Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Paul Krugman: The Cruelty of a Trump Christmas

Republicans aren’t Scrooges — they’re much worse.

By Trump-era standards, Ebenezer Scrooge was a nice guy.

It’s common, especially around this time of year, to describe conservative politicians who cut off aid to the poor as Scrooges; I’ve done it myself. But if you think about it, this is deeply unfair to Scrooge.

For while Dickens portrays Scrooge as a miser, he’s notably lacking in malice. True, he’s heartless until he’s visited by various ghosts. But his heartlessness consists merely of unwillingness to help those in need. He’s never shown taking pleasure in others’ suffering, or spending money to make the lives of the poor worse.

These are things you can’t say about the modern American right. In fact, many conservative politicians only pretend to be Scrooges, when they’re actually much worse — not mere misers, but actively cruel. This was true long before Donald Trump moved into the White House. What’s new about the Trump era is that the cruelty is more open, not just on Trump’s part, but throughout his party.

Patrick Leahy: What the Senate Does Now Will Cast a Long Shadow

Mitch McConnell and the other 99 senators must serve the institution and the Constitution that established it, not President Trump.

When the Senate ultimately convenes to consider whether to remove the president from office, for just the third time in its history, it will convene not as a legislative body, but as a court of impeachment. And it will not just be President Trump on trial. The Senate — and indeed, truth itself — will stand trial.

Senators serve as a unique combination of judge and juror during an impeachment trial. Sworn in by the chief justice of the United States, senators take a special oath to do “impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.” This is an oath I have taken several times. First elected to the Senate in 1974, in the wake of Watergate, I have served on six impeachment trials since then — five judges and one president. I take this oath extraordinarily seriously. And it’s one I fear the Senate is on the verge of abandoning. [..]

The Senate has a job to do. And it’s not to rig the trial in favor of — or against — President Trump. Our job is to follow the facts and abide by the Constitution. An acquittal based on anything less would hardly be an acquittal at all.

Eugene Robinson: Evangelicals can’t have it both ways

As Christians celebrate the miracle of Christmas, let us all take a moment to reflect on what the magazine founded by evangelist Billy Graham, Christianity Today, just said about President Trump: “None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”

Finally. [..]

“To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve,” the editorial warned. “Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come?”

The answer is no. Evangelicals cannot have it both ways. They can’t claim to be a clarion voice of Christian values in the public square while at the same time behaving in politics like amoral secularists. Why should anyone take them seriously if they talk the talk but won’t walk the walk?

Paul Rosenberg: Impeachment in an alternate universe: Will Ralph Nader’s “missing” charges haunt America’s future?

Ralph Nader proposes a sweeping 12-count impeachment that covers Trump’s many crimes — and those that preceded him

With Donald Trump impeached resoundingly on two narrow counts, Democrats left a great deal on the table. However strategically wise or even necessary this might be in the moment — as many have argued — that narrowness carries grave risks for the republic in the long run. Are we really saying it’s OK for a president to kidnap thousands of children from their parents? To lock hundreds of them in cages? To take untold millions of dollars from foreign governments and agents, in violation of the Emoluments Clause? To incite violence against the very people he’s sworn to protect? To engage in the kind of racial bigotry that got Andrew Johnson impeached 150 years ago?

These are just a few of the 26 examples cited by Mehdi Hasan in “The A to Z of Things Trump Could and Should Have Been Impeached For,” examples that began even before Trump took office. As if these acts aren’t bad enough, if we allow all this to go unpunished, not even charged, under Trump, how much worse lies ahead?

A more systematic version of this was put together in a list of 12 articles of impeachment, mostly organized around specific constitutional provisions — the emoluments clause, the “take care” Clause, the appointments clause, etc. — that was drafted and sent to Speaker Pelosi in November by Ralph Nader, working with constitutional scholars Louis Fisher and Bruce Fein. There may not be any method to Trump’s madness, but as Nader, Fisher and Fein remind us, there is definitely a method to what he’s trying to destroy. Reminding the nation of that fact has never seemed more necessary than right now.