On a reality-based planet, even the most resolutely Foxified, the definition of which this columnist has previously provided, would have watched the impeachment hearings and recognized Trump did what he did. Withholding aid to Ukraine, desperately at war with Trump’s Svengali, Vladimir Putin, to force President Zelensky to launch, or, at least, announce an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. In these days of instant media, the announcement alone would suffice for Trump’s purposes.
There’s been no credible, contradictory testimony. We saw disagreement among witnesses as to how outrageous Trump’s actions were; though those saying it was extremely serious — for Ukraine and for the future of American foreign policy — far outnumbered those saying it was bad but not super-duper. Other than Republicans on the committee, none suggested it was normal.
Lacking facts on their side, Republicans took to smearing the witnesses, especially Lt. Colonel Vindman. In the case of Fiona Hill, though, after she pointed how they were gifting Putin, they clammed. Bolted from the room, some did. Though the Foxified need no convincing, they tried to persuade the rest of us that if a criminal plan fails it’s not a crime.
Ignoring the “favor” he asked, they’d have us believe Trump, who made a career of corruption, only wanted to confirm Zelensky’s honesty, despite responsible agencies already reporting favorably. In fact, we heard how much he truly cared: He didn’t “give a s***.” Then they brushed the whole thing off as impeaching a “president” because “he didn’t take a meeting.” Are their voters that dumb? Well, when Ambassador Sondland quoted Trump as saying he “wanted nothing,” they ignored how Sondland went on to confirm there were quids and quos aplenty. But Trump mouthed innocence. To a certified Trumpist, that’s good enough.
Republicans demanded the Bidens be called, despite knowing what they did or didn’t is immaterial to what Trump did. Cynically, they kept demanding the whistleblower’s appearance. They were unbothered, however, by Trump’s defiance of our Constitution, obstructing appearances by White House personnel who were important material witnesses. Unconstitutional authoritarianism by their “president”? Who cares? After all, Trump said the law allows him to “do anything I want.” Imagine President Obama saying that, and their reaction. Did your hair just catch fire?
As arguments lead-ballooned, they coughed up the “Steele Dossier.” Echoing Trump, calling Russian interference a hoax, they handed Putin yet another win. But it raised and answered important questions: Was what Trump did OK, or not? And, because it matters, would those who argue it was OK make the same assertion, had it been President Barack Hussein Obama? The answer is obvious.
In orchestrated outrage, Republicans wailed about candidate Hillary Clinton, private citizen, spending privately raised money, hiring a group previously assembled by Republicans to get dirt on Trump, to get dirt on Trump. Since they find that horrifying, we needn’t wonder how they’d react to the theoretical Obama scenario. (Surprise: Devin Nunes, Trump’s most housetrained lapdog, helped by Giuliani’s bagmen, may also have been trying get dirt on Biden, while sitting on the very committee. If it’s a hoax as he says, perhaps he’ll stop peddling hoaxes of his own.)
Trump, Republican Congress-creatures, and their permanently propagandized voters have chosen to dismiss the obvious. Knowing their denial of Russian interference and repeating multiply debunked Ukrainian conspiracies further Putin’s goals, they do it anyway. If your central argument comes from a Russian disinformation campaign, you might need a better one. Or check your allegiance at the committee-room door. For a clarifying explanation of a favorite conspiracy and its implications, still promoted by Trump and his committed Russophiles, watch this: (YouTube: tinyurl.com/strikethis)
From the impeachment hearings, it’s undeniable: elected Republicans and their voters are lost to reality. Like their “president,” they’re all in on lying; on demagoguery over democracy. Devin “Naked Pictures” Nunes, most clearly. Jim “It Was Just A Shower” Jordan, too. Intentional or not, the results are the same: Russia gains, America loses.
Hope for our country resides with voters who sat out 2016, or voted third party. Democrats need to demonstrate to them what’s at stake: the environment, climate, the health of their children; truth itself, science, democracy, America’s place in the world. Surely some of them care about these things. Trying to awaken Trumpists is a waste of time.
Final, marginally related thought: If, as Rick Perry just said, God chose Trump, it explains why He also chose famine, earthquakes, cancer and hemorrhoids.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.