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Democrats are clearly upset that the Mueller Report didn't find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians; a rather peculiar reaction considering it places partisan interests above national interests. Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump, it is difficult to see how American democracy would have benefited from acquiring proof that someone had colluded with a hostile foreign power to win our nation's highest office.

But Democrats can't seem to drop it, suggesting that the demands for impeachment would have continued even if Mueller had released a report recommending Trump as a candidate for sainthood.

So we are now left in a rather ridiculous position, or at least Democrats are: They still want to impeach Trump but don't know exactly what for, except perhaps for just being Trump.

The central problem has become not so much Trump but that Democrats simply can't get over the fact that they lost to such a character in a free, fair election.

The claim in all this that Attorney General William Barr somehow "misled" in his non-summary summary of Mueller's Report is especially irrelevant since we received the full text in reasonably timely fashion minus only minor and apparently reasonable redaction, and the public is now fully capable of judging for itself, as are congressional Democrats and Republicans, as to whether its contents warrant that drastic step of attempting to remove a president through the impeachment mechanism.

That Trump is a low-life, lying, noxious creep may make him unfit for the presidency according to some dispassionate, abstract criteria, but it doesn't change the fact that the American people already knew he was a low-life, lying, noxious creep and elected him anyway (maybe because the other side nominated a creep of its own).

The broader public's assessment of what constitutes "fitness" apparently differed from that of Democrats, to the point where impeachment would constitute, in the words of a National Review headline, a "redundant judgment."

Hence the Democrats' quandary--how to satisfy their rabid, far-left base, which demands impeachment regardless of cause, while still protecting their 2020 electoral prospects, which would likely suffer if they went through with it with insufficient cause.

Within this context, the demonization of Barr constitutes little more than a childish temper tantrum provoked by frustration. Furious over their quarry having escaped right when they thought they had him, Democrats frantically cast about for a dog to kick and could find only the hapless AG.

Watching them fuss and fume and convulse in the wake of their Mueller letdown reminds of nothing so much as a certain Edvard Munch painting.

On one level, Democrats would seem to have no choice but to impeach Trump; if he's even remotely as bad as they claim, then the only right thing to do is to invoke the mechanism in the Constitution designed to remove such threats to our democratic order. To do any less would be an admission of moral cowardice and an abdication of responsibility to the national interest.

If the "resistance" is genuinely serious in its campaign and its assessment of what it is resisting, and with Democrats now controlling the chamber in which the indictment would be drawn up, they now have the obligation to act, lest their ranting and raving be dismissed as mere posturing for effect.

The idea of resistance only makes sense up to the point you acquire the political power to remove what you are resisting.

But the hunch is that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer won't go down such a path because they know that the effort would fail and perhaps even improve the ogre's chances of getting four more years in the White House from which to torment Democrats.

The optics of such a kamikaze mission wouldn't be flattering, smacking of sour grapes, unhealthy obsession, and sheer spite. Prolonged impeachment proceedings would also provide a national stage from which the party's hair on fire wingnuts could amply demonstrate the full range of Trump Derangement Syndrome symptoms for all to see and large chunks of voters to be embarrassed by.

Under such circumstances, it would probably be prudent for both party and nation to wait 18 months for a verdict to be rendered at the ballot box, to trust that the electorate still possessed sufficient virtue to use the democratic process that Democrats claim to be defending against Trump's onslaught to correct its earlier mistake.

But if Democrats truly think Trump deserves impeachment, they should go for it. If they fear the electoral consequences, then they should drop the issue altogether and focus on that less cathartic but necessary thing called governance.

You can't sound the alarm over and over again, and then run back to hide in your bunker. And if you've loaded and pointed the gun, you can't suddenly become too scared to pull the trigger.

Loudly threatening to impeach a legitimately elected president while having no real intention to follow through on that threat is to do a greater disservice to the national welfare than anything Trump is accused of doing.

In other words, it's finally time for Democrats to put or shut up.

This is getting boring. Really boring.

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 05/13/2019

Print Headline: Quit whining; just do it

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