So the Impeachment of President Trump -- that “solemn” process House Speaker Nancy “Tax-Funded-Pens” Pelosi mentioned even as she tried to hide her grin – is worldwide news, and it seems to be causing most members of the professional chattering class more intellectual vexation than a high-level Physics exam shoved in front of a hungover frat boy.
At various turns, many celebratory commentators, and some who are upset with the scene, talk about the process in the Senate as “Trump’s Impeachment”, so let’s first mention that he’s already been impeached by the Democrats in the House. What’s happening now is the Senate Trial to see if he will be removed from office.
The point being that in the media sloppy language and sloppy thinking about the process abounds, and is seen in the most important aspect of the phenomenon, the supposed reason the Democrats impeached Trump in the first place.
From the standpoint of anyone with even the faintest clue of the so-called “rules” of the US Constitution, there’s a profound problem in the Democrats’ blather over Trump possibly “withholding financial aid to Ukraine” until Ukrainian officials investigated Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma Holdings.
In fact, the Democrats are missing the point.
The larger point of the entire fracas is that by NOT SENDING money to Ukraine, Trump would have been standing on firm constitutional ground, while the Dems, who wanted to spread our tax cash far and wide, were – and still are – pushing for flagrantly unconstitutional international glad-handing.
Simply put, so that even Nancy can understand. THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE US CONSTITUTION ALLOWING CONGRESS TO HAND TAXPAYER CASH TO PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES.
So this entire ritual is a sick prayer to a false god, the god of PR, the god of propaganda. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual so-called “powers” granted to Congress, and if – like some kind of thieving Johnny Appleseed – the Congress cats want to sprinkle my neighbor’s money all over the planet, they have to ask for an AMENDMENT.
This reminds those of us with functioning grey matter of the profound 19th Century speech by David Crockett, who was a Congressman from Tennessee between 1827 and 1831.
It’s now known as “Not Yours to Give”, and its context is key.
See, Crockett was in the House while the members prepped to vote on a bill giving extra money to the widow of a distinguished US naval officer – money over and above the already-delivered payment for his military labor. And the bill looked like it would pass, after all, that poor widow was without a husband, and the man had been quite a guy.
But Crockett stood. And he explained that in his previous term, he and his fellow Congressmen had seen a fire in Georgetown, raced to stop it, and been too late to save a number of residences. Soon thereafter, he explained, he and his pals in the House passed a bill to give money to the beleaguered families who had lost their homes.
And that next summer, he was out campaigning, and he ran into a farmer working near the edge of a road. He approached the man, and began to introduce himself, but the man already knew him:
Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett, I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.
Crockett was floored. He said:
This was a sockdolager . . . I begged him to tell me what was the matter.
And the man explained:
Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me.
The farmer said more, all very plainly and respectfully, but I abbreviate here…
Crockett still was confused; he thought there must be some mistake, so the man explained.
No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?
And Crockett admitted he was right.
‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.'
Crockett promised the man that if he would consider voting for him, and travel with him to tell this to others, he would never again engage in such behavior – behavior which would break his oath.
The man agreed, and Crockett won that next election, putting him on the floor to give his speech – a speech that convinced the others NOT to hand out the cash to the widow, as seemingly “evil” as that might be depicted by modern media and politicians.
There’s something profoundly wrong with American politicians and the chattering class in the news media if they lack the capacity to understand that they have the Impeachment argument completely backwards, and David Crockett’s speech tells us this truth. Crockett, that early 19th Century adventurer and Congressman understood that the supposed rule book for the US government not only doesn’t allow the Congress to tell the President to send money to Ukraine, it doesn’t allow Congress to tell any President to send welfare cash to anyone.
That’s the lesson we can learn from what is happening in DC right now.