In just four days last week (plus a few short hours on Saturday) Democrats in the U.S. House managed to turn the once monolithic concept of Impeachment into a comic punchline. By standing the Constitution on its head and twisting traditions of the U.S. Senate into a Velveeta-slathered pretzel one might find on the midway at the Minnesota State Fair, House “managers” (more comedy) transformed Donald J. Trump from a recluse at Mar-A-Lago into the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President in 2024.
Quite a feat. And all because they could not stop letting Trump rent space in their collective minds. You see, to Democrats he is the living, breathing embodiment of this 1899 poem by William Hughes Mearns:
"Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there!
He wasn't there again today,
Oh how I wish he'd go away!"
Our 45th president—who defeated “the strongest GOP field in a generation” during the 2016 GOP primaries and then went on to humiliate the Left’s anointed “glass-ceiling breaker” Hillary Rodham Clinton—has been the Democrats’ obsession since he and Melania rode down that golden escalator in Trump Tower during the summer of 2015 to declare his candidacy.
Of course, liberals (or “progressives” or whatever woke term du jour gets cranked out next ) could have engaged the New York billionaire in what we laughingly used to call the "marketplace of ideas." But intellectual debate with the host of a top-rated reality TV show like The Apprentice was apparently beneath the Democratic party. Instead—like an aging magician at a resort in the Catskills sawing an assistant in half for the 431st time—they fired up their trademark smear machine.
Trump was branded “a racist” (he wasn’t.) They said Trump called all Mexicans rapists (he didn’t). All the old chestnuts were pulled out of the fire that Democrats had successfully used in the past to marginalize and then dispatch genteel, refined Republicans like John McCain, Mitt Romney and so many others whose primary function in national elections always seemed to be adhering in the Marquess of Queensberry rules, culminating with “classy” and refined concession statements on election night.
But Donald John Trump wasn’t in their club. Trump came to win. And for his opponents (first in the Republican primaries and later in the November 2016 election) Donald Trump flouted tradition in ways never seen before. Okay, maybe by Rodney Dangerfield’s character Al Czervik in Caddyshack…which reduces Hillary Clinton to Ted Knight as Judge Smails.
Enraged because “smelly Walmart deplorables” propelled him into the White House, Democrats spent the past four years and untold millions of our tax dollars throwing everything but the kitchen sink at President Trump. $30+ million on the Mueller Russian collusion probe. Millions more on the run-up to Impeachment number one over the “national security crisis” involving Trump’s phone call to the president of Ukraine. (I’m still puzzled how our national security was allegedly compromised by a phone call to the leader of a country whose national economy is based on its beet crop). Lots of smoke, but no fire.
I also must confess being mystified how septuagenarian Joe Biden—campaigning from his basement—managed to “defeat” Donald Trump in the 2020 election. (I know, I know. Don’t go there.) But since the Powers That Be and the Electoral College say he won, Democrats should have rejoiced and simply moved on.
But, man, they just couldn’t get their “man upon the stair” out of their heads. They just had to take one more bite out of the impeachment apple in hopes of knocking Donald Trump out of contention for any future Presidential race. So Nancy Pelosi updated the old children’s story and dispatched nine dwarves to try and chop Trump down to size over the January 6th riot. They failed.
I’ll leave it to historians to chronicle all the mistakes that House “managers” (that term still cracks me up) made during Son of Impeachment. But suffice it to say that we haven’t seen a more doctored and heavily-edited video “tying” Trump to head-bashers on Capitol Hill since Leni Riefenstahl cranked out Triumph of the Will for Hitler back in 1935. Or portraying Donald Trump as Darth Vader, while repeatedly calling Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse “heroes.”
After his team’s 57-43 defeat on Saturday, Maryland’s Jamie Raskin was quick to—wait for it—suggest the votes need to be reconsidered. Using fuzzy math he created: “If you listen carefully to what’s being said now, and add the number of senators who say they believe Donald Trump was factually guilty…if 10 or 15 or 20 of them say that, it means you’ve got a supermajority who say the president is guilty.” Um, okay.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi went a tad further. Pelosi suggested the senators who voted not guilty did so out of political expedience. “Maybe they can’t get another job,” she observed. Quite an indictment coming from a woman currently in her seventeenth term in Congress.
So once again, Donald J. Trump wins. Senate majority leader Charles Schumer bravely declared Trump politically dead after Saturday’s latest failed Impeachment, saying that while he was acquitted—again—Trump “lost in the court of public opinion.” Time will tell. But my guess is the Democrats may very well face their “man upon the stair” again in the not too distant future. Only now (cue the “Rocky” theme) they’ve clumsily crowned him the undisputed back-to-back impeachment acquittal champion.