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Assault on America, Day 384: Schiff and Dems’ sensational sham trial won’t get anyone to watch

Adam Schiff
So ya
Thought ya
Might like to go to the show
To feel the warm thrill of confusion
That space cadet glow
Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?
Is this not what you expected to see?
If you want to find out what's behind these cold eyes
You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise
…”

Fans of 70’s and 80’s rock will instantly recognize the Pink Floyd classic “In the Flesh” from the timeless theme album and film, “The Wall.” The immortal tale involves a mocked up animated trial at the end -- long story -- which kind of reminded me of what’s going on in Washington this week starting today. (For what it’s worth, I’ve often thought one had to be drunk or under the influence to get through “The Wall” movie in one sitting, but the music is incredible.)

Will the players in this week’s impeachment show trial ask, “Is this not what you expected to see?” If Democrats want to make this farcical parody of reality work for them, they’d better hope the presentation is more attention-grabbing (and artsy entertaining?) than it’s been in recent times. Towards these ends, they’ll do whatever it takes, ethics be damned. Byron York wrote at The Washington Examiner, “Now, with the Senate impeachment trial, Democrats have their last chance to excite public passions and win converts. And to Republicans, the outline of their strategy is becoming clear: Democratic impeachers realize they can't just tell the same story all over again in front of the Senate and expect the result to be different this time.

“...From now until the trial is over, and perhaps beyond, Republicans expect Democrats to come up with some new something on a regular, if not daily, basis. GOP defenders are beginning to see the next month in the Senate not so much as an impeachment trial but as a replay of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings: a fait accompli that becomes a cliffhanger with new and progressively more spectacular allegations. None of them were true, but they threw Republicans on the defensive and plunged the confirmation into chaos for a while.”

So that’s it. Democrats aspire to turn Trump’s impeachment trial into Kavanaugh-circus part deux, only this time the stakes are even higher and the media is demanding a steady new influx of dirt to spin into “bombshells” and “shocking revelations” to feed the ratings/readership beast. York is right -- a simple rehashing of the case won’t do, even if Adam Schiff’s eyes start bugging out of his head while bloviating before the cameras.

Public opinion won’t likely shift either way. But perhaps Democrats envision another means to get a token of cheap political value out of this ludicrous stunt that might give them an argument going into this fall’s campaign. If Democrats can capture one or two Republican senators’ votes, they’ll trumpet how impeachment was approved by members of both parties and ideologies (they have Justin Amash, right?) and was therefore worth the energy of chasing down Trump.

How? Let’s cut to the chase. Objectively speaking, the Democrats’ impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team are basically tailoring their pitch towards four Republican senators: the eternally wishy-washy (by necessity?) Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, perpetual turncoat at-the-ready Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, fame-seeking RINO Sen. Mitt Romney and legacy pursuing retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.

As everyone on both sides knows, the outcome is hardly in doubt. Even if Democrats actually produced some type of “new revelation” (which they won’t, because they can’t) regarding Ukraine that rocks the Washington political world, here’s thinking nearly all Republican senators would still simply defer to the electoral process to judge Trump’s fitness for another four years. There’s just not enough there to remove a president mere months prior to the constitutionally specified process. Policy departures don’t constitute treason and Democrats haven’t articulated a “high crime or misdemeanor” that pins easily to Trump.

Therefore, Democrats would claim victory if they somehow engineer a “bipartisan” vote to remove President Trump. Of course, liberals don’t bother mentioning that a couple of their own House members voted against impeachment. The Senate trial is a new day -- and the possible traitorous GOP leeches are so much more in abundance in the upper chamber!

In no particular order of conceivably giving in to the dark side…  

Susan Collins probably has the best argument for needing to present the appearance of being “on the fence.” Up for reelection this year and hailing from a liberal northeastern state (note: one of Maine’s electoral votes went for Trump), she’s got to walk a fine political line to keep every voter in her corner. As has been true throughout her career, Collins goes out of her way to seem “moderate” and “centrist” to keep criticism on the low ebb. She did cast a deciding vote in favor of confirming embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Conservatives hailed her as a hero for her principled stand. Will she bow to the Democrats here to even the score?

Lisa Murkowski is about as close to a true Republican-In-Name-Only as they come. She waffled and wavered on the aforementioned Kavanaugh matter, finally voting “present” when it came down to it. She weakly blubbered in explanation, “Brett Kavanaugh’s a good man. It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”

In a speech on the senate floor, Murkowski expanded, “After the hearing that we all watched, it became clear to me that that appearance of impropriety [had] become unavoidable. I had been deliberating, agonizing about what is fair,” she continued. “Is this too unfair a burden to place on somebody that is feeling with the worst, the most horrific allegations that go to your integrity, that go to everything that you are? I think we all struggle with how we would respond.”

Umm, no, Ms. Murkowski, “we” don’t struggle at all. When most of us recognize we’re being unfairly accused of doing something we didn’t do and the inquisitors have zero evidence to substantiate their allegations, our response is actually quite simple. You fight like h--l to clear your name -- as Trump is doing now -- and you count on your friends to support you.

Murkowski enjoys her role as media darling and swing-voter. Her attention-grabbing stunts occur far too frequently to suggest she’s “principled” about anything, including controversies that are as cut-and-dried as Trump’s impeachment. Here’s thinking she’s the best shot Democrats have to “earn” a yes vote.

Because he’s a spineless wimp, Mitt Romney will almost surely vote “no” on the impeachment question, but he’ll drag out his final answer until the last possible microsecond to maximize his own media exposure. After squandering the easily winnable 2012 election versus the imminently incompetent and corrupt Obama, all that’s left for Mitt is to try and salvage his reputation by portraying himself as “independent” and “above politics.”

Romney realizes as well as anyone what it’s like to endure unfair political smears (as Trump has constantly faced his entire tenure), yet it does him little good to join the herd of those GOPers who’ve pledged to toss the Democrats’ show trial into the enormous DC round file. How would acting as a team player/leader help him stand out from the crowd? Why not step to the side and draw praise from the opposition? It’s Mitt’s calling card and the reason why conservatives and most Republicans are glad he didn’t get the chance to embarrass himself and the party as president.

Lastly, Lamar Alexander is another career politician (he ran for president in 1996) who wants to go out being seen as a “moderate” and “centrist” who didn’t automatically toe the party line. Alexander is retiring this year, the GOP primary in Tennessee will almost certainly elevate another diehard conservative (like Sen. Marsha Blackburn) to replace him and there’s little time left to set a lasting legacy. Who the heck will talk about Lamar Alexander two years from now, much less a hundred years?

Common sense suggests Alexander will ultimately vote “no” on impeachment; he wouldn’t want the stain of favoring the ousting of Trump to be the only thing people associate him with. In the meantime, he’ll enjoy -- perhaps for the final time -- having reporters bugging him for a quote and prediction on the fundamental fate of the most successful Republican since Reagan.

In all of this, there’s always the possibility a Democrat -- such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin or Alabama’s Doug Jones -- could defy “Chucky” Schumer and vote to acquit Trump as well. Manchin voted “yea” to confirm both Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, so it’s at least imaginable he takes matters one at a time despite an authentically liberal voting record. Meanwhile, Jones is up for reelection in November in one of the reddest states in the country (and probably facing former Sen. Jeff Sessions), so it’s conceivable he may try to “save his seat” by voting with the Trump side.

It isn’t likely in either case, but you never know.

Because only a comparative few will determine the success or failure of the Democrats’ impeachment PR effort, expect the four above mentioned RINOs and couple Democrats to face a determined lobbying effort behind the scenes -- from both sides -- to get them to cave. Will it work? We’ll find out soon enough.

One senator who isn’t the slightest bit uncommitted is Texan Ted Cruz. Cruz offered his own prediction regarding the Democrats’ impeachment show. Andrew Mark Miller reported at The Washington Examiner, “The Texas Republican said in a Twitter video that the House impeachment process did not sufficiently show the president should be removed from office.

“’The House articles don't meet that standard. They don't allege any criminal conduct whatsoever, so at the end of this process, after a fair trial, the president will be acquitted, and we will end this constitutional circus, this political farce that started in the House. This is the beginning of the end of the abuse of the Constitution.’

“Cruz assured the public that the Senate process will be a fair one, [saying,] ‘We will then proceed to have to a fair trial, to respect due process, unlike the House, to give the president a full and fair opportunity to defend himself, and then we'll decide this issue based on the constitutional standards for impeachment, which is high crimes and misdemeanors.’”

President Trump thanked Cruz for his “words of wisdom.” Back in the oh-so-contentious days of the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign, no such comity could be found between the rivals. Now, Trump and Cruz are on the same team, fighting for principles they both share.

Regardless of the way individual senators eventually vote on impeachment, this week’s beginning of the trial will be an overly contrived -- but not all that interesting -- show designed to sway public opinion. Will Americans bother to tune-in to something they’ve already been bombarded with for years?

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