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Sun, Oct. 20

Cantlon: Impeachment is done for us

Democrats are hemming and hawing about whether to start impeachment of the president, but they’re missing the point. Some reasons given for why not to include: Maybe it’s better just to air the dirty laundry of all the president has done so voters will be disgusted with him and vote him out, or that since the Republican-controlled Senate won’t go along nothing will really happen except the riling up of Trump’s supporters, or that impeachment would be hard on the country.

What they’re missing is that impeachment is for us. For us and the soundness of the system.

Holder saying he wouldn't prosecute.

It’s exactly the same situation as when Richard Nixon was facing impeachment and Gerald Ford let him off the hook by making a deal that if Nixon stepped down then Ford would pardon him so no impeachment or prosecution of the just-resigned president could happen. The theory offered then, too, was that it was better for the country to not have to go through that.

Bunk. What could be worse for the country than to see the president of the U.S. commit crimes and then take his wealth and go into quiet, unruffled retirement? What could be worse than to reinforce the idea that if you’re big enough you’re above the law? That we’re not really a country of laws which is of, by, and for the people, but just another like so many in history that are similar to organized gangs, where you can do anything if you’re powerful.

It’s also exactly like what happened after the crash of 2008 when financial gamblers did horrific damage to the people of this country but didn’t go to jail for it. Eric Holder who was Attorney General after the crash famously, scratch that, infamously said he wouldn’t prosecute crimes by big financial outfits because, “it will have a negative impact on the national economy.” What a dumb ... uh ... donkey. What effect did he think it had on the country when working people get crashed by those financial gamblers and see they get no consequences? What impact does it have on the honest businesses trying to do it right and see the cheaters undercut them and then get away with it?

Impeachment, and prosecutions of other crimes that Trump might face after office, are important for us to see that power doesn’t get a free ride. It’s the only way a system of laws can hold together. While impeachment will fail because the GOP Senate will block it, that’s not the concern of the House. They should do their job under these circumstances.

I know partisans still don’t think there’s a reason for impeachment. To me the Mueller report was only added detail. We already have admissions by Trump and his campaign of wanting Russians to release hacked private emails, of meeting with them in hopes of getting dirt, of firing FBI Director James Comey and getting rid of A.G. Jeff Sessions in attempts to obstruct. It’s sickly funny now to think about Clinton having been impeached for lying about consensual sex.

Impeachment was written into the Constitution exactly for situations like this, and Democratic leadership will only do damage to our system of governance if they don’t do their job.

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at comments at

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