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TALKING TURKEY: Looking at impeachments and impeachable actions

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Turkey talk all day long. Photo by Tom Dorgan at Humble Roots Farm


According to an online dictionary, “talking turkey” means to “talk about something in an open and serious way, in order to solve a problem.” I hope everyone involved in the impeachment hearings will “talk turkey.”

Republicans and Democrats talked turkey in Nixon’s impeachment hearings. (Don’t remember Nixon’s face? Look at the tattoo on convicted felon Roger Stone’s back.) Those hearings led to senior Republicans talking turkey to a lying, criminal, narcissistic, paranoid POTUS. In August 1974 GOP leaders said, “We don’t have your back.” Nixon resigned.

Waiting for today’s GOP to talk turkey to the strange bird in the Oval Office seems like waiting for Godot. Whether the GOP finds a way to talk turkey, or whether they are talking turkeys, remains to be seen. Maybe using plain language to solve a problem would help.

The Mueller Report didn’t “fully exonerate” ol’ 45. It established he clearly benefited from Russian interference in 2016, and there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the serious matter of prosecuting a sitting president. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort, political hack Roger Stone, ol’ 45’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen have all been convicted of charges related to that election scandal.

At current hearings, Ambassador Gordon Sondlin testified a “quid pro quo” existed. He acknowledged that if Ukraine wanted military aid, they would have to investigate Joe Biden’s son. But “quid pro quo” is an obscure, Latin phrase that sounds about as criminal as “tit-for-tat.” Neither implies anything impeachable.

Ol’ 45’s relationship and payoff to Stormy Daniels for her silence is an example of a tit-for-tat that may turn out to be criminal, though still not impeachable. “Bribery, extortion and abuse of power in the next election cycle” are much clearer language than “quid pro quo.” Most of us would consider “bribery, extortion, and abuse of power” high crimes and misdemeanors—impeachable offenses. These are serious matters, not a “witch hunt.”

Congress impeached President Clinton for lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Hunters started by investigating shady Clinton real-estate deals (Whitewater) from long before his presidency, shifted to a sexual harassment claim by Paula Jones, and ended with Clinton’s comical coverup and lying to Congress about a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. That’s quite a long hunt to get to Congressional impeachment. Eventually, the Senate chose not to burn Clinton at the stake.




Clinton did lie to Congress about sex. He did abuse power with sex and covered up having it. One question today seems to be, “Is abusing power to destroy election integrity or attempting to bribe a foreign government to win the next election morally equivalent to lying about sex?”

As we approach Turkey Day, I’m thankful ol’ 45’s impeachment hearings have started. I’m also thankful America chose not to impeach President Reagan in 1986. The actions of his administration in the “Arms-for-Hostages,” scandal were criminal. Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams and several others were convicted of serious crimes. Despite the crimes, Attorney General William Barr advised then-President Bush to pardon those convicted and pardon Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger before he was ever tried.

America could have impeached St. Ronnie if we were so inclined. We knew he knew about the whole misadventure and lied about it for months. But we were not so inclined for at least three reasons:

First, Reagan did nothing to benefit himself. He executed foreign policy by criminal means.

Second, he spoke in complete sentences and didn’t pathologically lie. He was likable and “presidential.”

Finally, on March 4, 1987, he said, “First, let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration. As disappointed as I may be in some who served me, I’m still the one who must answer to the American people for this behavior.”

I’m thankful Reagan at least tried to talk turkey to America. It’s concerning, regardless of what occurs in these hearings, ol’ 45 will deny wrongdoing and throw his subordinates under the bus. It’s concerning 30% of us will vote again for the sitting turkey, even if he does, “Go out on 5th Avenue and shoot someone.”

I am thankful most of us understand the difference between ol’ 45 and former President Reagan. There’s a big difference between “talking turkey” and being a big talking turkey.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dean Corren

    November 26, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    As probably the first to investigate Roger Stone, and see his anti-democracy criminality, I’ve been waiting 47 years for his conviction. It’s important that Trump understands his added impeachment risk from a Stone pardon.
    If you’re interested, I’ve made a handy diagram that illustrates how quid pro quos fit together with Trump’s impeachable crimes.

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