Could Richard Nixon fight Impeachment? (and maybe the GOP should have let Bill Clinton get away with it…because the Democrats let him…just like the Kennedys)

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The following piece was written by my Facebook friend Steven.

Richard Nixon gave up the ghost because the House investigation of him had turned up the tapes that showed for a fact he was lying about his knowledge of the break-in at Watergate, and his own party, while they would defend him while there was a question, would not defend a proven lie.

Bill Clinton committed a crime when he lied under oath about his inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and everyone knew damn well that he was lying. Nonetheless, he was acquitted of both perjury and obstruction of justice, with not a single Senator from his party breaking ranks to convict, even in the face of that fact.

Frankly, there is still a question in my mind as to whether, if the House had gone ahead and impeached Nixon (he resigned before there was a vote), he would have been convicted. On their own, the Democrats would still have needed 11 more Senators to vote for conviction. As angry as the Republican senators were at being deceived, and as shocked as they were with the “Saturday Night Massacre” in which the AG and his deputy both resigned rather than fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox at Nixon’s insistence, pulling the trigger on a president from your own party is another bridge altogether. Would eleven GOP senators have said that was not a bridge too far?

Frankly, the Republicans should have decided against impeaching Clinton in 1998. Even with all the caucus voting yes, they still would have needed 12 more Senators to join them for conviction, and that wasn’t going to happen. To the Democratic caucus this was a blue-nosed special prosecutor trying to bring down an effective and popular president over having an affair in a town where affairs were the norm. Of course standing behind the idea that character doesn’t matter may have boomeranged on them now, but that’s a separate discussion.

I might also note that in both the above cases the party bringing (or who would have brought) the charges held the majority in the Senate, and it still wasn’t enough.

It’s frankly not worth attempting an impeachment unless you know you have either the votes to make it stick or some incontrovertible evidence that you have good reason to believe will move enough votes to make it stick.

In this impeachment, the party bringing the charges holds the minority in the Senate, and can’t win unless they get 20 Republican Senators to turn against their own president. There isn’t anything nearly as compelling as the Nixon tapes, and Trump hasn’t done anything so shocking as the Saturday Night Massacre (no, the sacking of James Comey, who was trying to make it all about him, and of Sally Yates, who defied a direct order, don’t count). In fact, in this case the special prosecutor’s investigation was allowed to play out all the way to the end, and it still came up short. Most importantly, none of the GOP Senators have indicated that they are going to buckle, and there is no reason for them to. If anything, this is the one vote you don’t buckle on, even a SCOTUS nominee runs second to turning on your own president (although it’s a close second).

Those of you out there on the left can sneer and shake your heads all you want. You can say the GOP Senators don’t get it, or that they put party above country, or put preserving their career above doing the right thing. However, I think you need to look inward and ask yourselves whether, if the parties were reversed, would you vote for your own person to be removed? Would you be saying your senators needed to put country above party, or that they should sacrifice their careers because it was just that important to remove this president? If you leaped to Clinton’s defense 22 years ago, then I think you know the answer.

This will all be over by Easter if not well before, and the Democrats will be the ones who come out of this all banged up and bruised.

Please visit my Facebook page DNM’s World.

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