Monday, February 3, 2020

Will The "Impeachment Charade Fade Quickly"?

We have not yet had all the final speechifying where GOP senators attempt to justify their votes to make this the first US federal impeachment trial in history (there have been 15, mostly of judges) not to have any witnesses, as well as the foregone acquittal.  But the battle over how it will be viewed in both the short and medium and long runs is already going on.  A sign of this is a column in yesterday's Washington Post by Hugh Hewitt entitled, "This impeachment charade will fade quickly," with Hewitt viewing the "charade" part not to mean the refusal of the Senate to have witnesses, but the entire trial itself, which he Trumpisly declares to have consisted of "fake history,"  because Trump will be viewed in 50 years as an "outsize personality" with "a growing list of achievements."  Claims like this will clearly underpin Trump's reelection campaign, even as several GOP senators up for reelection will probably find that their votes for the charade of not having witnesses will not "fade quickly" and may well do them in, even if Trump manages to squeak through to reelection.

Here is the list of things Hewitt things are achievements, almost none of which I think are, and most, if  not all, will be viewed as mistakes or Bad Things 50 years from now to the extent they are remembered at all, my comments in brackets.

"...rebuilding a U.S. military of $716 billion (and a new service branch, the Space Force) [not likely to be remembered, and if the Space Force really gets off the ground, which it probably will, nobody will remember it was Trump that started it], the appointment s of (so far) two Supreme Court justices, 50 appeals court judges and 133 district judges [quite aside from the awful blocking by McConnell of Merrick Garland's sppointment, the apparently low level of competence of these highly ideolgical appointments, many young, will still be a millstone on our society 50 years from now, but not one people will priaise]. a massive tax cut [this is not even popular now and will not be any more so in the future, tilting to the rich while blowing up the budget deficit], 3.5 percent unemployment [this is the first item not actually bad, but not much due to him], the country's exit from the Iran deal [worst foreign policy move by a president since W. Bush invaded Iraq] and the Paris climate accord [condemned already by nearly everybody on the planet outside Trump circles in the US with that not likely to be viewed more favorably as time proceeds]. clarity on China as the nation's chief strategic competitor [I think Obama already had made that clear, but if this is supposed to be praise of Trump's trade war with China, I do not think that will be viewed favorably 50 years from now, a farce], a renewed Israeli alliance anchored in the relocation of the U.S embasssy to Jerusalem [in 50 years probably to be viewed favorably by few outside of Israel itself and some evangelical Christians in the US, who are a declining portion of the population], the caliphate of the Islamic State destroyed [gets some credit for this, although basicallly followed policy set by Obama and OKing Turkish invasion of NW Syria to kick out local Kurds damages this], and "most wanted" terrorists Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qasem Soleimani eliminated [OK on the first, although he nearly caussed that not to happen thanks to Turkish invasion of Kurdish territories, and second has been a botch, with lots of people dying as a result of it and none so far saved that I am aware of], partial construction of the border wall [the less said the better, and others have built portions of the wall without anybody claiming this was som great accomplishment of theirs]. and significant immigration reform through executive orders [I suspect he will be remembered for tearing children out of their mothers' arms and outright blocking asylum refugees and others from many nations, all of which will be roundly condemned in the future], a regulatory rollback [with so much of that involving reducing environmental regs I do not think this will be viewed favorably in the future], the passage of the USMCA [a nothing burger barely different from NAFTA, although at least not outright bad like most of this], Obamacare's individual mandate repealed {I do not know what will be the US health care system 50 years from now, but I am quite sure this act will not be remembered at all, much less as having helped improve it], and "right to try" and justice reform legislation passed [I am fine with this, but note Trump initially resisted it and only signed it after it passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support]."

What is disturbing is that incessant repetition in the media of much of this may well please enough people all worked up about how Trump was mistreated by Dems in Congress that he might get reelected.  But with the exception of a very few items, most of this will be viewed as very misguieded and unfortunate 50 years from now, to the extent it is remembered at all.

Barkley Rosser


Anonymous said...

clarity on China as the nation's chief strategic competitor [I think Obama already had made that clear...]

What does the phrase "chief strategic competitor" mean? As for President Trump, his foreign policy language and actions have been threatening or war-prone, while Obama's policy was conducted overall hoping at least for friendly, peaceful relations.

2slugbaits said...

A useful way to think about this is to ask what conservatives were saying about Nixon shortly before he resigned. Right to the bitter end they tried to defend him along lines not all that different from what we're seeing today. And they were sure that Nixon's accomplishments would overshadow Watergate. Well, 46 years on and it's amazing how many people have managed to convince themselves that they didn't vote for Nixon in 1972. Eventually shame won out and a lot of Nixon voters found a way to misremember things. Today you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who will own up to voting for Nixon. Sort of a reverse Woodstock effect. Based on all the people who claim to have been at Woodstock you'd think there must have been 25 million instead of 250K. Based on the way voters misremember Nixon you'd think that McGovern won in a landslide victory. I suspect that we'll see something similar with Trump. Two generations on people will either be ashamed to admit having voted for Trump or they will misremember it completely. Voting for Trump will be seen as a badge of shame much as having voted for Nixon is seen as a badge of shame today.

ken melvin said...

Can anyone identify a Trump bump in E/P, employment, ...? said...


Please note that I made no comments on use of language by Hewitt in my brief commments in my bracketed comments on the many items in his list. The word "strategic" is a word of many meanings. I do not know what Hewitt means by using it, but in DOD circles it implies either nuclear or other very serious military matters, but it can be viewed as meaning something much broader, including economic competition.

Regarding nuclear weapons,,Russia is still clearly the main US rival/danger and is making new high tech nuclear weapons and missiles. China is building up its nuclear stockpile and is third behind the US and Russia, but still far behind them.

On other fronts, cyber warfare is now probably viewed as strategic, and there China is probably at least as much a rival of the US as Russia.

When I referred to Obama, I was thinking of Obama's loudlyi declared "pivot to Asia," with him viewing China as a "friendly competitor" or something like that. He clearly sought cooperation on various matters ranging from Iran to terrorism to North Korea, even as there was concern about Chinese actions in the South China Sea, general military buildup, as well as increasing economic competitions. Indeed, it was a not too loudly stated element, but forming a group to rival China economically was a motive for the formation by the TPP, which Trump withdrew from, although not out of any trying to be friendly to China.

I agree in general that Trump has been more aggressive with China than was Obama. Probably even worse has been an incoherence, vveering from Trump going on about how big a friend he is of Xi Jinping to setting off a messed up trade war.


We cannot say for sure yet, but I suspect you are right that many now supporting Trump will be embarrased at some point in the future, possibly (hopefully) quite soon.


There is no bump. E/P hit a peak of 65 percent around 1999. It hit a low of 58 percent 2009-12 or thereabouts. It began to creep up after that, getting into a clear but steady increase whose rate of improvement did not change when Trump replaced Obama. It had gotten to about to about 60 percent when Trump took over and is now at about 61 percent.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Barkley Rosser, for the clarification and explanation.

Anonymous said...

"Regarding nuclear weapons, Russia is still clearly the main US rival/danger and is making new high tech nuclear weapons and missiles...."

President Bush arbitrarily abandoned an arms treaty with Russia in December 2001, President Trump has followed along. The United States has been "making new high tech nuclear weapons and missiles" since the Bush years. We need to understand history.

December 13, 2001

Tearing Up the ABM Treaty

With his decision to junk the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, President Bush is rolling the diplomatic dice....

Anonymous said...

December 13, 2001

Bush Pulls Out of ABM Treaty; Putin Calls Move a Mistake

September 21, 2014

U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms

Anonymous said...

September 9, 2008

U.S. Backs Off Civilian Nuclear Pact With Russia

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration formally withdrew an agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia from congressional consideration on Monday.

Anonymous said...

August 1, 2019

U.S. Ends Cold War Missile Treaty, With Aim of Countering China Trump administration officials say that the treaty tied their hands on China and that Russia was not complying with it, but its demise raised fears of a new arms race.
By David E. Sanger and Edward Wong said...

I agree with all your points here, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Barkley Rosser.