Rewriting history

The New York Times has a strange definition of impeachment. My exchange with the public editor follows.

———–

Mr. DougJson, thanks for writing. President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate, where Mr. Lieberman represents the State of Connecticut.

I hope this helps your understanding.

Best,
Joseph Burgess
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

—–Original Message—–
From: DougJDougJson
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:50 PM
To: nytimes, public
Subject: you won’t reply, will you?

I don’t suppose you will reply about the inaccuracy in David Brooks’
column today, will you?

“Long before there was an Obamacare debate or the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, Lieberman played an important role in saving Bill Clinton from impeachment. As momentum for impeachment was growing, Lieberman gave a crucial speech on the Senate floor that scolded Clinton for his behavior but resolutely opposed removing him from office.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/opinion/21brooks.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

Clinton was impeached. “Impeachment” refers to the trial in the Senate, which did take place. Here are the relevant parts of the constitution

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h231.html

I know that you won’t reply so I don’t know why I am bothering.

Why did you take this job in the first place since you never actually read any of the emails people send you?

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146 replies
  1. 1
    gogol's wife says:

    I should send you copies of my correspondence with them. This is an entirely typical response.

  2. 2
    D. Mason says:

    You seem to expect these “journalists” and “editors” to understand the shit they print. You, sir, need to lower those expectations.

  3. 3
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    So apparently the teabaggers are right and the NYT does hate the Constitution. Huh.

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    I’m confused.

    I hope this helps your understanding.

    Shouldn’t he be sending this to Brooks? The Senate doesn’t impeach..
    Edit… Please write him back and ask him to read your email again..

  5. 5
    me says:

    Maybe you should quote to them from the actual document. “The House of Representatives shall chose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

  6. 6
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    I joke a lot about how we are now a dumb country. It’s not a joke. The stupid is so thick and pervasive, you could just about kill yourself trying to fight through it.

    Two people, with prestigious news jobs, who were middle-aged during the Clinton impeachment, cannot get this right; one fails even after being directed to a link with the clear explanation in the Constitution.

    How does one remain hopeful under these circumstances? Will the average American be able to tie his shoe or tell the time in 20 years?

  7. 7
    liberal says:

    God, what a blithering idiot.

  8. 8
    Midnight Marauder says:

    President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate, where Mr. Lieberman represents the State of Connecticut.

    I mean, everything about this is wrong. Impeached in the House as opposed to impeached by the House. The complete disregard of the impeachment trial proceedings in the Senate. Saying that Joe Lieberman “represents” anything about Connecticut.

    It is all just so very wrong.

  9. 9
    liberal says:

    @D. Mason:
    You, sir, are bigotted against journalists!

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    Look, David Brook’s bosses are as stupid as he is. If our country’s paper of record can’t be bothered to understand the basic laws which determine how our government functions, maybe none of us should bother anymore. Sometimes it’s hard to muster enough energy to keep swimming against the unrelenting currents of idiocy.

  11. 11
    dr. bloor says:

    @Garrigus Carraig:

    Will the average American be able to tie his shoe or tell the time in 20 years?

    Better hope so. Tying the shoes of our Asian overlords figures to be one of the few growth employment sectors for Real Murkins in 2030.

  12. 12
    Loneoak says:

    Wow, I kind of want to go into a 7th grade civics class, ask them how impeachment works, and send a recording into Brooks et al.

    This really is pathetic.

  13. 13
    Punchy says:

    I thought impeachment was being in the fruit/breath mint section of the grocery store.

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    Please send your correspondence to Gail Collins. Maybe the next time she chats with David she can ask him to explain.

  15. 15
    liberal says:

    @Garrigus Carraig:

    Will the average American be able to tie his shoe or tell the time in 20 years?

    I think Mike Judge made a movie about that, though the time frame was more than 20 years.

  16. 16
    Surly Duff says:

    You are not correctly understanding the Times usage of the term “impeach”. I believe they are using the following definition:

    im-peach (verb)
    1. to slather oneself in peach juice.

    example in a sentence:
    Clinton impeached himself in the House, but not in the Senate, because the Senate does not allow peaches on the premises.

  17. 17
    D. Mason says:

    @liberal: Fuckin’ A I am.

  18. 18
    jl says:

    How can Brooks be so ignorant?

    Edit: or sloppy. It could be sloppiness if my hypothesis is correct that these hacks wait for the email or fax to show up with their ‘guidances’ each morning for the Party Line. Maybe the fax came late today and he had to churn the dang column out, quick like a bunny.

  19. 19
    Thunderlizard says:

    My Nerdrage is difficult to overstate, reading that exchange… this looks like a job for…

    NANCY SMASH!

  20. 20
    BTD says:

    I think the better point is that Lieberman’s speech stopped nothing, contra Brooks. After Lieberman’s speech, Clinton was impeached by the House and did stand trial in the Senate.

    What stopped Clinton from being removed from office? Nothing Joe Lieberman said. The GOP did not have the votes for it is what stopped it. Lieberman had no effect on any votes.

    Brooks may have mean to use “impeachment” for removal, but the tinme line does not support that argument. Clinton had not been impeached when Lieberman made his speech. After losing 5 seats in the 1998 election, the GOP controlled House STILL came back and impeached Clinton.

    And a removal trial was held in the Senate.

    So what exactly did Lierberman do for Clinton> Actually he harmed him with his nonsense.

  21. 21

    Give him a break DougJ he was probably sharpening his blue pencil the day they covered that in his high school civics class.

  22. 22
    DanF says:

    If the impeach don’t fit, the Senate must acquit. And that’s all the Senate can do in an impeachment trial – convict or acquit.

  23. 23
    cathyx says:

    We won’t need to be able to tie our shoes or tell time in 20 years. We already have velcro-closing shoes and digital clocks. I know several 13 year-olds who can’t do either.

  24. 24
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    Y’know, I understand Brooks making the mistake. It’s careless, but a person can misspeak or have a brain fart.

    For the NYT to just print it up is pretty bad.

    But this email just takes it to another level. Does he think there are parallel impeachment proceedings in each chamber? “Well, the House impeached him, but the Senate didn’t, so he got to stay in office.” I mean… what could his understanding of this procedure possibly be?

  25. 25

    Well, Doug? Did it work?

    Did being told by a NYT jackass that “impeachment” happens in the Senate help your misunderstanding?

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    The New York Times has a strange definition of impeachment.

    Good thing that the NY Times does not consider itself to be the nation’s newspaper of record. Oh, wait.

  27. 27
    Midnight Marauder says:

    Give Burgess a break, gang. He’s only been on the job since September 2010 and he only graduated from Boston College in 2009. How is he supposed to know how impeachment works as a thing in the real world, and not just as some kind of abstract political notion?

    “Fucking impeachment. How does it work?” — Joseph Burgess, New York Times Newsroom Clerk, July 2010 — September 2010.

  28. 28

    @BTD: Good point. Brooks may have been at the Applebee’s salad bar that day.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The man is a cretin. A total idiot. He has no fucking business being in the journalism business. None. At all.

  30. 30
    Riggsveda says:

    Link to the transcripts of the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, day 17, from 1999, at CNN’s archives, can be found here.

  31. 31
    Scott says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in a position where I’m smarter than so many people who are supposed to be my Social and Mental Betters. And that’s scary, ’cause I’m really, really dumb.

  32. 32
    beltane says:

    @BTD: The most lasting effect of Lieberman’s speech is that it helped keep him from serving as the Vice President of the United States. By attacking Clinton he hurt Al Gore and ultimately himself, something David Brooks will always love him for.

  33. 33
    D. Mason says:

    @Surly Duff: Can we not have the “things Bill Clinton slathered in the 90’s” conversation again? Thanks.

  34. 34
    redactor says:

    My understanding has always been that impeachment is sort of the Congressional equivalent of indictment. When a federal official is impeached in (or by, if you will) the House, he or she is subsequently tried in the Senate. Impeachment does not refer to the trial in the Senate, any more than indictment refers to a trial in a criminal court. So the public editor is correct, I believe, although a tad snotty in his response.

    Bobo, of course, is an idiot.

  35. 35
    jayjaybear says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Now I have a mental picture of a full-out Juggalo sitting behind the public editor’s desk at the oh-so-prim NYT…it’s probably more genuine amusement than I’ve gotten out of the Times in the last decade…

  36. 36
    David Fud says:

    Bring on the Brawndo!
    @Surly Duff: I’m feeling kind of sticky already.

    Really, I wonder if they have to pass any sort of IQ screen to get a job as a pundit or an editor at any major newspaper. Of course, self-selection would suggest that the rational opt out of Brawndo-ism and move on to think tanks and possibly even non-wingnut-welfare other jobs.

    The fact that the birthers, the tea-baggers, and the editors and opinioneers at the NY Times share their ignorance of the Constitution so freely more than 200 years after the founding of the soon-to-be dead republic is just another brick in the wall of stupid surrounding the rest of us.

  37. 37
    Mark S. says:

    Next week in the NY Times:

    Anthony “Fat Tony” D’Amico, who was indicted last year by a New York grand jury, was not indicted in his criminal trial yesterday.

  38. 38
    david mizner says:

    And recall just how sanctimonious and disgusting Holy Joe was, referred to in the brilliant opening pages of the Philip Roth’s The Human Stain:

    “In the Congress, in the press, and on the networks, the righteous grandstanding creeps, crazy to blame, deplore, and punish, were everywhere out moralizing to beat the band: all of them in a calculated frenzy with what Hawthorne (who, in the 1860s, lived not many miles from my door) identified in the incipient country of long ago as “the persecuting spirit”; all of them eager to enact the astringent rituals of purification that would excise the erection from the executive branch, thereby making things cozy and safe enough for Senator Lieberman’s ten-year-old daughter to watch TV with her embarrassed daddy again. No, if you haven’t lived through 1998, you don’t know what sanctimony is. The syndicated conservative newspaper columnist William F. Buckley wrote, “When Abelard did it, it was possible to prevent its happening again,” insinuating that the president’s malfeasance—what Buckley elsewhere called Clinton’s “incontinent carnality”—might best be remedied with nothing so bloodless as impeachment but, rather, by the twelfth-century punishment meted out to Canon Abelard by the knife-wielding associates of Abelard’s ecclesiastical colleague, Canon Fulbert, for Abelard’s secret seduction of and marriage to Fulbert’s niece, the virgin Heloise. Unlike Khomeini’s fatwa condemning to death Salman Rushdie, Buckley’s wistful longing for the corrective retribution of castration carried with it no financial incentive for any prospective perpetrator. It was prompted by a spirit no less exacting than the ayatollah’s, however, and in behalf of no less exalted ideals.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/b.....tain_x.htm

  39. 39
    eemom says:

    speaking of Brooks, I thought this was funny:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....12049.html

    it is a perfectly righteous rant by Steve Clemons against Jennifer Rubin for calling him an “Israel basher” — but this is where Mr. Clemons ends up:

    This kind of insidious character attack is irresponsible — and beneath the Washington Post. I think Rubin is smart and informed — but has a way with her writing that slimes recklessly. I hope she tacks in new directions. David Brooks would be someone for her to consider emulating.

    In fairness, I guess it’s true that Brooks the Affable doesn’t slime people — but seeing the word “emulate” in the same sentence as “David Brooks” kind of stole the show from the rest of the post.

  40. 40
    Sko Hayes says:

    Don’t feel bad, Doug, I’m currently having an email exchange with an elected representative (the mayor of Enfield, CT, where they stopped the library from showing “Sicko” and threatened the librarian with withholding funding if he ignored their demands). From the mayor:

    The movie was scheduled to be part of the Library’s non-fiction “Fun Flicks” program. The Library Director was unable to line up a balanced format for Friday so he cancelled the showing. The library is entering into unchartered waters by beginning to show these types of films.

    OOOH, “unchartered” (I think he meant uncharted, but what the hell) waters, SCARY…

  41. 41
    Loneoak says:

    @redactor:

    No, the editor is absolutely wrong. Impeachment is roughly equivalent to indictment and it happens ONLY in the House. The Senate then conducts hearings about whether to REMOVE the President from office. Lieberman may have contributing to preventing the latter, but it is factually inaccurate, and literally impossible, to state that he prevented impeachment–Clinton was impeached, and Lieberman was in the Senate.

  42. 42
    Pangloss says:

    I envision all the chairs at the NYT as combination toilet/recliners.

  43. 43
    BTD says:

    @beltane:

    Yes. Though I have to confess at the time that I thought Lieberman would help Gore in Florida. It’s pretty clear that not only did he not help him, in the post election aftermath, Lieberman’s big mouth on military ballots hurt Gore. Probably not enough to decide the issue, but if memory serves, there was about a 200 vote gain for Bush when Gore was forced to waive his objections to military ballots.

  44. 44
    beltane says:

    @david mizner: That Buckley quote is something the “Conservatives were so civil in Buckley’s day” crowd here should read. If you think about it, that Abelard reference is nothing more than a highbrow version of Sharron Angle’s 2nd amendment remedies.

  45. 45
    Blue Neponset says:

    Just be happy he didn’t say, “Impeachment has electrolytes”.

  46. 46
    DanF says:

    @redactor: Using your indictment analogy, Clinton was indicted, but not convicted at trial. Continuing the analogy, Doug is saying Clinton was indicted, but not convicted at trial in the Senate. The editor is saying he was indicted in the House but not indicted in the Senate. The editor is wrong. Make sense?

  47. 47
    BTD says:

    @redactor:

    You undermine the response from the Public Editor and make DougJ’s point.

    Clinton was impeached (and AFTER Lieberman’s speech.) The better defense for Brooks and the Public Editor of the Times is that he is arguing that removal is “impeachment in the Senate” and that Lieberman stopped that. Of course that is delusional. Lieberman stopped nothing.

  48. 48
    Hogan says:

    @redactor: Um, no. Any more than it would be correct to say that a defendant was indicted by the grand jury, but not indicted by the trial jury, and therefore he was never indicted.

  49. 49
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Actually, I think the editor is right. Key part:

    President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate

    Indeed! The Senate did not impeach him!

    Of course, this is because they constitutionally can’t impeach someone, so he’s right in a way that’s utterly useless. Kind of like Boehner saying that the only way to get the economy moving is to get the economy moving.

  50. 50
    Bill H. says:

    “Impeachment” refers to the trial in the Senate…

    Well, yeah, the editor is wrong, but the question is fairly incoherent itself. Impeachment is a formal accusation; the “roughly equivalent to indictment” is a nice way to put it, which happens in the House and has nothing to do with the Senate per se, other than that the Senate brings the impeached official to trial to determine the validity and outcome of the impeachment. So impeachment doesn’t refer to a trial in the Senate, it refers to an accusation in the House.

  51. 51
    Steve says:

    I thought DougJ’s original post was too picky, but after seeing this idiocy from the editor I am 100% on his side.

  52. 52
    ChrisB says:

    What an embarrassment. And from the “Paper of Record” no less. Real bang your head on the desk material.

    When my son was in seventh grade, his history teacher taught the class that Jefferson had defeated Alexander Hamilton in the 1800 presidential election. When my son answered on the test that Jefferson defeated John Adams in that election, his answer was marked incorrect (and those who answered Hamilton were marked correct). At the time I was dumbfounded not just that the teacher had gotten it wrong but that no other families had noticed the error.

    Sadly, I know better now not to be so surprised.

  53. 53
    Nora Carrington says:

    You’re both idiots. Doug wrote to the NYT,

    Clinton was impeached. “Impeachment” refers to the trial in the Senate.

    “Impeachment” absolutely positively does *not* refer to the trial in the Senate.

    glass, stones, all that jazz.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Megan McArdle is ghostwriting for the NYT Public Editor?

  55. 55
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    Yeah, Brooks’ original statement that “Lieberman played an important role in saving Bill Clinton from impeachment” is very, very wrong, because Clinton was impeached. That is understandable as a brain fart, in my view. The public editor’s email just makes absolutely no sense by any rational standard. He would have done better to have remained silent and been thought a fool.

  56. 56
    Davis X. Machina says:

    This is the paper that employed James (Blood Sport: The President and his Enemies) Stewart and Judy (The Fcuking Queen of All Iraq) Miller.

    Color me surprised.

  57. 57
    beltane says:

    Maybe this is nothing new. Back in the 70’s & 80s I remember my grandfather firing angry letters to the NYT’s ombudsman over inaccuracies he found in William Safire’s columns. I was only a child so I don’t remember the substance of his complaints, only that Sunday mornings were taken up by the analysis and evisceration of whatever Safire had written.

  58. 58
    TooManyJens says:

    Does anyone not named David Brooks really think Bill Clinton would have been removed from office if not for a floor speech by Joe Lieberman? Even if he’d been right about the terminology, he’d still be wrong.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    There is NO SUCH FRACKING THING as “Impeachment in the Senate”.

    There is a trial in which the Senate decides to remove the official who has been impeached by the House. The House says “this guy did the following terrible things, to wit:” and then the articles of impeachment are read. Then some House members proceed to outline, for the Senators, what evidence they have to support their impeachment of the official. Then the Senate decides if they’ve proven their case, or, as we saw in the Clinton trial, the Republicans just vote to convict without worrying about if there’s any proof or not.

  60. 60
    Alex S. says:

    @Nora Carrington:

    Yes, it seems that Doug miswrote.

  61. 61
    JCT says:

    So much FAIL. So much for one of the world’s great newspapers.

  62. 62
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @Nora Carrington:

    According to some definitions, the Senate trial is the second stage in the impeachment process. I think that is nonstandard, though.

  63. 63
    cjw79 says:

    Hey DougJ, impeachment doesn’t refer to the trial in the Senate. Impeachment is the indictment, which is a condition precedent to the trial in the Senate. So you made yourself look like a smart ass who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Sorry, I usually love your snark!

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Contrast the Clinton Impeachment and trial to the steamroller that was preparing to flatten the criminal Nixon; Nixon got out of the way by resigning when he was told that it was a certainty that when the House voted to Impeach (a sure thing, by the way, after the “smoking gun” tape came out), he’d be convicted by the Senate on those charges by a 2/3rds majority and removed from office.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @Surly Duff:

    Clinton impeached himself in the House, but not in the Senate, because the Senate does not allow peaches on the premises.

    I do believe that there was a senator who had a mistress named Peaches. I think she was indeed on the premises a few times.

  66. 66
    Allan says:

    @eemom: I’m surprised the Post didn’t hire Pamela Geller. Or hasn’t yet.

  67. 67
    t1 says:

    After I read Brooks, I commented on the NYT site about the error in a civil way.

    My comment was removed as a personal attack.

  68. 68
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @cjw79

    The first source I found said that the Senate trial was the second stage of the impeachment process. That’s not really standard terminology, I agree.

  69. 69
    Daniel Goldstein says:

    you ought to get a correction rather than dealing with this ineffectual office.

  70. 70
    scav says:

    Imagine being less beaten to reality by Wikipedia. Some fine paper of record you got there. Seriously, it sounds like the well, if Lieberman wasn’t in the room when it happened, there was no impeachment defense.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Unfortunately, there is, I think, in the vernacular, a conflating of the indictment (impeachment) and the trial in the Senate. So that the whole process is referred to as “Impeachment”, when that is in fact incorrect. “Impeachment trial” is pretty much as silly as “indictment trial” would be, if we used that sort of precise terminology.

    After all, the Clinton hating scumbags delight in saying that “Clinton was Impeached!” which is, of course, technically correct. Then you inform these maggots that Clinton was not convicted and removed from office, and the comedy team of Hyde, Sensenbrenner, Graham et al couldn’t even get a bare majority vote on either of the charges to convict.

    “But he was Impeached!!!”

    Which means NOTHING, dumbasses!

  72. 72
    shortstop says:

    @DougJ DougJson: Aw, Doug, come on. Even under “some sources'” (only one Constitution-contrary source that we’ve seen so far) definition of the Senate trial as the “second stage in the impeachment process,” this doesn’t stand up:

    Clinton was impeached. “Impeachment” refers to the trial in the Senate, which did take place.

    No. Clinton was impeached — in the House and only in the House. Your sentence strongly implies that impeachment only takes place in the Senate, which isn’t defensible even if we’re charitably calling the “impeachment process” a two-chamber activity.

    I know you wrote to the Times before we all had this discussion in your other thread last night, but all that means is that you probably shouldn’t be posting this gleefully today. Brooks was wrong. You were wrong in a different way. Burgess then went on to be wrong in the same way as Brooks.

    You get so much right in your blogging; why cling to this one, where you keep dropping the ball?

  73. 73
    handy says:

    @shortstop:

    The other way to read this is the Times, being the “paper of record” had an opportunity to set the record straight or clarify Doug’s assertion. They didn’t. They failed. And they continue to fail their entire readership when they don’t.

  74. 74
    Upper West says:

    @david mizner:

    Those first few pages of the Human Stain are amazing — a rant against the excesses of the “media” at the time that leapt off the page in restorative anger.

  75. 75
    Ecks says:

    @Nora Carrington: You’re right.

    The editor is correct:

    President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate, where Mr. Lieberman represents the State of Connecticut.

    DougJ is wrong:

    “Impeachment” refers to the trial in the Senate, which did take place. Here are the relevant parts of the constitution

    And David Brooks is technically inaccurate:

    Lieberman played an important role in saving Bill Clinton from impeachment.

    Though if you were so inclined (which I’m not) you could make a case for him that “impeachment” is often used as a shorthand for “removed from office.” As in, people say that Nixon was impeached. It’s technically inaccurate, the House Judiciary Committee issued three articles of impeachment but he resigned before they could be followed-through on, but people still say it in everyday life, and nobody really misunderstand’s what is being said.

    EDIT: The editor is correct in fact, though the inference one might make from his writing that one COULD be impeached in the senate would be wrong. But that’s not strongly implied.

  76. 76
    DougJ DougJson says:

    I know you wrote to the Times before we all had this discussion in your other thread last night, but all that means is that you probably shouldn’t be posting this gleefully today. Brooks was wrong. You were wrong in a different way. Burgess then went on to be wrong in the same way as Brooks.

    According to the definition I linked to in the email I sent, the Senate trial is the second stage in the impeachment process. I agree that is not standard, but I do not think it is incorrect.

  77. 77
    DougJ DougJson says:

    And I do not think that “impeachment refers to the trial…” is wrong, it does refer to the trial in the sense that it is the process of bringing the case to trial.

  78. 78

    I thought the distinction between impeachment and conviction was one of those things that everybody knows because it’s weird and they can sound smart if they know it. Kinda like how you can sound clever if you know that the plurals of “court martial” and “attorney general” are “courts martial” and “attorneys general”.

    Given that journalists always want to sound oh so clever, I can’t believe they can’t get it right.

  79. 79
    David in NY says:

    Well, it would have been more felicitous had you stuck with the normal usage, that being “impeached” means only having articles of impeachment brought by the House.

  80. 80
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    The problem here is that the first half of the process (impeachment) has been conflated with the second half of the process (the trial).

    The entire magilla is “we’re removing someone from office” (Federal judges can be, and have been, impeached and removed from office through the process that is used to remove the President) and because “impeachment” isn’t an everyday word like “indictment” is, it’s become the label for the whole thing.

    Brooks still had his timeline wrong, and his point about Lieberman is cretinously stupid as a result, and the NYT public editor is showing his true role, which is to defend the cretinously stupid employees of the NYT.

    Clinton was saved not due to the sanctimonious Lieberman, but because the the comic stupidity of the charges against him, in which the entire “get something, anything on this vile Democratic usurper of the Republican Executive – a parking ticket, an overdue library book, anything!” effort of the previous six years played out to its inevitable conclusion.

  81. 81
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    And I do not think that “impeachment refers to the trial…” is wrong, it does refer to the trial in the sense that it is the process of bringing the case to trial.

    I would have to agree with you. If you are successfully impeached, then it automatically triggers a trial to determine whether or not you should be removed from office. The two acts are inherently linked with one another. It seems much more of a semantic/linguistic difference as opposed to a difference in the actual spirit of the action.

    @Ecks:

    EDIT: The editor is correct in fact, though the inference one might make from his writing that one COULD be impeached in the senate would be wrong. But that’s not strongly implied.

    An inference? Not strongly implied? The editor flat out states that Clinton was not impeached in the Senate, as thought that is a thing that could actually happen in real life. It has nothing to do with inferences.

  82. 82
    Martin says:

    DougJSON doesn’t have his name/data pairs in proper order at ALL.

  83. 83
    geg6 says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    When the Constitution itself says that the House has the SOLE power of impeachment, there really is no argument for saying that the Senate trial is a second stage of the process. Since only the House has the power, nothing the Senate does has anything to do with the actual impeachment. All they do is hold a trial to determine guilt or innocence on the articles of impeachment. So, both you and the NYT are wrong.

    It pains me to say that, if it helps. ;-)

  84. 84
    eemom says:

    This thread reminds me of the scene in MP and the Holy Grail where the soldiers are arguing about how the coconuts got there.

  85. 85
    KG says:

    this doesn’t seem hard to understand… Impeachment by the House is the equivalent of an indictment by a Grand Jury. The trial, which results in either conviction and removal from office or acquittal happens in the Senate. This is basic high school civics, Poli Sci 100 stuff.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @eemom:

    “Well, simple! They’d just use a standard creeper!”

    “What, held under the dorsal guiding feathers?”

  87. 87
    slag says:

    @eemom: Personally, I think it was the unladen swallow that helped prevent Clinton’s conviction.

  88. 88
    shortstop says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    According to the definition I linked to in the email I sent, the Senate trial is the second stage in the impeachment process. I agree that is not standard, but I do not think it is incorrect.

    Tell you what, Doug. Can you find us another example of a source that claims that the Senate trial that follows the House’s impeachment is legitimately referred to as “impeachment”? Because I couldn’t last night.

    And since you’re conceding that even this one source calls it the “second stage,” why are you defending a sentence in your email to the Times that makes no distinction between stages, but instead implies that “impeachment” is synonymous with the Senate’s actions? Also too, you made no reference whatsoever in your Times email to Clinton having been impeached in the House, which strengthens your implication that impeachment only happens in the Senate.

    @DougJ DougJson:

    And I do not think that “impeachment refers to the trial…” is wrong, it does refer to the trial in the sense that it is the process of bringing the case to trial.

    That’s unbelievably weak sauce. If that’s what you wanted to say, why not say it? Why construct a sentence that strongly implies that the only thing impeachment refers to is a Senate trial?

    The answer is that you wrote it before last night’s thread. I don’t understand why you won’t back off this now.

  89. 89
    Ash Can says:

    @JPL:

    Please send your correspondence to Gail Collins. Maybe the next time she chats with David she can ask him to explain.

    We may finally get that murder-suicide.

  90. 90
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    Impeachment is the formal accusation by the House. The procedure in the Senate is called the trial. The trial is not the impeachment.

  91. 91
    shortstop says:

    @Ash Can: She’ll be smiling all the way, that we know. Is she ever not smiling?

  92. 92
    Cap'n Dunsel says:

    Brooks was just plain wrong. Lieberman did not “save President Clinton from impeachment.” President Clinton was impeached by the House. “Impeachment” of a President, among others officeholders, has only one definition — that contained the Constitution. President Clinton *was* impeached. David Brooks *was* wrong.

  93. 93
    estamm says:

    Clinton was impeached but not convicted. Nuff said.

  94. 94
    ralphf says:

    I have to say I have some sympathy for Brooks here. While everyone here is technically correct about the definition of impeachment, it seems to me that in common usage it generally means conviction and removal from office.

  95. 95
    pereubu77 says:

    Here is my letter to and response from the public editor:

    Thanks for writing us. We’ve received a bunch of emails about this today, and I’ve brought this to the attention of The Times editors. Since Mr. Brooks’ column appears in the op-ed section, he is granted a wide latitude to express his opinion, and it doesn’t seem that this will rise to the level of warranting a correction. But, the appropriate parties at The Times have been informed of your concerns, and it is duly noted in our office as well.

    Once again, thanks for writing. We appreciate hearing from you.

    Best,

    Joseph Burgess
    Office of the Public Editor
    The New York Times

    public@nytimes.com

    Dear Public Editor:

    Look, we all know David Brooks is a blithering idiot; why the NY Times gives him space remains one of life’s enduring mysteries. Given his well known stupidity, though, you would think the NY Times would assign an editor or at least a fact checker to him:

    Lieberman played an important role in saving Bill Clinton from impeachment.

    Of course, Clinton was impeached, by the House, which has sole authority to impeach under the Constitution, although the Senate, which has the responsibility to try impeachments under the Constitution, did not convict him.

    Best,

  96. 96
    Mike Kay says:

    hahahahhahahhahahhahahhahahahhahahhahahh

    ahahhaahhahahhahahhahahahhahahhahahhahahah

  97. 97
    shortstop says:

    @shortstop: This mangled sentence of mine:

    Also too, you made no reference whatsoever in your Times email to Clinton having been impeached in the House, which strengthens your implication that impeachment only happens in the Senate.

    …should be this:

    Also too, you made no reference whatsoever in your Times email to Clinton having been impeached in the House, which only strengthens the impression that you are arguing that impeachment only happens in the Senate.

    (Yes, I know you’re not arguing that.)

  98. 98

    @ralphf:

    I have to say I have some sympathy for Brooks here. While everyone here is technically correct about the definition of impeachment, it seems to me that in common usage it generally means conviction and removal from office.

    When has that occurred to a president? And it’s in the constitution. Brooks is an asshat, and he was WRONG. period. full stop.

  99. 99
    shortstop says:

    @ralphf:

    While everyone here is technically correct about the definition of impeachment, it seems to me that in common usage it generally means conviction and removal from office.

    Something that’s never happened at the presidential level in the history of the republic?

  100. 100
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @shortstop:

    I don’t think you’re right to conflate my minor misstatement with Brooks, that’s all. Anyway, what do you want me to do, alter my email to make it look like I described it perfectly?

  101. 101
    policomic says:

    @Scott:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in a position where I’m smarter than so many people who are supposed to be my Social and Mental Betters. And that’s scary, ‘cause I’m really, really dumb.

    Scott, I’ve often had that same thought. I’ve concluded that the Secret to Success is neither ability nor intelligence, but the lack of a capacity to feel self-doubt or shame.

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ralphf:

    However, Brooks is absolutely incorrect that the blathering of the sanctimonious prick that is Joe Lieberman had anything to do with the outcome of the trial. Clinton WAS Impeached. Joe Lieberman’s drivel did nothing to stop that.

    The charges were pathetically weak and contrived, and couldn’t even muster a majority vote to remove Clinton from office, let alone the required 67 votes needed.

    Brooks has once again been proven to be not in command of the most simple, verifiable facts. He couldn’t pause for five minutes to look up the Clinton Impeachment article on wikipedia.

    If the facts do not conform to Brooks’ storyline, then they’ll be disposed of, ignored, whatever.

  103. 103
    TR says:

    Brooks is right about the definition of impeachment. I heard some guy at the salad bar at Applebee’s saying the same thing.

  104. 104
    Mike Kay says:

    on replacing Lieberman:

    I saw an item saying Ted Kennedy Jr. may be interested in running for the CT seat.

    I wonder if bloggers will attack him on anti-dynasty grounds, they way they attacked Caroline Kennedy.

  105. 105
    Calouste says:

    @David Fud

    Really, I wonder if they have to pass any sort of IQ screen to get a job as a pundit or an editor at any major newspaper.

    I guess they have, but more to make sure that their IQ isn’t too high.

  106. 106
    eemom says:

    @DougJ DougJson
    @shortstop

    in the name of Jesus Christ and Allah and Zeus and every motherfucking saint, do y’all have any inkling of how STOOPID this argument has gotten?

    The POINT — the ONLY actual POINT — here is that Lieberman didn’t save Clinton from SHIT.

  107. 107
    DougJ DougJson says:

    I might also say here…I am not claiming my letter was completely accurate. That is not my point.

  108. 108
    Less Popular Tim says:

    @shortstop:

    This. You can’t conflate the impeachment and the trial of the impeachment in your email to the editor, and then rip on the editor for conflating the impeachment and the trial of the impeachment in his response.

    Please don’t tell me your argument is that the House “impeaches” but only the Senate imposes “impeachment,” since those are simply the verb and noun of the same word.

  109. 109
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I have to say I have some sympathy for Brooks here. While everyone here is technically correct about the definition of impeachment, it seems to me that in common usage it generally means conviction and removal from office.

    Bobo at least pretends to aspire than being more than the average village idiot.

  110. 110
    Captain C says:

    @Garrigus Carraig: Not only was Idiocracy a documentary, it was hopelessly optimistic on how long it would take to reach that level of general idiocy.

  111. 111
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    Wow, maybe Ann Coulter was right about NYT…

    (sorry, someone had to say it)

  112. 112
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The irony of this entire thing, of course, is that the charge made against Clinton (“He perjured himself! He lied under oath!”) was made against Scooter Libby, and the same people screaming that Clinton MUST PAY for his perjury were defending Scooter Libby with their dying breath…when Libby’s perjury was germane to the matter being investigaged, official misconduct, while Clinton’s perjury, if any, was about questioning on his sex life.

  113. 113
    shortstop says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    1. I’m not conflating your mistake with Brooks’. He made one and you made a totally different one; I’ve said that all along. As for “minor,” yours was minor last night when we first brought it to your attention. Now it’s starting to get pretty gigantic, what with the swelling from your teethmarks as you hang on to it for dear life. Again, this is not like you–WTF are you doing this?

    2. Do you really not get that when we’re snarkily savaging people for making dumbass mistakes, we better not be making some ourselves in our “corrections” of the original mistakes? Seriously?

    3. Altering your email after the fact was not, in fact, something I would have suggested. Do you think you might have approached this post a little differently? Maybe something along the lines of, “I wrote this before we had a conversation in another thread last night in which we all agreed [you did, you know] that it was incorrect to refer to the Senate trial as impeachment. So my wording here is incorrect, but I still want to bring y’all’s attention to the incredible assholery and wrongness of Mr. Joseph Burgess in backing up his stupid columnist’s mistake.”

    I’m not getting a kick out of bulldogging this, BTW. But as long as you’re going to keep arguing that wrong statements aren’t wrong when you make them, I guess I can hold up the counterpoint. (Until 5:00 central, when I really need to do something fun to put a bookend on this horrifying workweek.)

  114. 114
    shortstop says:

    @eemom: It’s horrible. But as I’ve seen approximately 1,597 of BJ’s interminable fucking back-and-forths on points that don’t interest most people in the thread, and this is the first one in which I’ve participated (except in already dead threads like the priestly rape thread the other day), I beg your patience. Or congratulate you on your ability to scroll past. Either one.

  115. 115
    Pseudonym says:

    Well, what’s the problem here? He was impeached in the House, wasn’t he? And he clearly wasn’t impeached in the Senate, since the Senate doesn’t have that power. And Lieberman is in the Senate, not the House, right? So everything he said was literally true.

    I hope this helps your understanding.

  116. 116
    Pseudonym says:

    Also, too, “I hope this helps your understanding” needs to be a tag, or at least go in the lexicon.

  117. 117
    eemom says:

    [headdesk]

  118. 118
    eemom says:

    @shortstop:

    I didn’t mean that personally. I always like your posts.

    moreover, entre nous, I agree with you here.

  119. 119
    Chad N Freude says:

    @DougJ DougJson: Well, if you had just posted an Oopsie comment when the technical error in your letter was first pointed out, a lot of precious bits* would not have been sacrificed for what has been a silly, pointless, too-pedantic-even-for-me argument. If anybody here needs to get all defensive about something, it sure isn’t you.

    *I refer, of course to precious digital bits, and not the the kind of precious bits that the more Beavis+Butthead among us will snicker about.

  120. 120
    handy says:

    @Pseudonym:

    So everything he said was literally true.

    Did he now?

    Lieberman played an important role in saving Bill Clinton from impeachment.

    How is that a true statement, in any sense, let alone a literal one?

  121. 121
    Chad N Freude says:

    @eemom: Yes.

  122. 122
    redactor says:

    @DanF:

    This is what the public editor said:

    President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate, where Mr. Lieberman represents the State of Connecticut.

    I suppose in addition to being snotty, he was ambiguous. I was reading his statement to say “President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not [impeached] in the Senate,” which is, of course, correct.

    If what he meant was “Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not [convicted] in the Senate,” that would a dumb mistake for somebody who claims to know how government works. Given the state of journalism at the present day Times, I probably shouldn’t have given him the benefit of the doubt.

  123. 123
    Pseudonym says:

    @handy: I meant his reply to DougJson:

    President Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate, where Mr. Lieberman represents the State of Connecticut.

  124. 124
    Maude says:

    The point is Brooks earns a lot of money and the very least he could do is be correct in his statements of facts. That he is writing an op-ed is not an excuse, it is an evasion.
    Brooks is not writing fiction.

  125. 125
    HyperIon says:

    DougJ wrote:

    I know that you won’t reply so I don’t know why I am bothering.

    Weak. You sound like a 15 year old arguing with her mom.

  126. 126
    Tonal Crow says:

    Clinton was impeached.

    True. The House voted to impeach him. Art.I s.2 cl.5: “The House…shall have the sole Power of Impeachment”.

    “Impeachment” refers to the trial in the Senate, which did take place.

    NO! The House impeaches, Art.I s.2. cl.5, but the Senate tries impeachments, resulting in either acquittal (as with Clinton) or conviction. Art.I s.3 cl.6-7.

  127. 127
    handy says:

    @Pseudonym:

    But that’s still a willful misreading of BoBo’s original assertion and doesn’t really address DougJ’s response, whatever inaccuracies it may contain. Lieberman didn’t save Clinton from impeachment in any real sense. That’s just fluffy feel good nonsense to “pad his stats” and nothing more.

  128. 128
    Jess says:

    I’m amazed no one has stooped to noting that it all depends on what the meaning of “is” is…

  129. 129
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @shortstop:

    I will tell you why this is frustrating. I picked out the definition I could find that was closest to Bobo’s usage to be as fair as possible. In doing so, I found one that is non-standard. I know the usual usage. I was trying to be fair.

    This is like when I pinged McMegan on percent of GDP while using the most generous GDP growth I could imagine — 4% — and people all told me “you’re wrong, it would never grow that fast.”

    Fuck it, I don’t why I bent over backwards to find as fair as possible to Bobo, because you’re right, the usual definition of impeachment is what the House does.

  130. 130
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @eemom:

    No, this is valuable for me. It’s taught me not to bend over backwards to be overly “fair” with corrections.

  131. 131
    joel says:

    Impeachment is roughly analogous to indictment.

    The House impeached Clinton — that is, they brought a political indictment against him.

    The Senate held the trial and declined to convict.

    It’s not that much different than a case where John Doe is indicted on felony charges, then goes to court, then gets acquitted by the jury. Indicted, but not convicted.

  132. 132
    eemom says:

    @DougJ DougJson:

    well, that IS a valuable lesson. It always kind of pains me when one of “our” good guys (Steve Benen does it a lot) makes a “to be fair” type caveat.

    These assclowns are never FAIR to us; why the fuck should we be fair to them?

  133. 133
    Mysticdog says:

    Will the average American be able to tie his shoe or tell the time in 20 years?

    Hooray for Velcro!!!

  134. 134
    Tonal Crow says:

    @eemom:

    These assclowns are never FAIR to us; why the fuck should we be fair to them?

    We should be fair to the truth, and ruthless with assclowns.

  135. 135
    J says:

    People have been pointing out–rightly–that Burgess is a cretin, but it’s worth noting, an insufferably condescending one to boot. ‘Does that help your understanding’. In addition to being completely wrong himself, he is going out of his way to imply that DougJ has made an elementary blunder, perhaps thinking that Joe Liebermann was a member of the House of Representatives rather than the senate.

  136. 136
    tomvox1 says:

    @J:

    [Any given Villager] is a cretin, but it’s worth noting, [he/she is also an] insufferably condescending one to boot.

    You just defined the two major traits that make Villagers Villagers…and to absolute goddamn perfection–pour that commenter a drink!*

    *You are most likely playing catch-up with me, as I have now edited/corrected this short post 4 times…

  137. 137
    Hob says:

    @shortstop:

    Do you really not get that when we’re snarkily savaging people for making dumbass mistakes, we better not be making some ourselves in our “corrections” of the original mistakes?

    This is one of those things that sounds like common sense, but I honestly don’t agree. I mean, it’d be nice if we didn’t make dumbass mistakes too… but when the savagee is a famous columnist published by a newspaper that should absolutely fucking know better, and when the reason for the savaging is still perfectly clear regardless of Doug’s mistake, the value of the post isn’t really diminished that much by that particular error. (Assuming a blog post has value, I mean.) It also demonstrates the ombudsman’s dumbassery even more thoroughly.

  138. 138
    DougJ DougJson says:

    @eemom:

    I often get undone by preemptively meeting halfway like that. In this case, it did lead me to be slightly inaccurate. I’m not kidding when I say there’s a lesson there.

  139. 139

    Fuck.

    Fuck, fuck fuck.

    I learned how impeachment worked in 12th fucking grade. I knew that the House alone can impeach someboody, and that the Senate tries them for the charge they were impeached with. I knew this before I set foot in college. What kind of hope do we have that a doofus 12th grader could be a better fucking ombudsman than the clown the fucking New York Times has now? I feel like getting drunk right now, piss drunk, falling down drunk.

    I guess I’ve learned to deal with simian teabaggers ranting about worshipping a Constitution they would never even recognize if they read it without knowing what it was first (Congress shall make no law establishing a religion? Jeez, that sounds like one o’ them there Mooslim Sharia plots to take over these here Yoo Esses of A, if’n you ask me!”). I’ve learned to deal with the fact that one of our two political parties is a criminal organization run by and for greedy sociopaths and raving bigots. I’ve learned to deal with the fact that half of our pundits are pretty much Republican whores who lie for money, and that what passes for reporting in major newspapers is often shit that I’d like to think would get a sophomore fired from a high school newspaper.

    But somehow, these “ombudsmen”, who are hired to look out for the interest of the readers of the newspapers, who should at least have some shred of competence and integrity, even if almost nobody else at these ever more pitiful rags does, somehow their incompetence and laziness and unwillingness to care at all about the people they should be serving just depresses me beyond words. Not that that’s kept me from churning out a whole slew of them…

  140. 140

    I’ve been moderated. It’s never happened before. What happens when you get moderated? Will my musings ever come out? Have I lost, and more to the point, has the world, has humanity, lost my pithy words of wisdom forever? How sad for me, how lucky for the world…

  141. 141
    getaclue says:

    except impeachment refers to the procedure in the House of Representatives. Conviction is that procedure which the Senate undertakes after impeachment.

    Clinton was not convicted, the Senate voted that the impeachment was based on insufficient evidence.

    Seriously, they need to start teaching U.S. government classes again.

  142. 142
    Bill H. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    “But he was Impeached” Which means NOTHING, dumbasses!

    Well, it actually means quite a lot. How many presidents have been impeached? It is a formal charge and is very serious business indeed. It is not something that the House does for the fun of it.

  143. 143
    Pseudonym says:

    @handy: Your snark detector is unimpeachable.

  144. 144
    W Action says:

    The important thing is that Brooks wrote about how he remembers things, and that’s really all that their employers require of pundits.

  145. 145
    tejanarusa says:

    Well, this p.o’d me enough to just send an email, with a quote of the Article I provisions included, no clicking required.
    I did notice that Burgess is assistant to Brisbane, the Public Editor, not Brisbane, so possibly Brisbane knows better, and never saw dougj’s email.

    We’ll see if I get a response; if so I will report.

    This is just ridiculous.

  146. 146
    tejanarusa says:

    Ooh, I only read a dozen or so of the comments before I got all angry and went off to write my email.

    Boy, I get how pedantic the distinction must seem, but really, there is no usal usage, or common (mis)understanding of the impeachment process – if anybody thinks impeachment refers to conviction in the Senate as well, they’re just wrong.
    Article I is pretty darn clear.

    And so, I’m as pedantic as anybody else. But, really….

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