A broken clock is right twice a day. That's how the saying goes, right? It is in that spirit that I'm thrilled to report that unctuous Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham had a great idea.
Don't get me wrong, Graham's epiphany wasn't intentionally brilliant. He merely stumbled backwards into making a good point in a ham-fisted attempt to trigger the libs, which ended up backfiring in his face.
Let's go to the tape!
"Play this out," Graham urged Fox News host Sean Hannity, in an attempt to blunt the momentous force of President Trump's historic second impeachment. "We impeach the president today without any evidence. It's just sheer hatred," he continued, gracefully ignoring the fact that the "evidence" was that a bunch of lawmakers were literally locked in their offices while a Trump-inspired mob tried to kill them.
"If this becomes the norm, be careful what you wish for today," Graham, building up an indignant head of steam, opined. "Under this theory ... if you can impeach a president after they are out of office, why don’t we impeach George Washington? He owned slaves. Where does this stop?"
Let's indeed, as Graham urged, "play this out." First of all, the reason Trump's impeachment trial will likely take place after the inauguration is because Graham's buddy Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, declined to reconvene the Senate early to adjudicate the case. But personally, I think it would be fantastic if Congress impeached George Washington. How long has the near-idolatrous worship of America's founding fathers served to occlude any meaningful examination of their legacies? Let's do it! Let's impeach Washington so we can watch Ted Cruz give an impassioned speech on the Senate floor about why owning human beings as slaves isn't necessarily a dealbreaker for him. What's the downside here? People suddenly learn that America's first president might have not have been such a great dude? Boo hoo for them. That's called "being an adult." And if anyone wants to defend Washington's participation in chattel slavery, well ... that's certainly a choice they can make. This is, after all, a free country. Sort of.
But I say we take it one step further. I think every president should be impeached the moment they're out of office (if not sooner, should the circumstances merit). Think of it as a regularly scheduled political enema for the country — a chance to examine and excise each administration's requisite failings. The consequences of each ex post facto impeachment (maybe it should be called something else?) would vary, depending on the president. But for the most part, being president in the first place means you've reached the uppermost echelons of the socio-economic ladder, in which case any consequence short of prison time is a minor inconvenience at worst.
The goal, then, isn't punishment so much as examination. And I'm not saying each president should even be convicted! All I want is for every administration to face the sort of serious critical reckoning inherent to the impeachment process (at least, ideally) that could prevent the beatification our deeply problematic founding fathers currently enjoy.
Anyway, I'm sure Lindsey Graham, Trumpian toady that he is, would be aghast at all this. That's fine. Having a good idea is such a foreign experience for him, he probably doesn't even know he had one.