes to do it.

            These sorts of doomsday scenarios assume that at no point along the line will there ever be either (1) a public backlash, or (2) any Republicans who push back against their party. They assume that because opposition to something like what the Republicans did to Merrick Garland is ineffectual, that therefore there will never be any situation where opposition will be effectual.

            And there’s just zero reason to believe the political system works like that. Here’s a conservative example. FDR was running over everyone and everything his first few years in office. I don’t consider that to be a bad thing, but there’s no denying it was happening. He got a ton of bills through Congress, he had a bunch of executive orders, the federal government was asserting new powers that it had never asserted before, and he was immensely popular. Nonetheless, court-packing failed. There was effective public opposition. And that’s despite the fact that I can totally see a right winger in 1936 saying a very similar thing to what you are saying.

            Look at your end point. Awarding the electoral vote despite the popular vote going the other way? You really think that they could get away with that in any but the most extraordinary situation? Bear in mind, the reason why Bush v. Gore came out the way it did was because Republicans were desperate to AVOID doing that in Florida, despite the fact that Florida 2000 was the sort of extraordinary situation where you could sort of see a party getting away with it.

            It just doesn’t work like that. The Republicans get away with busting up norms precisely because they are NOT seen as seizing dictatorial power. If they actually got close to that point, it would, in fact, become far more difficult for them to bust up norms. There is very little danger of the recursive anti-democratic feedback loop you posit ever happening.

          • Craigo

            I’d like you to be right, but I don’t think you are.

            The arguments you’re making are exactly the sort of arguments that would have been made decades ago regarding denying a floor vote to a Supreme Court nominee, or halting a recount in progress several days before a deadline and while a favored candidate was in the lead, or stripping authority from an opposition governor by a lame duck legislature and defeated incumbent, or passing laws with the explicit purpose of preventing unfriendly voters from going to the polls, or burning foreign intelligence sources for domestic partisan gain, or threatening to deliberately defund the government, or threatening to deliberately default on the country’s sovereign debt, or filibustering legislation and appointments as a matter of routine, or admitting to sexual assault on film and suffering no more than two weeks of bad polling, a handful of pulled endorsements, and a majority of electoral votes.

            What stops norm-breaking in its tracks is not some wooly sense of civic pride, or notion of “that sort of thing just isn’t done”. It’s losing. Legislators don’t routinely deny their opponents a quorum, because Texas Democrats tried it and got their asses kicked. They don’t publicly contemplate packing the judiciary, because the conservative coalition cut FDR off at the knees. Every single President since Nixon has claimed that the Impoundment Control Act is unconstitutional, and not one has dared challenge it because, well, that bill was passed over Nixon’s broken corpse.

            Once upon a time – not so long ago – it was considered out of bounds to publicly discuss a politician’s marital infidelities or physical infirmities, even if they were open secrets. And personally campaigning for office was beyond the pale, proof positive that one did not deserve the power they sought. Those are two norms that have aged poorly, and it’s arrogant and myopic to assume that future generations will view the norms that we treasure as any more important than those we’ve discarded.

            The electoral vote schemes in PA, WI, and MI? They failed because Republicans thought that they could win the state’s popular vote in 2016. But if Clinton had won these states, they’d definitely be pushing it again right now. And every single Republican and conservative who rationalized Trump’s norm breaking during the campaign and in office would be rationalizing that as well. They might not win immediately – but every time they try to push it through, that wall of tradition and propriety cracks a little bit more. Filibustering started slowly as well, and grew in fits and spurts for a few decades. Then one day, we looked up and there were 250 cloture motions in a single Congress. What someone had cogently argued would never happen was now the new normal.

            This isn’t inevitable. We’ve seen periods of partisan polarization dissolve into political consensus and ideological overlap before, and with that goes any incentive to play hardball. That may happen again, and I hope it does. But the norms that are broken during these battles, stay broken.

            • Brien Jackson

              This is definitely true of impeachment. There was a BIG push for Obama’s impeachment in the fever swamp and from conservative media figures. Congressional Republicans resisted it only because impeaching Clinton was a political loser, and impeaching Obama would have been an even bigger clusterfuck.

            • Dilan Esper

              The arguments you’re making are exactly the sort of arguments that would have been made decades ago regarding denying a floor vote to a Supreme Court nominee

              This is a precisely meaningless thing that people should stop talking about.

              First of all, if you really care, Abe Fortas was denied a floor vote. And some nominees like Douglas Ginsburg and Meiers were withdrawn who might not have gotten floor votes had they not been withdrawn.

              The important thing about Garland was not that they denied a floor vote. It would have been EXACTLY the same if they had rushed his nomination to the floor and quickly voted it down on a party line vote, which is what would have happened if they had given him a vote.

              The important thing is that they were not going to confirm a justice in the last year of the administration that shifted the balance of the Court. You know what? The Democrats weren’t going to do this either in 2008, and the Republicans weren’t going to do this in 2000. That ship had actually long sailed. Garland was the Trope Codifier, nothing more.

    • Pseudonym

      It’s pretty notable though that the alleged fringe of the Republican Party (birthers, to be precise) was recently elected President.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    1) Much as the authoritarians of the GOP love to watch “COPS” and fondle themselves as the cops wrestle a shirtless man to the ground and his relatives cry out, “He dit’n do nuffin!”, they now are that shirtless guy. They have never been able to grasp that what happened to Nixon may have been based on actual things he did.

    2) For all of the trivia bouncing around in my head, political, too, I don’t know if I would have known about this bumper sticker had I not moved to the South and seen this on an old car:


    (People were very concerned about deficits and big government then, too, apparently.)

    3) In conclusion, these people can go fuck themselves.

    • Dennis Orphen

      They have never been able to grasp that what happened to Nixon may have been based on actual things he did.

      Or that McCord left the tape visible on purpose and the security guard was tipped off.

    • efgoldman

      I don’t know if I would have known about this bumper sticker had I not moved to the South and seen this on an old car:

      Bumper stickers, hell. There were billboards

    • rea


      I’m old enough to remember when that was a thing. You know who was a big supporter of impeaching Warren? Jerry Ford.

      • Breadbaker

        Ford wanted to impeach Douglas, not Warren.

  • Brien Jackson

    Well thank God, it turns out that Mueller is really just a DISTRACTION in cahoots with SUPERGENIUS Donald Trump.

  • Hondo

    This is one of the most infuriating things for me. RWNJs changing history at will, just generally making shit up. There’s really nothing you can do. Demonstrable evidence, credible facts just bounce off their skulls like tennis balls off a brick wall. You can never win the argument, you will never see them concede a point. I still believe we are fighting a losing battle.
    I have been through this personally with people I know.
    We can ridicule them all we like, make jokes, be thankful we’re not as ignorant as they are, but they will still win. The dumb is righter than the smart, because there’s more of them.

  • eh

    Trump is making everyone crazy.

  • smartone

    There was absolutely talk among the left that GWB had committed impeachable crimes by lying to American people to get us into an unnecessary war.

    And when Democrats FINALLY regained the House the very first thing Speak Pelosi said was
    “We are not going to impeach GWB”

    so yeah — um there’s that

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