Friday November 15, 2019 14:50

Peggy Needs to Think Again About Whether Republicans Got the Impeachment Hearings Wrong


Peggy Noonan begins this week's column in the Journal by comparing the current impeachment inquiry to Watergate. The comparison is unfavorable, of course, and careful observers will remember that current events are pale and tawdry compared to those of Peg's youth. Indeed her first impression, in response to a "young foreign-affairs professional" (what one calls a Georgetown grad who's landed her first job at State), was that this is "grubby and small" where Watergate was grave and dramatic.

On reflection, though, Peg has been impressed by the dignified, professional, calm, methodical testimony of the career diplomats who testified during the first day of hearings. William Taylor -- West Point, Vietnam vet, known for modesty -- and George Kent -- Harvard, John Hopkins, multilingual, 27 years in the foreign service: Peg saw these fellows as old school pros, Midwestern tough guys who know their stuff, who seem to have integrity, rather than being deep state subversives. Reliable fellows with some accomplishments under their belts, and our sort of folks. Of course, any worldly-wise citizen of the sort that wandered the plains when Peg was a girl might question how such latter day Marshalls, Achesons and Schultzes could think that a President deserves to be impeached for pursuing policies they don't like.

Peg also could tell the Republicans on the panel were nonplussed and wrongfooted because they "absolutely know the president muscled an ally, holding public money over its head to get a personal political favor." But the same worldly-wise citizen would note how oddly she resists the simple interpretation of the phone call, which is that President Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate efforts to sabotage the 2016 election. Peg's bones tell her the president spoke in code because he wanted Ukraine to do him a political favor by making up dirt about Biden. Ukrainian entanglement in 2016 corruption is nonthought. That vice president Biden muscled Ukraine to protect his son's lucrative graft is nonthought.

Manners forbid pulling the rug from under any old person, but one is tempted to dial Peg from the lobby pretending to be her favorite grand-nephew in urgent need of cash. She seems ripe for the plucking. One hopes the Journal puts her mercifully to pasture before too long.


Read 841 times Last modified on Monday March 09, 2020 20:38


  • Comment Link Alan Fortini-Campbell Friday November 22, 2019 10:33 posted by Alan Fortini-Campbell

    Mel, the "shoe on the other foot" analysis is always a good place to start. If we swapped R's for D's, Ryan for Pelosi, Trump for Obama, and, e.g., the Iran nuclear deal for Ukraine, then hearings about impeachment would be unlikely, impeachment would be much less likely, and acquittal by a McConnell-led Senate would be certain. Democratic media would be sympathetic to their president and, perhaps more important, there would be few, if any, disaffected executive branch bureaucrats. The incumbent president would be left to finish his term with much less sturm und drang. There was never a Republican Resistance and the very idea seems as weird as the idea of a libertarian political machine.

  • Comment Link Mel Livatino Wednesday November 20, 2019 17:28 posted by Mel Livatino

    Thank you, Alan, for alerting me to Peggy's piece. I didn't see the whole piece, just the parts you chose to quote, and your framing of those quotes. Both suggest that Peggy got this one wrong, though, I must say in all honesty, I have not followed the proceedings closely, so would have to disqualify myself as a competent observer/commentator. What I AM certain of is that if all this were turned around, i.e. Obama were in office -- or any other Democrat -- and the very same conversation had taken place, there not only wouldn't be any Congressional proceedings, there wouldn't even have been a whistle-blower or a two-inch piece in the press. It's all manufactured to get Trump. Mel


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