[Today’s run: 5k on the treadmill]
So this week the US House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. If I were in the US House, I don’t think I would have voted to do that.
On the other hand, the US House was officially elected and represents the people in a reasonable way, and a lot of people wanted this to happen.
One of the jobs of a politician is to find political solutions. And frequently political solutions mean that a lot of people are going to be unhappy. A tried and true way of avoiding unhappiness is to dodge the truth. Which means that political solutions often involve some measure of deception; if not deception of others, at least self-deception.
Donald Trump is an interesting guy. It’s my feeling that he has risen to this position by being a mocking counterpoint to the straight-faced, somber deceptions of “normal” politicians. But in the end being impeached seems to indicate a lack of survival skills in a political environment.
I frequently think of the current situation in comparison to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton 20 years ago. Clinton was, in the end, a very good politician. Clinton committed an actual on-the-books crime: perjury. But he found a way through the minefield he built of bad personal decisions and secured for himself some respect as a statesman and power broker. (At least up until recently.)
Trump’s problems have revived the debates about what personal character means in the Presidency. Clinton’s supporters at his impeachment excused his character flaws and Trump’s supporters are now doing the same thing. How much does character matter? I think we’ve enjoyed two rounds of double-election presidents of good character, one from each party. Both Bush and Obama were reviled for all sorts of things. But they both had pretty good middle-class personal character traits.
In my opinion, I’m glad that Hilary Clinton didn’t have the opportunity to extend the Clinton Dynasty by becoming president. I don’t think she has the skills of either Trump or Bill. I didn’t want Trump to be president, but if it had to be either Trump or Hillary I’m glad Hillary lost.
It will be interesting to see what Trump can do with the current situation. Will he somehow turn a corner and become a good politician, or will he have a personal meltdown, or something in between. What things I’ve seen so far seem to lean toward the meltdown.
And, now that I’ve moved back to Iowa, I’ve been thinking about how I might make my own little statement. The Democratic Caucus is coming up in February. As far as I can see there is nothing I can accomplish on the Republican side, but I might be able to encourage a Democrat candidate of the more moderate flavor. I’m seriously considering going to the Democratic Caucus and voting for Tulsi Gabbard or Andrew Yang: Gabbard because she can at least talk sensibly about the trade-offs in issues like foreign military interventions and abortion policy, Yang because he’s talking about new important things in the technology world while the top dogs are still arguing dead subjects. I don’t think either of them can win. But a boost in their Iowa Caucus results maybe would shake up the stupidity, particularly of the Warren/Sanders variety.
If Trump makes some sort of positive turn, I may let the Democrats continue to go off the rails without my corrective intervention. But I really think it would be nice to push the system back toward center. Having only one party assent that abortion means death, or even bothers to push back against the wokeness group-think that seems to have gripped a significant segment of the population, it severely limits my options. I don’t like the bad vs. worse choices I’m being given.