Greater use of impeachment, to balance the President’s outsized power, is not necessarily a bad idea. Especially when contrasting the office’s scant accountability; with presidential precedents of causing havoc, with examples of incompetence, like the Iraq invasion. Or craziness, like that time Nixon got drunk, came up with a “madman theory of negotiation,”and threatened nuclear war. Or just plain evil, like that time Nixon torpedoed peace talks in Vietnam to hobble his political rival.

The paradox is that the greater power of impeachment must follow from wisdom, judgement and functionality (don’t laugh). That is, if we would call “greater power” the restricting of power. I would not, the tribes would (rather, the tribe in power would, the tribe out of power would not). Fat chance of that; nowadays the narrow struggles of Team Red vs. Team Blue completely drives US politics.

About that wisdom: at long last, the Special Prosecutor’s (SP) report is finished, finding no evidence that the Trump Presidential campaign colluded with Russia. While very far from a “nothing-burger,” a terrifying possibility for the nation seems to have been put to rest. After seeing the Attorney General’s summary, we should put to bed notions of impeaching the President for collusion with Russia during his election.

Attorney General (AG) Barr should release the full report as early as possible. Transparency is vital. But Democrats should not traffic in the same false accusations of treachery against the AG as they’ve done against the Trump administration for over two years. The “boy who cried wolf,” and all that. In an irony upon many others: delays in releasing the report might be swamped in the torrent of Trump-related FOIs already filed.

Of the three branches of our Federal Government, two covered themselves in shame by putting partisan tribal concerns over the good of their country. When the President refers to the process as “an illegal takedown that failed,” his demagoguery is no less damaging to the trust in our institutions (whatever remains), than the Democrats and the left-leaning media’s are, with their impetuous talk of impeachment, and “connect-the-dots think-pieces” (500,000 of them).

Another point about wisdom: adults should be de-escalating stupid fights. Adults with the kind of power American politicians have should better be able to recognize what stupid is.

What was not a nothing-burger was the 32 indictments handed down in the course of the SP’s investigation. Much of this criminal activity is vile enough to get past the radar of this libertarian, who writes constantly on our nations’ terrible habit of turning to incarceration to solve all of our problems, from mental illness to illicit substance abuse. They got what they deserved. Attention like this should be paid to the political class more often, not less.

Presidential tweets of “treasonous deep state” are given lie by the fact that he brought two outright traitors into the high tier of his administration. This scribbler cops to his tendency towards excessive bombast of verbiage, but in this case, my use of the word traitor is not that: Paul Manafort was the President’s campaign manager. He worked for Putin’s cat’s paw in the Ukraine (alongside the FSB no doubt). Their mission was to thwart Ukraine’s moves to break out of Russia’s orbit, working against the pro-west “euromaiden” movement. The man worked against our long-standing policy of Russian containment, at minimum.

It gets worse with Michael Flynn, the President’s choice for National Security advisor. He was pimped not by Denmark, not by Canada, but by Turkey, a nation that went far to sabotage our expensive and bloody (though foolish) efforts to bring political reform to the region most in need of it. Even now, Turkey’s army threatens our Special Forces imbeds with the Peshmerga. Michael Flynn’s council to Turkey could endanger men wearing the same uniform he retired. That the Republicans, who normally can be counted on for patriotism, are unconcerned with these facts is more evidence that the goals of tribal warfare drown out everything else.

These aspects of the mess are rods the President made for his own back. The FBI would have been negligent not to have looked into them. The smoke roiling around this story did not come from nowhere. The process had to go forward. Here are some other things we can say about the debacle:

The guardrails of the American system held. Our independent judiciary resisted incredible political pressure, and stayed independent. Many other nations would not have been able to resist the greed of the tribes. Struggles over nebulous charges of treason are Shakespearean in their ability to sow discord. Such pressure is not easily released, success in doing so cannot be taken for granted.

True public servants honored their Constitutional oaths and did their duty under the most trying circumstances imaginable. True, members of that service exercised poor judgement that challenged the objectivity of the politically charged investigations. The system dealt with them in the manner of precedent and procedure. The judicial branch of our government rose above. We might not be so lucky next time. This scribbler will spend time in reflection, with prayers of gratitude for their service.

It is likely this will be the most comprehensive investigation of its type ever. The political consequences of a mistake; hijinks; cover-ups; or any other kind of fuckery are too terrible to contemplate. Robert Mueller must know this, thorough Washington professional as he is. Partisan scalpels and microscopes were sure to come at his office from the “losing” side. In one side’s case, incredibly: tears and gnashing of teeth that their country is NOT compromised by our only existentially dangerous adversary. Tribal warfare eclipsing, fundamentally, our half-century-old national security imperative.

Writing about political disfunction in this day and age qualifies as beyond cliche, much less as blog-worthy analysis. We survived this in spite of the antics of our rightly reviled political class. This lesson should feature in the mind of any American at the polls considering giving these people more power (or anyone, the libertarian reminds).

The world’s oldest Republic endures, surviving a true threat, in the manner predicted, and designed for, by our Founding Fathers in their wisdom. Bless them, too.

A lesson from this should be the creation of a permanently empowered law enforcement entity, say, a branch of the FBI, with its own funding line, with as much a guarantee of political independence as possible, to investigate and prosecute crimes among our political class, which are evidently quite common. Ad hoc Special Prosecutors can pursue a case out of all context, the way a Basset Hound can follow an enticing scent into deadly traffic. The degree of impropriety around the John Corzine investigation, in just one example, contrasts starkly with America’s willingness to flush down the life-toilet a kid caught holding a bag of dope. That’s a tuning, not a change, of our Constitutional clockwork.

We can solve political tribal dysfunction the same way we evolved beyond tribal warfare: by empowering non-tribal institutions, mitigating the cycle of narrow vendetta our political system is locked in. Strengthen the judicial branch against the other two.

Another takeaway is how astonishingly wrong experts in the media were. I saw the same thing play out after the invasion of Iraq, when all of the expert talking-heads selling us the war returned to their expert-chairs the next day, as if nothing had happened. But in this case, has more ink ever been spilled on something so very incorrect? How wrong do the major media institutions have to be before they face consequences? Journalistic feedback loops of credibility being related to accuracy, content and context (most importantly) have been completely distorted by our partisan fun-house mirror distortions (on both sides).

As bad as the “motivated reasoning” coming from the legislative branch was, we could make the argument (somewhat) that being adversarial is a part of their role. The institution of journalism, “the Fourth Estate,” completely abandoned its pretext of objectivity. That makes 3 out of 4 institutional failures in “Russia-gate.” Whatever questions we might have had about our having a nineteenth century media now, where news and opinion outfits are unabashed party-organs, should also be put to rest.

This is going to wind up being far worse than the OJ Simpson divide, with one half of the nation (instead of twenty percent, then) dismayed and disgusted about what the other side thinks the truth is. Dedication to speculative conspiracies is a symptom of our divides, not the disease, The divide will continue to be peeled open by our wretched politics, because they are channeled into the political process.

President Lincoln gets the last word:

From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.

Eugene Darden Nicholas

About Eugene Darden Nicholas

Eugene Darden (Ed) Nicholas is from Flushing Queens, where he grew up sheltered from the hard world, learning the true things after graduating college and becoming a paramedic in Harlem. School continues to inform and entertain in all its true, Shakespearean glory. It's a lot of fun, really. In that career, dozens of people walk the earth now who would not be otherwise. (The number depends on how literally or figuratively you choose to add). He added a beloved wife to his little family, which is healthy. He is also well blessed in friends and colleagues.


Like this post?