You surely saw the screaming headlines Wednesday night.
“President Trump Impeached by the House in Historic Rebuke”
“Donald Trump is the Third President to Face a Trial in the Senate”
“Trump impeachment is a monumental victory against blatant corruption and for democracy”
And sensed America’s collective response: yawn.
To paraphrase Churchill, never in the field of human conflict has so much blather by so many mattered to so few.
It speaks volumes that a procedural statement closing eight hours of bipartisan babble preceding the House vote – “all time for general debate has expired” – actually earned an ovation.
We the People second the emotion. Because any interest we had in impeachment expired long ago.
How so? Let me count the ways.
One: House Democrats’ articles of impeachment detailed zero impeachable offenses. Speaker Pelosi, et. al., promised “bribery” and “obstruction of justice” – real, actual crimes. The ultimate charges: “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.”
Friends, if “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are authentic “high crimes and misdemeanors,” roughly 90% of that body’s members are headed up the river.
Two: the underwhelming players and witnesses forwarded in hearings. Striped-pants diplomats. Self-interested CYAers. Stuffed-shirt professors. Sanctimonious staffers. No John Deans, G. Gordon Liddys, Monica Lewinskys or even Linda Tripps here.
The Democrats’ hoped-for “bombshell” testimony – well, bombed.
The mysterious “whistleblower” briefly merited some interest – until his cover was blown, revealing him to be a political hack. At which point House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (Pencil Neck-CA) switched to a game of “hide-the-ball” on his identity.
Three: lack of suspense. It soon became a foregone conclusion how this whole caper was going down.
Democrats in the House would vote impeachment. Republicans in the Senate will acquit. Zzzzz.
Bringing us to four: partisanship. The conclusion became so foregone because the impeachment process became so transparently political. No need to go into how often and openly the Democrats manipulated closed-door investigations, hearings, report-writing, and, of course, the media. Or how completely the outraged Republicans closed ranks around President Trump. Folks caught on.
Fifth and last, but in no way, shape or form least: impeachment fatigue. Last year, polls noted how seven in 10 Americans were just plain tired of the news.
Today, they’re sick to death of impeachment in the news.
How can you tell? Read the polls. Support for impeachment falling – even among Democrats. Approval ratings for the President rising. That’s not a sign of a populace taking seriously a “historic” step that, if successful, could remove a sitting Commander-in-Chief.
It’s not just impeachment. It’s endless predictions that “this is it” and “the handwriting is on the wall” for the president – and from the Sean Hannity/John Solomon crowd, for his antagonists.
Endless charges, countercharges, claims of vindication and victimization.
Endless reports. Mueller. The Inspector General times two. Even the FISA court’s recent rebuke of the FBI.
And seemingly, endless investigations and investigations of investigations – e.g., John Durham’s ongoing probe.
After a while, even the most hooked political junkie needs to call it quits and switch from hours of breathless cable talking heads to binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (or, for the more high-falutin’ among us, The Crown.)
Fortunately, sure-footed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has correctly measured the public mood. The Kentucky Republican has not only scotched President Trump’s killer instincts to use a drawn-out Senate trial to, perhaps, expose Hunter Biden and out the whistleblower. He also deftly batted down Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) attempted Hail Mary: hauling in senior members of the White House command, hoping they will spill something sufficiently embarrassing to peel off a few Republican votes.
McConnell’s vision of a short, sweet procedure consisting of simple presentations by representatives of both sides, followed immediately by an acquittal vote, seems just the ticket.
After all, the President has already vented his considerable spleen over the process with his inimitable missive – perhaps better described as a missile – to the Speaker. (A clear Perry- Mason-meets-Atilla-the-Hun committee effort, combining serious legal language and analysis – “the Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence” – with familiar Trumpian tropes – “the paragraph in question was perfect.”)
The faster the Senate can drive a stake through the heart of an impeachment process that never should have seen the light of day, the sooner the rest of us can get back to Midge Maisel. Her act, at least, can hold our attention for five minutes.
Note to Readers: Issues & Insights is a new site launched by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to use our decades of experience to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day.
We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we think our approach to commentary is sorely lacking both in today’s mainstream media and on the internet. If you like what you see, feel free to click the Tip Jar over on the right sidebar. And be sure to tell your friends!