Impeachment, Recalls and Election Re-dos (EP.169)



Clinton was impeached, and now the Democrats are trying hard to justify articles of impeachment against Trump. I live and vote in Colorado, Colorado Springs to be specific, and we had two recent recall attempts. 


That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.


One of my favorite saying when it comes to democracy is, “This is a democracy, and you are going to keep voting until you get it right.” I have no idea who said this, so maybe I’ll take credit for it.

Impeachment and recalls should never be used as election re-dos. If you don’t like the incumbent, don’t vote for him the next time. If you hate her policies, don’t vote for her if she runs again. If you feel strongly enough, stand up and go campaign for their opponents.

Impeachment of a sitting US President calls for evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This ambiguous phrase has stirred controversy ever since it was first inserted in the Constitution in 1787. But it is clear enough that it eliminates using impeachment simply because the impeaching party can’t stand the current president.

It will be helpful if we take a quick relook at a summary of the Mueller Report:

Part 1. There was no collusion.

Part 1 (continued). No finding on obstruction.

Part 2. Trump is a jerk.

Part 2 (continued). Trump is a real jerk.

Being a jerk, if that is how you see Trump, is not an impeachable offense. Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied to Congress about his sexual relationship with then 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. To me, that also does not rise to the level of being a “high crime or misdemeanor.”

Colorado Republicans tried to recall Jared Polis, its recently-elected Governor. And in Colorado Springs, there was a recall attempt against Pete Lee, a State Senator. There was a case to be made for the Polis recall in that he surprised a lot of voters when after the election he came out in support of some very controversial measures when during his campaign it appeared that he was against them. There was no case for a recall of Pete Lee. Mr. Lee is a longtime progressive, and his reelection campaign was no different than his policies before or after his reelection.

We see something quite similar going on across the pond, in Britain, the home of our former brother and sister British subjects. In 2016, 52% of the British voters elected to leave the European Union (EU), a move called Brexit. Three years later, after a lot of anti-Brexit stalling, nothing has happened. It seems clear that the British Establishment, which is ardently anti-Brexit, wants to somehow force another vote, in the hopes that the result the next time will be to remain in the EU. If that happens, would someone in favor of Brexit call for yet another election, saying, “Hey, 2 out of 3 would be fair.”

“This is a democracy, and you are going to keep voting until you get it right.”

The move to recall Colorado State Senator Pete Lee was clearly an attempt to have another election, hoping for a different result. The recall was based on nothing more than some folks wanting him out of office because they don’t like him or his politics. Recalls must never be used simply to trigger another election, hoping for a different result.

Fun Fact: Clinton’s impeachment and acquittal was a contributing reason to his leaving office in 2001 with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II. 

Pause for some process information: Impeachment is like an indictment; it sets the stage for a trial. The US House of Representatives can impeach a president with a simple majority. If the House votes for impeachment, then the Senate holds a trial, requiring a ⅔ majority to convict. In Clinton’s Senate trial, the final vote was generally along party lines, with no Democrats voting guilty, and only a handful of Republicans voting not guilty, resulting in acquittal.  Postscript: On January 19, 2001, Clinton’s law license was suspended for five years after he acknowledged to an Arkansas circuit court that he had engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in the Jones case.

With a current majority in the House, it is clear that Democrats can proceed with impeachment should they choose to do that. With the Republicans holding a majority in the Senate, with the evidence at hand there is no way on earth of getting the ⅔ majority needed to convict. If impeached, Trump, like Clinton and President Andrew Jackson before him, will be acquitted. So, clearly knowing that, why are the Democrats in the middle of an impeachment inquiry? 

Might they be trying to overturn the 2016 election? Are they casting shade on the President in the runup to the 2020 election?

Those are interesting questions, but they are not the point of today’spodcast. Here’s today’s Key Point: Impeachment and recalls are not political tools; they are tools to be used in the face of proveable criminal activity, e.g., “high crimes and misdemeanors.” A juror in a criminal trial, no matter how much he might find the defendant disgusting, no matter how much she may detest everything about the defendant, must consider only the evidence pertaining to the alleged criminal activity. If this scuzzball is indeed innocent, hold your nose and find the accused not guilty. 

Separating facts pertaining to the matter at hand from deeply help personal opinions is hard–and completely necessary. We may have to stand up to criticism from those with whom we are usually aligned to hold onto this much-needed thinking–this much-needed integrity. So let’s do this together. Let’s light candles in the darkness together.

“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” -Chinese proverb. Let us light our candles in the cursed darkness of today’s politics and political correctness.


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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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6 Responses

  1. Geoffrey Haines Reply

    So the implied threat against Ukraine wasn’t there, but just the way people do business? Possibly, we know that many companies pay bribes to work overseas and we should accept that and move on.

    • Will Luden Reply

      Geoff, the implied threat re Ukraine was clear. And for as long as I have been in business, including business school, there have been discussions of how to deal with corrupt countries, e.g., Ukraine, where their business ethics standards were far lower than ours. And I completely agree with staying with our more lofty standards. At the same time I admit to having paid “suggested” bribes to foreign officials in order to stay out of jail on fake arrests, like “speeding” in Costa Rica. Here’s my question to you. Biden and Hillary are at least as guilty as Trump. Do we let them all get away with it, setting a low bar for our “leaders?” Or do we discipline all of them, working to clean out our Augean stables?

  2. Geoffrey Haines Reply

    As more of this story comes out it would appear to get worse and it is appropriate to have a serious inquiry into what exactly transpired. If it leads to impeachment so be it. Bringing up the transgressions of past leaders gets us into murky waters. J. Biden and H. Clinton, what about G. Washington and T. Jefferson? They certainly had feet of clay, but gave us the country we have today. I believe that there is reference in the New Testament that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit and I’m afraid we are witnessing this on a daily basis.

    • Will Luden Reply

      Geoff, I may not share you view that as more things come to the surface, the worse it looks. For example, it is now apparent that the Ukrainian leader had no idea the aid was being slow-walked. Consulting a diverse (some people live by that word) set of new sources is always a plus. Biden and Clinton are contemporaries, living today’s culture. Washington and Jefferson are several cultures before us. And we are a bit arrogant if we judge historical figures by today’s standards. And I wonder how any of us might stand up if judged by people a century or two from now. All of us, Founding father or absent father, are deeply flawed. Columbus deserves to be honored, despite his egregious flaws. MLK deserves to be honored, despite being a serial adulterer and a well-know plagiarist.

  3. Geoffrey Haines Reply

    The Ukrainian leader may not have understood what was being said, but POTUS certainly knew what HE was saying. Aren’t there legal experts who believe that the Constitution can only be interpreted by the standards of when it was written?

    • Will Luden Reply

      Geoff, unless driven–hard–by an intellectual curiosity, people in most geographies all see and hear the same opinions from friends, co-workers and their selected news sources. And is it hard, well nigh impossible, to see how intelligent people of goodwill could disagree. Go to a different geography, a politically different one, and the same thing occurs. In reverse. Everyone is convinced they are right, and the “other side” is full of, well, baby killers or Nazis–fill in the blank. How do we fix that?

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