The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

“You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game. You don’t play to just play it.” ~ Herman Edwards.

I’ve been watching the second Trump impeachment trial, nearly gavel to gavel. I did bail out on some Friday’s session and the arguments being laid out by Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen who was trying to make the unmakeable case by inserting falsehoods, using deflection and making a mockery of himself and the proceedings.

I suppose that van der Veen can be excused for looking like a boy trying to play in the men’s court. Not a Constitutional lawyer, van der Veen is a personal injury attorney by trade, what we used to derisively call an “ambulance chaser.” He’s the guy you call if you want to squeeze a million dollars out of the owner of the dog that nipped you in the leg and drew a drop of blood. He’s not the guy you want fighting legal brief to legal brief against the likes of Jaime Raskin, a former professor of Constitutional Law. Van der Veen’s method of operation of feigned indignation, overacting and accusatory rhetoric is probably more suited to a civil case than a Constitutionally based trial in the Senate Chamber. (In one telling moment during Saturday’s session, the Senate chamber erupted in derisive laughter at the counselor’s rhetoric).

After Friday’s adjournment, and an apparent upcoming Saturday session of closing arguments a Republican Congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, came forward and confirmed that Donald Trump rebuffed Kevin McCarthy’s plea, made while the insurrection was in process, for the president to make a statement that would call off the riot. This was not only a contradiction of van der Veen’s presentation but clear evidence that Trump knew exactly what was happening, when it was happening and was only to happy to let the mayhem continue. (Link to AP story).

According to Beutler, Trump’s response to McCarthy’s call for help was, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
McCarthy responded to Trump, “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”

But Representative Beutler went further in her statement on Friday night saying, “And to the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”

Beutler was INVITING witnesses to come forward and testify as to Trump’s behavior and demeanor during an insurrection.

As of Friday night it seemed like the proverbial slam dunk that Beutler at the very least should be called to testify, if not also Kevin McCarthy, any White House staffer who was witness to Trump’s behavior, and Senator Tommy Tuberville (who told Trump during the insurrection that Mike Pence had been evacuated by security to a safe place).

On Saturday morning I got up to see House Manager Jamie Raskin announce that the House Managers would call Buetler as witness and subpoena her notes.
I pumped my fist and, risking the wrath of my sleeping wife, screamed, “Yes!”

In short order all fifty Senate Democrats and five Republicans voted to hear witnesses. Some procedural confusion ensued and the Senators adjourned, apparently so that they could figure out how to proceed with the calling of witnesses.

Figuring that it would take the Senate some time to locate their Senatorial asses with their Senatorial hands I decided to go for a run.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and saw the closing arguments in process.

As it turned out once behind closed doors, what used to be known as the smoke filled rooms, an agreement was reached between the Democrats and the Republicans that reversed the decision to call witnesses and to go straight to closing arguments.

According to a report on Vox, “Political leaders in both parties preferred the trial to end now, rather than dragging it out. Democrats hope to return to a focus on President Biden’s agenda, and Republicans want the focus off Trump’s ugly actions.”

Dragging it out? It was the shortest impeachment trial ever held. It was shorter even than the Clinton trial in which three witnesses were called – over a blow job and a stained blue dress. Apparently for this Democratic Senate an insurrection, an attempt to overthrow the government, to overturn the votes of 80 million people, five deaths, numerous injuries and millions of dollars to fix damage and turn DC into a fortress didn’t measure up to the standard of a little felatio. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me since Americans are so tight assed and Puritanical when it comes to sex.

In the end Trump was acquitted as everyone in the free world expected before the ink was dry on the article of impeachment. Beutler’s testimony probably wouldn’t have changed the seventeen GOP minds required to convict. Any subsequent witnesses brought forth as a result of further investigation or Beutler’s testimony would also not likely have changed seventeen GOP minds.

We’ll never know though will we?

In 1972, Richard Nixon won reelection to the presidency by a landslide even as damning evidence against he and his staff over the Watergate break in months earlier was being made public. For a time it seemed unlikely that Nixon, having won the election by such a wide margin, would be impeached and convicted. That was until 1973 when two prospective witnesses, John Dean and Alexander Butterfield, made themselves available and thus making impeachment and conviction real possibilities. With the net closing, Nixon resigned; the moral being that a witness can drastically turn a case.

But in the Trump case we’ll never, ever know.

I think that maybe we should come up with new rules for everything. If the baseball, football, basketball, soccer or any other game looks to be out of reach then quit. If you’re running a 1500 meter race and you’re 200 meters behind on the last lap then just drop out. Why bother finishing anything if on its face it looks like a lost cause. Hell if the boat’s taking on water just stop bailing and go down with the ship.

If the thing, the Trump impeachment, was worth starting then why in the wide, wide world of sports wasn’t it worth going to the wall for? Why wasn’t it worth exhausting all possibilities? Why wasn’t it worth following through on due diligence?

The Democrats who reversed their decision to call witnesses are just as feckless as the Republicans who said from the beginning that they would vote to acquit.
Those Democrats dishonored the memories of those who died as a result of the insurrection.
Those Democrats essentially spat on the law enforcement officers who were trying to protect them.
Those Democrats turned their backs on all of the staff and support personnel who thought they might die in that building on January 6th.

In the end whatever resolve that the Democrats exhibited in January turned to be all wind and smoke in February, ironically on President’s Day Weekend.

The one, single person who showed herself to be patriotic, to exhibit some courage, was a usually quiet and reserved, Republican Representative, Jaime Herrera Beutler who on the night of February 12th decided that her integrity was more important than her political career. She likely committed political suicide but at least she’ll be able to look herself in the mirror.

I have nothing but respect for Jaime Herrera Beutler and will be sending her a letter praising her for her integrity.

As regards the Democratic Senate and the party in general, I’m about done with it. It’s base strategy seems to be to concede the field. It’s motto seems to be (after conceding the field to the GOP), “Live to fight another day,” only to repeat that motto when another day arrives and another concession occurs.

I feel dirty just belonging to this party and will change my affiliation and am quite frankly considering dropping out of the political process altogether.

8 thoughts on “Wind and Smoke

  1. Scott Blake says:

    As Will Rogers famously said, “I belong to no organized political party, I am a Democrat.” I’m not a fan of the party system because the party platform and party affiliation seems more important to many politicians than anything else they could do politically. I didn’t see much of the trial but was impressed by Raskin. Deciding not to call witnesses made the whole thing an exercise in futility. Your comment about Americans being Puritanical about sex can be seen in comparing TV commercials in other countries to those here. Nudity and sexual innuendo are common in the commercials of other countries. Americans tend to be pretty tight-assed about other things also.

    1. Paulie says:

      We have Jefferson and John Adams largely to thank for the party system. Adams railed against the party system until he was elected as a member of a party. The hostility between then President Adams and V.P Jefferson more or less led to the 12th amendment which pretty much cemented the party system into American politics.
      Raskin did a magnificent job. Too bad it went to waste.

  2. eden baylee says:

    Hi Paul,
    I’m sorry for the disappointing outcome. It started out so well, and I was deeply impressed by Jamie Raskin and Stacey Plaskett. Their case showed courage, intellect, and passion, citing history and facts. In contrast, the opposition’s strategy was to shout, bully, and bluster. It was obvious that what tRump did was indefensible, and they didn’t even try to defend him.
    It was theatre until I thought witnesses would be called. Too bad that ended as quickly as it started. Why bother with the charade? Was it to inject a dose of legitimacy into a trial that had a foregone conclusion?
    You knew and I knew that tRump would be acquitted. 
    So what the fuck was the trial really about? 
    The GOP won’t even hold their own accountable for the worst of crimes—inciting an insurrection where people died. I don’t have any sympathy for the old guard of the Democrats either—feckless, ball-less, and they couldn’t perform fellatio if their lives depended on it. They’d be sucking and blowing at the same time and that is NOT a good blowjob.
    They should step aside. Give the younger generation of Democrats the reins of power; their aim to appease no longer works.

    Hope you have a happy Valentine’s day.

    1. Paulie says:

      Hi Eden,
      The reversal on calling witnesses was so that the Senate could go back to regular business, the most pressing being COVID relief and confirming Biden’s nomination.
      My feeling is that this was short sighted expediency. Their move to concentrate on the short term while ignoring the long term missed the opportunity to put another nail in the coffin of Trumpism and to further discredit Cruz, Graham, Hawley, Rubio and the other Congressional enablers.
      Instead of dousing the embers of Trumpism, they left a spark.

      There’s talk of Lara Trump running for the Senate in North Carolina and Ivanka running against Rubio in the Florida primaries (I never would’ve dreamed that I’d be pulling for little Marco).

      Until Trumpism is eradicated I’m afraid we’re stuck with the middle of the road Democrats. I think that for the foreseeable future we have to look for the stabilization of the Republican Party before a more progressive Democratic candidate can seriously be considered for the presidency.

      This all goes to show how much damage Trump wreaked.

      I have one more political post in my head. One that’s been sort of rattling around in my skull since November. Then, barring some new development, I’m going to take a step back.

  3. eden baylee says:

    This >>> I think that for the foreseeable future we have to look for the stabilization of the Republican Party before a more progressive Democratic candidate can seriously be considered for the presidency.

    How can we stabilize them? That McConnell said tRump was “morally and practically responsible” for the coup and yet he voted to acquit says the GOP was never going to convict. People died and still no conviction. If stabilization is playing nice with them, then I don’t think it’s working.

    In the end, it wasn’t just tRump the Senate exonerated, it was tRrumpism. It opens the door for even worse demagogues, like the Josh Hawleys of the party, to step up.

    Ok, I’ll shut up now. No point getting riled up before I go to bed. Look forward to your next post. Good night. 😴

    1. Paulie says:

      Hi Eden,
      My comment about the GOP being stabilized refers to the Republican’s work. That party is seriously looking for an identity and we can more or less only stand by, watch and hope that the adults and the sane come out on top.

      Hence my comment about the Democrats holding off on nominating a progressive. I would hate to see moderate Republicans and Democrats feel like they have to move towards another populist like Trump.

      Everyone, including the Democrats knew that the GOP was never going to convict. The whole premise of my piece wasn’t to take the GOP to task – that was the low hanging fruit. My premise wasn’t even to condemn the impeachment. It was to condemn the Dems for not seeing the trial process through in the end.

      Here’s where you need to set down your glass of wine so you don’t choke on it or spit it all over…wait for it…I think that it’s actually a good thing that McConnell is the minority leader. Reportedly he hates Trump and wants Trumpism stamped out of the party.

      McConnell, as odious as he is, is a master of politics. In some ways he reminds me of Lyndon Johnson (I know, I bring LBJ up a lot – he is a compelling story for me). In any case we’re stuck with Mitch for six years so we might just as well bet on him to bury Trump.

      I think that Trumpism is still going to carry some sway but mostly in local politics; districts like the one that elected that whacko Greene to the House. Remember, Trump left office with an approval rating in the 30s and the influence of former presidents wanes with time.

      And let’s not forget the potential legal issues that Trump faces.

      As for playing nice, I would rather see the Democrats be firm and learn to stop tripping all over themselves. It’s a tough balancing act that the Democrats can’t seem to master; move towards a progressive agenda while avoiding the Socialist brand.

      Biden isn’t going to unite anything, but maybe he’ll be successful enough to maintain a high approval rating and to quell all those ridiculous notions about recruiting Antifa to occupy the suburbs and ravage the white women.

      Gawd, I both love and hate politics.

      Have a great day. I apologize for this long missive.

  4. eden baylee says:

    Gawd, you make me laugh, Paul! No worries about your missives. They are my evening political treat.
    So … I did not read this with wine glass in hand, and I’m sober as can be, and I comprehended every word, and I’ll try my best not to go off topic on some profane rant. No promises though. 😉
    That McConnell hates tRump is good. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, sort of. I still dislike that turkey waddle, and you already know what I think of his ^&#*! wife.
    Is this the best Congress can do for now? Okay then, we all need to move forward. I get it. Democrats and Republicans want to put this embarrassing incident behind them, and in light of a pandemic, it’s understandable. (I say this begrudgingly of course).
    And I don’t intend to forget the potential legal issues for tRump. If anything, I just want some charge to stick to him. Jaywalking, littering … I don’t care. Throw him in the clink.
    The socialist brand is beyond my comprehension. If progress equates to socialism, if healthcare (especially in the middle of a pandemic) equates to socialism … then give me fucking socialism.
    I said the trial was theatre. I still believe that. Perhaps the only positive thing is it was made public, that some Republicans viewers (not the tRumpists) saw it and said: “This is NOT who we are. We need to pull back from the crazy.”
    I really hope so.
    Despite my loathing for 45, I wish you a Happy President’s Day today. 🙂

  5. Paulie says:

    Profane, off topic rants are not only acceptable, they’re encouraged 😏.
    President’s Day was raining. I spent a lot of the afternoon taking the official E. Baylee musical tour. Knopfler 👍

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