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Category: Politics

Wanna Go for a Ride?
It can be perilous to let yourself get too carried away with wishful thinking. You risk getting too high on some seductive hypothetical and end up crashing so hard when it’s over that you lose your perspective completely… and maybe even your grip on reality.

Unless, of course, the trip is a short one. Like the one I am on right now. The shelf life of my fantasy is so short that I will know whether it can come true within a day or two. So I can, in good conscience, invite everyone to join me on board my little joyride. I promise: no one will get hurt.

So here it is: this time next month, Donald Trump will no longer be President.

You have to admit that’s a pretty attractive notion. I know what your’e thinking, but hear me out. (And remember, you’re welcome to bail anytime and catch an Uber back to the real world.) If you stay with me, however, I advise you to hang on tight, because things are moving pretty fast in my little imaginary world. And that is also the beauty of this fantasy. We will know almost immediately whether this unicorn we’re riding can actually fly…maybe even by this weekend. If it can’t, we’ll all have to head back to the real world. And think about it: does that really sound so bad right now? Impeachment is coming, and Trump is on the run. That’s a much better world than the one we’ve been living in for the last two years.

I see that you’re intrigued, so let me continue. I think that Republicans are dying to get rid of this turkey just as much as we are. He makes their lives miserable. They’ve been humiliated at every turn. Plus, he’s a crook. If they had an excuse they could sell to The Base, they’d already be climbing up on this unicorn with us. That is why they voted unanimously yesterday in Mitch McConnell’s Senate to demand that the whistle-blower’s complaint be released. If there’s something in there that further implicates Trump, they’ll be on it like a shark on a rump roast. Oh, they’d cloak their response in solemnity and sorrow for the nation, but they’d be more than happy to flush away the Orange Mess. If that happens, come next month, we’ll have (shudder) President Pence in the East Wing of the White House.

So that’s it.That’s the whole premise of my fantastic best-case scenario. It could even happen in real life. Let’s talk again on Sunday. Next Thursday at the latest.
Hope Floats On
Greta Thunberg arrived in New York last week. The Nobel Prize nominee had come from Sweden on an emission-free racing yacht to join other activists protesting the climate crisis in front of the U.N. She is 16 years old.

She also brought with her something special just for me: hope. I think of myself as a hopeful person; she is too, but hers is the purer, youthful version. "It's your fault," she has correctly informed me about my role in global warming. "You shit on my future." Thanks, I needed that.

The young survivors of the Parkland High School massacre have that same brand of clear vision. and so do other young doers willing to do things their elders either will not or cannot do. I am warmed by their clarity and directness and certainty. I need as much of that as I can get. It’s like my hope is half buried by tradition and gridlocked among cultural restraints I don’t even know are there…old-guy restraints that the youth do not even acknowledge.

Maybe it’s just that cool zero-emissions yacht. Or Greta’s long pigtails and quiet, bold assurance. Whatever it is, I like it, and I need it. I’m happy to admit that they have a greater claim to the future than I do. As long as they keep bringing the hope, I am on board the yacht and ready to sail.
Joe Biden
Before I get started on Joe, let me get my first prediction for the 2020 Presidential election out of the way. In case you were wondering, there will be no President Biden. Even though he would, if elected, be 78 when he took office, I do not rule him out because he is old. Rather, I do so because he is old news.

That was one of the things that hurt Hillary, too. Besides her other drawbacks as a candidate, she had simply been in the public square too long. People were tired of her, and I think Uncle Joe is in the same situation. He’s more simpatico than she is, and more bluntly honest with his feelings, but those assets won’t be enough to overcome the fact that his political career is now well past its expiration date.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Joe isn’t a nice guy. Like all of us, however, he is at least in part a product of his time. He has made mistakes, especially when viewed in retrospect. We could choose to forgive him for those errors and move forward from there. But why bother if his shelf life has run out?

That said, I do think that Joe still has an important function to perform during the debates and even into next year’s primary season. His role, as I see it, is as an avatar for the past, particularly the good things that existed when the world was young (way back in 2016). Let him talk about working with the Republicans, just as Obama did. Let him point to the flawed-but-aspirational world leadership we offered before the current collapse of honor and decency. Let him harken to a better time, because we might want to return to that old order once this dark time has passed.

And let Joe continue to attack Drump, not by giving back those childish personal insults, but with an honest assessment of the poisonous effect the Orange One has had on our fragile democracy. Each of the new kids, meanwhile, would be left free to talk about policy and make the case for their own brand of leadership in this brave new world. And as they do all that, they will become better known and begin to rise in the polls against the President.

There will come a time, I believe, when Joe is no longer useful as an active candidate. Attrition will claim him, probably well before the convention. Even if he is still around, hovering like a ghost over the campaign, he can still be our avatar for the past. To me, that is a fitting and even noble role for the former Vice President.

Fortunately for the nation (and planet Earth), Drump has developed the same problem that Joe has. By inserting himself into every news story, no matter how petty or lame, he has committed a sin worse than being despicable. He has become tiresome. He too is now old news — which brings me to another prediction: there will be no second term for President Trump. Maybe a prison term, but that is not our concern here.

So if not Biden or Drump, who will be moving into the White House in January of 2021? Who will appoint the Attorney General who arrests Drump as he tries to escape through the side door of the oval office? Who will be in charge of cleaning up the mess in D.C. and everywhere else the infection has spread? Who’s got the brains and the fight and the moral strength to pull it off?

It could be any of these contenders, I suppose. To me, however, the last prediction is the easiest. President Warren, guaranteed.
Smells Good
We’re coming up on summer now. See the garden bursting with life and color? Hear the birds signaling a season of fun and adventure? Smell the impeachment in the air?

It’s only a matter of when now, even though no one — not even Nancy Pelosi herself — knows exactly when when will be. Nancy has managed to hold the line so far, but my take is that she’s just waiting to make sure she’s got her ducks in a row before she pulls the trigger. We’ve still got a few more obstructions working their way through the courts and one or two other shoes that need to drop before we can present a full, orderly case for tarring and feathering Trump.

She also has to get the ducks in her caucus primed and ready. Some of them are still pointing to the impeachment of Bill Clinton as a cautionary tale about those who dare to challenge a president in this way. They remind us that Clinton’s job approval ratings hit the 70s after he was impeached and that the Republicans lost seats in Congress in the next election. Also, several leaders of the effort (including the poisonous Newt) were driven from public life in disgrace. The same fate, the doubters say, could well befall the Democrats.

That argument does get your attention, but while impeachment is extraordinary and more than a little scary, using it now would be a markedly different proposition than it was then. Just look for a moment at the precipitating event for each prosecution. In Trump’s case, it was massive tampering by the Evil Empire with our Presidential election. For Clinton, it was a blow job in the Oval Office.

Let that sink in for a moment. Which of those seminal wrongdoings posed a greater threat to our country? I think that most people, once they hear the facts laid out about Trump’s obstruction (plus whatever ugliness is turned up once we start sifting through his finances) will agree with you. Part of the reason Clinton’s impeachment boomeranged on the Republicans was that most people saw it for what it was: an abuse of Constitutional powers for raw partisan purposes. They did not use it as a shield to protect the country from criminality, but rather as a sword to destroy their political foes.

It is obvious that Nancy and her cohort intend to use impeachment as a shield. They are still worried, however, that others might accuse them of wielding it as a sword. I get that, but it’s possible to be too concerned about what other people think. If they do their job right, they will be able to hold their heads high — and keep their seats in Congress — whether he’s convicted in the Senate or not.

A big part of doing their job right, of course, is doing it before we get too deeply into the Presidential season. I was about to suggest that now would be a good time, but I notice that the Judiciary Committee in the House (where impeachment would officially begin) has scheduled hearings for next week about the Mueller Report. That will begin the other big part of doing their job right — explaining, patiently and through the testimony of witnesses — the findings of the investigation. That will bring the American people on board with what has has happened. You can enter that labyrinth anyplace you like, since the destination is the same no matter which they choose. But they do have to enter.

They may not be launching impeachment per se, then, but I say close enough. Soon, we will all be in the labyrinth searching for truth and justice. Now can you smell it?
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz