Monday, November 25, 2019

Worst moral hazard argument ever (and that's a competitive field)

One of the more amusing subnarratives (in a schadenfreude way)  of the impeachment story has been the efforts of what we might call the Brooksian wing of reality-based conservatives. In contrast with the Rubin wing, which is perfectly willing to let the chip fall...
... the Brooksians also acknowledge the obvious with Trump but then look for a way of playing things out that minimizes the damage to the GOP and the larger conservative agenda. This usually involves arguing against impeachment, since as previously argued,  the trial represents a no win scenario for the GOP.

Jim Gergaghty of the National Review does, however, deserve credit for being the first to make the case against impeachment on moral hazard grounds.

Removing President Trump from office would say to the American people, “Don’t worry if you make a choice that turns out bad. We will save you from the consequences of your actions.” If you want the American people to exercise better judgment in future elections, you need to make them live with the consequences of their bad decisions. The lesson of a successful impeachment of Trump would be that Americans should vote for whoever they want and not worry about electing a seriously flawed president, because if he ever got too bad, Congress would step in and take him out. The narrative is clear: The will of the people matters, until the stakes get really high, and then the grown-ups will step in, reverse decisions, and put out the fires.

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