I’ll be back in the high life again. All the doors I closed one time, will open up again Steve Winwood Back in the High Life
The first thing to realize about the open impeachment hearings beginning on Wednesday morning is that they’re not going to be like the congressional hearings you’ve become used to. For 8 long years, from January of 2011 to January of 2019, a congressional hearing consisted of a bunch of ill tempered sots in in hand me down suits screaming, deriding and insulting a person sitting in a chair who thought that they had gone there to answer questions. It was pure political theater on the part of the GOP, meant not to inform, enlighten, or uncover some greater truth, but to spread propaganda.
Starting on Wednesday, the difference in watching the Pelosi-Schiff run hearings is going to be like the difference between watching college courses online versus the latest episode of the Jerry Springer show. Personally, I’ve been greatly amused through this process, watching the GOP stumble around like a drunk walking into his dark house, hoping not to wake up the wife. The GOP, and especially Trump, are used to bullying the Democrats around. First they bellow that these closed door depositions are a mockery of process, and must be open to the public. Now they piss and moan that open hearings are defamatory, and should be behind closed doors. They keep expecting the Democrats to accede to every demand, but don’t notice that the Democrats are waling around like the kid who got Tae Kwon Do lessons from Aunt Sylvia last Christmas.
Let’s do a quick run through, and see how this can fall apart quickly for Trump and the GOP. I haven’t been able to find an actual, set-in-stone program for the hearings, but here’s my understanding of how they will run. The witness will be called in and sworn in. Chairman Schiff will then make an introductory statement. Then the ranking member, presumably Jim “He groped me Coach!” Jordan will get equal time for his statement. Then Schiff will have up to, I believe it’s 45 minutes to question the witness, followed by the ranking member having equal time. Then the staff lawyer for the Democrats will get a similar block of time, followed by the staff lawyer for the GOP. If Trump and the GOP are behaving themselves, I believe there is time set aside for Trump’s lawyer as well. Then, at the end, I believe there are accommodations for the standard 5 minute block of time for individual member questioning.
While this process is scrupulously fair, it doesn’t seem very likely to be favorable to the GOP. Schiff is going to be running these shows strictly as fact finding and fact exposing hearings. Schiff is a seasoned veteran former prosecutor who, pardonez moi Francais, looks like he’d be a motherfucker on cross examination. Schiff is going to elicit nothing but facts, and phrase his questioning so that the witness ends up putting those facts into a crystal clear context. This is how competent prosecutors win cases.
Jim Jordan on the other hand, is a lazy, arrogant, dismissive blowhard who can’t be bothered to do any more prep than bone up on the latest Trump talking points. If Jordan plays this up like a drunken frat pledge trying to impress the guys, the GOP is sunk. The card carrying Trombies out there will probably tune into reruns of the World Series Of Poker on ESPN instead of the hearings, and that’s who Jordan would be paying to. But I don’t think that actual interested, concerned people tuning into the hearings are going to be very impressed with Jordan’s snide, sarcastic, bombastic insults, and spouting wild ass conspiracy theories in response to Schiff’s calm, measured presentations.
And it may not get any better for the GOP from there on out. If there was one highlight to the rolling Trumpster fire shit show that was the Corey Lewandowski debacle, it was the way that the House Democrats staff lawyer completely drew and quartered Lewandowski on national television. personally, I don’t believe that such treatment will be forthcoming for most of these witnesses, since they don’t appear by nature to be adversarial witnesses to Schiff and the Democrats, but find it likely that Schiff will have coordinated with the staff lawyer, so that each can play to their own strengths, and they don’t waste tie by walking up each others heels, repeating the same questions to a witness, unless they want to stress a particular point.
But these witnesses may not get a much rougher go from the GOP staff lawyers. In looking over the deposition transcripts, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and various legal analysts have uncovered some rather unusual things. Mainly, the GOP staff lawyers don’t appear to be very effective or good. They don’t always use all o their allotted tie, and they don’t seem to spend much time trying to either impeach a witnesses testimony, or contradict that testimony with other conflicting facts or testimony. Neither do they seem to hone in on any time or fact discrepancies. Instead, they seem to spend their time, albeit in a quieter and more measured tone, floating out the same lame ass conspiracy theories that Jordan and Trump are spouting. And the witnesses aren’t buying it, they’re pushing back, hard. Personally, I can’t think of much of anything that is worse for a lawyer than getting schooled up by an adversarial witness.
There is one more thing that I’m going to be watching for in these hearings, and that’s potential risk to Jim Jordan, and Mark Meadows as well, should he choose to join this pie fight. Walking diaper stains like Jordan, Meadows, and Matt Gaetz get away with the lame shit that they pull, simply because they know that nobody, except possibly their supporters, is paying attention. But these hearings are going to create much higher interest, especially among more sane voters, who don’t normally pay attention to their elected representatives. If these hearings go badly for Trump and the GOP, and if states like Ohio and North Carolina start trending away from them in the polling, it will be interesting to see if said antics just might mean that Jordan, Meadows and possibly even Gaetz aren’t looking for new gigs starting in January of 2021.
So that’s what I’m going to be looking for as I settle in to watch rounds one and two of this heavyweight fight. But no matter what, it will be refreshing to watch hearings that are actually interested in finding facts for a change. And you figure that in 7-10 days we’ll start to see some polling conducted post hearings. It will be interesting to see what happens to the popularity of both the hearings as well as impeachment as this goes along. Don’t touch that dial.
To know the future, look to the past. before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen