A voracious media in deep attack mode. The Democratic Party still in clinical shock, flailing about indignantly. Donald Trump on the ropes. A chaotic administration deeply mired in scandal and personality conflict.
On cue we have been treated to the prospect of Trump being punted from office for high crimes and misdemeanours on a Nixonian scale.
The prospect of impeachment is, on the evidence available today, the stuff of fantasy, led by journos fixated on winning Pulitzers and prowling like junkies in search of their particular crack cocaine — “gotcha” moments. …
For the past week or so, banal parallels have been drawn between Trump and the 37th POTUS, Richard Nixon. … The scandal that saw Nixon whimper like a beaten labrador in a televised resignation speech in 1974 bears no similarity to even the most outrageous extrapolations of the allegations against Trump.
Nixon was never impeached. It was the likelihood of impeachment that saw him run from the White House, resigning to avoid a prison term on a dirty deal brokered with his replacement, Gerald Ford. Ford was a decent man, a good Christian fellow who believed in heaven, hell and golf. In retirement Ford told many of his golfing buddies he believed he was going to hell for pardoning Nixon.
During proceedings to determine whether Nixon should be impeached, he was subject to a five-item charge. The fifth item related to allegations of tax evasion, the fourth to the secret bombing of Cambodia. As high crimes and misdemeanours go, item four has no equal. Nixon ordered the bombing, which led to more deaths than the Americans sustained in World War II.
Apparently, the mass murder of non-combatants in a clandestine war and playing ducks and drakes with the taxman lacked the gravitas of a bungled break and enter. The House Judiciary Committee duly voted items four and five down. Items one, two and three related to the B&E on the Watergate Hotel in DC where the Democrat National Committee kept its data. …
The House Judiciary Committee recommended impeachment and Nixon’s support GOP support in the House and the Senate vanished into thin air.
That is Watergate in a nutshell and Nixon would have gone down hard on items 1 to 3 but should have been fried on item four alone. …
Trump doesn’t come close:
In the past week Trump has variously been alleged to have handed over classified intelligence to the Russians and obstructing justice in suggesting the FBI director he abruptly sacked, James Comey, go easy on his ill-fated appointment as his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.
Even if proven, nothing that is alleged comes close to the vile conduct of Nixon in office.
Nixon’s approval ratings were at an all-time high in 1969, hitting the low 60 percentiles. By 1974 and his disgrace, it had plummeted to 24 per cent. The shift in public opinion went from begrudging support, skipped ambivalence and doubt, moving directly to a deeply held opprobrium and outright disgust.
Yesterday, Trump’s approval ratings tipped down to 42 per cent and this certainly is low for a POTUS who might be said to be still enjoying a honeymoon period. Of the millions who voted for Trump last November, fewer than 2 per cent have jumped off. Now that may be enough for him to lose Wisconsin and Michigan but he’d still hold Florida and Pennsylvania, and win the Electoral College. That should give Democrats pause.