As the impeachment trial fizzles out this week, I’m left wondering if the GOP has lost its mind, because the only other choice is that I have.
I’m not referring to the Republican senators’ collective decision not to remove the president from office. I’ve always argued that this was a question reasonable people could differ on. But I’ve also argued for months now that it was clear the president was guilty of abusing his office by pressuring the Ukrainian government to target former Vice President Joe Biden in a corruption probe.
This has been obvious since he released the transcript of his conversation with the Ukrainian president, never mind when he said straight to a TV camera that he wanted Ukraine (and China) to do it.
For most of that time, taking their cues from the top, the president’s most ardent defenders treated this entirely reasonable observation as if it was both crazy and outrageous. …
… Consider that one of the best — as in effective — arguments of the White House legal team was that “partisan impeachments” are bad, and if the Senate validates this one we will dive further into an “age of impeachment” — Kenneth W. Starr’s words — in which this constitutional mechanism will be weaponized for political advantage. It is difficult to exaggerate the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger hypocritical sanctimony from the president’s lead lawyers on this point.
But once the president’s acquittal was assured, Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst said that now that the door to partisan impeachments had been opened, maybe Republicans should impeach Biden if he were elected. Her fellow Republicans didn’t rush to deny the possibility. Partisan impeachments, you see, aren’t bad anymore, they’re just bad when “they” do it.