Is There Any There There? The Politics of Impeachment, and Commentary on the UAW-GM Strike, this September

September 25, 2019—First it was Russia, now it’s the Ukraine. President Trump got away with it once, but Democrats would like him to know that they will not tolerate his dirty tricks this time. Maybe 2016, but not 2020. Not after Democrats won the House in 2018. Candidate Joe Biden changed his mind, as shown on CNN: an impeachment inquiry may be appropriate at this time, he said. More to the point, Speaker Nancy Pelosi changed her mind: citing the constitution, the law, the President’s oath of office, she allowed the existing hearings to widen and change into a formal impeachment inquiry into the President, which could result in articles of impeachment being introduced.

For God’s sake, let’s hope not. This impeachment inquiry embodies presidential election politics and political theater in America. It is a constitutional crisis intended to rake President Trump through the coals, once again, as usual, and to place him on notice that he’d better behave and not abuse his office in this presidential campaign. The impeachment inquiry is candidate Joe Biden and the Democrats taking a page right out of President Trump’s own political playbook: outrageous political theater for their own partisan benefit. Since President Trump is… well… President Trump, and they caught him in the act, this time, the Democrats have teeth.

Let us hope that the Democrats do not shred our Constitution and rend into tatters any vestige of unity as Americans, across the partisan divide, that we might have had, previous to this announcement. If we were already deeply divided before initiating impeachment hearings, we are several orders of magnitude more divided now. God save us and our republic from anyone actually claiming the moral high ground and introducing articles of impeachment.

Earlier today, September 25th, at the United Nations in New York, President Trump and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, made the Democrats’ high-minded impeachment pronouncements seem utterly ridiculous, and actually funny. In answering direct questions from reporters about the so-called smoking gun phone call, the Ukrainian President flat-out denied all of it, implied that Americans are silly about our electoral politics, which he is steering clear of, and broke into his Eastern European language—Russian, Ukrainian?—in a back-and-forth with a reporter from his country for an extended, heated conversation on the subject. After a few minutes of this inscrutable debate, which an American audience, who speaks only English, and not his language, would not and could not fathom, at all, they translated it into English. During the Eastern European language segment of the interview, not translated for a few minutes, I found myself laughing out loud, especially in the context of his immediate, previous denials and intimations. Translated finally into English, his comments were in line with his previous statements on the topic in English. The whole thing looked totally ridiculous. To underscore the point, Donald Trump threw in, “No pressure,” at the end of it.

Now, it’s the Ukrainian President’s word on international television, sitting next to Donald Trump, against a paraphrased “transcript” of his phone conversation with President Trump from the NSA in what otherwise would be a routine wiretap of President Trump’s phone call with a foreign leader.

Tell me, can you impeach a President based on a transcript alone, the import of which both parties to the conversation vociferously deny? This has become ridiculous, totally silly.

I am sorry to say, President Trump has really made it seem that there is no there there, when it comes the basis of this impeachment inquiry.

The Democrats have attempted high drama as political theater with this impeachment inquiry. Unfortunately for them, they cannot beat the President at his own game. President Trump is the absolute master of political theater for its own sake, and in this case, President Trump has turned the whole thing on its head and will score a political victory in the eyes and the opinions of the American people. With the Democrats now citing high-minded political rhetoric about silliness, complete with purposely comedic elements inserted into the “discourse” from the Ukrainian president, this has become sad. Just sad.

As a supporter myself of candidate Joe Biden for the presidency, in 2020, I feel this political loss and suicide run in Congress by the Democrats is just sad. Terribly sad. President Trump will shortly make mincemeat out of the Democrats as they press on with their inquiry.

President Trump is up to no less, and no more, than President Trump usually is. As usual, also, he excels at making Democrats look silly, just funny, in spite of themselves. As of today at the UN, Republicans in Congress have all the credibility they need to brush this off, deny the significance of everything, as usual, and ultimately, to kill off any actual vote on the subject of impeachment.

As of the Ukrainian President’s flat-out denial and healthy sense of humor today, there really is no there there, regarding this inquiry and any potential introduction of any actual articles of impeachment.

Luckily, Nancy Pelosi is politically smart, and a clever politician and Democratic strategist. She can wriggle her way out of this one, I am sure. To be honest, I do not know how. She cannot just press on, like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, in this case, at President Trump, to save the Republic. Luckily, Nancy Pelosi knows this, already. I trust that with her long experience in Washington and her general political acumen, she is up to the task of salvaging this fiasco, politically, for Democrats.

As for Joe Biden, he benefits in the primaries, at this early point in the campaign. After all, President Trump just handed it to him: Joe Biden is the man to beat. Joe Biden is the man. Nancy Pelosi only highlighted the importance of the current, theatrical political scene. Once again, Joe Biden is the main man.

All of the other Democratic candidates become minor players, and Joe Biden represents the past, present, and future of the Democratic Party, at this time and going into 2020. That is the effect of this impeachment scandal.

This impeachment inquiry is about politics, and only politics. And about keeping President Trump honest, or as honest as he is humanly capable of being, going into 2020. In this way, in our current presidential election, our divided nation may have a better chance at avoiding any worse constitutional crisis than this inquiry already represents.

 

Moving on (no pun intended), to bigger and better things. Namely, the UAW-GM strike. May the union win better terms and working conditions for temporary workers. I await an agreement, better for the auto workers, to come out of this strike. Let us hope the UAW leadership does not overplay their hand with this strike. GM made $8 billion in profits over the past year. Now, they are losing money each day of this strike. I am sure they hate losing money. Let us hope that the GM executives choose to share some of that $8 billion with the workers, and stop losing money in this strike. Let us hope the union leadership is ready to stop picketing and return to work, to again create the $8 billion in profits at GM, with more of a share going to the workers. Let us hope, also, that an electric pick-up actually gets introduced into the auto market. I am afraid this new electric vehicle may lack some of that torque and horsepower that Ford advertises in their F-series truck commercials. To this, I say, let Ford introduce their own electric vehicle light-duty truck, then, also. Let us help the environment regarding auto emissions while helping the unions and auto workers, as well. All of this depends, of course, on continuing billions in profits being generated by GM et al.

I understand that although this strike is important for all of us in America today, it simply does not add up to the national emergency that such a dispute in the American auto industry once represented.

I am a member of the National Writers Union, a UAW local. I care. Americans in general should care. Workers in general should care. Let us hope that the current UAW leadership can secure a respectable win without squandering the shop. Let us hope, also, that GM does not squander their whole shop, also. I have faith in the GM executives to do the right thing, keep their business profitable, and cut a better deal with their workers, collectively, through the UAW.

In the words of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the general labor movement, solidarity forever, in harmony with the Earth.

—Nicholas Patti

Charlotte, NC

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