By Tony Farkas
Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general, has been acquitted of all charges brought against him in an effort to impeach the elected official.
This has been an ongoing spectacle since before the end of May, when the charges were recommended at the end of this year’s legislative session.
Regardless of whether Ken Paxton committed any offenses, the impeachment process served as the latest spectacle in the bread-and-circuses government that the state and country now enjoys.
I say that because this is the first impeachment of a Texas elected official in more than 100 years and was rushed through and handled so badly that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to change the impeachment process.
I’m not convinced that the problem lies in the process; my feeling is that the problem is the degradation of politics in general. No longer is there anything remotely like discussion, debate, or common sense. Once a side picks a position, then any and everything will be done to force opponents to comply, up to and including impeachment. The courts and political processes have now become clubs.
That sentiment was the driving force behind the impeachment efforts against former President Trump. It didn’t matter whether the charges were backed by credible evidence (they weren’t). It only mattered that the president wasn’t “on the side of the angels” and needed to be brought down.
After the first one failed to cow the president, the House doubled down on a second article of impeachment. Nancy Pelosi even alluded to the fact that they knew it wouldn’t fly but did it anyway so Trump would be the only president in the history of history to have been impeached twice.
Since then, the cry to impeach has been bandied around about every person in every level of government that doesn’t fall into line.
Don’t like how Dr. Anthony Fauci handled the COVID crisis? Impeach.
Don’t like how Merrick Garland is handling the DOJ? Impeach.
Don’t like the newly elected Supreme Court Justice? Impeach.
School superintendent making fun of librarian leads to bomb threats? Impeach.
Don’t like the brand of cookies you bought from the Girl Scouts? Impeach.
You get the idea. However, by calling for impeachment continuously over anything belittles the call when there actually is malfeasance, or high crimes and misdemeanors, which leaves the voting public numb and uninterested (which I’m sure is by design).
Even the latest inquiries into President Biden are being met with shoulder shrugs and apathy.
The impeachment process itself is pretty much the only means the people have to remove bad actors from office, and that really is by design. Most, if not all, states, have laws protecting elected officials from facing criminal or civil prosecution when performing official duties, regardless of the outcome of bad decisions. Also, not every state has recall elections, and those that do have ridiculous requirements that the effort is abandoned.
For instance, former President Nixon, facing impeachment only in connection with the Watergate scandal, resigned office and that was it. The actual actors, such as G. Gordon Liddy, were not elected and consequently were convicted of crimes.
Shield laws need to be rethought, and investigations need to be done without any interference, in order for proper consequences to be meted out. Only then will impeachments and electoral malfeasance be treated with the seriousness they deserve.