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      •  Sunday Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag

As with the Q&As, it is well to expect this feature to be dominated by impeachment talk for a while.

Keen on Impeachment

V & Z: Surprised at part of your answer on impeachment and conviction in today's Q&A. I refer you to this piece that suggests conviction could be achieved with far fewer than 67 votes. C.N., Seattle, WA

Note: It is certainly possible to interpret the wording of the Constitution as allowing a quorum of the members present, as opposed to all members. For a bunch of lawyers, the framers were curiously imprecise in a lot of their wordings.

However, as we noted, past Senates have interpreted the rule to be "a quorum of all Senators." Their reasoning was that the Senators are acting as a jury, but do not take a special oath as normal jurors do, instead relying on their oath of office to "qualify" themselves. From this, it follows that all 100 Senators are thus sworn in as jurors, and so all 100 must be present for quorum purposes. It is, of course, possible for the current Senate to make a different decision, but do you imagine that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is looking to develop new rule interpretations that work in the Democrats' favor?

V & Z: One thing that might be noted about the resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry—a vote in favor of the resolution might look like a vote in support of the President, but it might just as easily be a vote for "How dare you make me take a stand on the issue! You're gonna get me in trouble with my constituents, no matter which way I vote! Stop it!" J.A., Austin, TX

V & Z: The Democrats should only have a couple of impeachment articles. The more articles they have, the greater the ability of those Republican Senators who will be pressured to vote for conviction to do so without actually having any effect. For example, if you have 4 Republicans who feel they'd better vote for conviction or they will lose re-election, and you have 4 articles of impeachment, they can each vote for one article, thereby voting "for" conviction but only increasing the overall vote for any one article by just one. If there is only one article of impeachment, then all 4 must either vote to convict or not convict. J.B., Bend, OR

V & Z: I worked at an organization with a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). If an employee had entered without authorization or intentionally brought a recording device in, they would have been fired and escorted off the base the same day, even if they had a Top Secret/SCI clearance. It doesn't seem fair that the same rules do not apply to members of Congress. G.W., Oxnard, CA

V & Z: Having watched the Trump presidency from afar, and trying to unravel the daily revelations In Washington, I had long thought that the people, the voters should end the Trump presidency. Now we are in the Impeachment phase, and there is no going back. Having digested the Taylor testimony and the revelation that President Zelensky was being pressured even before he took office, I am now of the opinion that Donald Trump must resign. R.H., Sydney, Australia

Call the Folks at the Oxford English Dictionary

V & Z: If people don't like all scandals ending in -gate then why not end them with -pot Dome?. W.T., Pine Bluff, AR

Note: Waterpot Dome? Lewinskypot Dome? Plamepot Dome? Whistleblowerpot Dome? Works for us.

V & Z: I am officially declaring the word "Trump" to be idempotent with the word "Bulls**t." T.D., Redondo Beach, CA

Note: That's a new and different way to describe Trump. On the other hand, remove the 'de,' and it wouldn't be new or different at all.

The Medicare for All Debate

V & Z: The Canadian medical system costs less, per capita, than the American one. So whenever I see a claim that an American Medicare For All program will be stupendously expensive, I take it as partisan rather than reasoned. D.L., Palo Alto, CA

V & Z: There hasn't been much focus on the two communities that would be most adversely affected by the M4A proposals: insurance companies (and employees) and doctors.

If private insurance companies are no longer around, all their employees will be looking for jobs. And Medicare generally pays only a small percentage of what the doctors charge. (I often wonder how much money they lose on the Medicare patients, or if they're charging the non Medicare patients more to cover the underage. No way to tell.) E.K.H., San Antonio, TX

Most Readers Found our Sanders Pot Item Pretty Dope

V & Z: You sure made a hash out of your punditry regarding Bernie's pot prop. It was too seedy by far. D.A., Brooklyn, NY

V & Z: What are you guys smoking? P.B., New Fairfield, CT

It's a Long Horse Race

V & Z: Regarding your coverage of the polls: I'm an ardent liberal and Democrat. I love the political to and fray. But it has gotten to the point where I simply cannot bear to listen to or read about the Democratic horse race. One poll says one thing, one poll says another. Pundits say this candidate or that candidate Is rising or that candidate is falling. Now other pundits are saying that someone who have never entered the race is on the verge of, or are the party's savior. For every pundit that says A, another pundit says B and each is treated as news. The bottom line is simply no one knows and I have gotten tired of the suppositions, some based on fact, some based on pure speculation. There has always been noise, but now, there is almost nothing but noise.

I have always used the analogy that primaries are like intra-family fighting. You don't care who wins, you just want it to stop.

I understand that you feel covering the back and forth is important, and there are valid reasons for this. I understand that perhaps a great deal of your readership cares deeply about all this. I know its hard (perhaps impossible) to determine which current news item is or is not significant. But for right now, since I don't respond to pollsters and won't have a vote for a long period of time (living in New Jersey), I will let it all wash by me. T.J.R., Metuchen, NJ

Note: If we didn't cover the horse race, we'd have to do three items a day about Donald Trump's tweets. Nobody wants that, do they?

Seriously, though, we can certainly understand burnout, particularly in the current political environment. That's why we do what we can to throw in the occasional palate cleanser, like the Q&As, which tend to be somewhat heavy on history.

V & Z: Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) surge was probably due to Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) heart problem. When it looked like he may be out of the race, she collected a good portion of his supporters. Now that he is back to actively campaigning, the Warren-Sanders vote is split again. Nothing about Biden has changed. This is just the crazy way we select winners in an election with more than two candidates. S.S., Chicago, IL Demographics

V & Z: In addition to "a few pickup-driving Oklahomans," you also have a few snow-go riding Alaskans among your readers. :) D.R., Anaktuvuk Pass, AK

V & Z: I noticed the question in Saturday's Q&A and also the note about "a few pickup-driving Oklahomans." Well, I'm an Oklahoman (since age 13, which was 36 years ago), but I don't drive a pickup, nor have I ever owned one. I'm quite liberal by Okie standards, am a Navy Veteran, and a former member of the Oklahoma Democratic Party Central Committee. I have a journalism BA and MA from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. By birth, I'm a native Californian, but from a conservative area with more trucks per capita than central Oklahoma (Kevin McCarthy's district).. I.O., Oklahoma City, OK

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct26 Saturday Q&A
Oct25 Trump Administration Did More than Withhold Aid
Oct25 Democrats Strategize on Impeachment...
Oct25 ...And So Do Republicans
Oct25 Barr Is Paying Dividends for Trump
Oct25 Warren Grapples with Funding Medicare for All
Oct25 Biden Will Accept Super PAC Money
Oct25 Sanders Unveils a Weedy Proposal
Oct25 Klobuchar Makes November Cut
Oct25 Ryan Drops Out
Oct24 Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures?
Oct24 Zelensky Knew the Score Well Before Trump Called
Oct24 Trump Capitulates Completely on Syria
Oct24 The Great Wall of...Colorado?
Oct24 Is This What Trump's Lawyers Are Telling Him?
Oct24 Trump Looking Weak in Many Swing States, Against Many Democrats
Oct24 If You Really Like Dick's, You May Get Your Dream Candidate
Oct23 The Impeachment Drums Are Beating Louder
Oct23 Trump Says He's Being Lynched
Oct23 Trump Isn't Going to Like Either of These Books
Oct23 Mnuchin, Conway Under Consideration as Mulvaney Replacements
Oct23 Reports of Joe Biden's Demise May Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Oct23 Senate Map Gets More Wide Open by the Day
Oct23 Is the Trump Organization Embarrassed To Be the TRUMP Organization?
Oct22 Democrats Don't Want Impeachment to be a Turkey
Oct22 Supreme Court Sustains Political Gerrymanders Yet Again
Oct22 Trump's Hands Are Tied on DHS
Oct22 State Department Concludes that Hillary Clinton Did Not Break the Law with Her E-mails
Oct22 You Can't Make This Up
Oct22 Trump Likely to Lose a Close Ally...
Oct22 ...But He Gets to Keep A Nemesis
Oct21 What's the Current Version of the Administration's Story?, Part I: The Quid Pro Quo
Oct21 What's the Current Version of the Administration's Story?, Part II: The G-7 and Doral
Oct21 Life Gets Harder When You're the Frontrunner
Oct21 Gabbard and Clinton Take Off the Gloves
Oct21 Felons May Get to Vote in Florida, After All
Oct21 Mattis Hits Trump Where it Hurts
Oct21 Another Apostate Will Leave the House
Oct20 Sunday Mailbag
Oct19 Saturday Q&A
Oct18 Mike Pence Practices "The Art of the Deal"
Oct18 "Mick the Knife" Stabs Trump in the Back
Oct18 Sondland Points the Finger at Giuliani
Oct18 Perry Is Definitely Exiting the Administration
Oct18 2020 G-7 Summit "Awarded" to Trump Doral
Oct18 Biden's Biggest Problem? It Might Be Money
Oct18 Would a Biden Collapse Create a Lane for Another Centrist?
Oct17 Elijah Cummings Has Passed Away
Oct17 The Parade of Witnesses Goes Marching On
Oct17 Trump's Inner Circle Could Be in Big Trouble