According to his online biography, “Jonathan Lemire is a White House reporter for The Associated Press (AP) and a political analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.” He cannot – and is not – both a reporter and an analyst for NBC/MSNBC. His frequent appearances on the latter prove it.
As a reporter, you would expect Lemire to be objective and unbiased in his published accounts. He would get and present both sides of an issue. Get the facts and let his readers draw the conclusions.
Instead, Lemire writes from his conclusions. He feeds pre-digested press pablum to the world. Like most denizens of the east coast media cabal, Lemire writes from his left-wing perspective. He editorializes as he “reports.”
That is not an uncommon problem within the Fourth Estate. Media bias to the left in the studios and newsrooms is well known and well documented. The lopsided liberal bias results in one-sided partisanship in favor of Democrats. Studies have shown that between 70 and 80 percent of reporters, editors, columnists, producers, analysts, and commentators are Democrats of the liberal persuasion. In the east coast cabal that appears to be higher. Lemire personifies that truth.
It is Lemire’s paid services to MSNBC in which his extreme bias is best seen. He may carry the title of an analyst, but it is not the function he performs. In fact, he would not have that high-profile gig on MSNBC if he was an honest analyst.
One does not get a seat at the table on “Morning Joe” – or any other MSNBC program — unless you are willing to parrot the opinions and prejudicial narratives concocted or endorsed by the network’s management, scripted by the producers and voiced by the online personalities. Apostasy is not permitted.
Folks like Lemire are trading off their honor and integrity for fame and fortune in a Faustian agreement with the media barons. They are no longer journalists who subscribe to the standards and ethics of the profession, but propagandists devoted to convincing rather than informing their viewers and readers. As “Morning Joe’s” Mika Brzezinski once claimed. “It is our role to tell people what to think.”
The essence of propaganda is to develop narratives – true or not – and advance them repeatedly. It is the tactic of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who famously – or infamously – said that if you repeat a lie often enough, the public will come to believe it — no matter how big the lie.
If you watch Lemire over time – as I have – you will realize that he does not have an original thought – and most certainly never a counterpoint. He adds nothing new to the conversation. He is just another voice in the bass section. When asked to offer his opinion – his so-called analysis – Lemire retreats to echoing the sentiment he heard around the table. He knows the script and he follows it without a hint of improvisation.
Perhaps his narrow view is the result of the fact that he has never escaped the narrow east coast media bubble. He has never spent much time away from the hardcore liberal establishment that dominates the culture in that region. Lemire grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Columbia University. He cut his reporting teeth in New York City, where he worked for the New York Daily News for ten years – before joining Associated Press.
According to most polls – which never seem to be the subject of media coverage – the news industry is held in very low regard by a majority of the American people. They do not believe what they see and read. The people of the press have lost their trust.
Some like to blame President Trump because of his attacks on what he calls “fake news,” but the public’s disrespect for the Fourth Estate was seen long before Trump. The gradual decline of trust in the news media parallels the industry’s abandoning old standards for what became known as “advocacy journalism” – and that has now devolved into propaganda-as-news.
Lemire is not the cause – and maybe he could not make much of an improvement on his own – but he is most certainly the creature of the corrupted culture. His value on MSNBC is his voice, not his brain.
So, there ‘tis.
In my many decades of advising political candidates – and other public figures – how to manage their public images, I have always placed some importance on “looks.” How you message and what you believe are very important, the appearance of a candidate can either reinforce or distract from a good public image.
Senator John McCain did himself no good by campaigning in tan pants and polo shirts. He looked more like an Arizona retiree than the senior senator from that state. On the other hand, President Obama, with his dark suits and sincere ties looked more like a President than McCain. That was quite an accomplishment since every previous President was an old white guy –like McCain. He just did not look presidential.
While I like Congressman Jim Jordan’s politics, I wish he would buy a suit – and wear it. Yes, there are times that shedding the jacket can connect with voters – that is when it is an exception, like passing out cupcakes in a food line or flipping those pork chops at the Iowa State Fair. But not all the time. Not press conferences. Not at hearings.
I am sure it is not accident with Jordan. He thinks he is relating to the common man. To me, he looks like a pocket-protector wearing manager of a used car dealership. And even the average car salesman would have enough sense to put on a suit to appear on the hallowed floor of the United States House of Representatives.
Those with longer memories may recall how President Jimmy Carter would carry his suit bag as he disembarked from Air Force One. There was even a joke going around that someone made Carter strain by actually putting clothes in the bag.
So, what about our current presidential candidates – starting out with our current President?
President Trump wears presidential clothes – and he looks good in them considering that he is a big fellow. But of course, the most obvious attention-grabber is the hair. It has detracted from his presidential persona. Over the years, it has toned down a bit. As President, Trump does not need an odd hair do to attract attention.
Of course, Trump cannot give it up now because it has been part of his signature look for sooooo long—and if he did, Congressman Adam Schiff would see it as an impeachable offense.
There are several candidates who are well suited for the Presidency – and I only mean that in the fashionista sense. Certainly, Joe Biden. He has carried that look for a lifetime. His only appearance problem is his age – and fixing that would require a few more hair transplants and some television makeup.
Newbie candidate Michael Bloomberg is a clone of Biden fashion wise. It is hard to imagine that he would ever take off his suitcoat in public – even to flip chops in Iowa. Maybe that is why he is not going there. He is about as old as Biden and shows it.
Millionaire Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is also an old man, but he is going for a much different look than Biden or Bloomberg. He dresses down and makes sure his hair is properly messed. Most times he looks like he had the window open as he was driving down the highway. Rather than a President of the United States, Sanders comes off looking more like a poli-sci professor at New York University. There are times, however, his hair appears more coiffed — combed forward in little flat curls along the edge that make him look more like a senator in ancient Rome.
There is another guy who wants to portray an image apart from what he is. Billionaire Tom Steyer is mostly seen in jeans and plaid shirts in folksy commercials – kind of a western rancher type. He ends all his banal attacks on Trump with a self-satisfied smug smile – a lot like that kid in school who always had the teacher-pleasing answer.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has the problem that he looks even younger than he is. We still associate experience and wisdom with age – up to a point, of course. Buttigieg looks like he should be running for College homecoming king. (don’t go there.) While he does go coatless a bit too often, there is not much he could wear that would make him look older. He might have overcome the problem if he had become prematurely grey.
I know there are more male candidates, but they are so far down the polling list that it really does not matter what they wear. No one is noticing.
So, what about the women?
With one exception, I give them all a perfect grade in the school of political fashion. While their politics are liberal, the attire of Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard is presidential conservative. While Harris and Klobuchar are matronly stylish – and I mean that as a compliment – Gabbard’s get-ups are a tad sexier. She wears it well.
Now I know that will be viewed as a sexist comment by the political correctness crowd, but I do not find anything sexy about the men’s choice in attire. Maybe some yoga pants would do the trick. (God, I hope I can get that image out of my mind.)
While these women switch from dresses, business suits and pants suit, they avoid the image-killing pants suits worn by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But then, the former First Lady was never a clothes horse.
Of course, the exception in the current field of lady candidates is Elizabeth Warren. Though she is among the multi-millionaire candidates, it is obvious she selects attire to project her “I’m just a humble schoolteacher from Oklahoma” image. It is a wonder where she has found so many of those long frumpy sweaters. Even Goodwill could not meet Warren’s demand. Every time I see Warren, I cannot help but think of the bag lady character played by comedian Ruth Buzzi.
I did not forget Marianne Williamson, the love candidate, it is just that she is so forgettable. Whatever she wears, she looks like one of those women peddling aromas on the shopping channels. Maybe she does.
I did not look at these styles as a fashion expert — obviously. I cannot tell an Armani suit from an Army flak jacket. I just look at the candidates in terms of the public image they project – or try to project – with a bit of humor that is so lacking in our current political discourse. And you can bet that there will be folks out there who will not appreciate the humor. You can identify them because they are wearing t-shirts emblazoned with political obscenities.
So, there ‘tis.
During his presidential campaign – and ever since his inauguration – President Trump has constantly called on the other members of NATO to increase their financial contribution. At the time Trump took office, only three of the 29 NATO nations were meeting their agreed-to funding of two percent of Gross Domestic Product. As with the UN, the United States was the only nation carrying a disproportionate percentage of the alliance budget.
In typical fashion, Trump was pretty rough on our NATO allies. He treated them like the deadbeats they were.
That got our pin-stripped pants folks in the international relations community all a twitter – so to speak. They accused Trump of violating diplomatic norms – bullying our friends. They accused Trump of trying to destroy NATO as a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The complainers broke down into two camps – those who simply hate Trump and those know-it-alls in the diplomatic community who had been calling on the other members of NATO to increase their contribution – but did nothing about it. Consequently, it never happened. Doing nothing, after all, is the diplomatic norm in their world.
So, what is the situation today?
Weeeeell, the number of nations meeting their commitment has increased from three to eight – and most of the other nations have increased their contributions. In a recent press conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported an increase in NATO income of $130 billion since 2016 (the year Trump became President) – and said that there still needs to be more improvement in member nations meeting their quotas.
Stoltenberg said that increases in member contributions were necessary because of more dangerous international conditions, terrorism, and new military technologies. But … he said that such increases should NOT be because Trump called for them. They had nothing to do with the guy who had been bullying and threatening them, according to the Secretary General.
Now let’s get this picture straight. For decades, the American diplomatic establishment has been trying to get our NATO allies in meeting their financial obligations without any success – even as international conditions became more dangerous, terrorism resulted in a Caliphate off the shore of Europe and military technologies improved immensely. NATO could keep pace with those past events thanks to the misguided generosity of one nation – America.
Democrats and their media allies have been quick to take up the narrative set forth by Stoltenberg. If you start with the argument that nothing Trump does will have good results, it is easy to assume his pressures on NATO had nothing to do with the improvements in funding. But that is preposterous.
In an odd analysis, former General Mark Hertling – a consistent Trump critic – derisively said that the NATO leaders only playing up to Trump so that he would not grouse so much about the funding shortfalls – another example of who Trump Derangement Syndrome addles the left-wing brain. Of course, there were placating Trump. That is called a victory – something Hertling should understand.
The only thing that changed in terms of NATO funding between now and then has been the election of Trump and the public shaming (bullying, if you prefer) he bestowed on our allies. And as far as that nonsense about helping Putin, Trump actually strengthened NATO, added to the membership rolls and sent military aide to Ukraine – a nation eager to join NATO and avoid being Putin’s next conquest.
Though lost in the fog of impeachment – intentionally, to be sure – the increased funding of NATO is a “yuge” victory for Trump, the United States, and the free world. Mark up one more for The Lipper.
So, there ‘tis.
One of the evergreen characterizations of our two major political parties is that Democrats represent the poor and Republicans represent the rich. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren lead in the demonization of people with wealth – with the rest of the Democrat presidential field serving as the “MeToo” chorus (not to be confused with the Democrat feminist #MeTooMovement).
While they castigate people with wealth, virtually all the Democrat presidential contenders ARE people of wealth. When they condemn those contemptible “millionaires and billionaires,” they fail to admit that they are among them.
The latest billionaire to throw his David Shilling hat in the presidential ring is Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has a net worth of $52 billion dollars. He will not take any donations but rely on spending potentially billions of dollars on his own campaign. To become the 46th President of the United States, Bloomberg would actually spend more money than all the 45 previous Presidents combined!
His closest competitor – at least in money – is businessman Tom Steyer, who is worth $1.6 billion – and who has already spent tens of millions of dollars on name-recognition ads (fronting as impeachment ads) before announcing his candidacy.
But money is not everything. Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney is the third richest Democrat in the race – worth more than $200 million. Despite his wealth, he is in that “below one percent” category.
Another barely relatively unnoticed candidate – outside of Colorado, where he is the United States senator – is Michael Bennet. He is worth $15 million.
The next richest person in the race has some ‘splaining to do. It is Elizabeth Warren with a net worth of $12 million. While she chagrins the influence of money in politics, she has not been shy on using her wampum as fuel for her own political career. Interestingly, Warren’s “wealth tax” would not apply to people with her level of wealth. Surprise! Surprise!
Following Warren is former Vice President Joe Biden, with a fortune of more than $9 million dollars. That one is particularly interesting because he often talks about his humble beginnings. At the age of 29, Biden was elected to the United States Senate (turning 30 – the legal minimum age – before the swearing in.) He was never a businessman, a big-time actor – never invented anything – so how did he get so damned rich from public service? Hmmmm. I am reminded of what President Harry Truman famously said: “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”
Another candidate who promotes her alleged “humble beginnings” and a life of public service is California Senator Kamala Harris. She is worth $6 million. Humble beginning … life of PUBLIC service … and $6 million. What was that Harry Truman said?
Then there is the folksy home-spun Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. No one seems to hate the rich more than socialist hypocrite Sanders. Another story of the humblest of beginnings and a life in public service – and a $2.5 million nest egg. Bernie is a variation on Robin Hood since he wants to take from the billionaires and give it to millionaires, like him.
The “poor” millionaires – $2 million or less – include Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar ($2M), New Jersey Senator Cory Booker ($1.5M) and businessman Andrew Yang ($1M).
A couple of candidates fall short of membership in the Millionaires’ Club. That includes Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard ($500K) and at the bottom of the list is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg ($100K). If the examples above are indicative, Buttigieg has a bright future in Democrat politics – which should make him one of the millionaires in the near future.
Keep in mind that all these candidates are richer than these estimates. The reporting requirement a not all that stringent, Also, does the figure include spousal wealth? Some assets may be undervalued. Regardless, they are all much richer than the people they hope to serve.
The wealth disparity between these candidates and their impoverished supporters is wide and growing. I have always maintained that any political party that depends on poor people as their power base has no incentive to make them rich. We see this in virtually every Democrat-run major city in which segregated and impoverished voters live in the economic status quo generation after generation. That does not happen by accident.
It is interesting that so many of these candidates would destroy America’s capitalistic economic system — denying we the people the same opportunities that gave them their fabulous wealth.
So, there ‘tis.
One of the things that endangers our traditional freedoms in America is the growing influence, power and even claimed authority of unelected bureaucrats – mostly provided with essentially lifetime appointments from civil service laws. Bureaucratic decision-making is the infrastructure of authoritarians. America was founded on the ability of we the people to establish our own policies through the power of ELECTED officials.
The case of Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher is yet another example. Gallagher was accused by military prosecutors of murder and posing with an enemy corpse. He was acquitted of murder but convicted of violating military rules against such picture-taking.
Having lost the major charge, Navy officials decided to reduce Gallagher’s rank. When President Trump reversed that order, Navy officials sought to take away Gallagher’s Trident Pin – the badge of a Navy Seal.
Trump’s intervention was enormously popular with the rank-and-file members of then military, but apparently not with some in the more senior ranks – especially those who were pursuing punishment for Gallagher.
As could be expected the anti-Trump media sided against the Commander-in-Chief and the many soldiers in the field – and with the small cadre of senior officers seeking to punish Gallagher further. The claim was that Trump was violating military rules and policies.
As a result of the controversy, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired by Defense Secretary Mark Esper for “lack of candor” in the Gallagher case – specifically proposing to the White House that Gallagher be allowed to keep his Trident Pin. This was contrary to Esper’s public position that the Trident Pin review should go forward internally.
In a logic that only makes sense in Washington, Esper advised the White House that Gallagher would most certainly be allowed to keep the pin after the review. So, Spencer wanted Gallagher to keep the pin. Esper wanted Gallagher to keep the Pin. Trump wanted Gallagher to keep the pin. So Esper fires Spencer and the press blames Trump for the entire mess.
The anti-Trump press jumped on the case as yet another indication that the President goes off on his own agenda rather than follow established (read that “establishment”) policies. Just as all those State Department employees placed their procedures over the rightful powers of a President, the press is proffering for the power of bureaucrats over a duly elected President. You will recall that the “regular procedures” in the Ukrainian case were bureaucratic policies and the “irregular procedures” were those established by the President.
To overly dramatize the Gallagher situation, the elitist establishment press grossly exaggerated the severity of Gallagher’s only offense – posing with a dead enemy. They call it a most serious charge and a grave (no pun intended) offense. I can see where it should be discouraged, but I personally would rank the offense as comparable to a speeding ticket.
The former spokesperson for the Washington establishment (first Department of Defense and then State), Admiral John Kirby showed up on morning television to claim that this is yet another example of an abuse of power by Trump – claiming, without a scintilla of evidence, that Trump made his decision to help himself politically. In the spirit that good policy is good politics, that may be true. But Kirby’s failure to respect the military chain-of-command – upon which Trump sits at the top – in favor of the supremacy of bureaucratic policies shows that the Admiral is one of those Washington establishment authoritarians.
Like it or not, Trump IS the Commander-in-Chief and it is his right and authority to set the policies and make specific decisions regarding the military. In fact, in the chain-of-command, it is common for a senior officer to countermand orders or decisions of junior officers. Trump violated NO rules or policies because the Constitution gives the President the power to set rules and make policies – and make ad hoc decisions based on his own policies. The Trump “policy” is to side with the boots on the ground rather than the brass in the Pentagon when the two come into conflict.
The idea that bureaucratic established policies and procedures take precedence over decision-making by elected officials is dangerous to the health of the Republic. The inalienable rights of we the people are being eroded across the federal government by an elitist authoritarian concept of governance. It is a political cancer that has been growing on the body politic – and if unchecked will end America’s great experiment in democracy.
So, there ‘tis.
America seems to be consumed … CONSUMED … by politics. It has spilled over into every phase of American life. If you want to get away from political references and implications forget about sports. The NFL cleaves on patriotism. The NBA on foreign policy.
Forget about enjoying a few laughs. The predominant subject of jokesters is politics. Forget about the movies. More and more of them are politically based or incorporate obvious political messaging. Same for television shows. If you are interested in news around the world, forget about our so-called news industry. They broadcast in bright colors of blue and red.
No wonder it is so difficult to find a topic of discussion as we sit around the Thanksgiving table with family members of differing viewpoints. So firm are our staked positions that we cannot even engage in civil intelligent conversation.
Well, at least we can play games. Or can we?
Uno has just released the latest version of their game that has no red or blue backed cards. They have been replaced with a purple card. The Uno company proudly notes that this change is to take politics OUT of the game. In fact, they put politics into the game.
Who ever played Uno and thought that the red and blue represented political affiliation? Uno’s decision is like the bikini bathing suit. It draws attention to that which it alleges to conceal. To change something that was never viewed as political by making it political – even in the name of avoidance, it brings politics into the game. Who will ever play with that sans red and blue deck and not consciously or subconsciously think of our political divisions?
Now, if we were to take up Uno’s thinking, I can already hear Senator Bernie Sanders demanding the replacement of that iconic cute little millionaire representing Monopoly. Hell, Sanders would probably want to ban the entire game as being a promoter of capitalism.
Perhaps Sanders would enjoy a game in which Big Brother owns everything – and if you do not pay up you are sent to prison to be tortured and brainwashed — and have no way to get out, free or otherwise.
My favorite holiday is Christmas. In my more than seven decades of celebrating, I have never thought of that red-garbed Santa Claus as a Republican. Franky, in the way he gives away goodies to keep we kiddies happy, there is a better argument that he is a Democrat. Still, I cannot see a blue Santa.
Are colors really always about politics? if our tradition is dressing newborn babies light red (pink) if they are girls and blue if they are boys, why are proportionately more women Democrats and more men Republicans?
The point is that every time we see the colors red or blue, we DO NOT think of politics – and hopefully we will continue in that tradition. The makers of Uno have now taken away a bit of our ability to do that. Whenever I see the new purple Uno game, I will be reminded of politics and the current divisions that make that reminder unpleasant. Thanks Uno.
So, there ‘tis.
While I have often wondered why so many black voters maintain allegiance to the Democratic Party in view of their long history – to this day – of oppression of black citizens. First it was slavery, then segregation and now the remnants of de facto racism in our major Democrat-run cities today.
The race card is still being dishonestly played against Republicans by the hypocritical Democrats, but that is not the focus of this commentary. It appears that the race card does NOT play well in Democrats intramural presidential politics.
I am referring to the efforts by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris to play the race card to win over black voters. In recent debates and speeches, Booker and Harris have argued that THEY – more than any other candidate – can unite the party by keeping black voters in line.
To fight President Trump in the 2020 General Election, black candidates will have the best chance to bring out the black vote. They refer to it as the “Obama coalition.” That has a certain superficial – albeit it specious – logic.
The assumption is that black voters will always set aside all other issues to vote for a black candidate. They will always vote race over issues – such as gun control, abortion, women’s’ rights, gay rights, employment, education, foreign policy, criminal justice, etc.
The strategy of Booker and Harris is a call to vote race … period. That race-baiting does not seem to be working in this election cycle. There are a lot of black voters in the Democrat coalition. That is for sure. But they seem to have more interests than skin color when it comes to politics – maybe more than ever.
That old white guy name Biden seems to be getting a lot of black votes – so far more than any other candidate in the field. He is getting more black votes than Booker and Harris. So is Bernie Sanders. Even Elizabeth Warren is starting to pull in a significant number of black voters.
The two most prominent black candidates – Booker and Harris – are not getting a lot of support from the brothers and sisters. No matter how many times Booker calls for black unity behind his campaign, he still languishes between 2 and 3 percent in the polls. And Harris’ call for black unity in her campaign has not prevented her being Whack-A-Moled into single digits.
There are even some indications that – despite Democrat state of denial — Trump may exceed his 2016 eight percent black vote. Too early to know, but there are signs of disenchantment with Democrat leadership in our segregated inner cities. As one black community leader said in Chicago. “it would be a mistake to think that Trump would be unwelcomed in the ‘hood.”
This may come as a shock to the Booker/Harris types, but those folks in the inner cities are not monolithic political drones. Skin color is not the number one political issue – not even number two … three … four … or …
So, There ‘tis.
After waiting and planning for the better part of three years, Democrats are now in a bit of a hurry to get President Trump impeached. They had hoped to get it accomplished before Thanksgiving, but that deadline is no longer an option.
They now hope to have it out of the six “inquiry committees” and into the Judiciary Committee – where it should have been in the first place. And yes, there are technically six committees serving as impeachment inquiry committees – although the House Intelligence Committee, with California Congressman Adam Schiff chairing, seems to have all the action. If the others are doing anything, it is the best kept secret in Washington.
Democrats had hoped to have the whole damn impeachment thing – Articles of Impeachment and trial in the Senate – done before we get into the 2020 election year. They well understand that if the process drags on into 2020, it will consume media and public attention to the detriment of all those presidential campaigns.
Just a few weeks ago, all those east coast establishment media outlets were giving Democrat presidential candidates enormous airtime. Candidates with less than 5 percent support were being interviewed as if they were contenders. Debate coverage was characterized by pre-debate presentations by Democrat leaders and post-debate butt-kissing analysis. A seemingly endless series of so-called “town hall meetings” were essentially infomercials.
Now that the impeachment process has gone public, the Democrat presidential candidates have disappeared from the news. Impeachment specials have replaced those town hall meetings.
Democrats are committed to a rush-to-judgement — largely because they have already arrived at their judgment. They are so concerned about accelerating the process that they will forego hearing from the most critical witnesses to their case – folks like former White House Intelligence Advisor John Bolton.
If subpoenaed, Bolton will rely on the federal courts to decide if he must testify or if he comes under presidential executive privilege. That could take a few months, and it is not at all certain that Democrats could win that case. So, Schiff has decided to ignore hearing from key witnesses. And why not? They have already reached their verdict.
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is politically savvy – and he seems to be – he will not pick-up on the Democrats need to speed the process along. Instead, he will proloooong the process into January … February … March.
Just as we already know the outcome of the impeachment process in the House, we can be pretty sure that Trump will be found not guilty by the Senate. But while the Senate trial is going on, EVERY senator is obligated to sit silently as jurors. No questions from them. No speeches. They would even be admonished not to make any prejudicial public statements.
For politicians running for President of the United States, that would have the same effect of tying them up, gagging them and tossing them into the back of a pick-up truck.
Of course, it would only involve the senator-candidates. That would include Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. Imagine … all the while Biden and Buttigieg are out there campaigning, the quintet would be sitting silently in the Senate chamber day after day … after day.
Of course, it is only a qualified benefit for the other candidates since they will be denied significant media coverage as the trial dominates the news. In a sense, they will also be silenced by the trial as those all-important state primaries come and go.
One way to prolong the trial – and provide Trump with a real defense – would be to allow both sides to call new witnesses – such as Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. During the Clinton trial, both sides agreed to NOT call additional witnesses, but to base their verdict on the Articles of Impeachment as presented by the House.
There is no reason that McConnell would follow that practice. It might have made sense back then because the House conducted the Clinton impeachment much more fairly. The Pelosi-Schiff rules are creating a very one-sided case. The House has blocked crucial witnesses. The other side needs to be heard and the Senate trial is the only option.
This will also be a way to put the House process on trial. The prospective Senate trial is something that should never have happened – and Senate Republicans should make sure that the American people understand that.
So, there ‘tis.
In order to create a press release issue that would give her a few minutes of face time in front of the camera, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited President Trump to be a witness.
Kneejerk reaction has been that Trump would never even consider such a proposal. It is unprecedented and arguably risky. Pelosi even suggested that Trump could respond to questions in writing. This invitation my have been more palpable if House Democrats had not just opened yet ANOTHER investigation – this time arguing that Trump had lied – perjured himself – in one of his written responses in the investigation by Special Counsel Mueller.
In that case, Trump said he did not recall any conversation with former advisor Roger Stone regarding Wikileaks. Since Trump said he could not recall, it is extremely unlikely that a perjury charge could be pursued in a court-of-law – but, of course, such concocted “crimes” can be played out in a non-judicial impeachment process.
Still, I told friends not to be too convinced that the invitation would be rejected. After all, this is Donald Trump. He loves a good fight – maybe too much so.
Whether he was sincere or not, Trump has indicated an interest in testifying on his own behalf. He has not revealed if that would be in person or in writing. Obviously, the latter would be less risky, but a personal appearance would be a YUGE media show – and we know how he loves a YUGE media show.
If Trump decided he wanted to testify in person and he asked my advice – which he never has – I would tell him to NOT testify under oath –explaining that he knows any misstatement or lack of recollection would be elevated to a republic-destroying statement and be included in the Democrat’s hypothetical Articles of Impeachment.
He could point out that every Democrat on that committee has been lying with impunity. But since they are not under oath and actually have immunity from the laws of slander and libel (so much for no man is above the law), there is no reason why he should testify under oath.
Most observers speculate that Trump will not testify – and I suspect they are correct. But what a show it would be.
So, there ‘tis.
One of President Trump’s least desirable traits is his love of public spats – in many cases needless and self-defeating. He did it again during the impeachment hearing with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
As I watched the play-by-play action – or lack of action – in the so-called impeachment inquiry, it was obvious that Trump’s team – the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee — were winning for the most part. Although you will not get that view from the east coast media propaganda machine.
In the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony, Trump had to take to Twitter with a gratuitous tweet blasting the ambassador’s career in the diplomatic service – even as Republicans praised her past service.
The inquiry itself had little to do with the issues for possible impeachment. It was more like a job review for the reassigned ambassador. There was mostly bipartisan praise for her past diplomatic service and on a bipartisan admission that a President can remove, replace or reassign an ambassador at will. As Yovanovitch admitted, President Trump could reassign her without any public expression of purpose.
Instead, it is alleged that Yovanovitch was subjected to an alleged “smear campaign” led by former New York Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. While the smear campaign was referenced innumerable times throughout the hearing, there was virtually no specifics provided as to what was said or alleged in the so-called smear campaign.
What came across in the hearing – although not in most of the highly distorted post-hearing reporting – was that Yovanovitch was NOT a fact-based witness. She was already out of Ukraine when all the discussions of investigations and any role by the Bidens were taking place.
If her testimony had any relevancy in the current proceedings, it was arguably to Trump’s benefit. In fact, when asked if she had ANY information suggesting ANY criminal activity by Trump, she answered, “no.”
She did, however, indicate that the participation of Hunter Biden on the board of the corrupt Burisma Holdings energy company while his father was Vice President of the United States – with Ukraine as part of his portfolio — was a problem. She agreed with the earlier testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent that it minimally created “an appearance of conflict-of-interest.” Since an appearance of a criminal conflict-of-interest might indicate that a crime has been committed – and the further fact that Hunter Biden was serving on a known corrupt enterprise — an investigation seems a prudent and reasonable response.
Instead, there was repeated … and repeated … praise of her past service. One member of Congress asked how she and her family “felt” about what has happened to her – pumping up the narrative of victimization. They referred to her as being “fired” when, in fact, she was reassigned to a plum position that she requested – a State Department professorship at Georgetown University.
It was obvious that Yovanovitch was on the stand solely to make Trump look bad for removing her and saying unkind things. That is a valid complaint but NOTHING to do with ANYTHING relative to impeachable offenses.
Since the second day of public testimony – like the first day – failed to lay a glove on Trump, why was he motivated to tweet in the middle of the hearing. It struck me a bit like taking out a baseball pitcher after he struck out the first six batters.
Trump’s tweet was ill-timed, inappropriate and probably wrong. By all measures, Yovanovitch had a pretty good career at State. That does not mean that she should not have been replaced. For her part, she was unhappy with the way Trump was dealing with Ukrainian matters. In turn, he had lost confidence in her.
One major fact ignored by Democrats and their friends in the media is that the newly-elected President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, expressed his displeasure with her during the phone conversation with Trump. Zelensky said that Yovanovitch had been “working against him” during his campaign. With both leaders having lost confidence in Yovanovitch, there was little choice but to reassign her.
The major problem seems to be Trump’s going on a public attack on her. It was unnecessary. Yovanovitch was correct when she said that Trump could have simply reassigned her without making a public case of it. He certainly did not have to pile on with his tweet during her testimony. In a situation in which the Democrats were holding a weak hand in making an impeachment case, Trump slipped them a pair of aces.
This is not the first time that Trump had created a needless controversy for himself. He does it often. While he rightfully complains about the coverage he receives from the east coast media cabal, he keeps handing them more material for their bogus narratives.
It is an inexplicable bad habit that – if unchecked – just might cost him the presidency.
So, there ‘tis.