“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
Utahns are watching as one of their U.S. senators, Mitt Romney, departs from many of his fellow Republicans by calling out the more-than-questionable behaviors of the president of the United States.
And they see that one of their members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ben McAdams, has trailed most of his fellow Democrats in calling for that same president to be the subject of an impeachment investigation.
As a result, some Republicans condemn Romney as a RINO (Republican in name only) and some Democrats see McAdams as a DINO (Democrat, etc.)
But an atmosphere in which all Democrats are expected to attack the president, whether he deserves it or not, and all Republicans are expected to defend him, no matter what he has done, does the nation no good.
So, at least for now, Romney and McAdams are setting an example that other political leaders might do well to emulate.
Including, sadly, some of their fellow Utahns.
Rep. Chris Stewart, the Republican from the 2nd District, has frankly made a fool of himself by dismissing and mocking every serious charge and revelation involving the president. He has covered his ears and eyes to a flood of facts and concerns about the president’s behavior by simply dismissing not only the independent news media but also the entire U.S. intelligence community and diplomatic corps. What could it possibly profit the congressman to lose all his credibility in order to gain more air time on Fox News?
And what to say of Sen. Mike Lee? A Republican who, at least when there was a Democrat in the White House, could knowledgeably wax philosophic on the need for Congress to reassert its withering powers over not just legislating but also the conduct of domestic and international policy and the duty of the House and Senate to conduct active oversight of same.
Now, when the president unilaterally removes American forces from Syria, leaving thousands of Kurdish fighters to the inevitable onslaught of their enemies in the autocratic regime of Turkey, Lee finds no fault. Nor does he raise any concern when the administration’s own official transcript of the president’s conversation with the president of Ukraine confirms a chilling threat to withhold congressionally approved military aid in exchange for some campaign skullduggery.
Romney, at least, condemned the administration on both counts. It is to his credit that he seemed dismayed that anyone even had to say that those things were bad. And he reasonably stuck to his position that, when it comes to impeachment, he is waiting for the constitutional process to play out.
McAdams, meanwhile, suffered through some fits and starts before coming to the obvious conclusion that, in order for Congress and the American people to know if there are sufficient grounds to impeach the president, someone in Congress is going to have to begin an impeachment investigation. And that he can support the appropriate probe while still reserving judgment on any particular article of impeachment that may later come before him.
This is not about any one party, personality nor branch of government. Impeachment should always be about protecting the integrity of our constitutional principles. We’ve had bigger fights, including the era of Vietnam, assassinations, riots in the streets and the resignation of a president. But our institutions, our rule of law, held our country together.
The day may come, perhaps very soon indeed, when the path now being taken by McAdams and Romney will cease being prudence and become intransigence or cowardice. But we are not there yet.
In a day and age when speed and partisan tribalism seem to dominate all political considerations, these two Utahns are serving their state and their nation well.