Produced and Directed by ... Adam Schiff
Like millions of other Americans I watched the opening episodes of the TV impeachment show produced and directed by Adam Schiff. And like much of what passes for drama on television these days, I knew how the show was going to end even before it began.
It ends, after a few more televised episodes (and a shrinking audience), with Democrats voting to impeach President Trump and Republicans in the Senate refusing to convict him.
Everybody over 3 years old knows that, even Adam Schiff. The show was never about actually removing the president from office before his term ends – though Schiff and his crew salivate at the mere possibility that it could happen. The show was always about bloodying up the president; making him unappealing to moderate swing voters next year. Would they really want to cast a vote for a president who was … impeached?
It’s a good question, the only part of this faux drama that we don’t know the answer to.
We do know how Democrats and Republicans feel about impeachment, but what about those swing voters? Will they find the president’s behavior more impulsive and stupid than usual, and therefore worthy of impeachment? Or will they wonder why the Democrats couldn’t wait less that one year for the next election?
If the president is as horrible as Schiff and the others think he is, why not let the voters impeach him next November. Wouldn’t that be far less polarizing, far less traumatic to a nation already dangerously divided?
We can’t say for sure at this point, but the show designed and scripted to hurt the president may wind up helping him. The final reviews won’t be in for another 11 months.
In the meantime, what you won’t be hearing from the Democrats or their loyal allies in the media is that despite the show Adam Schiff is putting on, this isn’t only about what Donald Trump said on that phone call with the Ukrainian president -- or what the ambassador the president replaced thinks about any of this.
The dog and pony show, as Kevin Williamson smartly points out in a piece for National Review, is fundamentally about something bigger – the American culture war run amok.
“The cultural tug-o’-war over the presidency is the great American tribal competition in its most concentrated form,” Williamson writes. “The metropolitan elites see the opposite tribe as backward, uneducated, superstitious, addled by religion and race hatred; the rustics and conservatives see the metropolitan elites as meretricious, decadent, and somehow less than authentically American. The question that has occasioned the impeachment of Donald Trump is not whether the president is legitimate but whether his tribe is legitimate. When the rival tribe is understood as being fundamentally illegitimate, then no government arising from that tribe can be understood as legitimate, either, and neither can the political processes that empower that tribe over its rivals.” (Emphasis added)
Or to put that a slightly different way: The cultural liberal elites see Trump supporters as the kind of people they wouldn’t wash their hands in the same sink with, let alone, God forbid, meet for lunch. And if they’re not “legitimate” then neither is the president who won because of them.
None of this is to excuse the president’s many shortcomings, regarding his phone call with the President of Ukraine or a gazillion other matters. Rather, it’s a warning: If Democrats think they can launch a partisan impeachment inquiry with the next presidential election less than a year away, then watch what happens if the next Democratic president so much as drops a chewing gum wrapper on Pennsylvania Avenue. One would hope that Republicans would be more restrained than Democrats currently are. But don’t bet on it.
It’s unclear if executive producer/director Adam Schiff gave any thought to that before launching his TV show.