Donald Trump will be impeached by the House today. You might think this is a good thing, if of limited effectiveness. But we like to be Fair and Balanced here at LGM, and a prominent leftist journal has provided a critique of impeachment by Doug Henwood, noted author of Hillary Clinton Stole My Car Keys So She Could Drive to D.C. And Kill Seth Rich to Cover Up Her Murder of Vince Foster. I won’t link for this reason among others:
Doug Henwood followed the lead of leftist luminaries like Donald Trump Jr. and Laura Loomer by doxxing the Ukraine whistleblower in his Jacobin article against impeaching Trump. 😯 pic.twitter.com/lTysJ1bKIM— pplswar (@pplswar) December 17, 2019
So what is the argument? It starts out as a classic concern troll, suggesting that getting rid of Trump is a worthy goal but impeachment is the wrong way to do it:
Leaving aside the Constitution, because it’s part of the problem — Trump wouldn’t be president were it not for that near-unalterable relic of slavery days, the Electoral College — one can concede some of this. Yes, Trump is awful, and it would be a blessing to be rid of him. He’s a bigot, a grifter, and a would-be authoritarian. But impeaching him less than a year before the election is not the answer to much of anything. It’s a distraction from ejecting him in the most definitive way possible: beating him decisively in an election.
In the context of an essay about political text, the word “distraction” is a very reliable tell that you have no argument at all. How is impeachment a “distraction” from beating Trump at the ballot box? Henwood doesn’t explain. But he does go on to say that articles of impeachment about corruption and election ratfucking are actually about…the CIA?
Aside from the offense against Biden, Trump has serially disrespected not only the CIA but also NATO, much to the distress of national security tools like Adam Schiff. These are the least of Trump’s offenses, but they’re what really move the party leadership. Max thinks we can hijack the process for our own purposes, whatever those might be, but to Nancy Pelosi, that would doubtless be just another “green dream or whatever.”
Yes, if you pretend that impeachment is being done for imaginary reasons, it is less defensible than the actual one. And of course note the implicit admiration for Trump who whatever his drawbacks is hated by the DEEP STATE.
At this point, let’s remember what Henwood thought about Trump when it mattered:
So, officer, here’s my answer: I can, in fact, imagine myself voting for Hillary Clinton—but only if David Brock, her nemesis turned promoter, were holding a gun to my head. I’ve spent too much time reading about her hawkishness and her loyalty to corporate power to bring myself to pencil in the oval next to her name. It’s likely she’d rip up the nuclear deal with Iran—more elegantly than Donald Trump, perhaps, but no less thoroughly—and try to change a disobedient regime or two. And her apologists who want to know what specific quid pro quos she’s granted in exchange for campaign contributions from banks and other powerful corporations are missing the point: They shouldn’t be read as transactional but as votes of confidence from people who don’t part with money lightly.
Yes, I live in New York, where my vote probably doesn’t matter. That is a luxury of sorts. I won’t argue with anyone who wants to vote for Clinton because the alternative is so horrible—though we’ve been hearing this for decades, without the least recognition that this lesser-evil habit lubricates the endless rightward shift of our politics.
It’s laughable that Henwood is pretending to believe that he opposes impeachment because he’s laser focused on beating Trump, who he spent 2016 urging people not to oppose while attacking his opponent with bullshit straight from the Breitbart Oppo Factory. But this helps to explain why he just ignores the ratfucking that is at the heart of impeachment; he was happy Trump beat Clinton in 2016. (Remember the quickie anti-Clinton book he was planning to do with none other than Julian Assange until the latter’s success made it unmarketable?) And, indeed, he can’t sustain the “impeachment is a distraction because it will stop us from beating Donald Trump” pose for the whole article:
While impeachment seems like another iteration of the desire to exorcise Trump, the impeaching mindset obsesses over his offenses with a dark, almost pornographic, enjoyment. As Jodi Dean has said, liberals are in love with their hatred of Trump.
IOW, the problem with impeachment is that liberals hate Trump rather than treating him with ironic detachment combined with an intense hatred of the worst actors in American politics (moderate liberals) as one should. Does anyone think that if anyone but Bernie — the liberal who for obscure reasons of Vermont politics nomenclature gets to be an honorary not-liberal to a certain faction of leftist who hates liberals far more than reactionaries — wins the nomination he won’t be rooting for Trump with that thin Greenwaldian veneer of plausible deniability again?