The impeachment of President Donald J. Trump, just concluded in the Senate with an acquittal, was — so far as the Senate trial portion of the exercise is concerned — the least partisan presidential impeachment in U.S. history.
That’s because Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the first senator ever to vote against his own party in such a proceeding.
Before we give the notorious flip-flopper a ticker-tape parade, or query too deeply into his personal animus against Trump, let’s acknowledge that the House impeachment, proper, was heavily partisan, and is only going to get more-so.
What? you ask.
How can a past event get more or less of anything?
Well, House Republicans, expecting a big backlash against Democrats next November, are already plotting to “expunge” the impeachment from the record.
As if to stick it to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bizarre point that her House’s action would be “an impeachment that lasts forever.”
Sorta like Pharaoh Thutmose III chiseling his mother’s name — Hatshepsut — off the monuments of Egypt.
The Republicans’ planned “damnatio memoriae” is a good clue to the moral of this story: the impeachment process is . . . “not good,” to apply a Trumpian mantra.
Now, the process of impeachment has long seemed to me like a great idea — another one from those wise framers of the Constitution.
But with persistent partisanship, this constitutional recourse has not worked out very well.
Whether in 1868, with Democrat Andrew Johnson, or 1999, with Democrat Bill Clinton, or today, with Trump’s failed ouster, the impeachment process has proved (Romney notwithstanding) maddeningly partisan, and looks like it will only get more partisan — with House Democrats already talking about a second impeachment of Trump.
We need some new form of recall.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.