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Roy Green: The impeachment spectacle is politics at its most dismal

The Senate is seen as the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is set to resume at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.
The Senate is seen as the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is set to resume at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Was there a time when politics was truly honourable? You know, a time when good people set aside private pursuits and dedicated their lives to the public good? A time when exhortation, accusation and blatantly false promising weren’t the building blocks for assuming stewardship of the people’s interests?

OK, perhaps a cynic’s perspective, but let me assume for the time it takes to read this commentary that my view is shared by a significant crosssection of society. And here’s the case for you, the jury.

READ MORE: Trump impeachment trial: Senators set final vote for Wednesday

Watching the spiderweb attempt to impeach Donald John Trump, 45th president of the United States, has become alternately confusing, irritating and underwhelming.

In presentation, the impeachment effort was from the start a sidebar to the Nov. 3, 2020, federal election, with Democratic Party members of the House of Representatives attempting to engineer a presidential phone call into a coup.

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To be sure, there were no banana republic colonels wearing fatigues and sporting .45-calibre pistols on web belts engaged here. Just familiar faces barking well worn shrill demands for the ouster of a president because they fear the American people won’t do it for them in the fall.

Click to play video '‘No matter what senators have the courage or not to do, he will be impeached forever’: Pelosi on Trump' ‘No matter what senators have the courage or not to do, he will be impeached forever’: Pelosi on Trump
‘No matter what senators have the courage or not to do, he will be impeached forever’: Pelosi on Trump – Jan 30, 2020

Republican Party adversaries predictably shouted their defence of Trump, which at its most fundamental consisted of something akin to “wellwhataboutwhatObamadid?”

Utterly uninspiring.

Click to play video '‘There’s nothing new here’: Republicans downplay allegations from John Bolton' ‘There’s nothing new here’: Republicans downplay allegations from John Bolton
‘There’s nothing new here’: Republicans downplay allegations from John Bolton – Jan 27, 2020

In recent days, as the impeachment effort relocated from the House to the trial in the U.S. Senate, the scene has become more formal but hardly more relevant.

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The Senate chamber has been populated by not only its bespoke-suited regular occupants, but also by brilliant lawyers and constitutional university professors, with the entire proceeding overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

READ MORE: A look at Chief Justice Roberts, who will preside over Trump’s impeachment trial

As the process wobbles to a conclusion, the question becomes, what have we witnessed?

A sham! Why? Because the outcome from the beginning was never in doubt, no more so than it was during a similar attempt to dethrone William Jefferson Clinton about 20 or so years ago. Only that time, it was Republicans shouting accusations and Democrats defending the political turf, read, the Oval Office.

I’m not suggesting either Trump or Clinton are citizens with records of completely ethical behaviour. Far from it. But were their actions, and in Clinton’s case, documented lying over his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, ever going to result in removal from office?

The objective of the current impeachment television spectacle is to sow as much doubt as possible in the minds of voters in swing states who will on Nov. 3 more than likely prove to be the ultimate arbiters on whether Trump leaves office after only one term.

If cynicism about politics and political process abounds, the goings-on in Washington at this time just might underscore why.

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Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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