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CSotD: Racing With The Lion

I’m going to reach across the sea to start the day, with a Chris Riddell cartoon that, in fact, ran a few days before the Impeachment Trial began.

Not only is the whole world watching, but the whole world knows what they’re watching.

And I suppose we should know, too, but seeing it unfold yesterday reminded me of that old story about the two guys who encounter a hungry lion, and one starts to run while the other says, “You can’t outrun a lion!” to which he answers, “I don’t have to outrun the lion. I only have to outrun you.”

Hence the headline “Racing with the lion” as opposed to “Racing the lion,” because the GOP is counting on the lion, confident that they can stay ahead of the Democrats.

 

Deb Milrath lays out the basis of this contest, in which Adam Schiff gets up and makes intelligent, fact-based points about the case, and then Trump’s lawyers get up and say, “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire” and “What About?” and cite fake history as well as some real but totally irrelevant precedents and just generally blow smoke while not addressing any of the actual points Schiff had made.

To get up and state such nonsensical frippery before 100 Senators of whom about two-thirds are attorneys or at least “have legal training” would be not simply foolish but quite possibly insulting enough to blow your case completely, if you were actually addressing the Senate.

 

But, as Matt Wuerker points out, the fix is in, and it’s no secret: McConnell stated weeks ago that he was taking direction from the White House and his rules are clearly intended not simply to favor the President but to ensure his acquittal.

You don’t need a two-headed quarter if you refuse to start the game with a coin flip.

Now here’s a particularly apt

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Kevin Siers)

 

(Drew Sheneman)

You can’t argue with the premise that McConnell has set up a fraud and cover-up, given, as already noted, that he promised a fraud and cover-up well before the Senate was called into session.

And not only does that keep it from being a surprise, but his long-ago pledge to oppose everything Obama proposed, and his blatant smothering of the Merrick Garland nomination, mean that only an idiot would expect him to behave with any motivation beyond holding onto power, with no pretense of statesmanship and with an absolute belief that what the GOP wants is what’s best for the country, even if all the GOP wants is power.

Siers suggests he’s purposefully operating in darkness, but I prefer Sheneman’s take, that he is blatantly, arrogantly working in plain sight.

However, the point is not what McConnell is doing so much as it is how he got into a position to be able to do it.

Those of us who remember how Republicans Howard Baker and Lowell Weicker conducted themselves on the Senate Watergate Committee, with sorrow but with integrity, are getting no sense of that patriotic regret this time.

 

Ann Telnaes sketched the hearing yesterday and following her on Twitter will reward you with a number of insightful pieces (Update: The Post has gathered them here), but this is my favorite, because it’s not so much a matter of McConnell’s leadership as it is the willingness of the Senate Republicans to be led.

And, y’know, the fact that they’re a bunch of rats.

 

Which, to borrow one more of her sketches, is where the whole thing of who you are addressing and who you are attempting to outrun comes into play.

There’s a telling phrase running around the Internets that goes “Trump is a dumb man’s idea of a smart man, a poor man’s idea of a rich man, and a weak man’s idea of a strong man.”

That’s not simply a putdown of low-information voters but a pretty good statement of the Republican campaign plan.

When people read Tom Clancy novels or watch Die Hard movies, they should be aware that, while it’s all very suspenseful and exciting, it also bears no resemblance to How It All Works.

Not everyone is.

Such that, when you make a movie out of a novel by Graham Greene, who really did understand that stuff, it ends up praised and playing in art houses while Bruce Willis rakes in the big bucks.

Similarly, those Senatorial attorneys may have been squirming in their seats while Sekulow whined and mewled and brought up irrelevant and inapplicable points, but the Deplorables were eating it up at home.

And, if they weren’t watching, Fox News will present it to them later, as a pigeon doth feed her young.

Jay Sekulow and his clown caravan are a Deplorable’s idea of good attorneys.

No matter how well Adam Schiff and his team lay out the articles, what will be remembered is that Sekulow and his team shouted that it was all lies, and cited Big Important Legal Matters that sounded relevant and powerful and persuasive, just like the lawyers on television shows.

And the fact that McConnell and his cronies can’t possibly outrun that lion doesn’t matter, as long as they can outrun Adam Schiff.

Which reminds me of an old joke from the last years of the Soviet Union, in which some smart Russian politico recognized that, for once, the Soviets had a young leader, Gorbachev, while the Americans had Ronald Reagan, who was 20 years older.

So the Russians suggested a race between the two leaders, sure that their man would win, and, to their surprise and delight, the Americans accepted.

But they were even more surprised, and not at all delighted, when the elderly Reagan burst from the starting line and left Gorbachev pathetically following in his wake.

The next day, the headline in Pravda read: “Gorbachev wins silver medal in race; Reagan finishes next to last.”

The joke being that both countries have a dependable core of Deplorables whom they can manipulate at will.

And I also remember …

 

… when this 2005 Kirk Anderson cartoon seemed fanciful.

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