Column: Impeachment Dies in Desperation

February 5th, 2020 8:19 AM

As the Trump impeachment effort inevitably burns out on the ash heap of history, Democrats are left to argue that if this president is left unchecked, if he’s not removed from office, he’ll “do it again.” He’ll pressure foreign governments to investigate the business dealings of the Bidens, which is a “threat to national security."

National security equals no questioning of the Bidens. Democracy equals removing an elected president.

A typical outburst came from CNN’s appointed presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who warned acquittal means “the country has a president who operates as an outlaw.....Acting in a demagogic way and acting in a dictatorial way, trying to smash the foreign policy establishment, diss our intelligence gatherers, operating in a whole new way of an imperial president that we couldn’t have imagined.”

All this rhetoric ignores the notion that the House impeachment itself proves he’s not “unchecked.” A Democrat-majority House has been aggressively “checking” him with oversight investigations, in effect trying to do what the Mueller Report failed to do – establish that Trump is some sort of autocrat who’s emptying American democracy of all meaning. Adam Schiff will insert the word “cheat” into every paragraph going forward.

This is really going to sound amusing after the Iowa-caucus fiasco. Who looks like they can protect the integrity of our elections now? Who looks competent after the Democratic National Committee touted “the reforms we’ve made to make this the most transparent primary in our history”? Who will trust the outcome, especially after Wikileaks exposed the DNC’s Bernie-blocking antics in 2016? 

But that isn’t half as shocking as the really unglued portions of Schiff’s closing argument before the Senate. Desperation overtook reason. If Trump isn't removed, the congressman from Hollywood feverishly imagined, Trump “could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election, or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and leave Jared Kushner to run the country, delegating to him the decision whether they go to war.”

The networks sidestepped this loopy soundbite. CNN did not convene a large panel discussion on whether Schiff was mentally unstable. The “nonpartisan fact checkers” didn’t look into Schiff’s paranoid screenplay.

This “unchecked” president has been subjected to almost 1,100 hypernegative minutes since late September on the evening news – just on impeachment – while in the same time frame, the gangbusters economy drew a mere 14 minutes. This doesn’t count more than 200 hours of soap-opera-canceling live impeachment coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC. It doesn’t count PBS running the impeachment process live and then re-running it in prime time. It doesn’t hold a candle to the 24/7 obsession of cable-news coverage of impeachment

The Left somehow feels Trump is unaccountable because this tsunami of scandal coverage isn’t damaging his public standing. In fact, the Gallup poll just found his job approval rating has risen to 49 percent, his highest Gallup number since he took office in 2017. Since the start of the year, Trump’s approval among Republicans is up six points, and up five points among independents.

This leaves the overall impression that Trump has a very good chance of becoming the first president to be impeached and then re-elected. That’s because this impeachment exercise was so transparently one-sided and partisan. And so was the press.