Piece of Mind: Impeachment Is All About Politics

Jun 7, 2019

Whether the president of the United States is impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives is going to rely solely on a grim political calculation.

Democrats run the House these days. They seem hell bent on impeaching Donald Trump. The numbers of House members calling for an immediate impeachment “inquiry” is growing. Almost all the pro-impeachment voices come from the Democratic caucus; one Republican House member, Justin Amash of Michigan, has joined that chorus.

Do you want further evidence of the political aspect of impeachment? I offer you a survey done by the Texas Tribune, which has sought answers from the entire 38-member Texas congressional delegation.

How do you think it shakes out?

Read the Texas Tribune survey on this link:

The Tribune asked all the state’s House members and its two senators, Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, two key questions: “Have you read the Mueller Report in its entirety?” and “Do you think the report warrants any legislative action?”

I’ll give you three guesses how the answers shook out … and the first two guesses don’t count.

Yes, the state’s Democratic House members – those who responded to the Tribune – said they had read the report and said that Congress should begin at the very least an inquiry into whether to launch a full impeachment hearing against the president.

The Texas GOP delegation sounded, um, a good bit differently. Not all of them responded, either; indeed, Sen. Cruz didn’t respond, which – to be honest – kind of surprised me.

But those who did read the report came to vastly different conclusions about what it said and what Congress should do in response.

One Republican House member, Will Hurd of the 23rd Congressional District, came close to breaking ranks with his caucus. He told the Tribune: “I have read the Mueller Report and I hope that I get the chance to ask Robert Mueller some questions as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.”

To be honest, my favorite response came from freshman GOP U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of the Third Congressional District, who happens to be my congressman, and from GOP Rep. Roger Williams of the 25th Congressional District. Did he read the report? Taylor and Williams said “Yes.” Should Congress take any legislative action? Taylor and Williams said, “No.” Hey, no need to explain themselves, correct? Well, I believe they should lay out some detail on why Congress need not pursue any legislative action.

My point here is that despite the flowery rhetoric we hear from many Democrats and other political progressives about their concern for the U.S. Constitution and why the nation’s governing document is their reason to seek impeachment, I am inclined to believe even more strongly that the issue revolves solely around politics.

The response from the Texas congressional delegation – comprising a healthy Republican majority – makes the point abundantly clear.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.