Tag Archives: 1996 election

Impeachment about overturning election? No-o-o-o-o! Really?

Can we dispense with the tired — and patently ridiculous — notion that Donald John Trump’s impeachment is meant to “overturn” the results of the last election?

That goofy argument is part of the White House response to the articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives delivered to the Senate, which on Tuesday will commence the trial that will determine whether the current president of the United States keep his job.

I believe I shall remind everyone of a couple of historical facts.

The House Judiciary Committee voted for articles of impeachment against President Nixon in 1974. Nixon quit the presidency on Aug. 9 of that year. He had won re-election in 1972 in a smashing landslide: 49 states, 520 electoral votes, 60 percent of the ballots cast. That impeachment effort would have reversed the outcome of that election, too.

The House impeached President Clinton in 1998. He stood trial in 1999 and was acquitted. Clinton won re-election in 1996 with a handsome margin: 379 electoral votes and a healthy plurality of actual votes. And, yes, that impeachment was intended to overturn an election result, too.

Presidential impeachment by definition are intended to do the very thing that the White House is now accusing the House of doing. I know that House members who voted to impeach the president stand behind high-minded rhetoric about “defending the Constitution.” I believe that is the case here.

However, this act also carries with it a necessary political component, which is that it seeks to correct a ballot-box mistake. Let’s not be coy about this point as well: Trump did not win in anything approaching a landslide. He pulled in nearly 3 million fewer votes than his opponent in 2016 and won because of an adroit end-of-campaign tactic that saw him win three key Rust Belt states that put him over the top in the Electoral College count.

Impeachment is meant to overturn an election? Well, as we used to say in high school: No sh**, Sherlock!

But … senator, you cast your vote in secret


Bob Dole says he just cannot support Hillary Rodham Clinton’s quest for the presidency.

The former Republican U.S. senator from Kansas said he’s been a Republican all his life. Donald J. Trump, his party’s presumed presidential nominee, is “flawed,” according to Dole, but he’s getting his vote anyway.

“I have an obligation to the party. I mean, what am I going to do? I can’t vote for George Washington. So I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Dole explained Friday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

I think I want to reset this for just a moment.

I have great respect and admiration for Sen. Dole. I admire him for his valiant service to the country in the Army during World War II, for his years in the Senate and for his ability to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats; he and fellow World War II hero Sen. George McGovern, for example, were great personal friends and occasional legislative partners, particularly on programs involving agriculture.

He said, though, that he has to put party first and he must support Trump in his upcoming fight against Clinton.

The reset is this: Sen. Dole can say it all he wants — until he runs out of breath — that he’s going to vote a certain way.

But one of the many beauties of our political system is that we get to vote in private. It’s a secret. We all can blab our brains out over who we intend to vote for, but when the time comes we can change our mind.


I think of Bob Dole as more of a patriot than a partisan.

He had been involved with government for many decades. He ran for president himself in 1996, losing in an Electoral College landslide to President Bill Clinton.

I don’t intend to sound cynical about what Bob Dole is going to do when the time comes to cast his vote. However, his party’s presidential nominee is like a volcano waiting to erupt.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sen. Dole changes his mind over the course of the next few weeks and perhaps decide to keep that spot on his ballot unchecked.

A part of me would like to prove it.

Bill Clinton’s rehab appears complete

It’s getting difficult to remember that the 42nd president of the United States was impeached by the House, tried in the Senate and then acquitted of the so-called “high crimes and misdemeanors” he was accused of committing.

The latest evidence of that is former President Clinton’s appearance in Kentucky of all places, where he is campaigning on behalf of a Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Allison Lundergan Grimes is seeking to unseat the veteran Republican senator, so she brought in the Big Dog to help her: William Jefferson Clinton.


Clinton is going where the current Democratic president, Barack Obama, dare not venture.

Let’s recall an important fact here. Clinton carried Kentucky twice in his two campaigns for the presidency. He won them both barely, but he won them. Yes, it can be argued that he had some help with the presence of Texas zillionaire H. Ross Perot on the ballot in 1992 and 1996, but I’ve never quite bought into the notion that Perot was responsible for Clinton’s two electoral victories, as national surveys indicated he took roughly equal numbers of votes from Republicans as well as Democrats.

The point, though, is that Clinton’s political rehabilitation now appears to be complete.

The man who was impeached for lying to a grand jury about a sexual affair with a White House intern has emerged as one of the more consequential ex-presidents in U.S. history. His Clinton Global Initiative targets crises around the world and lends support — and money — to nations and people in need. He remains politically active here at home. His wife, Hillary, is considering a run for the presidency again in 2016 and you can bet he’ll be hitting the stump for her as well.

It’s an amazing thing to see. A man who could have been kicked out of the presidency had he been convicted of those mostly partisan charges has come out burnished and all shiny on the other side.

Democrats with stars in their eyes want him to speak on their behalf.

So help me, they are going to write books on this incredible story of political redemption.