Posts Tagged ‘checks and balances’

USA: checks and balances in the age of chaos

03/08/2011, 09:47:33 AM

by Jonathan Todd

“I don’t want to talk to anyone about anything right now,” she exploded. With tears in her eyes, she retreated to a back room.

This was how the Democratic congresswoman Barbara Jordan, an eloquent contributor to the committee that voted to impeach President Nixon, reacted to a request for comment immediately after the vote. This request came from Michael Sandel, later a distinguished philosopher, then a newspaper intern.

Sandel recalled this encounter when the House began impeachment proceedings against President Clinton in 1998. While Barbara Jordan’s explosion demonstrated that even Democrats opposed to Nixon recognised the magnitude of impeachment, partisan passions against Clinton overrode any such recognition on the part of many Republicans 24 years later. 13 years hence, and the trends evidenced by the contrasting attitudes of Democrats to Nixon and Republicans to Clinton have hardly dissipated.

Many Republicans today would throw a tea party on the White House lawn, rather than discretely sob, if president Obama were impeached. This is in spite of the fact that impeachment should only properly occur when the constitutional system is seriously threatened. No matter that such a threat is inherently a matter of national tribulation; glee could be expected from those who seem consumed only by tribalism. The “Nazi Socialist Communist Muslim” would have got his comeuppance. (more…)

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