Friday, February 12, 2021

The Worst Generation in the World's Worst Deliberative Body

"There was nothing fun here, Mr. Raskin. We aren't having fun here. This is about the most miserable experience I've had down here in Washington, DC. There's nothing fun about it." -ambulance chaser Michael van der Veen
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari )
As with Ill Douche's last impeachment, its reprise provided us with a study in contrasts. The first time, Impeachment Lead Manager Rep. Adam Schiff and the other nine impeachment managers masterfully laid out a case as to why Trump should have been convicted for his mob boss phone call to Zelensky. And, as with the last time, the current team of impeachment managers did an equally masterful job compiling brick upon brick of evidence.
   Trump's lawyers, on the other hand, especially this smaller albeit no less toxic crew, betrayed themselves as the hyper-partisan right wing rage Orcs that they truly are. And, really, to play Devil's Advocate for a moment (as are Trump's lawyers), not a single one of them wanted to be there. They'd accused the Democrats of falsifying evidence (without proof, natch), played a 10 minute-long supercut of Democrats in years past using the word "fight" in their speeches (forget they were speaking metaphorically and not inciting their voters to sack the nation's Capitol), a moment that went over so poorly, even Tom Cotton, whose acquittal vote is all but assured, was laughing at it.
    That's because, as Amanda Marcotte points out in Salon, these ambulance chasers (Yes, van der Veen is a personal injury attorney) know they could've gotten up there and read Ken Starr's grocery list and were assured of a victory because of the corrupt Republican scum's predisposition to acquit in the Senate.
   After Trump's shysters realized they couldn't argue process, that you can't indict a former official (Even though the Belknap impeachment of 1876 proves that you can), they then blustered and sputtered about everything except a refutation of the evidence. It culminated today with Michael van der Veen reminding us what a horrible experience it has been defending Donald Trump for even a few hours (Interesting factoid: van der Veen actually sued Trump last year for his election fraud lies).
    As Paul Waldman pointed out today in the WaPo, "Faced with questions, criticisms or even legal jeopardy, Trump often defaulted to claim that his words and actions were defensible not because they adhered to any standard that could be generally applied, but because everyone else is just as debased as he is."
     And the lawyers that had hardly acknowledged that Trump used the word "fight" 20 times during his January 6th beer hall putsch, essentially said in their supercut today that Democrats don't have the First Amendment right to say "fight" but Trump does. And, oh, let's just pay attention to the one singular time that he used as an invisible fig leaf the word, "peaceful", not the nearly two dozen instances of him urging them to fight or Rudy's call to engage in "trial by combat."
     It's as if Schoen and Castor were hired just last week and van der Veen just yesterday. Oh wait. They were, after Trump's first five lawyers quit a couple of weeks ago on the same Saturday night.

The Worst Generation
"Be honest- Don't I look like Trump in 2015?"

As with the first time, the fix was in months before the impeachment trial even began. Imagine how outrageous it would look if the jury in a criminal trial were openly canoodling with the defense. Imagine how Republican heads would explode in hypocritical hysteria if Democratic senators did the same with Clinton's impeachment defense lawyers in the 90s. Yet, that's exactly how shamelessly rigged this impeachment trial has been when Republican senators, who'd sworn to be impartial jurors, were caught discussing legal strategy. Ted Cruz even admitted on his own podcast, "What I encouraged the Trump lawyers to do is take their standard and apply it to the conduct of Democrats," a piece of horrible advice that probably resulted in the ridiculous supercut fight video that made Tom Cotton laugh.
     Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, an old school Republican if ever there was one, went on MSNBC today and drew some pretty stark parallels between the greatest generation, as we call the one that had fought in WWII, and the current crop of cosplaying jackals like the kind that sacked the Capitol for the first time in 207 years. Cohen just flat out said that any Republican that refuses to convict Trump in the Senate on the grounds that they have nasty things said to them back home from Trump supporters don't deserve the word "Honorable" next to their names. He's absolutely right.
    All 50 Democrats, the only real adults in the upper chamber, can be expected to vote to convict. They're the real profiles in courage because, as furious as Trump MAGAts are with so-called RINOs, they absolutely hate Democrats with pure venom in their ample spittle. As Rep. Jason Crow told Republicans a month ago when they openly wept at the idea of incurring MAGA wrath, "Welcome to our world."
   Yet, as stated, they could've literally phoned it in, with Mitch McConnell holding a cell phone to the microphone as the Three Stooges whined and conspiracy theorized instead of providing an actual defense and be assured of a pay day (if Trump pays them and doesn't stiff them as he had Rudy) and a pat on the head from Daddy (albeit a greatly muted Twitter-less one). It would have resulted in the same result we'll see next week.
     As Amanda Marcotte had summarized it,
As such, there was little effort to make a coherent argument, much less a persuasive one. Instead, Trump attorney Michael van der Veen set the tone right away with a speech that was less legal argument and more a litany of right-wing grievances: "Cancel culture", "Russia" and, of course, whining endlessly about property destruction during Black Lives Matter protests which existed far more in the conservative imagination than in real life.

    As Congressman Joe Neguse had pointed out (a fact I'd pointed out in my article's peroration February sixth), if the Republicans let him off the hook again, and he runs for office and loses, as he absolutely will, we're going to see a reprise of January 6th. And who knows how successful the rioters will be the next time?


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