Of Birds, Stones, and Boomerangs

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Dr. Malcolm Cross

“Be careful what you wish for,” goes the old saying.  “You may get it.”

There’s widespread suspicion on the political and journalistic right that the Democrats see the impeachment of President Trump as the proverbial stone with which to kill two birds:  President Trump, of course, and former Vice President Joe Biden as well.  But their impeachment effort may prove instead to be a boomerang which misses the President yet comes back to hurt the Democrats themselves.

The Democrats have chosen to impeach the President over the question of whether he tried to pressure the President of the Ukraine to investigate the business affairs of Hunter Biden, Joe’s son, who was hired by a Ukrainian oil and gas company at a salary of $50,000 a month.  The transcript of the relevant telephone call has been interpreted by the Democrats as proof that Trump tried to enlist a foreign government to hurt a political opponent.  The President’s defenders claim that the comments were too ambiguous and innocuous to support any such conclusion.

But even if the telephone conversation is interpreted in the worst possible light for President Trump, will this actually hurt him?  Not necessarily.  His popularity seems to have been affected not at all by the Access Hollywood tape, Stormy Daniels, Russian interference in the 2016 election, or anything else that the Democrats have thrown at him (or that he’s thrown at himself).  Why would his supporters care about a telephone call to the President of the Ukraine, regardless of its content or intent?  

The President’s approval rating among Republican voters remains at about 90%.  Unless that dramatically drops, the Republican-dominated Senate will not vote to remove him even if the Democratic House votes to impeach him.  After all, it requires 67 votes in the Senate to remove an impeached President.  Twenty Republicans would have to vote with the 45 Democrats and 2 independents to do so.  It is currently no more likely that 20 such Republicans can be found than that Democratic senators could have been found to remove the impeached but exceedingly popular Bill Clinton in 1999. 

What is more likely to happen is that the impeachment process will energize the Republican base and increase Republican turnout for Trump in 2020.  This will make it easier for the President to win both the electoral and popular vote.  

And the Republican voters will be motivated not only to avenge the perceived persecution of the President but to defeat a perceived radical leftist as well.  

Joe Biden’s greatest strength as a possible presidential nominee is that he is perceived as more moderate than either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, and the voters in a general election are more likely to vote for moderates than extremists.  But Biden’s problem is that the question of impeachment cannot possibly be discussed without examining his own role in the Ukraine.  He’s boasted in the past that he secured the firing of a prosecutor looking into Hunter’s company by threatening to have foreign aid cut off otherwise.  Biden’s defenders say that neither Hunter nor anybody else broke any laws, and that the dismissal of the Ukrainian prosecutor had nothing to do with any investigation of Hunter or his company.  But at best, even if no laws were broken, the Bidens’ activities seem to be “business as usual,” with the stench of corruption progressive Democrats say is nauseating.  The more this issue is aired in the drive to impeach the President, the greater will be the shift in support among Democrats from Biden to Elizabeth Warren, whom some polls now say enjoys narrow leads in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Yet Warren would almost certainly be a weaker general election candidate than Biden.  It will be far easier for the President to tag her with the dreaded label of radical, and thereby win over moderates who might otherwise have voted for Biden in the general election.

So Democrats who have been pushing for impeachment since Election Night 2016 now seem on the verge of getting what they want—and a whole lot more, including a second term for President Trump.


Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.

3 Comments

  1. This announcement of news today will help men like you to continue on living within Trump’s lies want it Mr. Cross?

    ” Fox News’ Shep Smith is out — right after Bill Barr reportedly met with Rupert Murdoch”

    Fox News host Shep Smith, one of the most prominent Trump-critical voices at the network, is leaving his position, he announced on Friday.

    “This is my last newscast here,” Smith said at the end of his Friday show, according to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple. “It’s been an honor and my pleasure.”

    This comes just days after Attorney General Bill Barr met with Rupert Murdoch, the founder of Fox News’ parent company News Corp, according to the New York Times. President Donald Trump has been vocally critical of Fox News in recent days and has long despised Smith for his critical coverage.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    The honorable discharges, including mine will not allow me to respect a Commander in Chief like Trump.

    And by the way Mr. Cross, who do you write these opinions to? The Garden Club?

    Randall Hamrick

  2. Republicans got it going their way now with the Kurd’s getting mowed down as they praise Trump…

  3. Nothing “conservative” about the conservatives. Conservatism is not owning 8 houses like Blue Water sailor John McCain nor owning 5 houses like Mitt Romney hen each of them ran for the Office of President of the United States like the two of them did. Conservatism is reducing the Roadways speed limit to 55 mph like Richard Nixon did as President but that was when men were better Fathers than today.

    I wouldn’t be awfully upset if Bill Clinton and Donald Trump shared the same prison cell but I do think George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be in single cells for their easy convictions of war crimes so that has the miserable sickness of administrations addressed.

    But when just over or just under 4.1 million school age children strike from going to school classes then I think it’s high time the conservatives clean up their acts throughout the small towns of America and join the children’s awareness of climate catastrophe facing the youth’s future. The facts run side by side with the speedy growth of the start of the Industrial Revolution through today. And carbon footprints are of great concern to the future.

    Corporate welfare should be addressed long before capitalist devote so much public media articles and attention to attacking the individual welfare predicament. Jet airplane welfare versus food stamp welfare are no where near a public debate as any human with reasoning ability knows that Jet airplanes aren’t even necessary.

    But when my United States Attorney General represents any man in the White House over me and my neighbors then its time conservatives in my town take a deep breath and adjust their thinking. Bill Barr is not fulfilling his sworn duty as a United States Attorney General for me or my neighbor. Bill Barr should be impeached immediately. No government such as was created by our slave holding founding fathers can arrange a government where an Attorney General can represent a White House over a private citizen because dead soldiers graves of American soldiers buried in Europe will allow it to make the heaven of God. So that means those that thinks America’s current government are wrong and are receiving falsehoods as well as furthering the spread of such. Of course Barr holds a Republican faction card but we are too much country to be affiliated with party’s when dead soldiers in Europe hold us accountable to truths they died far.

    The wisest action we can take right now is to join the striking students in saving humans breathing ability and if that means canceling high school, college and professional sports in America until we hit a safety zone goal then so be it as it is useless to build stars and glory hounds when doing so only speeds us to life’s end and welcome the challenge because it is ALL WE HAVE LEFT TO DO…

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