September 28, 2019

America in Crisis

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

Yes, we’re in crisis. There is a growing incoherence in the operation of our government, and an unprecedented comingling of the nation’s business and the business of re-electing President Trump.

Suffice to say, our country isn’t always in crisis when the Congress of the United States initiates an impeachment proceeding against a sitting President. There have been efforts to impeach US presidents a number of times that ended in failure to impeach (let alone convict) without an ensuing national crisis. For example, the House of Representatives considered articles of impeachment against Presidents John Tyler, James Buchanan, and Harry Truman all of which failed in the House and caused no crisis for the country. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House (although not convicted by the Senate) and President Richard Nixon resigned when the House Judiciary Committee approved, and referred to the full House, three articles of impeachment. Thus, President Nixon avoided certain impeachment by the full House. The nation was in crisis during the Nixon impeachment because President Nixon was managing a criminal cover-up operation involving the Watergate scandal from the oval office.  It became clear that both Democrats and Republicans were prepared to vote impeachment, and many observers believe that when a brave, young, conservative Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Larry Hogan of Maryland, announced his decision to vote for all three articles of impeachment, Nixon knew he was not going to be saved by party loyalty. His fears were confirmed the following day when Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona informed him that he would fare no better in the Senate if the full House voted to impeach.

The Clinton impeachment, following the vote to impeach in the House, proceeded in an orderly manner. Clinton was acquitted in the Senate and completed his Presidency with high approval ratings.

Now comes a formal “impeachment inquiry” by the House of Representatives targeting President Donald Trump. We’re not prepared to judge whether what we consider to be a rather sleazy telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rises to the level of an impeachable offense. While the justification for the impeachment of a US President is really whatever the House of Representatives decides is justification, it appears to us that President Trump carefully crafted plausible deniability regarding the motive for his obvious pitch for President Zelensky to launch a corruption investigation involving rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. 

This impeachment inquiry, however, comes at a time when our nation has drifted into a partisan divide unlike anything in recent memory, and, perhaps, in the country’s history. A cult of personality, a term usually reserved for supporters of despotic leaders of one-party regimes, has emerged in America wherein it seems the President’s supporters will stand with him no matter what. Similarly, many of his opponents will stridently criticize virtually everything he does or says. 

A whistleblower who has followed appropriate procedure and communicated his concerns through appropriate channels and prepared a serious report based on allegations brought to him or her, apparently by high-ranking personnel in the White House, has been referred to by President Trump as “almost a spy” with an ominous reminder of what “we used to do with spies.” That was a remarkably inappropriate comment at best, or a remarkably dangerous dog whistle at worst. In either case, they were the words of the President of the United States.

The country has become largely divided into two camps; more like two belligerents facing off under opposing flags than the run-of-the-mill rough and tumble of good old-fashioned American politics.  The President regularly refers to the press as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people,” and he petulantly, childishly, ridicules and attacks those who criticize him.

 We assume that many accept President Trump’s explanation that he withheld vitally needed and previously approved foreign aid to Ukraine because “other countries were not contributing enough to help defend the former Soviet satellite nation.”  Ukraine is staunchly pro-American. They have “bet” on America to the consternation of Russia, and the country lives under constant threat, having already lost a chunk of their nation, Crimea, to Russian aggression. It was tantamount to saying, Germany and others are not giving you the support you deserve and need, so we’re not going to either.

The President, strangely, but clearly, immediately raised issues pertaining to the last presidential election and then-current political opponent Joe Biden when President Zelensky told the President that he was ready to buy those American Javelin anti-tank defensive missiles. President Trump made it clear that he expected President Zelensky to investigate campaign-related issues, which the Ukrainian President agreed to do. He hardly had any choice, it seemed, if he wanted those anti-tank missiles.

“Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible,” President Trump told President Zelensky, telling him he would be hearing from the President’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr regarding the campaign-related issues.

This is not politics as usual in America. This is strange behavior and, as such, it is historical.  The nation is functioning by Presidential whim. The nation is in crisis.

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8 responses to “America in Crisis”

  1. Perry Green says:

    The rush to judgement is so apparent. Perhaps one might conclude also that the Deep State is at work as well. Am not truly
    one who believes in theory, but the crying of “Wolf” by the
    Democrats and the complicit Press has acerbated this conversation.
    If ever there was a need for an investigation I suggest rather that
    Biden’s son be investigated although no one seems interested in
    his China and Ukraine deals and the help is father threatened in order for his son’s unwarranted success not to mention former Sec. of State Kerry’s nephew. Something is indeed rotten and to me it is the lack of investigation into their dealings which Trump is attempting to uncover.
    By the Ukrainian’s own account the conversation did not have
    the “Feel” of Quid Pro Quo.
    The Deep State is alive and if our sitting POTUS is charged
    “God Help the USA” as a Civil War might be the result.
    To me this incident does not rise to the level of impeachment.

  2. Perry Green says:

    In first paragraph instead of theory should be the word.
    Conspiracy. Sorry.

  3. Roberta Conner says:

    The only “crisis” the country is in is the one created by a dishonest and complicit media. Seldom has the country fared better economically or militarily. Despite this fact, no president in our history has been subjected to such a concerted, high level of media abuse.

    Clearly, (to parrot your own forbidden word) nothing President Trump did in that fully transcribed and released telephone call rises to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment. The democrats acted rashly before all of the facts were known. Furthermore, they haven’t even taken a vote on the matter.

    Why? Because there is a high likelihood that many in their own party will not take the bait. Instead, the democrats are banking on the disgraceful liberal media to carry their dirty water for them and influence the court of world opinion against a president whom they absolutely know they cannot beat in a national election.

    I agree with Perry Green – the wrong party is being investigated.

  4. If one were only a fly on the wall at the Nuclear agreement talks with Iran in 2015 I’m certain our heads would be spinning with all the quid pro quos offered to Iran by Obama’s surrogate Kerry negotiating with Zarif and Rouhani. Lest we forget, it’s said that Obama officials pushed the U.S. Treasury to let Iran convert the equivalent of $5.7 billion of funds held in Oman’s Bank of Muscat from rials into dollars and subsequently into euros. It was never disclosed to Congress or the American public. It’s almost universally presumed that those funds have subsequently been used by Iran to support terrorism against Saudi Arabia and to support Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
    An act of this magnitude makes any such charges against Trump by the liberals laughable! Yet how short the memory of those who now attack Trump without taking stock of wrongdoings of his liberal predecessor. Further, making such strident criticism of Trump dealings without considering the origins and funding of the Steele dossier is likely dangerously premature pending the release of IG Horowitz’s report.

  5. Michael Gong says:

    Whoever believes it’s perfectly acceptable for the president of the US to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival and members of his family while holding back military aid to that foreign country raise your hands.

  6. Robert borns says:

    Our politicians are fiddling while the country burns. Real issues of both short and long term importance are not being addressed and stupid violent politics is the order of the day. Fools like Schiff and Nadler and the squad are running the Washington theater while infrastructure,immigration,etc etc are neglected. Both parties are blind to the billion dollars a day interest cost of the federal debt which keeps rising. We are in serious trouble as a nation. We became a great nation not only because we were smart but also because other nations were so dumb. We are now sinking to the dumb status. At this time of joy and repentence let us pray for more intelligent thought and behavior.

  7. James Fisher says:

    Further to the points raised by Robert borns I can’t help but wonder what superb American achievements would result from a more cordial relationship between our two main political parties – if winning the next election at all costs wasn’t the controlling factor.

    If the currently-espoused, very liberal platform of the democrats has merit and truly addresses the needs of America’s majority, why don’t they simply embrace that platform and select the presidential candidate that can carry these socialist policies to victory in the next election?

    Is it because their current platform doesn’t address the majority’s needs? If not, why not? Are democrats so unsure of their new leftist policies that they choose not to run on them – but rather to continue their seemingly endless smear campaign to bring down our latest duly-elected president instead?

  8. Judy says:

    Can we really ignore how Biden has become a multimillionaire while in office? And, his son following in his daddy’s footsteps?

    The media is soooo bias it’s ridiculous. I would like to have all our politicians (including Obama)
    investigated that have become millionaires while “serving” and I use that term loosely…. .. President Trump is the only person-and his family, I’m aware of that has actually lost net worth while serving his Country.

    I realize I may be in the minority of your readers, Harold, but I just don’t get it?

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