Jeffrey Tucker: The Incredibly Uneventful Impeachment

When news on the radio news starts these days, the top item is about the impending impeachment of the U.S. President by the House. Every day for weeks now, I immediately think: ok but what’s the actual news? Anything interesting going on out there?

I know this is wrong. I’m as civic-minded as the next guy. I’m against corruption. I’m for holding politicians accountable. Government should be good, morally upright, true blue. For this reason, I know that I’m supposed to find impeachment to be engaging, ominous, and fraught with significance for the future of our constitutional republic. Of course this is extremely important for our lives. Of course!

But maybe….maybe it is all kind of boring. For some reason, the whole affair is starting to take on the character of elevator music.

The trouble is that there are some things that everyone knows. Everyone knows how this ends. The Senate will stop the impeachment, and then the president will use this to amp up the drama for his re-election and energize his base as never before. That this whole thing will backfire to his benefit is as sure as sunrise. The Democrats these days are about as strategic as Wile E. Coyote and equally persistent in trying out their newest trick that will again end with a puff of dust emerging the ground below the cliff.

Everyone knows that the House Democrats and the entire party have been in an existential meltdown of fury, shock, and horror ever since election night 2016. The results were not supposed to be as they were, which everyone knew because nearly every living soul in the mainstream press assured us that Trump would flame out and die a disgraceful political death that night.

Everyone knows that the center-left has sought impeachment from that moment on. This Ukrainian business – even if the substance of every accusation is true – is the convenient excuse that they needed to do what they swore to do that night. The maudlin performances and pearl clutching in the House of Representatives is so much theater.

Everyone knows, further, that the president is not happy unless he is muscling people, defeating enemies, winning the game that he sets up, exacting tribute, establishing his dominance in the room and the world stage, capturing all the headlines and so on. That he reminded the Ukrainian president of the foreign aid the country gets prior to pressing him on information concerning his political enemies isn’t even slightly surprising. We are way past shock on this front.

Trump believes the entire US economy is his private achievement; that he also believes that the US Treasury is his for advancing his political interests follows too. Nor does anyone believe that tying aid to political ends is somehow unprecedented in American political life.

We only pretend to be taken aback. Actually, we know that this is only a small peek into what really goes on in these circles.

Finally, here is the core of what everyone knows. Everyone knows that the real-life business of government is shady, backstabbing, underhanded, duplicitous, dogs-eating-dogs, and fundamentally rotten. Both sides. All sides.

This impeachment, in particular, has a cast of characters out of the darkest corners of American life. We’ve got a salivating media hungry for readers, a gaggle of permanent bureaucrats wanting to drive out the interloping president, an opposition party consumed in fear and loathing, and vast partisan interests excited about how much money they can raise from the naive who join political tribes and cough up money to see their tribe win the day.

The impeachment angle here is particularly exciting to some because it recalls the last great moment in American political history in which many people were genuinely shocked at White House hijinks. The press was respected and loved. That a president could be impeached was genuinely alarming. When Nixon finally waved goodbye, it was a watershed moment in American history – or so people believed.

I have some small memories of all of this. My grandparents and parents huddled around the television. The testimony was riveting. What did he know and when did he know it? Where are the tapes? How deep does the coverup extend? It was like a great movie.

To be sure, my parents were convinced that Nixon was being railroaded by partisan attacks. He was technically guilty, they would admit, but what he did was not an actual crime; it was all politics going down. But then again, my parents were rebels. I took their message to my second grade class and I was the only person in my entire grade that had doubts about the impeachment.

The real point is that everyone cared intensely. It was a huge deal. Remember that in these times, two-thirds of Americans professed respect for the Presidency and the political system. That Watergate exposed the underside was something of a shock to everyone, even Nixon partisans.

There is a parallel with how the center-left wanted Nixon to die the death and how Trump is being treated today. Nixon was in the House during the amazing 1948 Hiss-Chambers testimony before the UnAmerican Activities Committee and used the occasion to launch his political career. Here was the witch hunt of the day, and they found real witches. The left never forgave him for this. They swore revenge and eventually got it. In a similar way, Trump was not supposed to win the presidency in 2016. He will pay the price someday, swore the multitudinous members of the Washington clerisy.

The big difference between then and now is that back then, government seemed really important. It was fighting the cold war. It was stabilizing the economy, so they said. The best and brightest were drawn to Washington like moths to a flame. Today, not so much. The last time government did anything notably spectacular was the moon shot. What’s happened since? It has raised taxes, inflated the money supply, got the country embroiled in endless stupid wars, and hectored and jailed people for smoking plants. Most political news is either trivial or depressing, and the media has been massively diversified and the mainstream discredited.

Today is a different world from that which produced Watergate. What was once an ominous moment in 1974 has become the incredibly uneventful impeachment in 2019 – an impeachment completely consistent with the reputational status of state today, which is a shadow of its former self. Post-impeachment, the situation in the United States that produced President Trump will still exist, namely the massive public dissatisfaction with the status quo. That is unimpeachable.

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages, most recently The Market Loves You. He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

This op-ed was first published at AIER.

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42 Responses to Jeffrey Tucker: The Incredibly Uneventful Impeachment

  1. RobK

    In his unorthodox way, I hope Trump is around long enough to teach some of the swamp that there is another way. As Tucker suggests, some pride in the office and politics. Now I know Trump comes across as crass to many but it is perhaps the only antidote to the entrenched swamp of technocrats. It’s a massive job that is pretty impenetrable to average punters such as myself. The voters have to try something to get the system back on the rails, short of a complete system reset or revolution. God bless Trump and more so the office of the President.

  2. stackja

    USA Voters should ‘impeach’ Dems.

  3. Tel

    Everyone knows, further, that the president is not happy unless he is muscling people, defeating enemies, winning the game that he sets up, exacting tribute, establishing his dominance in the room and the world stage, capturing all the headlines and so on.

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of Washington know-it-all warmongers.

    As I’ve said before … my first preference for who should occupy the Whitehouse would be a Giant Meteor … but if that’s unavailable, I’ll accept Trump as a second-best option.

  4. Iampeter

    This article is a masterclass in saying nothing.
    Best quote:

    This Ukrainian business – even if the substance of every accusation is true – is the convenient excuse that they needed to do what they swore to do that night.

    For real?

    Anyway, the real basic reason democrats are dragging this out is because all that impeachment proceedings will do is strengthen Trump at re-election. But the deeper reason they are dragging it out is because Trump is the best President the democrats have had in a long time.

  5. Bronson

    Iamp delusional as ever. Consistency usually thought of as a desirable trait, however, in the wrong hands it’s just plain bizarre.

  6. sfw

    “That he reminded the Ukrainian president of the foreign aid the country gets prior to pressing him on information concerning his political enemies isn’t even slightly surprising. We are way past shock on this front.”

    Isn’t it the job of the US Pres to guard the country? Surely a person who is a presidential candidate needs to be investigated properly if there is a serious possibility of corruption? If he didn’t ask for a thorough investigation he would be remiss in his duties.

  7. Jo Smyth

    So what is the point of this impeachment farce. The irrelevant Democrats need to seem to look relevant. Donald Trump has not lost any of his base. In fact, he seems to have gained more from the ethnic minorities. The whole of the Democratic field hoping to become President in 2020, are so extreme the only people who are listening to them are those indoctrinated with socialism, the rest have just switched off. At one time all people had for information was to huddle round the radio or read the daily newspaper, it was easy to spin a line. Now those days are gone, people get their information from numerous places and the poor fake media can’t cope with the fact that they are no longer in control.

  8. RobK

    …prior to pressing him on information concerning his political enemies
    I don’t think that is what he did. The way I understand it, he requested that an enquiry, which may have been prematurely shut down, be opened again because of pima facie concerns.

  9. jupes

    The Senate will stop the impeachment, and then the president will use this to amp up the drama for his re-election and energize his base as never before.

    He says this as if it’s a bad thing.

    Most political news is either trivial or depressing …

    Well he should have a look at Australia where ALL political news is trivial and depressing. At least the US has President Trump.

  10. Ravensclaw

    The fake Russian scandal was a genuine attempt to remove Trump from office that was very devious in its design.

    The important question is what will it take for the Republicans to turn on the President? Remember Kevin Rudd? He was dumped by ho own party while he was ahead in the polls. Competence questions aside, they did it because Rudd wasn’t “one of them”.

    Trump is seen as an opportunistic Republican who does not have “deep roots” within the party.

    In addition to the deep state traitors, an Admiral and some public servants have come out stating they have lost confidence in the President and worse. And what if there are more of them who undermine Democracy from within. The MSM will treat them as heroes despite their treason.

    Do you really think the Republicans will continue to back the President if the system falls apart?

    Everyone knows the Democrats have little chance to win the next election unless Trump is gone. The Republicans have already shot themselves in the collective foot when they had a majority in both houses to pass important legislation. I’m sorry but I think it will happen again, and bring the USA to the brink. Very few within the political class give a rats about the people.

  11. mh

    Iampeter attempts to go Alex Jones level

    Anyway, the real basic reason democrats are dragging this out is because all that impeachment proceedings will do is strengthen Trump at re-election. But the deeper reason they are dragging it out is because Trump is the best President the democrats have had in a long time.

  12. FelixKruell

    RobK:

    I don’t think that is what he did. The way I understand it, he requested that an enquiry, which may have been prematurely shut down, be opened again because of pima facie concerns.

    Which would have been fine. Except Trump didn’t request that. He requested they liaise with his personal lawyer. There’s no reasonable explanation for doing that, other than that this was a political request.

  13. I often wonder to whose alter ego belongs the village idiot that visits this forum, merely to stir the pot.

  14. Dr Fred Lenin

    At least the impeachment businessdoes two things It keeps up the constant harrassment on Trump which has been going on since two years before he was elected ,no one hates more than the left,the second thing it makes it look as though the decromats are actually doing something instead of constan whining and thought farts . Be interesting to see how many of these clowns survive the next congress elections,or will they end up doing what the Westminster crew did ,resign en masse to spend more time with their families ,in Europe of course the yanks might go to Canada or Mexico .

  15. The BigBlueCat

    Anyway, the real basic reason democrats are dragging this out is because all that impeachment proceedings will do is strengthen Trump at re-election. But the deeper reason they are dragging it out is because Trump is the best President the democrats have had in a long time.

    Of course, the Democrats know that Trump has been a great POTUS – that is not the issue. The DNC want power for themselves and they want it now.

    What you are saying is that the Democrats prefer Trump over any of their own candidates. That despite all their wailings over Hillary 2016, Russiagate, Ukrainegate, et al they really don’t want him out, but keep him in??? What the frack?????

    I suggest that anyone who thinks the DNC want Trump as president over-and-above any of their own candidates is delusional and off their meds. If it really is the case the DNC really wants Trump as POTUS, they wouldn’t have to do anything other than ring up CNN, MSNBC, etc and call off the attack.

  16. Tel

    What you are saying is that the Democrats prefer Trump over any of their own candidates. That despite all their wailings over Hillary 2016, Russiagate, Ukrainegate, et al they really don’t want him out, but keep him in??? What the frack?????

    The USA is due for a recession for no other reason than because these things come in cycles … but although everyone knows it will happen, no one knows exactly when.

    The Dems don’t expect it to happen immediately (I agree with that, but medium term “stagflation” is a real possibility), so they want to work the timing by getting their candidate in right after Trump crashes the bus. Also the Democrats have been shipping a fully painted collector’s set of shit candidates (order yours today) … it would take some kind of miracle to save them in 2020.

  17. candy

    I don’t see this impeachment attempt uneventful at all.

    The Dems are deadly serious about it. They need Trump impeached before he has a chance to win in 2020.
    Whatever it takes.

  18. Bruce of Newcastle

    Something has changed since the Bush Presidency. The Democrats are now absolutely hysterical and willing to do anything at all to remove Trump from office.

    What has changed? It may sound like a cliche but I think it is the global warming thing.

    Trump is standing in the way of what many in the Left think is an extinction level event. One that must be acted on with in a year or two or everyone is going to drown, burn or starve. They believe it.

    If you really did believe Trump was standing in the way of your saving the world from certain catastrophe then you would behave…how? Just like the Democrats now are, is how.

    They do however understand that the deplorables don’t believe in CAGW and certainly don’t accept that totalitarian rebuilding of the economy is the only answer. And the deplorables have the guns. So a revolution is out. As soon as you eliminate force as a viable option you are only left with guile. Fortunately the Dems don’t seem to be especially good at it.

  19. What has changed?

    Trump has done and continues to do what all previous regimes, most notably Democrats, have promised to do but failed; the economy, ISIS, interminable wars, employment (especially black and Hispanic), borders, swamp clearing, etc.

    Democrats are especially worried about the fact that blacks and Hispanics are waking up and finding Trump to their liking. Another four years and the Democrats (the old school especially) will be demolished. Millennials will also be growing older and hopefully wiser about what it means to support Democrats.

  20. Iampeter

    the economy, ISIS, interminable wars, employment (especially black and Hispanic), borders, swamp clearing, etc.

    The only thing he has done on all these things is gone even further left than democrats would’ve been able to do.

    Any smart leftist loves the Trump presidency.

  21. RobK

    Felix,
    There’s no reasonable explanation for doing that, other than that this was a political request.
    So say you.
    What if, for example, he had some relevant information pertaining to the inquiry.

  22. Bronson

    Peteriam it’s the blue tablets after 6 not the red ones. Take a deep breathe and pick up the right bottle

  23. RobK

    Peteriam it’s the blue tablets after 6 not the red ones.
    Do they have tablets for that?

  24. Nato

    TIL, like many other escaped oafs, that this is actually the fourth vote to impeach Mr.Trump.

  25. NuThink

    What about Biden apparently asking the Ukranians to fire the investigator who was investigating Hunter Biden. There is even video of it unless I misunderstood what he was asking.

    Or Obama telling Medvedev of Russia that he would have more flexibility after the election. There is also video of it. I guess I misunderstood that as well.

    Do these not reek of corruption or subverting – as Nancy calls it – the US democracy. But I guess they don’t count as corruption as it is business as usual for the Dems.

  26. C.L.

    It’s always good to read the pro analysis of an actual American.
    I agree it has all become “elevator music”. That’s a perfect analogy.
    However, it has only petered out into a baneful, soon-to-be disastrous debacle for Democrats and the media because Trump fought back three times as hard. Anyone else would have been shooed out of office by now. That is genuinely disturbing.

  27. FelixKruell

    RobK:

    What if, for example, he had some relevant information pertaining to the inquiry.

    I’d be happy to see evidence of that. But every indication is that he spent months in meetings with the Ukrainians before the call, not to give them information, but to cajole them into investigating Biden.

  28. Zatara

    What has changed?

    BoN, I’m hoping that it’s just a swing of the societal pendulum (with perhaps touch of imbalance to the left side).

    One theory I am reading proposes an 80 year cycle for such a pendulum.

  29. Mark A

    Zatara
    #3200389, posted on November 3, 2019 at 4:03 am

    What has changed?

    BoN, I’m hoping that it’s just a swing of the societal pendulum (with perhaps touch of imbalance to the left side).

    One theory I am reading proposes an 80 year cycle for such a pendulum.

    Snap, Zat
    I was going to say that it takes about 3 to 4 generations to swing social norms.

  30. struth

    Who is Jeffy Tucker?
    No , mate, you are not being cool by being cynical and casual about the goings on in Washington and the States, as with so much at stake, this is the only game worth watching and watching closely, and indeed helping where we can all over the western world.

    Politics seems to be a very hard subject to grasp, for economists.

  31. Kneel

    “Any smart leftist loves the Trump presidency.”

    Ah – no wonder you can’t stop talking about him…

  32. Kneel

    “What about Biden apparently asking the Ukranians to fire the investigator who was investigating Hunter Biden.”

    Not asking, flat out bribing.
    “I’m getting on a plane in 6 hours. If that guy isn’t fired, you don’t get your money. And guess what, that guy was fired!” Or something similar, anyway.
    Trump, OTOH, said he didn’t think that was right and it no longer applied as far as he was concerned. IOW, a Dem bribed them and Trump took that bribe away.
    But, but… Dems good, Orange Man Bad!

  33. Entropy

    jupes
    #3200029, posted on November 2, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    The Senate will stop the impeachment, and then the president will use this to amp up the drama for his re-election and energize his base as never before.

    He says this as if it’s a bad thing

    Also takes a very very long time to say pretty much nothing, and doesn’t mention what the phone call was actually about.

    What about Biden apparently asking the Ukranians to fire the investigator who was investigating Hunter Biden. There is even video of it unless I misunderstood what he was asking.

    I think the video was Biden bragging about how he used his VP position to protect his son he got his son. Anyway, this bow tie wearing dude (a sure sign of false intellect) doesn’t mention Biden.

  34. Dr Fred Lenin

    Like the UK remainers and shortens gang the left have a great habit of falling in holes they dug ,then digging deeper to get out, thats why marxists keep trying the same failed plans again and again .
    This decromat desparate plan will backfire big time , people are sick of politicians , lying lawtrades criminals are wearing out the tolerance of the productive voters .they need to be destroyed totally ,take the taxpayers money off them and they are gone ,no money no socialism ,even soros cant save the vermin .

  35. Sometimes I regret being an atheist. If I were not, I would happily assert that Elijah Cummings was impeached by the Almighty. I would also pray that a few more go the same way. As for the President, the American version makes him chief executive and enables him to do anything he wants that is not contrary to a law on the books. And even then he can do things without laws being passed as long as it is understood that the edict can only be guaranteed to be enforceable as long as his presidency lasts. Walter Bagehot covered it well as the founders giving a president far more power than George III could dream of.
    So we should ask who benefits from the current actions by the Democrats?
    I think the answer is in the line of succession. Only Trump stands between a Pelosi presidency as the successor to Trump would be the VP but Pence is not worth two bob when it comes to dealing with this sort of rabidity which would then give the world President Pelosi!. Reichstag fire, anyone?

  36. Iampeter

    Politics seems to be a very hard subject to grasp, for economists.

    And conservatives.

    So we should ask who benefits from the current actions by the Democrats?

    What current actions? Dragging their feet in calling for impeachment of a President that clearly used his office for corruption in the most brazen way imaginable?

    Well, the Democrats are the ones benefiting from this. They get more of the left wing Trump presidency and then they get to take on a very weakened and unpopular president at the next election.

    Trump is going to be the Hillary candidate in 2020 and they’ll be chanting “lock him up.”

  37. Kaiser Derden

    “That he reminded the Ukrainian president of the foreign aid the country gets prior to pressing him on information concerning his political enemies”

    No he didn’t … you obviously didn’t read the transcript … the aid was never once mentioned by either party …

    you old #nevertrumpers are tiring …

  38. John Lee

    Some here might be interested in an opinion by a US citizen.

    To wit, the immediate above comment by one Iampeter.

    This ‘analysis’ strikes me as the mental precipitation of one who has little real acquaintance with US political realities or is somewhat delusional.

    According to “the transcript”, which I have read, Mr. Trump asked the president-elect of the Ukraine (who had campaigned on an anti-corruption platform) to take a look at some questionable practices by a Ukrainian entity because those practices may have interfered with internal US political procedures. Not being a stupid man, Mr. Trump openly reminded his interlocutor that the US provides significant aid to the Ukraine. In international politics, this allusion is an example of what is called ‘reality’. Mr. Trump wrote a book about this; he calls it ‘dealmaking’. Seeing as his interlocutor has stated, “I had no issues with this proposal,” it is difficult to see a tempest, nor a teapot.

    Nothing about this is a crime in the slightest degree. In the parlance of civil jurisprudence, it is not actionable. Furthermore, the US and Ukraine have an existing treaty calling for mutual cooperation in possibly criminal matters of mutual interest. A sitting VP of the US openly stating that he asked the previous Ukrainian administration to fire a prosecutor looking into a Ukrainian entity, which had the VP’s son on the board of directors, or, said VP might recommend US aid be withheld, could, quite arguably, fall into this category.

    The US Constitution specifies the grounds for impeachment: treason (defined in the Constitution), bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Mr. Trump being boorish, unwise, or pursuing policies with which one disagrees is none of those things. Also, the US is not a parliamentary system: the President is not accountable to the Congress, by and large; an Administration is accountable to some degree, usually per specific circumstances, and is prudent to cooperate with Congress. Mr. Trump answers to the American electorate, however, not to Nancy Pelosi.

    And if Iampeter thinks that Trump is somehow highly unpopular, well, please mail me a kilo of whatever you’re smoking, ‘cuz it seems like excellent shit.

  39. Ritchie The Riveter

    The Democrats are do-nothing-but-impeachment, because they know that as long as Trump is in office their radical agendas will be blocked.

    Which means that he doesn’t have to do a thing, to still be the best choice in 2020.

    PROGRESSIVES SEEK TO LORD IT OVER US
    PRESIDENT TRUMP DOES NOT
    THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE THAT COUNTS

  40. Pierre deVincentis

    I have thought for some time that the Dems expect RBG to die soon. The drumbeat will be that a president either impeached or under impeachment inquiry cannot nominate her successor. The Dems can’t get anything done via legislation, so they look to the Obama courts to get what they want. If Trump gets to fill RBGs seat, they are effed for eons to come.

  41. OldOzzie

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #3200086, posted on November 2, 2019 at 5:47 pm
    Something has changed since the Bush Presidency. The Democrats are now absolutely hysterical and willing to do anything at all to remove Trump from office.

    What has changed? It may sound like a cliche but I think it is the global warming thing.

    Trump Admin Puts America First Into Action on Global Warming

    Promises made. Promises kept. President Donald J. Trump’s White House officially notified the United Nations that the United States will officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Monday marked the first day the U.S. could officially declare whether or not it was staying in the mulit-nation agreement to combat climate change. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent the U.N. a formal letter on Monday afternoon.

    “In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model – backed by a record of real world results – showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,” Pompeo said in the withdrawal letter. “We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters.”

    The withdrawal will officially take place after a one-year waiting period, per agreement rules. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus also tweeted that, “Today under @SecPompeo’s leadership, the State Department begins the formal process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. The U.S. will continue to assist our partners to reduce emissions, protect natural resources, increase resilience & respond to natural disasters.”

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