The Bill Cosby Presidency

Bill Cosby receiving honorary Chief rank. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason M. Graham/Released

Fame is an insulator. Familiar faces, appreciated and admired, are given leeway when it comes to accusations of wrongdoing.

Some examples are obvious. Many talk radio hosts have been multiply divorced, yet they are still considered experts on virtue and interpersonal relationships. Absent any research, the assumption is that all of the fault lies with the partner. When Rush Limbaugh was revealed as being an addict, the allegations of “doctor shopping” fell on deaf ears… the same people who demand harsh sentencing for others refused to consider that actual crimes had been committed for the “victim of addiction”. Bill O’Reilly’s allegations of sexual harassment? Obviously false.

For all that people enjoy hearing the salacious details of famous people’s lives, they do not want to lay blame. Rather, they want to vicariously enjoy the excitements in those lives and they want to keep their heroes.

President Trump, having achieved fame as a “brilliant businessman”, is the beneficiary of much of that goodwill. Even as offense after offense has piled up in his debit ledger, his fans remain fans. Part of this is the cumulative effect of fame – not only does he have it, but others, such as the aforementioned talk show hosts, have lent their credibility to him.

This has kept Trump’s support at a reasonable level despite all of the failures, lies and offenses which would have tanked many other Presidents. It’s not appreciation of his Presidential actions, it’s a combination of celebrity and “circling the wagons.”

This is why an impeachment, now, would be a terrible thing.

The ultimate goal of an impeachment is not to register dissatisfaction with or recognize the misdeeds of a politician. There are easier and more direct ways to do that. The goal of an impeachment is simple: to remove an offender from office. With a Senate controlled by Republicans and with much of the Republican base behind Trump, it is a fool’s errand to impeach.

Trump has, with his base, the same sort of insulation Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson had against their sexual assault allegations. They were “America’s Dad” and “The King of Pop” – therefore, due to their fame, they were perceived as being above such terrible activities.

It took multiple allegations for either of them to go to trial. For both, it was testimony rather than hard evidence which were the driving factors during proceedings. In the case of Michael Jackson, in part because the accuser’s family was of dubious morality, he was able to walk free, declared not guilty on all charges. Subsequent revelations by others who shared detailed catalogues of abuses have thrown that decision into serious question. In the case of Bill Cosby, because of the many accusers who were given the limelight simultaneously, the shield provided by his fame was steadily weakened and cracked. He was found guilty.

The best course of action would be to begin hearings, as many as possible – which has been done – and to make clear, should there be sufficient stonewalling (as has also already been done), that some of those hearings are specifically for the possible reason of impeachment.

The Democrats have come as close to this line as they can without crossing it, most recently with their day of reading from the Mueller Report. They must cross that line, but only to admit they are considering impeachment – it is too soon to level charges, no matter how well-earned such charges might be. The Democrats are paying, in their way, for their decades of duplicity and haphazard fealty to the Constitution.

If the intent is a successful impeachment – a “guilty” verdict – the charges must be leveled and explained in such an overwhelming fashion that the highly questionable morality of those tendering the charges can be put aside. That is a Herculean task in this day of polarization, and the Democrats have not yet performed it. Pulling the trigger too quickly will provide a Michael Jackson decision, when what is needed is the Cosby result.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.