All impeachments are not the same
I was looking forward to reading this reminiscence of the Clinton impeachment process by some of the reporters who are covering this one today. Alas, instead of a recognition that the Clinton case was a partisan overreach by the Republican congress to shame the president to resign in retaliation for Richard Nixon's impeachment or even a rather banal observation that the impeachment of Trump is based upon unprecedented lawlessness and corruption, we get things like this:
BAKER: Writing about the president’s lies and sexual adventurism did not make one popular with the Clinton White House, that’s for sure. I remember one day having a White House aide yell at me over a story he thought was wrong. He got so angry that he finally shouted, “If you don’t get that, we have nothing to talk about!” And then he stormed out of the room. The problem was we were in his office. (The story later turned out to be 100 percent accurate, by the way, but in fairness to the aide, the president was deceiving all of them too.)
But we had White House briefings every working day. As heated and hostile as it got, it would never have occurred to the White House in that era to shut down news briefings. It would have looked weak and gone against the notion that there was still an obligation to answer questions, or at least allow questions to be asked, no matter how uncomfortable it was.
HULSE: There is much more hostility now toward the media on the part of some lawmakers. And I don’t think lawmakers and journalists have the same deep relationships that we were able to have in the past.
Uhm. No shit? Trump calls you "the enemy of the state!" People spit at reporters at his campaign rallies. Nutcases have sent pipe bombs to your offices. Good lord.
More importantly, Trump used hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to shake down a foreign leader to smear his political opponent, using Russian propaganda! He is an unfit imbecile and you simply cannot say that about Bill Clinton for all his other faults.
I get that they can't use words like that. They have to maintain some decorum. And this was mostly a light story about what long hours they worked etc. But still. Articles like this make a case that the two impeachments have pretty much the same dynamics, partisan will be partisans, oh heck.
But they all know that Bill Clinton and Donald Trump cases are completely different. The 7 year pursuit of Clinton based upon gothic Arkansas gossip culminating in the president's tawdry misbehavior did not add up to High Crimes or Misdemeanors while Trump's grotesque corruption and abuse of power are more comparable to Nixon's bill of indictment.
They know this. And yet the reflexive need to be "fair and balanced" makes it impossible to say much more than tepid comparisons like the one above.
These are all good reporters and I think they were probably just chewing the fat about the good old days when they were all 20 years younger. But it does reflect the fact that the way these elite reporters view politics is jaded at best and downright delusional at worst. The processes of these two events more or less followed the constitutional process but the charges could not be more different.
The Clinton impeachment was an early manifestation of the GOP's descent into batshit craziness. It was no more normal than the dubious 2000 election, the Iraq war lies, birtherism, the hissy fit over Obamacare or ... Trump. It's important to remember that this is all part of the same thing.
Oh dear God:
It's Holiday Fundraiser time. If you're of a mind to throw a little something in the stocking I would be most grateful --- digby