Politicized Impeachment Hurting The Country – Again
How an unjustified impeachment process can inflict lasting damage on the country and imperil national security.
The public hearings of the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump is proving to be the ill-advised political stunt that most Americans suspected it of being from the beginning. This adversarial charade is not only unlikely to lead to the removal of President Trump from office, but it will not help the democratic party, either. Much more importantly, a politically motivated impeachment effort can do real and lasting harm to the country and put the country in a vulnerable defense posture.
I speak about this from personal experience.
“Our national security was put at risk by the abuse of a process that only served to undermine the confidence and effectiveness between the White House and the military chain of command.”
As a Marine Corps Colonel serving as White House Military Office (WHMO) Assistant Chief of Staff from 1996-1999, I saw firsthand how the politicized effort to remove the president from office poses a much more credible threat to the country than to the targeted chief executive. During his 1998 impeachment, rumors of Clinton’s imminent resignation were swirling throughout the White House. The media, of course was working overtime speculating about when and how it would come about. Meanwhile, Vice President Gore’s team was told to be ready to step in.
In the midst of all these challenging and ambiguous conditions, my job was to maintain the integrity of communications between the embattled president in the White House and the Pentagon. Our national security was put at risk by the abuse of a process that only served to undermine the confidence and effectiveness between the White House and the military chain of command.
My biggest concern was that, as Clinton’s political survival came into question, the confidence gaps, doubts and uncertainties that pervaded the White House atmosphere would infect the military leadership. I worked very long hours under extreme pressure to prevent that from happening, but who’s to say it won’t this time? Or the next? Many unintended consequences can materialize when an administration is under a politically motivated attack.
And by the way, as an assigned military officer of the rival political party in the White House in those very difficult impeachment days, I was a political lone wolf, which was fine by me. But what was troubling was seeing the country tearing itself apart and our country’s political institutions cannibalizing one another. As a Marine sworn to protect my country and serve our duly-elected Commander-In-Chief, the damage that impeachment wrought had a very deep and lasting impact upon me.
That’s why, in my view, the Clinton impeachment proceedings were largely unnecessary and not worth the effort. Not because I supported him politically (I did not), or was not dismayed at his behavior (I was). But the blue dress was out of the bag, so to speak. The risk of the president being subject to blackmail had passed. The second term impeachment was, therefore, more of political act than a legal one. Yes, Clinton perjured himself, but even as a conservative Republican and a patriot, I was against impeaching Clinton. The costs to the country, which were high, simply outweighed the benefits, which proved to be negligible.
But no matter who the president is, the business of the country suffers under the dark cloud of political uncertainty that comes with impeachment. While the Republican Congress was focused on getting rid of Bill Clinton, they ignored pressing domestic and foreign policy issues. Much of the legislation that Clinton had wanted to get passed, wasn’t.
“…ultimately, it’s the American people who pay the price for this foolishness.”
Twenty years later, here we are again. And predictably, we’re seeing a similar outcome. Many of Trump’s legislative objectives are simply being ignored by the Democrat-led Congress, who prefer to stage a political coup on live television because they know that he will, in all likelihood, be re-elected in 2020. I can’t help but think that such is their motivation.
But ultimately, it’s the American people who pay the price for this foolishness. For example, legislation dismantling the health insurance cartels that holds Americans hostage was supposed to be put before Congress this year. It was to lower high medical prices, cover pre-existing conditions, expand limited choices, mandate greater market competition and lower deductibles. These changes could save millions of Americans thousands of dollars in medical bills, allow greater access to care and could even be the difference between life and death.
This kind of real healthcare reform could have gotten done, but didn’t. Again, as a Veteran who has benefitted from the recent improvements in care at Veterans Administration hospitals under the Trump administration, I speak from experience. Everyday Americans are bearing these costs, and the country is becoming even more divided while the Democrats play political games. As in 1998, the downside is much greater than the upside.
Those who are celebrating this harmful and unjustified spectacle might want to consider just what a grave service the impeachment is doing to the country in so many ways.
But will they?