“The Raft of the Impeachment”


Long attributed wrongly to Gericault, this masterpiece has now been found to be an allegory of what may happen to political parties which try to impeach a president and fail.  pl

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50 Responses to “The Raft of the Impeachment”

  1. Doggrotter says:

    Made me smile

  2. Kelly Hall says:

    I am sad that impeachment talk seems to hang on whether or not the Senate would convict Trump based on the evidence in the Mueller report. As if the President can only be held to the legal standards of criminality for private citizens.
    What of honor? What of leadership by example?
    Imagine if Trump was a junior officer, three years into his obligated service. Even if a command investigation failed to turn up enough evidence for a slam dunk court martial, and if the CO decided to not prosecute formally, I believe hypothetical Ensign Trump would face non-judicial punishment. He would likely receive a formal letter of reprimand that details his behavior that the CO finds unacceptable, and have to endure the shame of receiving that letter formally, in his dress uniform. The goal of the CO is to shame and shock the junior officer, to convince him to reflect upon his behavior and mend his ways.
    President Trump’s conduct while in office can charitably be described as “other than honorable”, and for that behavior he deserves an official rebuke. If Congress can’t agree on an impeachment, then a formal censure from Congress is warranted.
    As for Trump’s less-than-honorable behavior prior to becoming President, that’s not Congress’s problem.

  3. Barbara Ann says:

    Welcome back Colonel, in fact may I wish you many happy returns today.
    This is a fitting allegory of the current unfolding political saga in so many ways. Méduse was captained by an incompetent political appointee. When it foundered many of the crew were forced to take to a raft because there were too few lifeboats – failed insurance policy anyone?
    The raft’s occupants were left to their fate once it was realized that having them in tow endangered those in the boats. And of course famously, they turned on each other in their desperation to survive.
    So let us now see who is cut adrift, who is willing to sacrifice others in order to save their own skin and let us one day soon, meet the captain of this doomed vessel.

  4. turcopolier says:

    Kelly Hall
    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” —Article II, Section 4 What would be the charge, specifically?

  5. Martin Oline says:

    Gericault didn’t paint it, eh? Well, I guess my copy of The Wreck of the Medusa by J. Miles is going to slip down a few notches in the ‘to be read’ pile.

  6. Kelly Hall says:

    The House has been censuring presidents since 1800; while censure is not called out explicitly in the Constitution, there’s precedent.
    There’s a lengthy list of Trump actions that I consider beyond incompetent and into the range of dishonorable. I don’t believe these actions must be criminal to rate a censure: I think our President should follow a higher standard than “hasn’t (yet) been convicted”.
    My partial list of other-than-honorable Trump actions:

    • public statements critical of the AG Sessions for his recusal
    • abuse of security clearance process for family members
    • conflict of interests relating to Trump hotels and resorts
    • dangling pardon for Flynn based on testimony
    • asking Flynn and McFarland for false statements
    • asking McGahn for false statements
    • failure to correct Cohen’s false congressional testimony
    • dangling pardon for Cohen based on testimony
    • dangling pardon for Manafort based on testimony
    • false public statements relating to Stormy Daniels affair and payoff
  7. joanna says:

    Long attributed wrongly to Gericault
    Not sure, what you try to suggest here. I am no art historian, of cause.
    Thus from within my limited perception context, so far I am leaning towards the somewhat ad-hoc interpretation that Gericault may have already used a public scandal to advance his career. Which admittedly I may have situated as the artist’s publicity tool, later in time.
    Never mind my more chosen personal sphere, the love of words. … Has ever anyone looked into public scandals at Shakespeare’s time. Apart from let’s more arbitrarily the murder of John Marlowe?
    But attributed wrongly?

  8. turcopolier says:

    joanna – You are a stereotypical humorless German. My joke is that the Democrats will look like the rafters if they impeach Trumpf.

  9. turcopolier says:

    Kelly Hall I certainly hope the Dems take your advice.

  10. joanna says:

    Not humorless, quite the opposite really and rather open to all its variants from irony to sarcasm …
    But yes, from early on I felt impeachment would be a really bad idea. Did they ever reflect on the pretty obvious and thus necessarily resulting victimlogy? Never mind they wouldn’t have a chance in hell. Understand? Not sure how to putit better.
    Would be a bit, now I am ironic: like killing the master promising to bring back the American Dream. No?

  11. Barbara Ann says:

    The choice of subject matter for the purposes of the artist’s career advancement is hardly a safe one and in fact during his lifetime its reception in France was cool at best. When exhibited in London a couple of years later, however, it was a huge hit. The fact that just few years after Waterloo the event appears to perfectly encapsulate French moral inferiority may be relevant. It seems to me the equivalent of an ambitious British artist choosing to paint the battle of Isandlwana, or perhaps an imagined scene of desperation from Franklin’s inglorious expedition. The fact that is was painted by a Frenchman at all at this time says a lot to me about French cultural robustness.

  12. Jack says:

    The Democrat establishment are bereft of any new policy ideas or the ability to advance any policy framework through the House let alone bring along the Senate. Egged on by the TDS afflicted “fake news” media all they’ve got is politicization. Their Mueller silver bullet failed. So they’ll go with an impeachment with all the media hysteria accompanying it fully realizing that they don’t have the votes in the Senate convict.
    I’m not certain how this will play out in the mid-west where the next election will be decided. OTOH, an impeachment would possibly force Trump to get aggressive about releasing all the incriminating documents and communications about the attempted coup by the Obama administration law enforcement and intelligence leadership. Of course they would claim that what Trump is doing is purely political and that they were only doing their patriotic duty. We’re going to be in for more TDS media frenzy. The last time they lost an election with sure thing Hillary. Do they expect to win with the same tactics with Sleepy Joe and his long track record of being in the pocket of the financial industry?

  13. Fred says:

    Poor democrats, didn’t their chosen team swear an oath, like the Horatii? Kind of sucks to find out they were all Curiatii.

  14. Seamus Padraig says:

    What of ‘innocent until proven guilty’? A strong dislike of the president on your part does not constitute a crime on his part.

  15. turcopolier says:

    “The American Dream” as well as the American “Middle Class” have always bee a puzzle to me. The Dream seems to mean owning a house to a lot of people. The Middle Class is what, a European style bourgeoisie?

  16. Barbara Ann says:

    OK, enough with the waiting.
    People, I fear you are all so far overlooking the small matter of our host’s BIRTHDAY TODAY.

  17. Artemesia says:

    Several years ago a small group gathered at Arlington Cemetery with relatives and survivors of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty, an event that killed 34 members of US military.
    A few days ago, a Christian Evangelical network, TruNews, broadcast a two-part series on that event, including an interview with a survivor of the attack.
    Lyndon Johnson ordered rescue planes to abort their rescue mission. He explained that he “did not want to embarrass an ally.”
    Evidence has surfaced that at the time of LBJ’s stand-down order, Mathilde Krim, wife of a Hollywood film executive and major Democratic donor, was an overnight guest in LBJ’s White House. According to an article at the time of Krim’s death, it was an ‘open secret’ that LBJ and Krim were lovers.
    LBJ was not impeached for either of these “dishonorable” acts.
    Kelly Hall, sow does your list of Trump’s peccadilloes compare to LBJ abandoning a US Navy vessel and its crew when they were attacked, killed, life-boats strafed, etc.?

  18. Sounds like trying to salvage something from the wreckage of the Russian scandal. “Well, even if he’s not guilty of anything there’s always conduct unbecoming.”
    Came across a delightful expression the other day. I look around the English sites more than I used to. Little local upset over here. On one of the sites I found a lady of impeccable conduct reproaching a “remainer” who’d been bold enough to raise his head above the parapet. Called him a “Trolly thing”.
    Not a term I’d care to use myself. But it took my fancy.

  19. As an outsider, it has always seemed to be that a succinct definition of the “American Dream” is that your kids will be better off (you define “better”) than you were.
    Not unique to the USA, of course, but the inspiration for many many immigrants.

  20. jdledell says:

    I think Trump is a buffoon who should not be President but that is not an impeachable offense. I think the Democrats would be stupid to try to impeach, it would fail miserably in the Senate and probably lead to a trump victory in 2020. Compared with Bush and Cheney, Trump is a minor sinner. Bush and Cheney should have been impeached for putting together a false case for going to war in Iraq. That is the kind of mistake that cost thousands of lives a couple trillion dollars. If ever there was a case for impeachment – that was the big one we missed.

  21. turcopolier says:

    jdledell Agreed. The Mexican tariff threat is incredibly stupid. Trump pretty much had that trade deal in the bag and this may just ruin it. I fought the falsely “sold” Iraq invasion as hard as I could including to Hannah, Scooter and Cheney’s faces. Once the thing was decided I offered to accompany the 3rd Infantry Division as an adviser but the neocons would not allow it in spite of the land force commander’s request.

  22. turcopolier says:

    Patrick Armstrong – In my family on both sides, the “American Dream” seems to have meant fewer Indians to fight for the first couple of hundred years.

  23. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Artemesia,IIRC Adm. John McCain II was instrumental in orchestrating the USS Liberty coverup.

  24. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Happy birthday. Many happy returns.
    Ishmael Zechariah
    P.s: I really have no dog in this fight, but I am amazed at the level of mendacity in the US polity. It seems to be comparable to ours in Turkey almost. I’d still take Drumpf over tayyip.

  25. blue peacock says:

    Apparently both Lighthizer & Mnuchin opposed the tariffs on Mexican goods. If these tariffs remain in place for some months it could have a major impact on the profitability of the auto companies who are already sucking wind as sales slow.
    I suppose this is an attention getter for AMLO to get his act together to reduce the flood of illegals attempting to cross the border.

  26. Bill H says:

    Another comment that makes me wish we still had the “like” button. I do admire an elegantly phrased comment.

  27. blue peacock says:

    It looks like Barr may mean business. He seems to be pushing ahead trying to get to the bottom of how the Russia collusion investigation began in the first place.
    Listen to this interview of Barr. Very interesting. As someone who has always opposed the growth in the unfettered powers of the national security surveillance state, the fact that a sitting attorney general is using words like “praetorian guard” in an interview is of great interest. Let’s see how this is going to shake out. There is a possibility that the tide is turning and the investigators may actually be investigated.

  28. rho says:

    Since when is it the job of a branch of government to reprimand the conduct of members of a different government branch? Does the process work in any direction, i.e. Trump can also formally censure the behavior of judges and congress members if he considers their behavior “dishonorable”?
    How incredibly petty this all sounds!

  29. I saw the comment yesterday but didn’t like to barge in. OK. Many happy returns of yesterday, Colonel, and grateful thanks for a unique website from one of your pilgrims.

  30. David Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang, It was your stand against the Iraq invasion that first brought you to my attention. To the detriment of this country and much of the world, your advice was not taken. I have seriously wondered since those days, if this country will ever recover from the damage done by following Cheney and gang.

  31. Anon says:

    4 years and 2 day equals 1463 days.no more and no like less

  32. joanna says:

    makes a lot of sense, Barbara Ann
    The arts and their umbilical cords. Irony alert.

  33. joanna says:

    The fact that is was painted by a Frenchman at all at this time says a lot to me about French cultural robustness.
    I love France, in fact I am a bit sad we lost our French correspondent here on SST: P.B. Never mind how badly reflected and thus somewhat challenging I received him at the time. I seem to remember.
    But, admittedly I occasionally wondered how France was folded into grand narratives. I surely do understand the US France links. ….

  34. turcopolier says:

    joanna – Good for you! Few Americans understand or appreciate US-France links.

  35. Dick Morris agrees that impeachment will destroy the Dems “what will destroy them is that they apparently have nothing else to say”

  36. divadab says:

    “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
    What better dream for a nation? SO what that it has been corrupted and abused by profiteers and warmongers and those wishing to exercise unjust dominion – the ideal still shines forth, enshrined in the fundamental laws of the nation. Dreamers, awake!

  37. joanna says:

    John Marlowe
    curious, gotta think about that. Kit or Christopher of cause.
    dedicated to John Williams, not the guitar player, but the unpublished poet:
    if the vertical meets the horizontal they sometimes form a cross

  38. DH says:

    Always had a soft spot for Morris, thanks for the link.

  39. DH says:

    On the other hand, he exemplifies the principle that jaw jaw is better than war war.

  40. Mark Logan says:

    Barbara Ann,
    The history of square riggers from the 14th through their end is a minor fetish of mine. In the days of that wreck colonization had become a “thing”, and a big one. All sorts of people were considering embarking on a ship, and those who weren’t were interested in those who did. The adventures provided a market for journalism for the stay-at-homes and disasters were far from uncommon. Those ships were easily wrecked and as with all fads there came rookies. Not enough experienced skippers and even the best got in trouble.
    It was all fascinating for the public. This was into the outer space of the times. Into the places on the charts where the makers wrote “And Thar Be Dragons!”
    Digression-plug for HBO’s “Chernobyl” here. Just watched the second episode and they set the hook in me. Deep. Now thar BE a dragon!
    Back on topic, I’ll cast a doubt on political motivations. The artist could have been engaging in simple sensationalism. First rate sensationalism IMO, I love it.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Just don’t get us politics.clinton was impeached for monica and trump now for stormy ?.Sounds more like a class war.

  42. turcopolier says:

    No. It is revolution and counter-revolution. The women mean nothing in this struggle.

  43. joanna says:

    Compared with Bush and Cheney, Trump is a minor sinner.
    I agree, I also think “the buffoon” was a bit wishy washy on matters, fully understanding well, what exactly, he couldn’t have demanded to lock them up, for instance.
    That may be one of the reasons, why the whole swamp discourse bores me to tears.

  44. bob randolph says:

    I first laid eyes on “The Raft” in Byers and Badgett’s humanities course. Same for You?
    We got a fine liberal arts education at our institution.
    Happy birthday and keep up the fight!

  45. turcopolier says:

    bob randolph – You were five years behind me? Major Bill Byers then taught the handful of English majors his two semester course on the Fine Arts; music, painting, sculpture, art history, etc. The lab was the best part. I learned to paint passable well. I even sold a few things to BRs who wanted them. We were very lucky young people to have a teacher like that.

  46. bob randolph says:

    I created Collages and German expressionist knock-offs (Die Brucke) passably well, but got no customers. Lucky, indeed.

  47. turcopolier says:

    bob randolph
    I was a mediocre copyist of Expressionists; Soutine, Modigliani, etc. Lots of emotion and color, not too much drawing.

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