Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R. WI) suggested that if the President were a Democrat, but in the same situation as Donald Trump, Congressional Republicans would be behaving no differently in the ensuing investigation and hearings. This is utter stupidity, and many of Ryan’s colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, said as much.
If, for instance, Hillary Clinton had won the Presidency and were mired in a scandal like the Trump/Russia one, Republican lawmakers like Ryan would be losing their mind and would have already had a moving truck in front of the White House.
One former Representative has gone as far as to compare Trump’s offenses to Bill Clinton’s, and has come to the conclusion that Trump’s are way worse (to which we only have one initial response – Duh!). This rep should know a thing or two about it, as well, as he helped draft articles of impeachment against Clinton.
Writing an opinion piece for the Washington Post, former Rep. Bob Inglis (R. SC) says:
“I was on the House Judiciary Committee that began the consideration of impeaching of President Bill Clinton. Armed with information from independent counsel Kenneth Starr, we were convinced the president had lied under oath. We drafted articles of impeachment, and a majority of the House concurred with our assessment. The Senate subsequently determined that there wasn’t sufficient cause to remove him from office. In retrospect, a public censure or reprimand may have been more advisable.
Regardless, Clinton was impeached for charges less serious than the ones before us now. In the current case, Comey was exploring the possibility of American involvement in the Russian plot, a treasonous offense. While it’s not time to start drafting articles of impeachment, it is time to pursue this investigation into Russian meddling in our presidential election with vigor, without friends to reward and without enemies to punish.”
Rep. Bob Inglis goes on to point out that “sycophantic media” makes it much harder for a Republican president to be impeached today. In 1974, when Republicans confronted Nixon, there were three, 30-minute, nightly news broadcasts where every single network reported the exact same facts, they were virtually identical. Republicans, back then, realized that their political futures rested upon their maintenance of credibility.
“Today, Fox News, talk radio, Breitbart and others fawn over Trump, Vice President Pence and the rest of the administration. They amplify the White House’s words while defying the journalistic calling to test and to probe the government’s claims. Recall, for example, how those outlets immediately affirmed Trump’s unsubstantiated morning tweets about President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower.
With Fox and others clogging the media landscape, Republicans’ political futures now rest on feeding the passions and proclivities of Trump’s hard-core base — the 39 percent of the electorate that likes him and responds to his code of grievance. That 39 percent is the dominant force in Republican primaries today. Cross them and you die.
That’s why Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for example, used his time at last week’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to ask Comey questions that excused, lessened and dismissed the possible connection between the Russians and Trump. It’s not that Trump has wooed Rubio; it’s that the Florida senator is aware of the power of the 39 percent.
Of course, the 39 percent will ultimately kill the Republican Party unless we can turn them around. A dead GOP would deprive a generation of Americans of the free-enterprise and individual-accountability solutions that thoughtful people such as Rubio would like to offer. Furthermore, a hostile foreign power has struck at the heart of our constitutional republic. As Comey said with passion last week, “If any Americans were part of helping the Russians do that to us, that is a very big deal.” Republicans must be prepared to follow those facts all the way to the president, his family and his campaign, if that’s where the facts lead. Fox News alerts play it down, the RNC says drop it, and the 39 percent shrugs, but we need real courage from real Republicans and a real investigation.”
Courage. From Congressional Republicans? That’s a long shot, but we’re still holding out a small glimmer of hope.