Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Fundamental Fairness And Impeachment: We're Seeing It

Commenter Mike Sylwester points to a new Geoff Shepard article today. I like it because it stresses something I've been at pains to express over the past months: the importance for Americans of the concept of Fundamental Fairness. Call it Due Process if you like. It's at the core of our worldview. To take one example more or less at random, just recently I wrote:

Impeachment Theater is fronted by the most unlikeable and frankly crazy people to appear before the public since ... well, since the deeply unpopular Kavanaugh hearings.
The House kangaroo court procedures have proven deeply offensive to the American sense of fundamental fairness--which take on an even sharper edge when applied to the national leader, the one official elected by the nation at large. The public at large knows fairness--and fundamental unfairness--when it sees it, and has tuned out Impeachment Theater just when the Dems need an audience riveted to their devices--TVs, phones, tablets, whatever. (Will There Be An Impeachment At All?)

Here's the link to Shepard's article:

Congressmen do want to get reelected.

Riffing off the FCC's "Fairness Doctrine," Shepard explains the new Fairness Doctrine with regard to Impeachment--but also to most issues of great public importance:

Today, we have a new fairness doctrine, although an unofficial and largely unstated one. 
By far the most important impeachment issue is the overarching importance of perceptions of fairness. All members of the House will have to face their voters next November — there’s no postponing that election — and will need to justify their impeachment vote. This is not as easy as it sounds, even in safe districts, because of the fundamental American belief in fair play. However it is phrased and in whatever context it is considered, the underlying challenge for members is being able to assure their constituents back home that Trump was or was not treated in a fair manner.

To measure how this is working out, watch this brief segment with Laura Ingraham talking to pollsters Scott Rasmussen and John McLaughlin. I'll provide the transcript for McLaughlin's remarks, but pay attention to what comes right at the beginning--Scott Rasmussen's analysis. He makes no bones about it--Republicans have won the debate. It's over:

John McLaughlin: Those bad media polls are getting bad for them. Every one of those polls that came out today whether it’s CNN, ABC, Quinnipiac, they ALL under-poll Republicans. Can you believe it they all had less than 30% Republicans? When we were 33% on election day in 2016. So they can’t believe that the polls that they rigged are going against them. Because after two weeks of hearings they bored the country to death. They came up with no evidence, no proof and all they proved is that Donald Trump is an innocent of everything they’re saying and it’s a railroad. It’s all politics. The country is tired of it and they want to move on to other things. We produced, the Trump Campaign, Tony Fabrizio, produced a poll in the 30 districts that Democrats hold, because one switched, we already got one that became a Republican because of this. In that poll 53% opposed impeachment, only 43% support. And they said said only 36% say they deserve reelection. So they're big at risk and this is gonna backfire bigtime.

It's gonna come down to "fundamental fairness." In fact, it looks like it already has.

UPDATE: As if on cue--because everyone instinctively knows that it's about fairness--Thomas Lifson lays out the seven reasons this will go down as the Asterisk Impeachment. And the seven points makes it clear that it's about the  fundamental unfairness of what's happening--Seven indisputable facts about this 'historic' impeachment that historians will use to condemn it as 'folly':

  1. First ever purely partisan impeachment.
  2. First ever impeachment advocated by House members before the president took office and took any official actions.
  3. No crime is alleged.
  4. The first ever impeachment brought less than a year before voters speak on the incumbent.
  5. Hearings led by a man who brazenly, extensively, and provably lied (Nunes vs Schiff memoranda). [And about matters of fundamental importance to our constitutional order.]
  6. The speaker of the House opposed it but was bullied by young radicals she called "the Squad."
  7. Impeachment hearings drove approval of the target higher.


  1. Certainly, I agree with you. Fair play is one of those bedrock notions that distinguishes American culture from other cultures, where concepts like fatalism or powerlessness dominate.

    That said, a small point. To people on the left, fair play is a mask worn by white supremacy. They think it's a hoax. The question is how pervasive is such a view?

    1. But even, say, in the case of African Americans, what they're fundamentally asking for--and polls have shown this over and over--is a level playing field, fair play by the rules. There may be disagreement about how well we as a society do that, but everyone believes in fair play and believes they know it when they see it. And they know they've just seen a Kangaroo court convened against a president they elected who keeps his word and goes to bat for the working people.

    2. Fair play only occurs when Democrats win, and rule the day. Just ask 'em, they'll tell ya...

    3. It's only democracy when we win.

  2. You might also note that what John McLaughlin says in the quote above is part of the critique about polling that I've previously offered here.

    Polling is purposefully manipulated to get the desired headline outcome so it can be used as a "news" hook to support The Narrative. There are lots of ways to strangle the data so it appears to say what you want, but the best way is to collect data that speaks for itself--by manipulating the questions polled, the responses offered, the survey method, the population polled, the population screening method, and the sample population selected. And then the "adjustments" afterwards.

    Even though McLaughlin points out the pollsters only include 30% Rep, (most) pollsters already know where those populations are that are most flexible, and most strident, in their party support--usually based on local/state election practices, i.e. it matters in some places, and not others, to have party identification for primary and local elections.

    So, questions of national issues incorporating party ID can be targeted to achieve purposeful outcomes. There is nothing about randomness in polling. It's just another corrupt tool utilized by DNC-MSM.

    As I've said repeatedly, why didn't Hillary campaign in those states (WI, MI, PA) she lost? They believed the polling that told them what they wanted to hear--that those states weren't in doubt. There not enough schadenfreude in the world for that outcome.

  3. Here's McConnell addressing part of the fairness question:

    Use the rules from Clinton's Senate trial that were unanimously passed by the Senate. Includes dismissal option.

    1. So many love to hate McConnell. On balance I'd say the GOP is lucky to have a leader like him.

    2. Tactically, in the Senate, McConnell has been the best thing Reps--and Trump--could've hoped for, for getting the business done.