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Politics must climb out of the pit

Americans are cynical about Washington politics because our elected officials themselves practice cynical politics day in and day out. Our Massachusetts delegation fits right in, as witnessed most recently by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield, who is moving toward requesting President Trump’s tax returns.

As the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reported, Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is preparing to formally ask the Internal Revenue Service for the tax returns. The Democratic-led tax-writing committee is willing to take legal action, if necessary, to obtain copies of years of Trump’s returns, NBC News reports, citing congressional sources.

Likewise, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said his House Judiciary Committee wants to review documents of dozens of people in President Trump’s periphery as part of their investigation into whether Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

It is clear that maneuvers to obtain President Trump’s tax returns are purely political and meant to, at the very least, embarrass the president and perhaps provide fodder for his Democratic opponent as we head into election season. With the amount of fake news that current investigations into the president have produced, one can only imagine what a journey through his tax history would result in.

The House Judiciary Committee is another matter. Chairman Nadler has already declared unequivocally that President Trump has broken the law. Sunday, while appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” he stated that he thinks “it’s very clear the president obstructed justice.”

And that is the endgame, impeaching President Trump. There can be no doubt that the House of Representatives, led by Nadler’s committee and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will shepherd impeachment proceedings along at some point before the election. With special counsel Robert Mueller unlikely to find a smoking gun amidst his Russia collusion investigation, it will fall to Neal, Nadler and others to gin up enough “smoke” to justify moving forward with the extraordinary constitutional measure.

Some of what we are about to witness is simple political gamesmanship proctored by opportunists and swamp operators, but most of the momentum for this grand refutation is born of simple resentment — the inability to cope with the fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Their meltdown is preserved on the record for eternity in internet archives and social media timelines.

It is unfortunate that envy, anger and pure hatred serve as the genesis for impeachment rather than high crimes and misdemeanors but that is where we find ourselves in 2019. The people of Massachusetts deserve political leadership devoted to their concerns. Instead, too many officeholders are busy waging rhetorical war against law enforcement, participating in high-profile protests and launching investigations into every aspect of the president’s life.

Let us hope that as winter turns to spring, our elected leaders warm to a more civilized and proper manner in which to conduct themselves.