Profiles in Cowardice

In Profiles in Courage, the Democratic Party's apostle, John Kennedy, observed that the difference between a politician and a statesman is that a statesman is willing to "cross the aisle" for the good of the country.  The impeachment vote in the House is proof positive that we have far too many politicians and far too few statesmen.  This is unfortunate but not surprising.  The emergence of the "politician" as profession unto itself is a relatively recent phenomenon in this country and one wholly at odds with what the founders envisioned.  They imagined that accomplished individuals would give back to society in the form of public service.  These individuals, baptized by the fire of the real world, would possess the requisite wisdom, judgment, and acumen to contribute positively to the fair and effective operation of government.  This has all gone by the wayside, and the country is worse off for it.

President Trump's predecessor, Mr. Obama, famously quipped that "elections have consequences."  They do, but a statesman, unlike a politician, understands that just because you have the power does not mean that you should take every possible opportunity to exercise it.  Impeachment is one case in point, and Obamacare is another.  As a rule of thumb, any legislative act that draws little or no support from the other side of the aisle is one that should not be passed despite the power of the party in the majority to do so.  In the case of both impeachment and Obamacare, ego trumped judgment, and politicians prevailed over statesmen.    

The impeachment process is not one on which the opinions of reasonable people can differ.  The American people are a fair-minded lot, and at the end of the day, country comes before party.  The Democrats' denial of due process, their refusal to allow the Republicans to call witnesses, and the dubious choice of Democratic henchmen Nadler and Schiff to run the kangaroo court will not resonate well with the electorate.  More than that, it was downright cowardly.  When you have the goods, there is no reason to "cover your ears" and refuse to listen to supplemental information that may constructively inform the debate.  This is what they do in China, North Korea, and Russia and a whole host of other countries that we choose not to emulate.  We don't act this way in the United States of America, and for good reason. 

A good general, like a good politician, knows that winning the war is far more important than winning the battle.  In ceding effective control of the House to the radical fringe of her party, Mrs. Pelosi won the battle over impeachment only to ensure that President Trump will skate handily to a second term.  Madam Speaker was dressed in black at the impeachment vote on Wednesday evening not to signify the solemn nature of the action of the House.  She was dressed in black to mourn the fact that with this action, the Democrats had lost the 2020 presidential election.  We might entitle this saga "Dead Democratic Candidates Walking."    

John Kennedy was not a great president in terms of his accomplishments, but he was a patriot, and he had a sense of decorum about how to lead this country.  He would not look favorably upon what his party has become or the values it sacrificed in its shameless quest for power.  John Kennedy was flawed, but he was also courageous, and he had a sense of destiny.  A beacon of light for future generations, he was a true champion and not an apologist for American Exceptionalism.  It is a shame that his descendants have seen fit to extinguish the torch that he lit and in the process condemn the party's followers to the darkness that is sure to follow.

Dr. Weisman is professor of economics emeritus at Kansas State University.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

In Profiles in Courage, the Democratic Party's apostle, John Kennedy, observed that the difference between a politician and a statesman is that a statesman is willing to "cross the aisle" for the good of the country.  The impeachment vote in the House is proof positive that we have far too many politicians and far too few statesmen.  This is unfortunate but not surprising.  The emergence of the "politician" as profession unto itself is a relatively recent phenomenon in this country and one wholly at odds with what the founders envisioned.  They imagined that accomplished individuals would give back to society in the form of public service.  These individuals, baptized by the fire of the real world, would possess the requisite wisdom, judgment, and acumen to contribute positively to the fair and effective operation of government.  This has all gone by the wayside, and the country is worse off for it.

President Trump's predecessor, Mr. Obama, famously quipped that "elections have consequences."  They do, but a statesman, unlike a politician, understands that just because you have the power does not mean that you should take every possible opportunity to exercise it.  Impeachment is one case in point, and Obamacare is another.  As a rule of thumb, any legislative act that draws little or no support from the other side of the aisle is one that should not be passed despite the power of the party in the majority to do so.  In the case of both impeachment and Obamacare, ego trumped judgment, and politicians prevailed over statesmen.    

The impeachment process is not one on which the opinions of reasonable people can differ.  The American people are a fair-minded lot, and at the end of the day, country comes before party.  The Democrats' denial of due process, their refusal to allow the Republicans to call witnesses, and the dubious choice of Democratic henchmen Nadler and Schiff to run the kangaroo court will not resonate well with the electorate.  More than that, it was downright cowardly.  When you have the goods, there is no reason to "cover your ears" and refuse to listen to supplemental information that may constructively inform the debate.  This is what they do in China, North Korea, and Russia and a whole host of other countries that we choose not to emulate.  We don't act this way in the United States of America, and for good reason. 

A good general, like a good politician, knows that winning the war is far more important than winning the battle.  In ceding effective control of the House to the radical fringe of her party, Mrs. Pelosi won the battle over impeachment only to ensure that President Trump will skate handily to a second term.  Madam Speaker was dressed in black at the impeachment vote on Wednesday evening not to signify the solemn nature of the action of the House.  She was dressed in black to mourn the fact that with this action, the Democrats had lost the 2020 presidential election.  We might entitle this saga "Dead Democratic Candidates Walking."    

John Kennedy was not a great president in terms of his accomplishments, but he was a patriot, and he had a sense of decorum about how to lead this country.  He would not look favorably upon what his party has become or the values it sacrificed in its shameless quest for power.  John Kennedy was flawed, but he was also courageous, and he had a sense of destiny.  A beacon of light for future generations, he was a true champion and not an apologist for American Exceptionalism.  It is a shame that his descendants have seen fit to extinguish the torch that he lit and in the process condemn the party's followers to the darkness that is sure to follow.

Dr. Weisman is professor of economics emeritus at Kansas State University.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.