5.17.2017

The Cathedral Bubble Crystallizes

Urban Douthat goes full Cathedral, or is so gaslit it makes no difference.

The 25th Amendment Solution for Removing Trump
But a child also cannot really commit “high crimes and misdemeanors” in any usual meaning of the term. There will be more talk of impeachment now, more talk of a special prosecutor for the Russia business; well and good. But ultimately I do not believe that our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office that he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase. I do not believe he is really capable of the behind-the-scenes conspiring that the darker Russia theories envision. And it is hard to betray an oath of office whose obligations you evince no sign of really understanding or respecting.

Which is not an argument for allowing him to occupy that office. It is an argument, instead, for using a constitutional mechanism more appropriate to this strange situation than impeachment: the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for the removal of the president if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and (should the president contest his own removal) a two-thirds vote by Congress confirms the cabinet’s judgment.

The Trump situation is not exactly the sort that the amendment’s Cold War-era designers were envisioning. He has not endured an assassination attempt or suffered a stroke or fallen prey to Alzheimer’s. But his incapacity to really govern, to truly execute the serious duties that fall to him to carry out, is nevertheless testified to daily — not by his enemies or external critics, but by precisely the men and women whom the Constitution asks to stand in judgment on him, the men and women who serve around him in the White House and the cabinet.

Read the things that these people, members of his inner circle, his personally selected appointees, say daily through anonymous quotations to the press. (And I assure you they say worse off the record.) They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpitate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.

It is not squishy New York Times conservatives who regard the president as a child, an intellectual void, a hopeless case, a threat to national security; it is people who are self-selected loyalists, who supported him in the campaign, who daily go to work for him. And all this, in the fourth month of his administration.

Rural VDH wants Severed Heads
Donald ‘You’re Fired’ Trump

Into this matrix barged politically incorrect and often mercurial Donald Trump, whose past televised celebrity was largely a result of hosting a reality show in which he ostentatiously fired poor performers.
Trump’s misdemeanor was not that he fired someone who deserved to be fired, but that he did so as if he were still the host of The Apprentice rather than the president of the United States.

Yet the real felony remains the exemptions given to high officials such as Lerner, Napolitano, and Rice who have wreaked havoc because they assume they will never be fired. Even a badly conducted severing of a culpable government head is always preferable to an adroit exemption from any consequences. The one is rare and salutary, the other is commonplace and insidious.

Cry not for the firing of James Comey, but for the thousands of Americans who suffer from these incompetent and haughty officials who are never held accountable.

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