Have Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ recent provocations toward “total social warfare” crossed the line to the point where the House needs to take action? That’s the conclusion reached by one representative from Arizona and a few of his colleagues. Rep. Andy Biggs has introduced a House measure calling for the official censure of Waters and calling for her resignation from Congress. (Daily Caller)
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs on Monday introduced a measure that would censure Rep. Maxine Waters and ask her to resign for inciting people to publicly confront Trump administration officials.
Biggs told The Hill that Waters’ comments do “not become somebody who’s in Congress” and warrant disciplinary action.
“So we just introduced it, we have some cosponsors, but what she did was to basically incite people to come after and attack members of the president’s cabinet,” the Arizona Republican told The Hill. “And also spread that out to more people.”
“Everybody agrees that it was just highly objectionable what she did,” he added.
The measure specifically calls on Waters to apologize to the Trump administration “for endangering their lives and sowing seeds of discord,” to put out an official statement from her office condemning violence or threats and, finally, to resign from Congress.
While we might sympathize with the intent, this is almost certainly a pointless, futile gesture. It’s pretty difficult to get the membership to censure anyone for anything in the House of Representatives. There have been barely two dozen instances of it in the history of the country and only five have ever actually been expelled. (And three of those were for fighting with the Confederacy.) The only censure in the past quarter century was against Charlie Rangel, whose numerous tax dodging schemes finally became too much of an embarrassment even for his own party. Even in that case, keep in mind that Rangel shrugged the censure off, going on to serve additional terms.
The problem is that, much like impeachment, censure is basically a political process, not a true criminal prosecution. In order to pull this off, you would need to get two-thirds of the House to agree to expel her, though you could censure her with a simple majority. That means you would need to convince nearly every Republican to go along with it (some of whom are in marginal districts and not big fans of the President and his policies) or find some Democrats to make up the difference.
Even the Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who have spoken out about Waters’ calls for social warfare, saying she has gone too far, are unlikely to say that her comments rise to the level of censure. It would be shocking indeed to even see this measure come to a vote on the floor.
And even if it passed, so what? Do we honestly think that Waters would be shamed by this so much that she would actually resign? She’s still doubling down on her comments and would simply tell her supporters that she’s sticking to her guns and fighting the evil of Darth Trump on their behalf. If anything, her numbers would probably go up in her home district. As with Rangel before her, she could simply cruise on through her next election and ignore the wrist-slapping.
You’re not going to solve the problem of social warfare by censuring Maxine Waters. She’s not the problem. She’s merely a very visible symptom.