A Third Rate Drama

The banner headline in this morning’s New York Times was Trump’s Trial Opens as New Evidence Emerges. That paper’s editors desperately want us to take this show seriously. Apparently, nobody told them that it’s a third rate drama and that everybody already knows how it ends.

In contrast, a Supreme Court seat was at stake in the Kavanaugh hearings. Were Blasey-Ford’s accusations credible? Were the Democrats and the media giving too much airtime to unsubstantiated allegations from the media-celebrated porn-star lawyer Michael Avenatti? Would Kavanaugh be confirmed? If confirmed, would he be terribly wounded by the accusations? Everything depended on a few conspicuously undecided Senators. Both sides were genuinely angry. The outcome hung in the balance. America was riveted. Now that was a genuine drama.

This one, not so much.

Oh, Democrats and the media are pretending that Trump’s impeachment is earth-shakingly serious. Nancy put on her most somber face for the cameras while assembling her souvenir pens. She wants us to believe that the mere act of her corralling a party-line vote in favor of feather-weight charges against the president from her bare-majority caucus makes this moment Historic. Trump, she intoned, is now “impeached for life”.  

What a crock.

***

The charges against Trump are ridiculous. As Andrew McCarthy, a Trump-disdaining former federal prosecutor wrote in the Never-Trump National Review:

“I have contended, to the contrary, that the president’s best defense is that nothing of consequence happened. I have been prepared to assume that the president pressured Ukraine, as alleged. But it was much ado about nothing: Ukraine got the defense aid (and barely knew it had been briefly delayed); Zelensky did not have to make any commitment about investigations; and he got his high-profile audience with President Trump (albeit at the United Nations in New York City, not at the White House). The president’s defense should be that, while there may have been improprieties, nothing here approaches the egregious misconduct required to trigger impeachment.”

(https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/trump-impeachment-postpone-senate-trial-until-house-finishes-investigation/)

The idea that presidents don’t routinely consider what’s in their political interest when making decisions – domestic and foreign – is ludicrous. Trump undoubtedly wanted to put pressure on Zelensky; he may even have done it, though Zelensky denies it and I saw no evidence of his having done so in the famous telephone transcript. Honestly, I couldn’t care less. If he did it his behavior was, at worst, a little bit tacky (though one could argue the contrary – that it was ok because the American public has an interest in learning about the Bidens’ blatantly corrupt conflicts of interest).

Whatever. Even assuming the worst, Trump’s possible culpability in this matter pales in comparison with, say, the Obama Administration’s blatant lying about Benghazi (and imprisoning an American filmmaker, in an egregious violation of his first amendment rights, to back up its story) during Obama’s re-election campaign.

***

Because the charges are so lightweight and the evidence even for them so thin, the whole world knows that the Democrats have no chance whatsoever of removing Trump via this impeachment process. At best, they might pick up the votes of a nominal Republican like Murkowski, or a fence-sitter like Collins and/or the piously pompous Romney; equally they might lose the votes of Manchin, Jones, Tester and/or other red state Democrats. Such shifts are overwhelmingly likely to leave the final vote at something like 51 or 52 to 48 or 49 in favor of acquittal – nowhere near the 2/3rds vote required for a conviction and expulsion.

Some people will follow the impeachment trial closely – mostly, political junkies, particularly the Trump-deranged, and the media. But most Americans will almost certainly tune it out. Why, given the unseriousness of the charges and the lack of uncertainty as to outcome, should we waste our valuable time watching politicians on both sides simply play to their very different audiences. The whole scene – with each side pretending that the world is at stake – is utterly phony.

Barring the appearance of Banquo’s ghost – and no murder is alleged here, so that doesn’t seem at all likely – in a couple of weeks’ time, Trump will still be president, the economy will still be rolling right along and Pelosi, Schiff and company will be consoling themselves with the hope that they have wounded the president. Which, I’m guessing, they won’t have. What they have already done, though, is they have debased the institutional credibility of the impeachment process.

M.H. Johnston            

2 comments to A Third Rate Drama

  • Eric  says:

    Kabuki theater, as one observer called the whole undertaking. Sells well to the Resistance, another sad comment on our political priorities and processes.

  • Douglas J McCaig  says:

    Pelosi signing pens on eBay now. $23.99. It occurs to me that Hunter Biden is the single witness that is required. If there is any whiff of impropriety or corruption that Biden or his father knew of – and particularly after this much time has elapsed since “Biden is abetting the corrupt Ukrainian Oligarchs” revelation was floated, it would be proof positive that Mr. Trump was 100% justified in any actions he took. If working class Scrantonian and multi millionaire Biden was/is slurping at the trough as Bill Clinton did re: his Special Ambassador Role in the Haiti reconstruction scam ($10 BILLION DOLLARS…poof) or the once poor now billionaire community organizer and self proclaimed Kenyan have been doing, then perhaps someone should call it out. Biden was charged with cleaning up corruption in Ukraine. Which one of Hunter Biden’s crack pipes are these people smoking?

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