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Impeachment and Accountability

June 15, 2019 10:18 a.m.

TPM Reader JO has some thoughts on impeachment and accountability …

I admit that part of the reason I enjoy TPM is that it confirms my biases. I value the reporting, insight, and analysis more, but the other part is undeniably comforting. I find myself agreeing with your editorial writings on pretty much everything. But I just do not understand your position on impeachment. There are two parts to this.

1) Your Edblog on June 4 separates the likelihood of impeachment resulting in removal from office, from the value of investigation before any discussion of impeachment. But the new Democratic-controlled congress is disappointing to some extent, and your edblog discussed this. I have to believe that simply organizing the existing investigations into an “impeachment inquiry” will, all by itself, raise the apparent stakes, move public sentiment, and hopefully get the investigations moving faster. And also, hopefully, raise the political price for Trump’s illegal stonewalling. I was (but should not have been) shocked to read about the Fox viewers who, presented with actual passages from the Mueller report, were surprised to hear about actual wrong-doing by Trump, and the non-existence of the exoneration claimed by Barr and his boss. If the nation is glued to TV coverage of impeachment hearings, hopefully more of the brainwashed will get it. And then make Mitch and the senate Republicans own and justify their defense of Trump.

2) I want someone to pay for a bad act, at long last. Has there been any accountability at this level since the S&L crisis in the 80s? (And even that was pretty weak tea.) Iran-Contra. The invasion of Iraq and all the lies that got us there. The subprime meltdown in 2008. The stolen election of 2000. Merrick Garland, (among the many, many sins of Mitch McConnell). Outright bribery, enabled by Citizen’s United. The many crimes enabled by killing the Voting Rights Act. Nothing that any high official does has any consequences, and it’s been this way for a very long time. And the one time that impeachment does get used, is for a blowjob? The thing that really pushes me to impeachment is that it would show that there is some cost to committing dozens of obviously impeachable offenses. As much as you dismiss that cost, I can’t believe that Trump, who is so concerned with what’s on TV, and firsts, and bests, and his own public image, would be please with a lengthy, high-profile recounting of his crimes, and a successful vote for impeachment. I want some accountability!

Let me add here a portion of an email from an on-going exchange between me and TPM Reader AB. It’s not precisely the same point. And I don’t agree with all the points. But it gets at the same hunger for accountability …

OK, I am obsessed with Pelosi because I believe that the democratic leadership should have committed the political equivalent of hari kari after 2016, and the fact that they did not shows that in these times there are no consequences for doing a crappy job as long as you can cling tenaciously to power. That is why Pelosi, and the other two elders, make my skin crawl.

I have a theory that the failure to hold anyone accountable for anything (Iraq, 2008 financial collapse, tax fraud) is the result of the stranglehold that the elites have on the system. The chickenshit club syndrome. Think about what a tenacious prosecutor could have done with Trump, or for that matter his father, if not for the fact that the system is, in my opinion, much more corrupt than it was the 20th century.

A lot of the anger over that corruption is what drove less educated people to vote for Trump and not Clinton.

But, as more and more people begin to demand an impeachment inquiry, to see the decision stuck in the hands of stale discredited leadership, which is symptomatic of that lack of accountability, is galling, and a sign, again, of the inherent rot of inside politics in DC.

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