A dangerous year ahead: David Brooks favors impeaching Donald J. Trump, then pretty much hurrying on. He presented the outline of his view at the start of yesterday's column:
BROOKS (11/1/19): Is it possible that more than 20 Republican senators will vote to convict Donald Trump of articles of impeachment? When you hang around Washington you get the sense that it could happen.In Brooks' view, Trump "is guilty of impeachable offenses." Indeed, in Brooks' view, "the evidence is overwhelming."
The evidence against Trump is overwhelming. This Ukraine quid pro quo wasn’t just a single reckless phone call. It was a multiprong several-month campaign to use the levers of American power to destroy a political rival.
Republican legislators are being bludgeoned with this truth in testimony after testimony. They know in their hearts that Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses. It’s evident in the way they stare glumly at their desks during hearings; the way they flee reporters seeking comment; the way they slag the White House off the record. It’ll be hard for them to vote to acquit if they can’t even come up with a non-ludicrous rationale.
And yet when you get outside Washington it’s hard to imagine more than one or two G.O.P. senators voting to convict.
That said, Brooks goes on to say that Republican senators aren't going to vote to remove Trump from office. For reasons we'll detail below, he favors impeaching Trump, then quickly moving on.
For ourselves, we're less sold on impeachment itself than Brooks is. We remain fairly strong in our view that our system doesn't run on impeachment.
Is Trump "guilty of impeachable offenses?" In our view, that pretty much isn't the basic question. The basic question involves the possible harm to the system from pursuit of this unusual tool, in which the judgment of 63 million voters can end up being overturned by the votes of 67 solons.
In our view, Emma Green has offered an instructive essay in the The Atlantic about that potential harm. Brooks is treading similar ground as he ends his column:
BROOKS: Elizabeth Bruenig of The Washington Post put her finger on something important in a recent essay on Trump’s evangelical voters: the assumption of decline. Many Trump voters take it as a matter of course that for the rest of their lives things are going to get worse for them—economically, spiritually, politically and culturally. They are not the only voters who think this way. Many young voters in their OK Boomer T-shirts feel exactly the same, except about climate change, employment prospects and debt.In our view, "elite negligence in the face of national decline" is indeed "the core issue."
This sense of elite negligence in the face of national decline is the core issue right now. Impeachment is a distraction from that. As quickly as possible, it’s time to move on.
That elite negligence started long before Trump. MSNBC's gruesome cheerleaders for impeachment have been, and remain, a very large part of that long-running "elite" fail.
These children, and their "elite" predecessors, gamboled and played, and served their own interests, in the years of living ludicrously—in the brain-dead journalistic decades which eventually led us to Trump. The bad values and horrible judgment of their guild is actively at work, each night, as you watch them talk about Trump Trump Trump and impeachment impeachment while talking about nothing else.
What did he say ten minutes ago? Let's assemble a panel of five and talk talk talk about it!
The children love chases, horse races, two-year "election campaigns" and the latest exciting new polls; they love the pursuit of Bad People. Their self-serving terrible judgment and their grisly corporate values, accompanied by their overall dumbness, lie at the heart of the decline which has been underway for at least the past thirty years.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but the children have very bad judgment. They gamboled and played until we had Trump, and they they began to resist.
In our view, their heartfelt desire to impeach is, in large part, an act of bad faith. There's no way to turn back from this quest, but we'll guess that no good will come of the quest, and we're sick of seeing these worthless strivers say Trump Trump Trump every night.
Truth? They don't care about health care or public schools, or about climate change. They care about excitement and the chase, and their instincts aren't likely to produce good endings.
In our view, the coming year presents great danger. But on cable TV, from 4 PM on, this "elite" can be seen enjoying its latest big batch of great fun.
We can barely watch them at this point. And by the way—almost every standard word they emit has been, in some manner, massaged.
Donald J. Trump is deeply disordered. Breaking! As our thought leaders giggle, cavort and clown, they're just a few steps behind.