Impeachment Hearings

November 23, 2019

After a couple of weeks of House impeachment hearings, what stands out to me is the professionalism of the foreign service officers (also Col. Vindman); political appointees and politicians, not so much. The foreign service officers consistently were articulate and demonstrated their focus on the interests of the US, whether they were in the field or West Wing. In The Origins of Political Order (2011), Francis Fukuyama observed that the pillars of political order are an effective bureaucracy, rule of law, and government accountability. These hearings demonstrate the importance of these factors, but also deficiencies that have crept into the American government. 

 

At least some of the Republicans (I did not see all the hearings) seemed willing to destroy any or all of the witnesses if they could, no matter what. It looked like some ridiculous comments by Devin Nunes and others were made to replay on Fox News, presumably on the assumption that Trump supporters would only listen to the most partisan pundits and repeat the claims of "witch hunt" and "Russian hoax." It reminds me of Joseph Welch asking Joe McCarthy: "have you left no sense of decency?" [Note that McCarthy had considerable support even after this and his censure in the Senate.]  Will Hurd is something of a wildcard; not a supporter of Trump, but not showing much opposition either; possibly this is a political calculation to maintain good relations within the Party for future endeavors (likely amoral, but perhaps the American way in politics and business). 

 

What will happen to the Republican Party going forward? I'm generally an admirer of Mitt Romney and John Kasich (and others), but the general direction of the party seems devoid of honor or interest in appropriate American public policy (Mitch McConnell comes to mind, as does Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan on the House Intelligence Committee). Republicans and others seem to support the Iron Leader (ideally, think Patton rescuing Bastogne); unfortunately, Trump is not the one nor is this the time (think General Paulus at Stalingrad losing his entire army--that what Trump seems to want from the cronies). [When thinking of great World War II leadership, Churchill and Eisenhower come to mind.] 

 

As Median Voter Guy, it's encouraging to see career professionals continue to work for important interests of the US, no matter what--including their careers. They do their jobs whether Democrats or Republicans are in the White House, dealing as best they can with political partisanship--even loose canons like Rudy Giuliani, Gordon Sondland, or the canon fire of Trump tweets. In The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis made clear why many career professionals left government service under Trump, but I applaud those that remain.

 

 

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© 2016 Gary Giroux