Guest Column

The podium at Bend Venture Conference at the Tower Theater in Bend October 20, 2017. 

Much has been made of the fact that the current impeachment process is partisan, driven entirely by House Democrats. When President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, a handful of Democrats supported the process. And yet, the charges against Mr. Clinton were thin – lying to cover up the fact that he had sex with an intern; by comparison, President Donald Trump is accused of abusing his power by extorting a foreign government to assist him in his 2020 campaign and then obstructing Congress in an attempt to cover it up.

I view this supposed partisanship differently. In my view, the Republican Party, the GOP, is almost entirely gone and has been replaced by a new organization, the Party-of-Trump (PoT). The evidence of this is, in my opinion, overwhelming. The GOP had principals. It believed in globalization and free trade. It believed in NATO and taking a strong stance against our most significant enemy — Russia. It believed in low budget deficits.

The PoT believes in none of these policies. In fact, the PoT, in following its leader, has also abandoned ethics and morality. The entire focus of the PoT is in supporting Mr. Trump no matter what he does, legal or not. The PoT is willing to ignore the facts provided by our intelligence community in favor of advancing theories provided by Russian security services. To some extent, it has shown a willingness to act in the best interests of Russia as opposed to the U.S.

The PoT is held together by fear; had its congressional members remained Republicans, they were sure to face primary opposition from PoT candidates with the full support of Mr. Trump. Better to abandon principals such as support for the U.S. Constitution in favor of retaining a seat in the House or Senate.

This is not to say that there are no remaining Republicans. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, while considered an independent, appears to be the lone remaining member of the GOP in the House. Sen. Mitt Romney , R-Utah; former Ohio governor John Kasich; former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld; and former Illinois representative Joe Walsh all remain Republicans.

The evidence presented to the House Intelligence Committee was overwhelming. The president abused his power, harming our national security, and then strove to cover it up by obstructing the House impeachment inquiry.

House members of the PoT have chosen to do their duty for Mr. Trump by ignoring all of this evidence and standing firm that impeachment is a partisan activity. It is clear that the fear of losing one’s cushy congressional job is sufficient motivation to forget that you once had a sense of morality.

When the impeachment vote was held in the House on the two counts, the single House Republican, Justin Amash, voted to impeach while all of the PoT members voted against. In the Senate, there appear to be only three Republicans left along with 48 PoT members; with 67 votes needed for removal, it is a virtual certainty that Mr. Trump will remain in office.

With the GOP and its policies marginalized, the question is whether the PoT can win a national referendum on its leader. Clearly, we can expect Mr. Trump to once again benefit from significant Russian interference, but is it possible that “alternative facts” can win over the real world?

For many members of the PoT, starting with their leader, the 2020 election may be about avoiding indictment and jail time. Several associates of Mr. Trump are already in prison and, with the possibility of a new attorney general in 2021, others seem likely to follow. Should the PoT fail to reelect its leader, perhaps the GOP can recover. It will be a test of whether PoT members have managed to retain any semblance of ethics and morality after four years of operating under the thumb of President Trump.

Rich Belzer lives in Bend.

(5) comments

Thom

Another liberal in denial. Over the last year we have learned Democrats have lied repeatedly and tried to cover up crimes. It was a Democrat’s who colluded with Russia, paying for false information then used to lie to a FISA court. It was Democrats and top FBI officials who withheld evidence from the court, spied on American’s, and repeatedly lied in Congress. We have watched Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Jerry Nadler lie over and over and when caught lie even more.

Trump is certainly not a traditional politician but look at the roaring economy, lowest unemployment, lower taxes, and a stronger military. Liberals who have proven to be hateful and intolerant will continue their campaign of hate and deceit and when challenged will just crest a different conspiracy.

BuckeyeDuck

I see we're letting feelings get in the way of facts here.

BuckeyeDuck

Gotta love the Falwell Jr and Graham Jr defending the immorality of Mr Trump by saying Christianity Today has become too left/liberal leaning. I'd love to hear their defense when they hit the pearly gates.

davidw

This is spot on. My grandparents were conservative people, but would absolutely abhor Trump and his ilk.

Interestingly, even the National Review came out in favor of his being removed from office:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/12/trump-impeachment-debate-president-meets-four-tests-for-impeachment/

BuckeyeDuck

Thanks for the link. I thought the Christianity Today editorial was also spot on. The author wasn't kind to the Dems in his explanation of why he wrote it in an interview he gave to The Atlantic.

We do need a new breed of folks in Congress on bothe sides of the fence. Those who stick out right now are the freshmen Reps who voted yes but are in districts with strong Trump support. At least they're voting their conscience.

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