Not that I needed any more proof that Republicans are hypocrites, charlatans and liars, but the congressional impeachment hearings into the behavior of President Donald Trump toward Ukraine provided me with a little more.
For years here and in conversations with political friends and foes, I’ve called Republicans hypocrites, charlatans and liars whenever they wrapped themselves in the flag, touted their adherence to the U.S. Constitution and respect for the rule of law.
If I was in a keeping-things-light mood, I’d say that Republicans, regardless of what they said, had one set of rules and laws for the country and us little people to live and abide by and another set for their relatives.
My friends would laugh and agree with me; the foes would wave me off or chuckle that these men and women were just principled constitutional conservatives who held heartfelt beliefs.
So, you are telling me, I’d say, that no right-wing conservative has ever used a law that they have railed against for their own advantage?
Not taken welfare benefits, turned the other way when a close family member got an abortion, knowingly hired an undocumented alien?
They’d look at me and say they believe the right-wing conservative politician they liked or were supporting had the courage of their convictions.
The hypocrisy from Republicans got so bad during the Obama years that, at times, it was hard to maintain relationships with some people on the other side of the political spectrum.
Because regardless of the reasons they gave to opposing anything Obama did, it was easy for an old race man like me to read between the lines.
Once they were done with their spiel about liberal versus conservative policies, being tough here and strong there, I’d look at them and say:
At some point in the future, there will be a Republican president that you support who will do many of the things you accuse Barack Obama of during, and I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that you won’t have a problem with him.
Some would say they doubted that would happen, because unlike us liberals, being a principled conservative meant something.
Then along (so soon for me and most people) comes President Donald Trump, who wrapped himself in the mantle of right-wing conservative Republicanism and, when it became clear that he was the new face of the party, the sheep quickly fell in line.
One by one, almost every long-held, right-wing, conservative, Republican principle was ripped to shreds by this man once he, with the help of a foreign country, was able to win the 2016 presidential election.
In less than three years, the party of law and order, the rule of law, free trade, adherence to the constitution, political norms, strong alliances with other democratic nations and a robust military presence on the world stage became the party of tariffs, strong alliances with dictators, disdain for the rule of law and constitutional mandates.
One of the most glaring departures from once-strongly-held conservative Republican dogma was on display during the recent Democratic-led public impeachment hearings when it became clear that hatred or apprehension about Russia was not long a conservative talking point.
Republicans on the Intelligence Committee and others decided to give credence to the Russian-created conspiracy theory that Ukraine was behind the hacking of the Democratic Party’s computers and were responsible for interfering in the 2016 election.
These once-sons and -daughters of Cold Warriors did this in spite of the fact that every American intelligence agency, along with several of our once closest allies, say that it was Russia, and they are in the process of doing it again in 2020.
Ronald Reagan, John McCain and hundreds of other late anti-communists have to be rolling over in their graves at the turn towards authoritarianism their party has taken.
As much as I enjoyed seeing witness after witness coming before the Intelligence Committee last week and telling what they heard and saw the president and members of his administration do in the weeks before the phone call with the new Ukrainian president, it was just as disheartening watching Republicans justify Trump’s actions and attack public servants, many of whom had worked across several administrations, both Democratic and Republican.
One of the things Republicans and other Trump enablers did during and around the impeachment inquiry hearings was their repeated claim that the entire process was political.
You don’t say, Sherlock? Of course, it’s political. That’s the nature of impeachment. You don’t impeach people you like.
Two of the three presidential impeachments were political. With Nixon, there were smoking tapes that even the staunchest Nixon-supporting Republican couldn’t ignore.
The record says that in December of 1998, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice.
Clinton’s offenses had nothing to do with his being commander in chief, running of the United States government or doing the country’s bidding.
He lied about an affair with a 21-year-old White House intern and trying to get others to lie with him. That was it.
The real reason he was impeached was that for six years, he was able to play and beat congressional Republicans at their own political games, and they were out to get him any way they could.
And after years of investigation after investigation, his lying about sex was the best Republicans could come up with, so they took it and ran all the way to impeachment.
In February of 1868, the Radical Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 11 articles of impeachment against Southern Democratic President Andrew Johnson.
Nine of the articles were connected to Johnson’s firing of Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, in violation of the newly passed Tenure of Office Act.
The other two centered on Johnson’s disrespect for and bad-mouthing of the Republican-controlled Congress.
The real reasons Johnson was impeached was his failure to be harsh on the defeated South, not supporting the 13th Amendment, opposing the 14th Amendment and political rights for newly freed slaves;
His pardoning of former Confederate leaders, allowing Southern states back into the Union without much reform and his veto of the Freedmen’s Bureau legislation.
Needless to say, these actions ticked off the Radical Republicans and when they gained a veto-proof margin in the House following the 1866 elections, they began to exact their revenge on Johnson.
From the Bottom where I see things, if a president can be impeached for lying about an extramarital sexual encounter and another can be impeached for doing racist things that he felt were the “white” thing to do, then shouldn’t it be OK to impeach a president who once as a candidate for president asked a foreign country to interfere in our national election, got away with it, then asked another country to interfere in our upcoming national election?
Let’s face it, when it comes to partisan politics, impeachment is a dish best served any way you can.
Hi, Momma Lois.
TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.