Sometimes it’s just really difficult not to wish Democrats were as petty as Republicans. If only they could, at least once in a blue moon, mirror the childish vindictiveness the GOP regularly dabbles in while wielding their votes and legislative pens. Perhaps it would be easier for them to oust opponents who have truly proven they need to be ousted.
At this point, Donald Trump is low-hanging fruit. Democrats were willing to impeach him because it wasn’t difficult to find legal grounds to do so, and he’s currently drowning in legal woes, not because of Democrats, but because he lies nearly as often as he breathes and that kind of life will always eventually catch up with you.
Speaking of politicians who lied their way into high governmental positions—why the hell didn’t House Democrats vote to expel the Republican who conned his way into Congress, Rep. George Santos?
On Wednesday, lawmakers voted on a resolution led by House Republicans to expel Santos, generally for being a complete embarrassment to the Republican party. (Which is like a pig shunning away a stray dog for being filthy, but whatever.) You read that right: Republicans led the charge to oust Santos, but it was Democrats who apparently thought it would be unethical to knock one of their opponents off the game table.
According to CNN, the final vote for the resolution, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, was 179 to 213 in favor of allowing Santos to remain in his seat. The dissenting voters included 31 House Democrats who apparently felt the need to be fair, balanced and non-partisan in a situation where Republicans undoubtedly would have taken advantage of to send any Democratic lawmaker packing.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California), one of the Democrats who voted in favor of ousting Santos, who is currently facing 23 felony charges related to fraud, identity theft, and falsification of records, made it clear on X that she is none too pleased that her fellow party members played softball with the demonstrable liar who padded his political resume with schools he never attended, Wall Street jobs he never worked, charities he never founded and much, much more.
“George Santos lied about everything—from 9/11 and the Holocaust to his own name,” Lee tweeted. “He defrauded voters, stole money, and faces criminal charges in two countries. I voted to expel him from Congress today.” Lee, who notably voted against authorizing war in Afghanistan, went on to personally call out Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) for voting to spare Santos and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for how they voted; or in Schiff’s case, didn’t vote.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-North Carolina) is defending his decision not to vote Santos out. Jackson wrote on Reddit that voting to oust Santos before the ethics investigation into him was complete would set a precedent that could be used against other lawmakers, namely Democrats.
“The better precedent is to expel members only post-conviction or post-ethics investigation,” Jackson wrote. “That way you get at least some due process – either internal or external – before expulsion. That’s existing precedent, at least as I understand it. This vote was basically asking us to change precedent in a way that’s unnecessary (we can wait three weeks) and could be really dangerous in the hands of a future Congress.”
Look, perhaps Jackson is correct. He doesn’t sound unreasonable, after all. On the other hand, the GOP’s persistent campaign to impeach President Joe Biden for unspecified and/or convoluted reasons, and the way they’ve called for investigations into Fani Willis and other law enforcement officials who have launched cases and indictments against Trump, are all indications that Republicans are already using their legislative powers to play a political tit-for-tat game in order to thwart or outright do away with their opponents on the other since of the aisle. If the Democrats would fight fire with fire, at least in Santos’ case, they would be doing it for ethical and practical reasons.
Sure, it’s commendable that House Democrats would rather take the high road than stoop half as low as their Republican counterparts—but there are times when it’s hard not to want them to go ahead and stoop. Just a little bit.
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