MoveOn’s Robert Reich Forgets the Perils of Rash Political Overreactions

MoveOn pitchman and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich is not only calling for the impeachment of President Trump but the undoing of everything passed during his short term.

Impeachment isn’t enough.

Impeachment would remedy Trump”s “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But impeachment would not remedy Trump’s unconstitutional presidency because it would leave in place his vice president, White House staff and Cabinet, as well as all the executive orders he issued and all the legislation he signed, and the official record of his presidency.

The only response to an unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. Annulment would repeal all of it – recognizing that such appointments, orders, rules, and records were made without constitutional authority.
Robert Reich, 8/24/18

The problem with such irrational thinking is it comes back to bite you.

The most recent example came thanks to former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, first in 2005.

If all goes as planned, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) will rise after several days of debate beginning today over one of President Bush’s judicial nominees and call for an end to Democrats’ delaying tactics. The presiding officer will then rule in his favor.

Democrats will protest the ruling and ask for a vote to overturn it. The Republican leader will seek to table that appeal. If Frist and the GOP majority prevail, a long tradition of filibustering will be narrowed and a new precedent will be set allowing the Republicans to force a vote on a nomination with a simple majority instead of three-fifths of the Senate.

But Democrats contend that the Republicans are essentially breaking the rules to change the rules. “If there were ever an example of an abuse of power, this is it,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV). “The filibuster is the last check we have against the abuse of power in Washington.”
Washington Post, 5/18/05

But Harry Reid’s position began to unravel when Democrats assumed the majority….

In 2008, Reid continued to condemn the fact that the Republicans even contemplated using the nuclear option: “The Senate was set up to be different, that was the genius, the vision of our Founding Fathers. That’s why you have the ability to filibuster, and to terminate filibuster. They wanted to get rid of all of that,” Reid said.

Then he was asked if he would ever consider invoking the nuclear option himself: “As long as I am the leader, the answer’s no,” Reid promised. “I think we should just forget that. That is a black chapter in the history of the Senate. I hope we never ever get to that again because I really do believe it will ruin our country.”

Fast-forward to 2013. Now, Democrats held the White House and a Senate majority. The Republican minority had been stalling nominations and appointments by Obama, including filibustering the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. Senate Democrats decided to go nuclear after the Senate GOP made clear that they had no intention of allowing three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to be filled.
PolitiFact, 11/22/13

But the most fun example came courtesy of the super-majority Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature.

In 2004, the state’s junior senator, John Kerry, was the Democratic presidential nominee. Party leaders knew that if Kerry won in November, state law allowed the governor — then Republican Mitt Romney — to appoint Kerry’s successor, and that person would presumably be a Republican. So, the Democratic leadership of the legislature drew up a measure to strip the governor of his senatorial appointment power.

The measure passed both chambers and was vetoed by Romney. The Democrats then muscled a two-thirds majority to override the veto. Of course, Kerry never won the presidency, but the law remained on the books.

Fast-forward to 2009. Democrats realized that the law they had enacted in 2004 forced the state to have only one senator for roughly five months — and after Kennedy’s death, that meant the state would be short one senator. From a political standpoint, that meant the U.S. Senate would have one less Democrat at a time when a Democratic president was trying to reach a 60-vote threshold to enact landmark legislation on Kennedy’s signature issue, health care. And this time, the governor, Deval Patrick, is a Democrat and presumably would appoint someone from his party.

So legislators quickly passed legislation that would keep the special election but still allow the governor to appoint an interim senator to serve until the special election. The measure passed both chambers, and on Sept. 24, 2009, Patrick named former Democratic National Committee chairman Paul Kirk, a Kennedy family friend, as the interim senator.
Politifact, 9/24/09

So, if Robert Reich and Democrats really want to strip Donald Trump of his presidency and annul all of his accomplishments, fine.

But politics continues to remain a rather consistently cyclical thing and one day, there will be a Democrat in the White House; a Democrat who may do really bad things. If Democrats do manage to have President Trump’s presidency stripped, precedent will be set and there will be calls to do the very same thing to that Democrat, deserved or not.

Who’ll be screaming like a stuck pig then, Robert?

One Response

  1. Richard White

    It occurred to me several years ago that if it emerged during his term in office that Obama really was born in Kenya, that would be grounds to annul everything, even his Vice President, who was there because he was selected by an ineligible candidate. All of his appointments — including two Supreme Court justices — would be void. Every legislative act he signed into law. That would have been very interesting indeed.


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