For the record, and for all the drama offered up by cable news surrounding the resolution to condemn Trump’s racism, this is all kabuki theater. It’s a distraction, the illusion of action. It neither reins in the president nor will change his behavior or that of the Congress.
Seems like the biggest debates we face right now in Congress are whether to “tsk tsk” or to “tut tut” to finger wag or to shake the honorable heads of our representatives in unison.
What can be done to hold the president accountable moves in slow motion when it moves at all. Congressional requests and subpoenas and contempt of Congress resolutions produce the same infinitesimal progress.
Stronger actions are eschewed not because they are not urgently needed but because they might be politically controversial (though they might not be, they might change public opinion, history suggests they can).
Indeed, televised hearings have the power to change opinions and bring facts to light that can forever alter the view of the president and make his defeat more likely…and make future presidents less likely to feel they can act with impunity.
Impeachment it is argued, should not be undertaken because the Senate will not vote to convict and remove Trump from office. But in their stead the House offers bills that the Senate will not even take up.
The real question before the House is this: if a president enjoys the support of one house of our Congress is he or she above the law? Every day with its inaction, the House answers that questions whether it wishes to or not. The precedent being set is a very dangerous one.
It does not just take moral courage to undertake an impeachment inquiry to hold a criminal president accountable, it takes respect for the rule of law and the institutions of the U.S. government, for precedent and for the consequences of failing to act.
It does not take political courage to undertake such an event. Rather it simply requires the political vision to realize that nothing would do more to expose the president and ensure his defeat than fair, in-depth, fact-based televised hearings into his abuses.