Bad Leadership – A List of Particulars

House Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have decided to focus their attempt to impeach President Donald J. Trump on just one of his many transgressions: pressuring the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump’s once most obvious political rival, Joe Biden.

However, as a political strategy, intended presumably to secure not only impeachment in the House but conviction in the Senate, it is weak. Its virtue supposedly is simplicity. Everyone can understand “quid pro quo,” which happens in this case to be illegal. The question though is this: Will a single count against President Trump suffice to remove him from office?

I am not alone in my concern. Veteran political reporter Elizabeth Drew, for one, worries the Democrats are “making their target too narrow and moving too fast.” My purpose here though is not to address, directly, the argument. Rather it is simply to list other of the president’s transgressions. Some were illegal, some immoral, some un-American, some racist, some misogynistic… I could go on. The point is that most were in violation if not of the law, then of social and political norms. Of conventional standards of what has been considered reasonably good, socially acceptable behavior by anyone anywhere in America.         

The American political system has turned out ill-equipped to deal with an executive who loudly, proudly, and incessantly defies past patterns of presidential performance. The more important, then, to base the impeachment argument not on the slender reed of a single misdeed, but on the firm foundation of the president’s record during his entire time in office.

What follows is a list of ten of Trump’s transgressions – each an outrage, each a violation of the American political tradition.

  1. Inveterate lying.  
  2. Relentless enriching.
  3. Executive overreaching.
  4. Obstruction of justice.
  5. Abuse of power.
  6. Colluding with America’s enemies.
  7. Alienating America’s allies.
  8. Debasing, demeaning, diminishing, demoralizing the other.
  9. Trivializing tragedies.
  10.  Exacerbating animosities.

Given so many fish to fry, why are the Dems frying just one? Fact is this president will long be remembered not for doing one thing wrong but for doing nothing right.  

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