Dialogue from the epic “Lawrence of Arabia” as the savvy
general, facing chaos after the fall of Damascus, instructs
his nervous aide:
we can’t just do nothing.
General Allenby: Why not? It’s usually best.
The joke here is that measured inaction during a crisis IS doing the right thing—especially not worsening an impossible, explosive situation. Not rushing narrow House indictments to an unjust Senate —what about emoluments, firing, then obstructing Comey mess, conspicuous Mueller conspiracies, lawless executive orders, if not reams of lying propaganda? — is doing something, with positives galore.
Time serves justice, if not full clarity, especially if it spurs legitimate testimony. Delays maximize damage to Trump’s wobbly perch, inviting payoffs from my favorite “law”—unintended consequences. At the least tactical postponement keeps in high focus the most powerful, eviscerating House censure motion ever. Enabling a shockingly phony, witness-free Senate trial—letting Trumpers absurdly “declare victory” (echoing “No Collusion”)—compounds the sins of a presidential juvenile delinquent.
Time can wound, too
Some months ago, I opined that Democrats (and America) benefit by pushing the trial well into next year, even late Spring when the Supreme Court decides on Trump tax returns. What’s gained by rushing today’s national spotlight from Constitutionally-observant, evidence-driven House impeachers to McConnell’s black hole—making GOP Senators as culpable as the Indicted One (talk about unintended consequences!).
First, the longer the delay, the greater the pressure on the president’s deteriorating mental state. Let the failing control freak, hating ambiguity and ferocious blows to his battered image, flap in the wind. Let him stew in his deranged juices, resulting in more spiteful assaults on dead heroes like Rep. Dingle, relegated to Hell by a creep who revered the diabolical Roy Cohn. Just read the laughable derangement on display in his impeachment-eve letter to Pelosi, setting new records for crazed tirades (until next week). A spate of fulminating tweets reveals discombobulation and with good reason: this impeachment, the most significant rebuke across his entire law-breaking career, represents the first time this malefactor has been by name and office held accountable. Impeachment targets Trump where he lives—contemptuous law-breaking confirmed by folks he can’t buy off, sue or crudely intimidate.
Trump is addled by not being able to pay impeachers as he did all those victims (fleeced by Trump University) or noisy prostitutes, thus breaking campaign disclosure laws. Fines and closure, without accountability, took out the eviscerated Trump Foundation. Right now, holding center stage (not yet trivialized by the Senate), House indictments confirm for all time the blazing misconduct of our worst president. For ever, Trump’s will not only be our third presidential impeachment but the first first termer. Bravo! History will eventually record far more wickedness but this House action is the first dramatic shot across the bow.
More scandals, more disgraces
Second, the greater the delay the greater the prospect more confirming evidence of abuses of power emerges. Non-witnesses, like Bolton, will in time establish damning narratives; how about new whistleblowers, on new topics? Last week reports surfaced exposing gross IRS favoritism on Trump returns and “audits.” Court wrangling on executive privilege will end, likely reinforcing no president is above the law, can not stonewall, even trump legitimate House inquiries.
Hour after hour, the craven, lackey Republican mouthpieces barely dented the surface with plausible defenses (leaving hard testimony unscathed). Envision more shipwrecks of nonsense when new abuses burst out. No House operative defended Trump as an honorable man, even a good commander-in-chief, nor protector of national security. None disputed facts, what the president admitted in public: committing foreign blackmail with war funding to corrupt elections.
Would not Trump tax returns, either via court order or leaks, tell sordid tales, surpassing in range House witnesses, focused on one country and one conspiracy? Behold Russian connections and massive debt to oligarchs, tax fraud, even taxes owed, penalties and fines over the years. Finally we’ll know how many billions far less than 10 Trump is worth (thus tax stonewalling). Imagine even higher distress when all of Trump’s dirty laundry goes public—inviting endless calls to investigate, litigate, and punish a career of misconduct. What great irony if it comes to pass that becoming president induced Trump’s ruinous finale.
Yes, let time magnify today’s stressed out, over-reacting president—plus more nastiness still hidden under rusty, multiple hoods. Let’s delay the Senate trial until the 2020 campaign blossoms. While “no conviction” will be spun by Trumpers as the least credible of political “wins,” the trial itself will return repeatedly to the language of criminal indictments (thus the GOP push to get it over). Dems who just repeat House findings will do no favors to a besieged president. Plus, if the shrunken Senate trial is anything close to the McConnell wet dream—quick, unjust and dirty, a crude smack against mandated House majority rights—does that not injure the half-dozen vulnerable GOP senators on the November ballot?
Farce exposes farce
In short, the greater and more in-depth the farce, the more impossible for servile senators to cruise home unscathed. Trumpism will have then orchestrated my prediction a month ago: delivering body blows to Republicans, demonstrated as weak, corrupt and nearly as guilty of malfeasance as the president they mindlessly “defend.” Trump unfitness will spread like a plague to all who refuse to admit the obvious (conviction aside): 1) what happened with Ukraine was lawless and wrong; and 2) such calculated abuses of power justify impeachment.
Let the rabid right embarrass itself by equating delay with weakness or hesitation. Let it impugn Pelosi and House impeachers as conducting a coup, a hoax or a witch hunt (despite the party’s blatant, nefarious Jack in the Box). Meanwhile, Trump will certainly find new ways to blunder, break the law, and be so oblivious he’ll again disregard any decent defense. If the Senate won’t even censure, let alone convict, what stops a misfit president from mastering the evil arts of the unchecked dictator? In the meantime, Trump will lose face by gratuitously insulting more innocent, honorable public servants, even sanctified heroes like McCain, certainly truth-telling, smarter women and all who get in his face.
The longer impeachment criminality commands the headlines, and the longer the president is defended by bottom-dwelling, conspiracy-loving clowns—manipulating an underwhelming 42% of the electorate—the more that centrists will conclude: any Democrat, especially the scandal-free Sanders or Warren, tops this icon of dysfunctionality, or worse. I bet clean new bills no elected Democrat will be impeached in his or her first terms, perhaps even like Obama be rather scandal-free. That is a consummation devoutly to be wished, prayed for and welcomed by those who constitute the thinking free and the trustworthy brave.