Throughout Donald Trump's short but eventful presidency, Democrats have been imploring Republicans to show loyalty for country over party.
If you believe our bumbling president's hiring of the likes of Paul Manafort or Mike Flynn -- who was apparently under investigation when he joined the administration -- reflects abysmal judgment, I'm with you. If you believe those decisions could turn out to be scandals, it's difficult for me to disagree. If you believe Trump's admiration for authoritarians in Russia undermines our standing in the world, I'm there as well.
Then again, recklessly throwing around words like "impeachable" and "treason" before the evidence exists to level those consequential charges also puts country above party. Hysteria also erodes trust in our institutions for nothing more than political gain.
You will, for instance, have to read six paragraphs into Reuters' recent highly shared scoop headlined "Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources" to learn that "people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far."
Talk about burying your lead.
For those keeping score, despite ceaseless leaking from the intelligence community, there has really been no evidence offered so far to prove "collusion" between Trump officials and Russia to "hack the election" -- an absurd oft-used phrase that has convinced millions of Americans that their votes, their government and free will have been abducted by another country. If that day ever comes, I will write a column in favor of impeachment. Until that day, I'm certain folks with giant platforms like David Gregory will continue claiming that the Russians "hacked the election."
Convincing your gullible flock that we live in a republic easily annexed by a rickety former superpower is not putting your country above your party. To see the world from this prism, Time magazine visualizes the Kremlinizing of the White House. Its newest cover shows an image of St. Basil's Russian Orthodox Cathedral merged with the White House (the substance of the feature doesn't even really reflect the cover).
One wonders what the reaction would have been if a major magazine had run a cover of the White House conflated with an Iranian mosque while Barack Obama was sending pallets of cash to the Islamic Republic? Of course, a cover would have been hysterical -- and not in a funny way. The former president believing that appeasing the Iranians was in the strategic interests of the United States doesn't make him treasonous; it just makes him a terrible president -- and not the first or last.
Does putting your country above party mean never being skeptical of the intentions of an intelligence community that has lied to the American people repeatedly over the years and is trying to overturn an election?
There are other issues to investigate -- potential obstruction of justice, for instance. We'll have to wait and see what special counsel Robert Mueller finds. Well, some of us will wait.
According to McClatchy, Democrats are expected "to poll the public's views on impeachment, trying to acquire hard data about an issue that until now has not been seriously analyzed." If the polling shows that impeachment is a political loser, will Democrats abandon their plans for it and put party above country?
Now, I realize there is no room for half-measures in this political environment. You must be wholly, 100 percent convinced every day on every topic that Donald Trump is guilty of every act floated by every anonymous source in every publication or you will accused of abetting the coup against the American people.
But it's worth pointing out that Democrats, at least rank-and-file liberals, seem to have convinced themselves that this saga ends with articles of impeachment and removal. Who knows? Maybe they'll be right. But it's not concern-trolling to point out that having this level of certitude about an outcome has the potential to be self-destructive for the country as well.