Deplorable and Vile: Today’s Republican Party

Shortly after a threat to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Democratic-led Senate unanimously approved and House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation to provide 24-hour security protections for Justices and their families. In June, President Biden signed the legislation into law.

Four months later, the spouse of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was viciously attacked while sleeping in his bed in his San Francisco home. The Speaker was in Washington, D.C. at the time of the attack. Paul Pelosi, 82, was attacked and hit on top of his head causing a skull fracture. The alleged assailant, David DePape told members of the San Francisco police department that he planned to talk to Speaker Pelosi if she had been home, and if she lied to him he was going to break her kneecaps, resulting in an injury that would serve as notice to other members of Congress.

So, how did Republicans react to the tragedy of an 82 year old man being attacked in his sleep in his own home? They had fun with it!

Virginia’s Governor, Glenn Youngkin joked that on Election Day, voters were going to send the Speaker home to be with her husband. At the time of the comment, the Speaker’s husband was undergoing surgery in a California hospital.

Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor in Arizona, while campaigning and lying about violent crime in the state, joked that the Speaker has security when she’s in D.C., but apparently her house doesn’t have much protection.

Of course, the Republicans in attendance at Lake’s campaign event howled in laughter. Yes, these people are deplorable — and vile.

And, of course, no instance of vile and deplorable behavior is complete without the inclusion of one of the Trump idiots. #2 idiot, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted a picture of a hammer and a pair of men’s underwear with the caption, “Got My Paul Pelosi Halloween Costume Ready.”

Credit When and Where It’s Due

I was happy to see in a recent article by Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels, (writing for Politico Playbook), credit given for the tremendous successes of President Biden during the first two years of his first term. I don’t find many political writers giving the president credit he deserves. It was nice to see that while it may be easy to nitpick the President when his poll numbers are low, in fairness he’s been very successful considering the recalcitrance he’s had to overcome.

The following is a quote from the Politico article:

Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will make Biden one of the most legislatively successful presidents of the modern era. We once noted that the mismatch between the size of Biden’s ambitions and his margins in Congress made it seem like he was trying to pass a Rhinoceros through a garden hose. It ended up being more like a pony, but it’s still pretty impressive.

To wit:

American Recovery Act: $1.9 trillion

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: $550 billion

Chips and Science Act: $280 billion

Inflation Reduction Act: $700 billion

That’s a nearly $3.5 trillion agenda. The scope of the issues addressed is notable: the pandemic and it’s economic fallout, highways, bridges, broadband, rail, manufacturing, science, prescription drug prices, health insurance, climate change, deficit reduction and tax equity.

He also expanded NATO, passed a new gun safety law and passed a bill to address the effects of vets exposed to toxic burn pits. Five out of seven of these laws — all but the two biggies, the ARP and IRA — received significant Republican support.

There’s not much debate anymore over whether Biden has been a consequential president. In the long run, his first two years may be remembered as akin to LBJ when it comes to moving his agenda through Congress.

The current political question is how much it will matter in the short term.

You can read the full article here.

Cowardice or Contempt: Senate Blocks January 6 Commission

Senate Republicans blocked a bill on Friday, May 28 to create an independent inquiry to investigate the deadly January 6 Capitol Hill riot.

The vote on the January 6 commission was 54 to 35, showing the bill had a bipartisan majority of support with six Republicans voting with Democrats. However, the bill needed 60 votes to advance.Nine Republican senators and two Democrats didn’t vote on the January 6 commission.These are the 11 senators who didn’t vote on the bill:

Source: CNN

Pelosi Challenges McConnell’s Integrity

Impeachment Skullduggery (1868 Version)

The following article appeared in the May 26, 1868 issue of the Alexandria Gazette.

The Investigation

Gen. Butler‘s report of the investigation by the Managers of Impeachment into the influences used upon Senators during the impeachment trial, was presented to the House yesterday. The report was made “for the purpose” of showing the House the necessity of adopting stringent measures to force Woolley, to answer the questions put to him by the committee.” The report takes as its basis the testimony of Thurlow Weed. Mr.Weed states that the first proposition was made to him by a man named Adams, who was introduced to him by Mr. Smythe, the Collector of Customs at New York. Mr. Weed did not like the looks of Adams, and so advised Smythe. About a week subsequent to this, Mr. Wood testifies, a meeting was held at his own room in the Astor House, New York, at which there were present besides Mr. Weed, Mr. Woolley, and “a Kentucky gentleman, with Kentucky habits,” Mr. Smythe, the New York Collector, and Sheridan Shook, an Internal Revenue Collector of New York. At this meeting a project of buying the votes of Senators was discussed, and it was proposed to raise $30,000 for the purpose of purchasing votes for the acquittal of the President, of three Senators. The names of these Senators, whom it was thought might be bought at so low a price, was given by Mr. Weed, but for the present withheld by the committee. [The names of two of” them are said to be Messrs. Pomeroy and Nye.] Mr. Weed does not tell what he thought of this proposal.

Woolley, it is said, was familiar with the President’s counsel, and was in constant.consultation with Cooper, the President’s former Private Secretary, and at present at the Treasury Department; with W. W. Worden, known as ”Data,” of the Baltimore Sun, and during the past month has been constantly in Washington. It is in relation to the disposal of twenty thousand dollars, placed in his’ hands, that Woolley has refused to testify., and for which the committee ask that he shall be arrested and brought before the House for contempt. After his last .examination Woolley sent a certificate of a physician, stating that he was sick and confined to his bed. The same night he took the train to New York, from whence he sent’a telegram to the committee. His friends now say that he is in Washington again.

The telegraphic dispatches form a considerable part of the evidence. The dispatches passed principally between Woolley and his confreres in New York, and relate to the placing of the money at his disposal, to the prospects of acquittal, and are sometimes demands upon Weed or Shook, or an “Albany party” whom Mr. Weed states is one Hastings, employed on Weed’s paper in New York as an editor -to come on to Washington and assist in the negotiations.

In one point only does Mr. Weed appear to have hesitated to tell all he knew. One of the dispatches sent by Woolley nearly all of whose dispatches, by the way, were signed Hooker – to Weed, reads thus; “He will do it. Send on the Albany party if he means business.”

Mr. Weed remembered the dispatch; had ao doubt it referred to the impeachment business; knew who the Albany party was, but was ignorant as to the first part of the dispatch. He professed neither to know who “he” was, nor what “he” was willing to do.

The resolution requiring that Woolley be brought before the bar of tho House for contempt was passed.

After the report, of which the above is a brief abstract, was read, Mr. Brooks energetically denounced the wholesale seizure of private telegrams. He remarked that none of the persons implicated by the report were of the Democratic party, except Woolley. Gen. Adams had never been in the Confederate army, and was, he believed, a Republican.

Mr. Butler made a lame reply, failing to give the names of the Senators inculpated, but not denying that they were Messrs. Pomeroy and Nye ; denying, however, the published account of Col. Cooper’s testimony, but not stating what it was, and complaining that the witnesses had revealed the evidence given by them before the committee.

Mr. Eldridge put several troublesome questions to Butler, which disconcerted him in no light degree; and when the latter was explaining that the committee propose to publish only a part of the private telegrams they had read and inspected, Mr. Brooks asked him if he had copies of the telegrams of Mr. Geo. Wilkes, and the Rev. Theodore Tilton!

Mr. Butler was proceeding to gloss over the fact that this investigation by a secret inquisition was conducted by members of one party altogether, but there was one Republican in the House whose manhood revolted at this infamy. Dr. Baker denounced, as a violation of public justice, that a committee appointed to investigate a matter of great public concern should be composed entirely of the members of one party. If he had to stand alone among the Republicans, he should protest against this injustice. Dr. Baker spoke only two or three minutes, and was interrupted by Butler, who feebly attempted to reply. Mr. Baker declared that he “desired to lift this matter above party.”

Washington, May 25. – In accordance with the resolution adopted by the House this afternoon, a writ was issued by the Speaker for the arrest of C. W. Woolley, for alleged contempt in refusing to answer questions put by the mangers of impeachment. The writ was.placed in the hands of the sergeant-at-arms shortly after the adjournment of the House, and served upon Mr. Woolley tonight.

The attorneys of the respondent are now preparing an answer-to be presented to the House tomorrow, in which Mr. Woolley’s testimony before the managers is recited at length, and charges made against Manager Butler for indecent and indecorous conduct in the course of the examination of the witnesses.

The testimony of the witness, as related in his answer, varies materially from the version given of it in the report by Gen. Butler.

Mitch McConnell’s Obstruction

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has made it clear he isn’t interested in putting forth a fair Impeachment trial in the Senate, and will violate his oath by coordinating strategy with the impeached president, Donald John Trump.

McConnell has indicated the trial may exclude witnesses.

In the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, the Senate agreed to hear from 41 witnesses – 25 for the prosecution, and 16 for the defense.

So, Mitch McConnell, what are you afraid of?

The Constitution and Impeachment

The following sections of the U.S. Constitution have direct bearing on the Impeachment of the President of the United States:

Article I

Section 3

6. The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on Oath of Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

7. Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article II

Section 2
5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 4
The President, Vice-President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, and other high crimes and Misdemeanors.

Blackface – Political Felony or Misdemeanor?

As Virginia continues to reel from allegations of racism and sexual assault on the part of their statewide elected leaders, political analysts and honest politicians (the list is unfortunately short) begin to weigh whether decades-old misdeeds should be considered in the same context as if the events were remotely contemporary.

One of America’s most respected political analysts, Charlie Cook, ponders whether a 35-year old picture of Governor Ralph Northam, allegedly dressed in either blackface or wearing the costume of a Ku Klux Klansman requires his resignation or removal from office.

In a February 7, 2019 column, Washington Post Opinion Writer, Jennifer Rubin, weighs-in with an assist from Cook.

Is there a distinction between Northam’s blackface scandal (as a young adult, admitted and then denied) and Herring’s (in college, profusely apologized although he never brought it up before)?

Charlie Cook, writing before Herring’s story broke, observed:

“There is a legitimate debate over what misdeeds are the political equivalent of misdemeanors and ought to be survivable, which ones are political felonies and should be dealt with in a more punitive way, and which ones are in effect, political capital offenses. And is there a statute of limitations, or does that depend on the severity of the offense? Northam’s case is arguably worse than Herring’s, in large part because of the lack of a consistent and credible account, but if he departs, that shouldn’t determine whether Herring should stay or go,

Charlie Cook, quoted in the Washington Post, 3/7/2019