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CSotD: Res Ipsa Loquitur, even if nobody else will

It’s been a tough week for people who enjoy competition.

Sunday night, the Super Bowl, predicted to be a high-scoring gunfight, turned into a one-sided, boring affair, and then yesterday, the opening of Trump’s second impeachment trial did the same.

Michael Ramirez (Creators) sums it up: Trump’s legal team barely showed up, opening with empty, pointless blathering followed by some guy shouting and then finishing with some fellow who just went on and on and to be honest I wasn’t listening anymore.

(I turned off the Super Bowl midway through the fourth quarter, too.)

 

The President has declined an opportunity to testify, perhaps for the obvious reasons Walt Handelsman (AMS) ascribes, though it’s not so much that he’s guilty as that he’s apt to say just about anything, and if they can’t get him for sedition, simply having him under oath would be, as his side would phrase it, “a perjury trap.”

 

Somebody seems to have persuaded him to stifle, and it’s not just that, as Ed Hall (Ind) notes, he’s barred from Twitter.

My own suspicion is that Ivanka has suggested he STFU, because he wouldn’t likely listen to more formal advice.

And, along with Hall, I also suspect that it’s killing him.

It’s also not terribly effective, as the non-security in his circle continues to be less of a matter of leaks than one of a virtual colander.

Reports of his rage at his inept defense team came from the New York Times, from CNN and even from Fox, with CNN adding this nugget:

Which I suppose is another way of saying, “What if he ever gets into a real trial?” since everyone has known from the start that he was in no real jeopardy this time around.

 

There have been a number of jokes and cartoons about the loyalties of the GOP being entirely towards Dear Leader, but Kevin Siers (N&O) wins for this “Can You Name Them?” depiction of Batman villains and I’m glad he elected the Penguin foreman because it means that, in my head, I got to hear the predictable verdict read in Burgess Meredith’s voice.

 

 

There just never was any there there.

Ann Telnaes (WashPo) began live-drawing the events but, while the reportage in her portfolio is still worth visiting, the flaccidness of Trump’s defense seems to have failed to spark the fury that normally gives her work such a sharp edge.

Not her fault. As David Axelrod put it:

 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Scott Stantis (Counterpoint) dismisses the whole thing as an empty waste of time, since there is no conceivable chance of a conviction.

Which would be true if the only goal were those on the Democratic donkey’s list, of forcing him from office and making sure he is legally barred from returning in four years.

However, there is the matter of seeing justice served to the extent possible, and that is not without some practical goals, including lowering his chances of rising from the political grave.

 

As noted here before, laying out the evidence could shift, if not the hard-core Deplorables, at least some of Trump’s current adherents, and those who watch with any sort of open mind are seeing what Pat Bagley (SLTrib) depicts here: Republicans dutifully turning in their souls to Dear Leader, under the gaze of a portrait of Vidkun Quisling, who gave his name to these practical decisions to cooperate.

Quisling was, we should note, well aware that the Norwegian army was not going to defeat that of the Third Reich, so why bother resisting?

Assuming those in power will stay in power, that is.

 

Another reason to continue a hopeless trial is putting everyone in their place in history, which perhaps a full hearing will do. At least, as Robert Ariail (AMS) suggests, it may place Trump in proper measure and give poor James Buchanan a break.

After all, Buchanan only appeased and ignored the burgeoning seditionists, failing to deal with the opening days of secession.

He didn’t actively encourage them.

 

Mike Luckovich (AJC) suggests what Trump should be remembered for, and not without reason.

Despite the futility of breaking through party loyalty to obtain a conviction, there is value in putting things on the record.

There may have been no point in prosecuting Nixon, since his guilt was well-established, particularly with the release of the White House tapes that spurred his resignation.

But Harding’s untimely death left open where incompetent oversight and active collaboration meet in the open corruption of Teapot Dome, which puts him alongside Grant in the generous-if-dubious category of poor management.

However, he knew, if not in time to take action.

Shortly before his death, he asked Herbert Hoover,

If you knew of a great scandal in our administration, would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?

It’s a question a lot of people in Washington ought to be asking themselves.

Let’s hope the topic comes up again in the fall of 2022.

 

Community Comments

#1 Nicholas Merritt
February/10/2021
@ 7:33 am

Mike, it seems like every time you point out a republican comic as being from Counterpoint it’s always either based on complete falsehoods or at best an incredibly bad faith statement about something – never a comic that is genuinely an alternate viewpoint on a legitimately debatable subject, which is what I thought the whole point of that newsletter was. Is this just cognitive bias on my part where I’m only remembering the bad ones, or what’s going on?

#2 Mike Peterson
February/10/2021
@ 7:58 am

One of the signature elements of Counterpoint is not simply letting but encouraging cartoonists to go to the edge where syndicates might tend to ask them to be more moderate. I don’t think the liberal cartoonists take as much advantage of that freedom as the conservatives do, but that might be my own cognitive bias.

#3 Daniel Turcotte
February/10/2021
@ 12:05 pm

As if they HAD souls to turn in…

#4 Mary McNeil
February/10/2021
@ 4:54 pm

Gotta hand it to Ariail’s cartoon – we in Ohio have been asking “Where is Warren G. Harding now that we need him?” for the last few years.

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