The Credibility Test, Impeachment Edition


One reason for televising the impeachment hearings is to establish the credibility of witnesses and members of Congress. So how did that all turn out?

Two really strong women, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and Russian expert Fiona Hill, were rock-solid, as was the veteran Ambassador William Taylor. We’ve seen high-profile political appointees in foreign affairs: Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice and Madeline Albright; but Yovanovitch and Hill showed the mettle of career foreign service professionals, and should be an inspiration for young women thinking about a similar career. 

This may prove to be of some importance, as the support of female voters may be the deciding factor in 2020 elections. The demonization of Yovanovitch in particular by President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and right-wing pundits will not play well with women. 

My takeaway from committee ranks was that we are well represented in this process by Congressman Denny Heck, the former TVW founder and state legislator from Olympia.

Among much hand wringing on both sides as they tried to don a moral cloak for a partisan attack, our Denny made the case for an ethical and moral approach based on the historic duties imposed by the Constitution. It was impressive and one had the sense that colleagues were listening. Heck plays well as the guy next door who can handle this very difficult job without losing his sense of balance. 

Many viewers will simply be looking for witnesses or members who tell them what they want to hear, so no votes will be changed in this committee, probably few on the House floor. But I suspect—and hope—that many Americans will be looking for credibility at a time when it is seriously lacking in the other Washington. Good for our man Heck!

Floyd McKay
Floyd McKay
Floyd J. McKay, emeritus professor of journalism at Western Washington University, covered Pacific Northwest politics as a reporter and opinion writer for four decades, primarily in Oregon. He was commentator/news analyst at KGW-TV (King Broadcasting) from 1970 to 1987. Previously a print reporter, he returned to print and online reporting and commentary from 2004 to 2017 with the Seattle Times Op-ed page and He is the author of Reporting the Oregon Story: How Activists and Visionaries Transformed a State (Oregon State University Press, 2016). He lives in Bellingham.


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