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CSotD: What did they not know and how do they not know it?

I’d like Mike Smith‘s cartoon better if he had widened the scope, because we’d be in a different situation if Dershowitz were the only character in the drama who does not appear to have read the basic document.

 

Though, to be fair to Dershowitz, he has a long record — as Nick Anderson points out — of taking on unpopular causes, though he was a bit of a backgrounder in OJ’s case, with Johnny Cochran and Robert Kardashian taking more prominent roles.

Taking on unpopular defendants can be noble and is certainly a necessary part of our justice system, and the Supreme Court has ruled that defendants deserve attorneys in order to assure that they are treated fairly, whether things end up in a trial, a plea or a release.

However, the ethical obligation is to seek a fair trial, not necessarily an acquittal. It might mean a manslaughter conviction instead of murder, or life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, but it’s not supposed to mean exoneration for something you actually did.

 

The difference between defending OJ and defending Trump is that we didn’t realize the jury was determined to acquit OJ until they had done it, while the fix is clearly in for Dear Leader, and I got a laugh out of Jeff Stahler‘s take, because, even if Collins and Romney came over to the other side, it would still be 51-49 in favor of the defense.

And that’s only in technical matters like “Do we want to know what happened?”

Conviction requires a two-thirds majority, as anyone who has read the Constitution knows, and, as anyone who has read the jury knows, that ain’t gonna happen, even if the Democrats produced the body of that poor fellow gunned down on Fifth Avenue.

 

As Walt Handelsman points out, the Republicans have all the evidence they need, which is that they know which side of the bread the butter is on.

 

And Mike Thompson‘s cartoon would seem like overkill, if CBS were not reporting that Republican Senators had been specifically told  “Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike” (at 1.20 of this video).

It might be argued that this amounts to jury tampering, and, as far as I know, a charge of jury tampering does not require that anyone be surprised by it.

But it does suggest that Thompson is within reasonable bounds of commentary to suggest that suppression of evidence and similar tactics are similar to what we would expect of gangsters.

 

What I’m having trouble understanding is the number of cartoonists — including, but not limited to, Scott Stantis — who are declaring the process an abject failure for Democrats.

Beyond the obvious insistence of Trump’s defense team that nothing has been proven, I don’t see either definitive proof of that or any substantial proof that the public has overwhelmingly rejected the prosecution’s arguments.

As far as I know, there was never an expectation that 20 GOP Senators would break ranks and vote to convict. Whether that reflects on the quality of the case against the president or how Republicans balance patriotic ethics with party loyalty is irrelevant: The plan was to outline the case in front of the American people, and the hope was to make a few chinks in GOP armor, though certainly not enough for a conviction.

Rather, this is the flip side of all that free air time Trump was given in the lead up to the 2016 elections.

 

The fact that this is a contest of party loyalty rather than of guilt or innocence puts conservative cartoonists in a challenging spot.

Steve Kelley repeats the GOP talking point that the entire process is a fraud intended to overturn the 2016 election results. Note that he’s not, as some have, arguing that impeachment is unconstitutional, which any reasonably bright eighth grader could refute.

Rather, he has a defensible opinion that the Democrats are seizing on a minor mishap to gain power, and, while I think listening to how Schiff has laid out the points should convince you that these aren’t minor points, it remains a reasonable, if partisan, argument.

 

Even though, as Mike Smith sarcastically suggests in a second appearance today, the charges against Trump are a lot more weighty than lying about a blow job, which was reason enough to impeach Bill Clinton after years of digging for something, anything.

That may be whataboutism, but it’s a fair accusation, and fits nicely with all the unearthed video clips of hard-hitting prosecutors of Bubba who are now hard-hitting defenders of Dear Leader, contradicting in 2020 the high-minded principles they cited then.

And, parenthetically, it’s why I think they should have gone after those payoffs of Stormy Daniels and Karen MacDougal, not because I think the president’s sex life is connected to his responsiblities as president, and not because I think putting an ally in danger during war for selfish reasons is less significant.

Rather because sex sells. It sells newspapers and magazines, but it also sells a legal argument, even if the actual legality of that argument is kind of nebulous.

And even if the notion of prosecuting each president who strayed from his marriage reminds me of Smeraldina’s frustrated, feminist line from “Servant of Two Masters,

If I were a queen, I’d make every man who was unfaithful carry a branch of a tree in his hand, and all the towns would look like forests.

Meanwhile, the more flags those patriots wave, the more you can bet they haven’t studied the Constitution and don’t understand the process unfolding.

It’s a bit like veterans: The ones who have been in the toughest combat tell the fewest stories, and the fellow who boasts of glory likely spent the war filing papers in New Jersey.

Ditto with people who speak with fervor and joy of a nation founded upon a document they have never read.

And if anyone wants to compare this impeachment with the Watergate hearings, let them bring forth someone who can explain patriotism like this, passionately but fairly:

 

Community Comments

#1 Sam McKinney
January/24/2020
@ 8:39 am

It is bad when it is Friday and no comic strips.
Tells me how bad of a mess we are in.

#2 Mike Peterson
January/24/2020
@ 9:31 am

You need to visit more often — we did our weekly funnies fix yesterday!

#3 Paul Berge
January/24/2020
@ 10:25 am

It has been a sad loss for the United States that Barbara Jordan was never seated on the Supreme Court of the United States.

#4 parnell nelson
January/24/2020
@ 10:55 am

Sadly we have devolved from a government of intelligent statesmen and women to a government of poorly rendered cartoon characters devoid of humor, intelligence, courage, and morality…and yet I am optimistic that the Ship of State will right itself and sail on. I just hope to live long enough to see it.

#5 BERNADETTE MCANNEY
January/26/2020
@ 3:59 am

I really wanted to comment though what is there to say? I so thought I would never witness anything like this. To see anyone support trump makes me feel as though I have fallen through the looking glass! He represents everything that we as decent Americans are asked to guard against. Yet, he has supporters, and many of them call themselves “Christian”! Again, what is there to say!

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