T: Hey J, if I’m to believe the mainstream news feeds, the impeachment proceedings are a swirling vortex of angry lunacy.
J: Well, they are not wrong.
T: What in hell is the GOP doing?
J: Um, lying.
T: I know that — we all know that, I think — but when did they stop ever telling the truth? I mean, they used to at least pretend to once in a while.
What will their endgame will look like?
J: I don’t think they’ll all fit in a bunker, so it might get ugly.
T: Yathink? It’s like the party chased Trump’s denial train down into the swirling sea of partisan backwash.
J: That’s a grotesquely overpopulated metaphor.
T: And the more they spin, the more they deny.
J: And the more they deny, the more they spin, I suppose.
T: Are you making fun of my metaphors?
J: I’m mostly trying not to get hit in the face with one of the strays.
J: I am not a metaphor juggler.
T: Or a metaphorical one, I suppose.
J: Juggling metaphors is easier than juggling chain saws, and carries a much lower risk of appendage loss.
T: Does Ida juggle chain saws?
J: No, she just did tennis balls and rings, stuff like that.
She knew a guy who did, though. Lefty Leibowitz.
J: Don’t ask Ida how he got circumcised.
T: I think I’ll stick to juggling metaphors; life is a highway full of Red Bull salesmen and I’m a speed bump.
J: Wtf does that mean?
T: Never mind … so what’s the GOP’s next move?
J: I think they’re going to try to create as much distraction as they possibly can when the trial comes. They’ll subpoena the Bidens and the whistleblower and anyone else they can think of and basically ask them if they’ve stopped beating their wives.
T: I don’t want to just attack the GOP blindly, but the party line is literally a line now. I mean, they are just blatantly lying to our faces about everything; it’s almost Pavlovian. Ask a question, get a denial. Ask a true-false question, get a referral to one of their lawyers.
J: The bunker mentality.
T: I think that’s right.
J: They used to be pretty good at keeping one foot on the truth, but at this point I’m not sure they even care what the truth is.
T: Yeah … now they are just lobbing lie-bombs and sending everybody deep into the denial abyss to catch them.
T: Never mind.
J: The denial abyss?
T: Leave me alone.
I think the increased lying, to the point where lying is automatic, is sort of learned behavior. The more the lying works, the more they do it.
J: Yeah … and the GOP knows that their base voters will believe them and won’t bother checking their facts. It’s a brilliantly malicious strategy.
T: Yup. But now they are stuck with it, like a video game where you start lobbing bombs. You are pretty much committed to the bombs until they find your bunker and pull out a can opener to disgorge, dismember and dismantle you.
J: That explains why Hitler was so against can openers.
T: He was?
J: As far as you know.
The GOP is stuck with it, lobbing those denial bombs and painting the media as complicit in the Democratic “coup” for pointing out that they’re lying like rugs pretty much every time they open their mouths.
T: I can’t see where this mess is going, partly because it’s sort of a partisan stalemate, but mostly because my confidence is shot by how poorly I predicted this mess in the first place.
Several years ago, somebody asked me what was the worst thing about social media. I said it’s that everybody wants to talk and nobody wants to listen.
That was it, right there, I think. A decade of all-talk, no-listen separated us into people who know how to call up Wikipedia (readers) and the people who get all their information from television and radio (viewers).
Readers and viewers. Is it that simple?
J: I think “everyone’s talking and no one’s listening” sums up the current situation very well. The truly independent voter is pretty much extinct in the wild; almost everyone has picked a side and gone over. It’s like 330 million people decided to play Red Rover. And no one’s going over.
T: Red Rover? Isn’t that the game where they run into a wall of people holding hands, trying to break the chain?
J: Ok, it’s hide and seek. And nobody is seeking.
T: Yaknow, that sort of works.
What’s blonde and green and sits in a closet?
J: Really? A blonde joke?
T: The 1952 hide and seek champion. Get it? HUH?
T: I’ll be here all week. Seriously, though; thinking about it … I think that maybe “all talk, no listen” was more of a 2015 thing, and that the 2018 thing might be called “stubborn denial.”
J: It’s 2019.
T: Common, 2018 wasn’t that long ago.
J: It’s December.
T: Ok, you win. The 2019 thing might be called “stubborn denial.”
J: I think that the coming embarrassment for the GOP will be good for them. Kind of like sometimes an enema is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.
Trump will almost certainly be impeached by the Dem-controlled House. That will shift the spotlight over to the Senate, where the GOP is in control. That’s actually a bad thing for them, because they have no choice but to overplay their hand.
Trump will demand it. They’ll subpoena the Bidens and the whistleblower and everyone else they can think of, and their conspiracy-theorist defenses of Trump will be shredded, completely and publicly. They won’t vote to remove him; they’ll say “OK, he did it, but it wasn’t impeachable.” And the brainwashed masses of the Trump base will nod their heads.
And the GOP will go on to a historic loss in 2020.
T: I wonder if McConnell might simply hold a vote immediately and let the 53-47 advantage end the whole thing? He’d take the heat for a week, but as we both know, the news cycle will prevent any long term fallout.
J: McConnell won’t want to have public testimony after what happened in the House, so he’ll call for a vote as quickly as possible. He’ll lose a few politically vulnerable senators who are up in 2020 (Collins, Tillis, Ernst, Gardner) and maybe a couple on principle (Romney, Murkowski) but he can afford that. I’d guess that it’ll go 53-47 to convict, but since they need 67 Trump won’t be removed.
And then the real shitshow (the 2020 campaign) will start in earnest.
T: Thinking about it …. McConnell can have the vulnerable senators vote yes if they want to, since he has roughly 20 votes to play with. There is no reason for anyone to take a stand, as long as they are united in not taking one together.
J: United we fail to stand. How American.
T: How (cough) Kaepernickian.
J: Well, Kaepernick was actually taking a stand.
T: I know. English is confusing sometimes.
J: Tell that to the boys in Guantanamo.
J: Never mind, that didn’t make any sense. So what’s the upshot in all of this?
T: Bill Clinton was impeached and then censured. I think that’s the most likely result, and it might be a politically savvy move, but I’m not sure it’s the correct move in this environment.
The GOP is mostly trying to govern only the part of the country that votes for them, and a censure would go against that strategy. I doubt they will be willing to admit that Trump did anything wrong.
J: The GOP would probably back a censure unanimously. It would give them an out to say “see, we punished Trump!” without actually, you know, punishing him.
I don’t think Trump would go for it though, given his complete inability to acknowledge that he actually did anything wrong. So McConnell will have to go through with the show trial. Gawd knows what else will come out between now and then, though.
T: We disagree a little here … can the GOP, at this point, can even admit they were wrong? To censure Trump would give lie to all their … well, their lies.
J: I think a censure is the natural consequence of the evolving GOP line, a line that will lead to a “well, he did something wrong, but it’s not worth kicking him out of office for” defense. And it would allow him to stay in office and let the voters decide in 2020 (another GOP talking point). So it would be a win-win for the GOP, or at least the best way out of the box that Trump has created for them.
But, again, I doubt Trump’s colossal ego will allow it.
T: My stance is that the GOP has taken on Trump’s ego as their own, and that it is the GOP, and not Trump, who is now unwilling to admit any wrongdoing. This might be a false perception on my part, driven by the House hearings. Devin Nunes is an unrepentant, blindly loyal Trump tool; the Senate might not be so blatantly Trumptoolian.
J: Noted. Trumptoolian?
T: “The Trumptoolian congressman unsurprisingly voted to have all immigrants summarily executed.”
J: Ooh …
T: Ok, J, it’s time for the 64 dollar question:
What would be the best result for the country?
I mean, something that could possibly happen, not some happy-go-bye-bye thing like “Trump’s dad pulled out and they decided to get a dog instead.”
J: I think a censure followed by an electoral trip to the woodshed for the GOP would be the best result for the country.
The GOP would at least be acknowledging that Trump did something wrong, which would at least somewhat appease the Democrats. And then an electoral enema along the lines of Reagan over Mondale (except with the parties reversed) to send the message to the GOP that their brand of toxic politics is no longer acceptable in mainstream America.
T: I agree with your assessment; while I believe Trump probably deserves to be drowned in pee from the women he’s assaulted, taxed to death by the IRS agents he’s lied to, beaten to death by the small businessmen and women he’s stolen from and kicked out of the country for not understanding that we are a melting pot – not a white cheese fondue – I do think censure and your electoral enema is the best thing for everyone else.
J: I’ll hold the enema bag.