It is early Saturday afternoon as I begin to pen this piece. Donald Trump has rescinded the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, has come out with an enemies list and is threatening to revoke their security clearances also. Word has leaked out of the White House (located in the Hamptons this weekend) that the announcements are being held so that they can be used as news cycle distractions. In my mind that alone undermines the argument of national security. There is much more to this story, let’s explore.
Brennan did a TV interview on Friday night where he readily admitted the action doesn’t personally hurt him much; however it weakens America. Like most Americans, I’m not overly concerned about John Brennan, but I am concerned about America’s national security.
The natural extension of this slow motion Saturday Night Massacre (I first heard this characterization and stole it from fellow baby boomer Chris Matthews) is to revoke the security clearances of Robert Mueller and his team thereby severely stifling if not crippling the Russiagate investigation. This is a huge and legitimate concern!
The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution complete with a series of checks and balances to assure no one person or small group of people gained absolute control. America was designed to be a representative democracy not a monarchy or totalitarian regime ruled by a king or a junta. A lot of power was vested in the office of a chief executive, which we call the president, but his power was overseen by the legislative branch which in the final analysis could remove the president via impeachment. The president had to sign legislation passed by the legislative branch in order for it to become law. If he didn’t it would take two-thirds of each chamber to override his veto. Checks and balances.
The Founders feared a tyrannical, unethical and unpatriotic president but assumed that the Congress would not either be simultaneously corrupt or complaint. Today we have an evil man in the White House and a Congress controlled by his party which is unwilling to take patriotic action and remove him from office. Constitutionally impeachment must start in the House (by majority vote) and the current Republican controlled House simply lacks the political courage to act patriotically. Alas, the Founders did install another check in the system and fortunately we are less than 90 days away from it.
Many of Trump’s actions have been illegal and/or extraconstitional but I don’t think he will go so far as to cancel the November elections. There lies the unspoken check. As is the case every even numbered year, the entire House is up for reelection. As I have previously stated you need to refuse to even consider voting for any Republican who will not disavow Trump. Without a bunch of enablers in the House Trump will have to start “coloring within the lines” or risk removal from office.
I’m not about to start selling silly little red hats but, a slogan for this year’s voters could be “Make Congress Great Again”. To do so vote Democratic since virtually no Republican candidates are displaying profiles in courage or patriotism.
Again my tip to the Democratic candidates is: don’t run on a promise of impeachment; being anti-Trump isn’t a sufficient platform. Run on health care and combating corruption. Remind the voters of all the extra money they were promised in the Trump Tower Tax Cut but have yet to and never will see.
As long as we remain a representative democracy the ultimate and unspoken check is the vote. Why else would today’s GOP fear it so much?
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