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Amy Klobuchar: The Calm After The Hurricane

Of the Democratic women competing to be the 46th president of the United States, Amy Klobuchar is a woman who knows first-hand what it’s like campaigning as a Democrat and winning in a purple or red state.

Klobuchar is also considered, relative to people like Kamila Harris and Elizabeth Warren, a “moderate” or “conservative” Democrat. By that I mean she is someone who would proceed with caution.

There is, for the most part, agreement on general principles. Agreement on general principles is far more consistent with democracy and with a healthy people than is the appearance of consensus in the Republican Party. There “agreement” with the party line is based more on a lack of courage, integrity, or both than on the strength of the idea.

Alongside this consensus is what pundits say is the great divide among Democrats. Specifically, they differ on what to do regarding Trump and impeachment. The differences are really matters of speed and degree. Some call for impeachment now; others say not so fast – let the process work itself out.

Supporters of impeachment now argue for the principle of oversight. They are not looking at the question with the political calculus in mind.

Those who argue for process are not, in fact, arguing against impeachment – as is suggested by corporatist pundits and Democrats of convenience who are trying to divide Democrats so that Trump can conquer them. It’s the same strategy that Trump forces used in 2016. They fooled us then and we have every right to condemn them unless we let them fool us again in 2020.

Part of some Democrats’ calculus is the political process. This is because ultimately impeachment is a political process. An impeachable offense is what the House says it is. And, as our insightful Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Jones, pointed out; part of the calculus should be the possible political consequences.

There are smart people on both sides of the question who point to concerns about the impact of impeachment proceedings on future presidents and on the future prospects of the Democratic Party.

Few have written about or talked about the point Sarah makes about the consequences of an angrier Donald Trump following a failed attempt at impeachment.

To be honest with you, I’ve been dreading the prospect of a Trump presidency since that horrible day he announced his candidacy. I still get chills down my spine when I think of the horrible things he said then and the outright grotesque things he says now – like fantasizing aloud about the ways to cause physical harm to brown people seeking asylum at the southern border.

I’ve thought and even fantasized about the 25th amendment, impeachment, and the hope that Trump’s mother ship will beckon him home.

But I also value the rule of law. That means there has to be a process of fact-finding, evidence-gathering, and assessment, like what a grand jury would do before it takes the judicial and non-political step of issuing an indictment. Though the House of Representatives is political in nature, there must be still a similar process. That process has to happen before we have the political version of indictment, that is, impeachment. The standards may differ between political and criminal offenses, but undertaking parallel tracks between politics and law should still reflect adherence to the rule of law.

Getting back to Amy Klobuchar, she is someone who would defend this approach because, as panicked as we may be over the disastrous reign of Donald Trump, she gets that leaders don’t panic.

Klobuchar is someone who takes action calmly and without the fanfare associated with the Trump presidency. As the free world addresses problems like fake news and troll farms in the digital age, Republicans are silent.

Klobuchar has acted with bills calling for advertising transparency on Facebook, addressing problems like the sale of consumers’ personal data to malicious third parties – see the now defunct Cambridge Analytica.

She may be cautious in rhetoric, but don’t let the caution suggest that Klobuchar doesn’t share the same values as liberal Democrats.

Take, for example, her response, on The View, to that horror story in Alabama that would force girls to carry their rapists’ children to term and effectively reduce all girls and women to walking incubators.

“What these guys are doing is unbelievable – I say guys because the guys in the state senate in Alabama it was all men,” Klobuchar said. “They’re taking us backward.”

Klobuchar responded with a presidential response while reminding everyone that women in power face sexism too.

“I was on the elevator with two of my staff members. The door opened, and a male senator was standing outside,” she told the magazine.

“He said, ‘Excuse me, this elevator is for senators only.’ My staff member said, ‘She is a senator,’ ” Klobuchar continued. “And then I looked at him and asked, ‘But who are you?’ I knew exactly who he was. The elevator door closed, and he never got on. He’s no longer there.”

After years of Trump histrionics, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that, by comparison, Klobuchar sounds almost boringly calm. But she is responding to hot button issues the way rational presidents used to respond to them. That speaks not only to her commitment to the country, but her ability to maintain her principles despite the hype, the noise and the pressure to bend.

That’s a leader.

There are different traits that one can associate with leaders – and at times those traits can be contradictory.

It’s going to be inevitable as 23 candidates compete for the Democratic nomination before the person who will be the 46th president is chosen.

The main thing is that we are choosing the 46th president and it’s time to break out of the patriarchal, racist paradigm in which the media has reported on presidential candidates. American democracy depends on it. So does the legacy we leave behind for future generations – that is if the planet isn’t destroyed first.

We need a rational president. Someone who knows there are people in this world who say nice things or write lovely letters to you to get what they want.

We need someone who understands we have an emoluments clause to prevent clause the vulnerabilities that come with accepting bribes, gifts or any kind of benefit from foreign leaders. That’s especially true of foreign leaders who have similar ethical challenges to those of Donald J. Trump.

I profiled strong women who are very different women running to be the 46th president because the media failed in its responsibility to provide equal opportunity for all candidates to excel.

At best, they play up the etiquette of eating fried chicken or trying to reduce these women to possible running mates.

In the end, a woman may be the candidate or maybe one of them will be a running mate. But, they are serious candidates and deserve to be treated as such.

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