Is it constitutional? Yes!



Donald Trump’s Senate suck-ups are making what I believe is a specious argument about the constitutionality of a pending Senate trial of the former president of the United States.

Here is what the nation’s founding government document says about impeachment in Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7:

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. Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to the law.

That in effect is the sum of what the Constitution lays out.

Trump is going to stand trial a second time. The Senate acquitted him the first time on multiple charges of abuse of power and coercing a foreign government. This time he is standing trial on a single charge that he incited an insurrection.

He left office on Jan. 20, meaning that he cannot be “removed” from an office he no longer occupies.

But let’s parse the language of what the founders wrote, OK?

They wrote that “judgment shall not extend further than to removal from Office.” The way I read that clause means that removal from office is the maximum punishment that a conviction that deliver. It doesn’t preclude any other judgment.

If one is to take an “originalist” view of the Constitution — acknowledging what the founders intended when they wrote it — then one could presume that the brilliant men who crafted the document would accept the idea of putting a former president on trial.

But … the suck-ups in the Senate are likely to stand firm in their cowardly attempt to curry favor with Donald Trump’s lunatic base of voters who would threaten them if they do the right thing.

Trump team bales out?

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)


Under normal, legal circumstances the decision by Donald Trump’s legal team to bale out of a pending defense of their client would have me clapping my hands.

As idiotic as the former president’s strategy reportedly is playing out, though, I am going to withhold any hope that there might be an actual conviction coming from the upcoming trial in the U.S. Senate.

Trump is getting ready to stand trial on a charge that he incited the insurrection that occurred on the Sixth of January. He did as has been accused. I saw it. You saw it. The world saw Trump whip the crowd into a frenzy before it marched on Capitol Hill. The House impeached him for it. The Senate will put him on trial even though he has left office.

Trump’s legal team exited the scene reportedly over a disagreement with its client on defense strategy. The lawyers wanted to defend Trump on the basis of a constitutional argument, that the impeachment trial doesn’t fit the Constitution’s provision for removal from office if a conviction is the result. I believe that’s a long shot legal argument.

But then we have Trump wanting the legal eagles to argue on the basis of The Big Lie, that there was widespread vote fraud in the 2020 presidential election. They declined. Then they walked. Who can blame them? Trump’s argument is moronic in the extreme.

So now Trump has no legal team to defend him against the House impeachment. Should he sweat it? No. Why? Because this isn’t strictly a legal trial being conducted in a court of law. The Senate is going to deliver, more than likely, a political verdict. Senators likely already have made up their mind. Heck, 45 GOP senators voted that the trial is unconstitutional, which suggests to me that the Senate is far from likely to convict, given that the Constitution calls for 67 senators to vote for it; a 50-50 Senate split requires 17 Republicans to make that call.

About the only thing the reporting of the lawyers bugging out tells me is that Trump is clinging to a ridiculous notion that has nothing to do with the issue at hand: Did he incite the terrorist mob to attack the Capitol with the intent of stopping Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election?

Umm. Yeah. He damn sure did!

Elections have consequences!


If I hear it one more time my head is likely to explode.

It is that Donald Trump’s supporters’ mantra that their guy pulled in 74.2 million votes in the 2020 presidential election, which means — by God — that they won’t be silenced.

OK. I got it. Here is another truth about that election: President Biden garnered 81.2 million votes, 7 million more than Trump; moreover, he won the Electoral College with 306 votes, needing 270 to win the presidency.

Biden won. Trump lost. Elections, as the saying goes, have consequences!

A democratic society requires that losing candidates accept defeat, congratulate the winner, pledge to work together … and yes, also keep pushing for whatever agenda he or she sought during a losing campaign. Donald Trump didn’t do that. He hasn’t done that yet. He apparently will never do any of it.

Instead, he is leading his minions on some sort of call of defiance, ginning up their enthusiasm for a campaign that did not resonate with most Americans who voted in record numbers.

I know what some of you might be thinking. What about the 2016 election when supporters of Hillary Clinton yapped about their candidate getting more votes than Trump? There is no parallel. Clinton pulled in about 3 million more votes than Trump, but lost the Electoral College by the same amount that Trump lost to Biden. There were those who said their voices needed to be heard. Why? Because their candidate collected more rank-and-file support than the actual winner. I was not one of those individuals.

Yes, I was highly critical of Donald Trump during his term as president, but I also recognized that the Constitution prescribes a certain way that candidates win presidential elections, and in 2016 Trump met that standard.

The 2020 result was clear cut. The actual vote comported with the Electoral College vote. So, when the Trumpkin Corps yaps about their guy winning 74.2 million votes, I am left to shrug and say: So fu**ing what? 

The other guy got more votes than your guy! Your guy lost. The Trumpkins have every right to express their point of view; the Constitution is clear about that. But … do not rely on the tired mantra that just because the losing candidate for president won a lot of votes that it means he can still have his way.

Donald Trump said it himself after hearing the gripes of those who supported his opponent four years ago: Elections have consequences.

Hoping to de-fang Empower Texans


My wish list for the 2021 Texas Legislature is fairly modest, given the constraints the pandemic has placed before governing bodies all across the nation.

I want to offer this modest wish for our legislators: Do not let Empower Texans call the shots on your agenda.

Empower Texans, in my view, is a truly detestable political action committee. It is led by a guy named Michael Quinn Sullivan, a fellow I do not know but he is someone about whom I have heard plenty.

He stuck a shiv in former House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s back in 2019, recording a meeting he and Bonnen had in which Bonnen gave him the names of 10 Republican legislators that Empower Texans could target for defeat. He recorded the event with Bonnen’s knowledge.

He and his PAC have meddled in GOP primaries throughout the state, including in the Texas Panhandle, where I lived for 23 years before moving to Dallas area two years ago. He has sought to defeat fine legislators, friends of mine … so perhaps my anger is a bit too personal. But it is what it is, you know?

I just want Empower Texans to be kept at arm’s length. The PAC is too rigid to suit me, as a taxpaying Texan. I do not want this outfit to “empower” me in any fashion.

My plea, then, goes directly to two men: Republican state Sen. Drew Springer and Republican state Rep. Scott Sanford. They represent me in the Legislature.

Stay away from Empower Texans. Got it? Good!

Stay focused on COVID


One of the many — seemingly countless — blessings of the new presidential administration is its telling us the truth daily about the pandemic that is still killing too many Americans.

President Biden is letting the scientific team he has assembled talk to us about the COVID crisis; he is staying out of the way and out of the limelight.

We aren’t hearing happy talk from the White House about how we have the virus “under control,” nor are we hearing from the president how we should employ miracle cures, such as injecting household cleaners into our bodies.

I keep hearing snippets of good news, about how the hospitalization rate is showing a modest, but steady decline. The virus continues to sicken too many of us; it is killing too many of us as well.

We are hearing the truth, finally, from the people in charge about how this fight against the pandemic is proceeding. I will listen to the scientists and just like with his predecessor, I will effectively disregard any political diagnosis from President Biden about the status of that conflict.

Trump library? Really?


This thought comes from a member of my family, but it’s so good I have to share it here.

We talked about whether Donald Trump is going to build a presidential library. My own thought is that it is impossible to couch this man’s tenure in office in any positive light, given the horrendous end he brought to it: the insurrection that capped off his refusal to accept defeat at the hands of President Biden, not to mention the two House impeachments and Senate trials.

However, the conversation this morning turned to this idea: Donald Trump won’t build a free-standing structure, but instead will have a room set aside in one of his posh hotels.

As my family member noted: He can put it between the workout room and the breakfast buffet.

I now open the floor for comments. I happen to think that is a workable idea.

Get this trial done quickly

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


President Biden has gone on the record, saying he wants Donald Trump’s Senate trial done quickly, that there is no compelling need to drag this charade any longer than necessary.

I agree with him.

It’s probably no stretch to presume that Joe Biden shares the views of many millions of Americans who want the Senate to convict the former president, even though removal from office no longer is possible. I damn sure want him convicted. I also want the Senate to approve a provision that bans Trump from seeking public office ever again.

A 55-45 vote in the Senate the other day, though, likely spelled doom for a conviction. Only five GOP senators joined their Democratic colleagues in determining that the trial is constitutional.

Back to the president’s point about a speedy trial. Yes, I am weary of presidential impeachment talk, of the morass it creates. As for President Biden urging a swift outcome, it is because he has an aggressive COVID relief agenda he wants Congress to enact. He wants to get the legislative branch on the fast track to providing economic relief, not to mention getting the nation on the road to  full recovery from the killer pandemic.

A drawn-out impeachment trial would take senators’ eyes off the legislative prize.

Let’s get real for just a moment, too.

Gutlessness is alive in both houses of Congress. The 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump are facing the wrath of constituents back home. That electoral anger frightened other House members into doing what they likely know is right, that  Donald Trump incited a riot that could have resulted in many casualties than it did. Still, the House impeached Trump.

As for the trial, the Constitution requires two-thirds of senators to convict. The bar is high, as it should be. However, the cowardice that too many House members exhibited is showing itself in the Senate.

A second Senate acquittal of the corrupt, amoral and moronic former president now appears to be a fait accompli. There is no need, therefore, to drag this charade on.

What about Donald Trump’s political future? My strong hope is that he sealed it with his hideous post-election response, his fomenting of the Big Lie about widespread vote fraud that did not exist.

I stand with President Biden in wanting a quick end to this chapter. Then Congress can get to work seeking an end to the pandemic and rescuing a collapsing economy.

Censure the loony bird


Marjorie Taylor Greene certainly has made a name for herself in just a few days in public office.

Her name is, well, mud. She is a Republican congresswoman from Georgia who is aligned with the QAnon comprising conspiracy nut jobs and lunatics.

What does the House of Representatives do about this moron in its midst? Jack Shafer, senior media writer for Politico, has an interesting idea: censure her and then let the voters in her congressional district decide whether to keep her in 2022.

Not a bad idea. As Shafer writes in Politico: Nowhere in the Constitution—and this is excellent news for freshly sworn-in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)—does it stipulate that a House member must have the mental capacity to cook on all four burners.

This is in keeping with the Framers’ general idea that only the lowest bars should be set for officeholders. They declined to cordon off Congress with credential and qualification roadblocks, stating in Article I, section 2, clause 2 that House members need only be 25 years old or older and a U.S. citizen for at least seven years. This left plenty of room for the daft, the moonstruck, the brainsick, the rabble-rousing and the witless to run for the seats. And they have, often gaining office, as Rep. Greene recently did, to the horror of many.

Opinion | Expelling Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Just Crazy Talk – POLITICO

The House has punished members for making untoward statements. Former Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican who repeatedly spoke fondly of white supremacy, was stripped of his committee assignments. All he could do for the remainder of his term was cast recorded votes on the floor of the House. The voters in his House district took care of King’s political career … by voting him out of office.

That well could happen to Marjorie Taylor Greene, if the House has the gumption at the very least to censure her.

Vowing to hear all sides


It is time for your friendly blogger to make a solemn, sincere and honest vow.

I hereby pledge to read more political commentary with which I disagree. The Age of Trump has given way to the Age of Biden. The change in political tone and tenor in Washington thrills me greatly.

However, I need to make a confession. I didn’t listen to as many arguments that favored the tone that Donald Trump set during his term as president as I should have done.

Now that Trump has holed up in his glitzy south Florida resort, I intend to examine more carefully the conservative antidote to the surprisingly progressive tone that President Biden is striking as he seeks to take control of the crises that awaited him.

I look at a number of Internet sites each day. The one that provides the widest range of views is, which I scan daily. The RCP site is chock full of progressive, centrist and conservative thought. They’re all reputable and I now intend to examine those views that differ from my own bias.

RealClearPolitics – Live Opinion, News, Analysis, Video and Polls

Do I expect to “come out” as a born-again conservative? Hardly. I just believe I should practice what I occasionally preach to those who take time to read my rants on High Plains Blogger. One of my occasional rant topics deals with narrow-mindedness.

As my dear mother used to say, “That guy is so narrow-minded, he can look through a keyhole with both eyes.”

I don’t intend to be “that guy.”

What about this loon’s supporters?


While the nation debates and wrings its hands over the rise of nut-job politicians in Congress, it is good to remember something critical: They all won elections by getting more votes than their opponents.

Which means that they obtained majorities among those who cast ballots. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the nut job du jour who has been getting the bulk of the media’s attention of late. And I do believe she is nuts.

The question we need to ponder is this: How do candidates who believe what this QAnon disciple says out loud gain the support of most voters in their political jurisdiction?

Greene represents the 14th Congressional District of Georgia, covering part of the northwestern part of the state. It went strongly for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. President Biden won the state’s overall vote, but not in the district that Greene won.

In 2020, she defeated John Cowan in the GOP runoff. Then she ran against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, who pulled out of the race in September 2020, meaning that Greene ran unopposed. So, she won with 75 percent of the vote.

As frightening as she is — contending that notorious school massacres were hoaxes and that Muslims are unfit for public office — what’s even scarier is that she pulled most of the voters in her district along with her.

It makes me ask: Are most of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District voters as crazy as their member of Congress?

If not Rep. Greene, then who is waiting in the tall grass to ascend to power in that part of the country?

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a serious crisis on our hands if our fellow citizens continue to elect certifiable nut jobs such as Marjorie Taylor Greene to our federal legislative branch of government.