Quarterback Pelosi and the Senate receiver. Constitution simplicity

The big rush to a quick impeachment hit a roadblock.

Speaker Pelosi, who was never enthusiastic about impeachment, is kinda like a substitute quarterback put in late in the game, somewhat unhappily.

Nevertheless her team has moved the ball downfield to the 5 yard line with only 10 seconds left in the game. She takes the snap, rolls out to the far left and spots a wide open receiver in the back corner of the end zone. Easy scoring pass, right? No, she holds the ball, takes a knee, and calls timeout with 2 seconds remaining.

Her exasperated Coach yells, “Why didn’t you throw the ball?”

Her response: “I don’t trust that receiver. He won’t follow my instructions. I wanted him closer to me, just across the goal line.”

“Ok, one more play. What do you want?”

“I want him to do exactly as I instruct him in the huddle and I’ll pass the ball to him.”

“But what if he doesn’t follow your exact instructions?”

“I’ll just hold the ball. At this point, what difference does it make? We’re 27 points behind!”

Well, you might say the last play is still under review, but that’s the story of Pelosi vs. the Senate. She knew the outcome long before she reluctantly took the helm of the impeachment team.

(If you don’t like this analogy, blame it on a solid week of watching football. There would be more humor and joy if my favorite teams had won.)

What does the Constitution say? Here are the exact words about responsibilities of the House and Senate (Article 1, Sections 2 and 3).

“The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.”

The writers of the Constitution kept it short and simple. The House shall have the sole power of Impeachment. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.  Could it be any clearer? The only problem was those wise writers expected future members of Congress to have common sense. They did not anticipate that two hundred years later Congress would be full of lawyers looking for weasel words they could interpret to their own desires.

So here we are. Has the President been impeached or not?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Football is getting all the play now.” WA #353, Sept. 29, 1929

“It’s pitiful when you think how ignorant the founders of our Constitution must have been. Just think what a Country we would have if men in those days had the brains and forethought of our men today!” WA #107, Dec. 28, 1924

Merry Christmas from Will Rogers

I’m taking a week off and turning the whole thing over to Will. After all, President Trump is playing golf in Florida and Congress is off to who-knows-where. Now, if by chance you read these quotes originally 90 to 95 years ago, I figure you have forgotten half of ‘em and they will appear fresh.

Historic quotes on Christmas by Will Rogers:

“And a Merry Christmas to…the Senate and the House. May the literacy test never be applied to your constituents.” DT #752, Dec. 24, 1928

“I am too busy replacing presents to write today. I bought some mechanical and electric things for the kids and wore ’em out playing with ‘em myself.” DT #120, Dec. 23, 1926

“Merry Christmas, my constant readers… No scandal today. There is some, but it will be more scandalous by tomorrow.” DT #121, Dec. 24, 1926

“This was a very merry Christmas for me, in fact the best I have enjoyed in years. The shirts my wife gave me were the right size. Of course they were the wrong color, but if married, one must not be too particular. For a while it looked like I would spend a perfect Christmas. Then about noon a necktie arrived.” WA #108, Jan. 4, 1925

“It just don’t look like there is much left to the old time Christmas but socks, neckties and handkerchiefs. Mothers’, children’s and friends’ presents have undergone a great change, but the old Father still can rest assured that he can dig in the ribbon-wrapped package and dig out three handkerchiefs, a misfit pair of socks or a red tie.” WA #315, Jan. 6, 1929

“Well the Christmas spirit is over now… If we spent as much with the Salvation Army as we do with the telegraph companies every Christmas, why the poor would be fat all Winter. [replace “telegraph” with internet, cell phone, cable and live streaming] But we can all go back to work with a clear conscience. We fed ’em Christmas and New Years; now all the poor have to do is just to fill in a few meals till next Christmas.”  DT #753, Dec. 25, 1928

Sleepy in DC; exhausted in the rest of the country

Did you watch all 13 hours of the Judicial Committee on Thursday? To review: Chairman Nadler began the meeting with two “Articles of Impeachment,” charging Trump with abusing his power as President, and obstructing Congress. He began with 23 in favor and 17 against impeachment.

After spending all day and half the night debating and arguing over five amendments (all defeated 23 to 17) Nadler got sleepy about midnight and announced, “Boys, we’re gonna wait till tomorrow to vote.”

The vote Friday morning was… you guessed it… 23 to 17, exactly the same as if they had voted Thursday morning. So except for the Congress reps who love to hear and see themselves on TV, it was a total waste of everyone’s time.

You may not agree with Trump, but the folks that voted for him want him to exert his power and, if necessary, obstruct an obstinate, do-nothing Congress.

In their wisdom the Democrats decided that Trump did not commit bribery or treason or collude with Russia. And they found that the handful of voters who speak Latin associate quid pro quo with Biden more than Trump.

Speaker Pelosi decided last week would be a perfect time to announce the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada (USMCA). It was the same agreement that’s been on her desk for a year, except for a couple of recent changes that Mexico now objects to. The delay cost us millions, if not billions, in lost revenue, especially for farmers and several manufacturers.

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe was honored by Sports Illustrated and immediately endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President. That upset Mayor Pete of South Bend who figured she would naturally support him. I think the drawback for Pete is that Megan only associates his town with Notre Dame football, not soccer.

Meanwhile, 16-year old Greta Thunberg is Time’s Person of the Year for her passion on global warming. You may remember she spent a month last summer sailing across the Atlantic in a million dollar yacht with a crew of five. I think the Mayflower sailed it quicker, and the Pilgrims didn’t have the option of British Air. Next summer I hope she sails across the Pacific and scolds China for being the worst contributor to global warming. Is there a Chinese version of Time?

Joe Biden (might have) promised that if elected he would leave after 4 years. That’s a great Platform: Elect me and I’ll go away quicker than my fellow candidates. Of course Will Rogers topped that in his 1928 campaign for President: “If elected I will RESIGN.”

As it turned out, Herbert Hoover wiped out both Will and Al Smith in ’28. Considering what happened in October 1929, Mr. Hoover probably wishes he had immediately resigned.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Congress even has slogans: “Why sleep at home when you can sleep in Congress?”  “Be a politician—no training necessary.”  “It’s easier to fool ‘em in Washington than it is at home.” WA #122, Apr. 12, 1925

“Party Politics is the most narrow minded occupation in the World.” WA #120, March 29, 1925

Finally… Impeachment!

It’s been three years in the making and several in Congress got their wish last week. Impeachment of President Trump.  In three years they have collected a bunch of Trump’s crimes. By Christmas they will decide which ones to charge him with: Ukraine, Russia, Syria, abusing power, withholding military aid promised by Obama, quid pro quo, bribery, high crimes, misdemeanors, treason, and, finally, obstructing Congress from firing him on the spot.

The Judicial Committee brought in four Constitutional Law Professors to explain exactly what’s in the Constitution about impeachment. I’ll admit to being a bit ignorant of the process; I thought they were to teach Congress what the Founding Fathers meant by “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Based on what I saw, Congress would have been better served by inviting a couple of high school English teachers.

One of the professors began by saying that Trump is guilty. The lawyer from Stanford did not wear her pink kitty hat from January 2017, but she had it in her purse. After a full day of explaining, arguing and accusing, I couldn’t tell if anyone changed their mind.

I think Congress might resort to finding a dedicated Democrat volunteer to go up on Fifth Avenue and be shot by Trump. Whether that would get 67 Senators to vote him out of office I’ve got my doubts. Maybe if the target is from one of their states it would upset ‘em.

After her sorrowful, almost tearful announcement of Impeachment, Speaker Pelosi was asked by a reporter, “Do you hate President Trump?” She had a forceful denial that got her mixed reactions. I think she should have said simply, “I agree with Will Rogers. I never met a man I didn’t like.”

Now, I’m not taking sides or guessing the outcome. I would just remind ‘em there are a few important matters to attend to: trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, the Budget, illegal immigration, China tariffs. And Democrats need to get serious about selecting a Presidential candidate for 2020.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“… there is a likely chance of (Hoover) being impeached for treason, indicted for bigamy and subpoenaed for crossing a boulevard (jaywalking).” DT #1160, Apr. 14, 1930

“The minute you read something and you can’t understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer… If it’s in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.” WA#657, July 28, 1935