The old adage that history repeats itself because no one was listening the first time is playing out for us again in Washington and Bismarck.
In Washington, we are hearing a chorus from the new left to impeach President Donald Trump — and do it now.
Now these folks have good reason for wanting revenge. They represent constituencies that have been abused and intimidated by an arrogant Trump administration. Minorities have been paying a high price for Trump and they are mad –— so mad that they are advocating mean-spirited solutions.
It is irrational to even think of impeaching the president.
In the first place, nothing significant happens in this country unless there is massive public support — as reflected in the congressional seats. It is true that the midterm elections gave Democrats in the House of Representatives enough votes to impeach but there is still the Senate.
With the Senate split evenly between the Democrats and Republicans, Democrats will need Republican support to muster a two-thirds vote (67) in the Senate. With political polarization and pressure from the president, Republicans have given no ground to Democrats in the Senate and there is no reason to think that impeachment would be any different.
As stated in an earlier column, the removal of Trump would leave the office of president in the hands of Vice President Mike Pence, who would bring all kinds of relief to Republican members of Congress. He would continue a more effective administration.
It is amazing that people can be elected to Congress who don’t have the most elementary understanding of the status quo system that governs change in this country. This is no time to play Don Quixote. Impeachment helped Bill Clinton.
Democrats, spend your time doing something good.
Back home in North Dakota, we see another case of history repeating itself, repeating itself and repeating itself when it comes to the State Board of Higher Education.
First, we had a task force that studied the Board of Higher Education for several weeks and concluded that a three-board system would be best — one for each “research” university and one for all of the rest.
When that was rejected, we came up with a counteroffer — one board for the two “research” universities and one board for all the rest. That didn’t fly either.
So we are now back to one board, but it will be more than a board. It will be an assembly. The plan is to expand the board from eight to 15, a proposal that is worse than three boards or two boards.
But before we even argue about the size of the board, we need to be reminded about the objectives being sought. Gov. Doug Burgum had an idea that higher education should be more nimble. The previous philosophy was a unified higher education system tightly knit under one board. Apparently, nimbleness isn’t compatible with unity.
What would seven more members bring to the table that isn’t being brought by the present eight? What will the additional members contribute — more and better ideas? There has been research indicating that when boards get larger than seven members, they tend to break into factions.
A board of 15 will certainly kill Burgum’s hope of nimbleness because 15 will need more time to make decisions. It will be cumbersome; consensus building will require more time.
Even if the Legislature can come up with a proposal for a vote of the people, history will certainly repeat itself. Past elections prove that voters will not countenance fooling with the board as constituted. There is no reason to believe another election will change the outcome.
Republicans, spend your time doing something good.