A Harvard fop, an Almira Gulch impersonator, and a warlock who, through table rappings, a Ouija board, or some other means of communication with the spirit world, revealed that the Founders all agree with Maxine Waters on Donald Trump’s impeachment testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
It did not go well.
The day recalled “The Eye of the Beholder,” the classic Twilight Zone episode in which pig-faced hominoids do not recognize their hideousness as a result of a familiarity with ugliness and nescience of beauty. Only one inhabiting a bubble — Jerry Nadler’s constituents include Yoko Ono, Amy Schumer, Joy Behar, and Alec Baldwin — could put that terrible trio before the cameras and imagine them convincing the country of anything save for their weirdness. Showcasing not merely lawyers but law professors really showcased the obliviousness of the committee’s Democrats. Why not ask tax collectors who moonlight as junior high disciplinarian deans what they think of impeachment?
If Republicans stacked the witness table with their experts instead of the reverse — the GOP, cognizant of the importance of persuasion, chose a Democrat to make its case — the day would have gone much worse for them. The Democrat witnesses impeached the credibility of the case they made for impeachment. With enemies like these, who needs Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Monica?
Rep. Matt Gaetz most effectively unmasked the three “experts” as activists. He asked them about their generous political giving to Democratic candidates (Stanford Law’s Pamela Karlan bizarrely claimed she gave to one-percenters Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren “because I’ve been giving a lot of money to charity recently because of all of the poor people in the United States”). He asked them about statements and writings seething with contempt for conservatives. After exposing their bias, he spotlighted their irrelevance: “If you have personal knowledge of a single material fact in the Schiff report, please raise your hand.”
No one did.
Republicans complain about the House Intelligence Committee banning testimony from their witnesses, ignoring the Sixth Amendment by shielding the identity of the president’s initial accuser, and violating attorney–client privilege by obtaining phone records for Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. They describe Ukraine as a sort of amorphous double jeopardy in the wake of the Russian hoax’s failure to derail the president. These process gripes do not gain traction with the American people. But, as it turns out, the substantive missteps of Democrats override whatever harm these procedural sins wrought. Put another way, the people who rigged the contest remain so ignorant of how to win that even their cheating did not result in an advantage.
Consider the polls. Gallup, the Economist, and Quinnipiac all show the president gaining ground on the impeachment question since Adam Schiff began his cable-news infomercial (subsequently replaced as celebrity spokesman by Jerry Nadler) against the president four weeks ago, a counterintuitive result akin to if those Peloton advertisements — “First ride! I’m a little nervous but excited; let’s do this!” — catalyzed a spike in Bowflex purchases.
From witness Alexander “Ranking Member, It’s Lieutenant Colonel” Vindman characterizing himself as troubled by the president’s attempt to subvert U.S. foreign policy to the House Intelligence Committee retaining an MSNBC talking head and FOR (Friend of Rachel), Daniel Goldman, as chief counsel, the hearings reinforced the president’s claims regarding the deep state and fake news.
Democrats increasingly encounter politics not as the art of the possible but as an act of catharsis. The results of November 8, 2016, as suggested by images of Election Night mass weeping, scheduled guttural screaming, and monthly waning-moon spells cast by anti-Trump witches, resulted in a collective nervous breakdown of sorts. The impeachment crusade, begun on the second Tuesday in November three years ago, comes as a therapeutic response to this breakdown and not a serious attempt to remove the president, the chances of which, at least under Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution, appear about as strong as Adam Schiff releasing a cover version of Classy Freddie Blassie’s “Pencil Neck Geek.”
The witnesses, then, strike as the embodiment of the impeachment inquiry, an ill-fated self-exorcism unconnected with persuading the American people or removing the American president.