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Opinion

Newsletter: Editorial boards support impeachment. That’s huge

President Trump at a campaign rally
President Trump speaks at an Ohio rally on Aug. 1.
(Associated Press)

Another pleasant Saturday morning to you all, dear readers (and really, thank you all for reading — more on that below). I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

Last week, the impeachment of President Donald Trump was still largely an exercise in sober testimony contrasted with partisan theatrics whose terms had yet to be defined precisely. The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, which had previously expressed support for an inquiry but not yet articles of impeachment, abandoned its judicious position of “wait and see” and declared it was persuaded enough by the evidence to support making Trump the third president in history to be impeached by the House.

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Since then, other newspapers’ editorial boards have put their names under the “aye” column for impeachment. This may not seem extraordinary in an era when honest journalists have been called the “enemy of the people” by our president, but it’s worth noting that editorial boards, by design, tend to be cautious when lending their institutional support to something so disruptive. In the world of mainstream journalism, editorials from multiple legacy newspapers calling for the ultimate constitutional check on a president is, believe me, bigly tremendous.

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Impeachment is making certain Republicans look worse than Trump. We already knew Trump was a terrible president, but the operatic sycophancy of the Rudy Giulianis, Lindsey Grahams and Matt Gaetzes of this saga is deeply disturbing. Op-ed columnist Robin Abcarian advises Republicans to direct more of their impeachment rage at Trump (who is, remember, the reason this is happening), and Virginia Heffernan writes that Graham “can’t stop spinning and panting and disgracing himself — just like Trump.”

Republicans are delusional about Ukraine. It’s not fair to say they believe Russia was not responsible for election meddling in 2016; most accept the intelligence proving otherwise and have supported sanctions retaliating for it. Where they indulge in conspiratorial fantasy is their insistence that Ukraine did the same thing, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg. Their intent, it seems, is to “annihilate truth.” L.A. Times

There’s only one choice for Republicans: support Trump. In perhaps the most unnervingly Machiavellian piece I’ve read in any newspaper, political scientist Robert Stern warns that any Republican who votes for impeachment or conviction is effectively committing career suicide. There’s no mention of upholding checks and balances or executing the Constitution’s only protection against a rogue president like Trump. L.A. Times

Now this is climate alarmism: telling people to have fewer children. A recent report rightly calling attention to the global emergency that is climate change goes too far when it suggests that not only should everyone have access to family planning, but also that they should be encouraged to have smaller families. Addressing overpopulation might seem like a worthy goal, but hysteria over too many babies (or the wrong kind of babies) has yielded humanitarian crises in the past. Plus, it’s never a good idea to deny women their reproductive autonomy. L.A. Times

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A beachfront hotel developer said it would provide moderately priced rooms. It did not, and the California Coastal Commission rightly held the owners of the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica to account. Says the editorial board: “At a time when access to affordable accommodations is under attack by rapacious developers, the commission did good work protecting that access, and the developer did the right thing too. That’s a victory for all of us.” L.A. Times

Last week, I asked you to consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times and our other great newsletters. Several of you responded with kind notes of support and constructive criticism, and for that I am endlessly grateful (and yes, even if I do not get back to you, I read every email I get from readers). For more information on subscribing to the L.A. Times, click here. For information on our other newsletters, go here. And, as always, you can reach me at paul.thornton@latimes.com.


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