Thursday, January 16, 2020

UPDATED: The Only Real Question About Impeachment

To my way of thinking, the only real question about this whole Impeachment Theater, is whether GOPe senators will seek to use it in some way as leverage to bend Trump to their agenda. This could take the form of raising issues on how to proceed in the Senate regarding the possibility of witnesses. My sense is that the senators recognize that this would probably be a losing proposition. Losing with Trump, but more importantly for them, losing with voters. In that regard, it's important to bear in mind that, when it comes to elections, senators are generally in a very different situation than Representatives. Senators must appeal to voters on a statewide basis, and few are in "safe" states--as the recent election of Doug Jones in a special election illustrates. Thus senators can't afford to alienate the base, but equally they need to appeal to independents--who, in this situation are heavily against impeachment.

UIPDATE: In a comment below I characterize Senator Rand Paul's recent statement on impeachment as a bit of welcome politicking--placing himself front and center, but in a positive wasy. Ben Domenech addresses this and other issues--

What Senate Republicans Should Learn From The House On Impeachment 
House Republican leadership was enormously successful in how they handled hearings and managed to attain a bipartisan vote. The Senate should take note.

Here's what Domenech says about Paul's statement, and you can see he gives Paul even more credit than I did:

It’s important for leadership to keep order, but also to have Senators prepared to deploy their arguments in an effective manner and to push back against what is now a boringly familiar media narrative. Knowing your role and creating room for less secure Senators is key.
Already, we see Rand Paul doing that quite effectively. It seems obvious from this interview that he’s sending a message designed to keep Republican Senators in line on witness questions. You want to call John Bolton? Fine, that means you’ll have to vote on calling Hunter Biden, too.
Paul says if four or more of his GOP colleagues join with Democrats to entertain new witness testimony, he will make the Senate vote on subpoenaing the president’s preferred witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the whistleblower who revealed the Ukraine scandal — polarizing picks who moderate Republicans aren’t eager to call. So he has a simple message for his party: end the trial before witnesses are called.

“If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is,” Paul said during an interview in his office on Wednesday. “If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned Republicans not to divide the party and endanger his slim GOP majority, but Paul’s play could be useful to him. If the pressure campaign stifles the small group of Republicans open to hearing from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, McConnell will be able to conclude the trial in the swift fashion he’s long sought.

But if a majority of the Senate agrees to hear witnesses, Paul is ready to go all out to make sure everyone in the Senate is on the record about whether they stand with Trump.

“My first preference would be to be done with it as soon as possible and not to have any witnesses,” Paul said. “If they insist on having people like Bolton coming forward, my insistence will be not just one witness. But that the president should be able to call any witnesses that he deems necessary to his defense.”

Paul’s threat is backed up by real power under the process envisioned by McConnell and allowed for under Senate rules.
Of course, Paul’s demand is more than political gamesmanship: it also happens to be totally justified.


  1. In this regard, ominous news on the prospect of Mitch rigging the witness lineup to shaft DJT, see .

  2. The RINOs on the fence are not there because of a leverage power play, but rather because they are under the threat of blackmail. For some, this threat is largely about benefactor's ceasing future campaign contributions. For others, it is a media leak exposing prior bribe-taking or other greed-based criminality. And for still some others, it is Epstein-related.

    Most of this is just a bluff because a captured Senator is far more valuable remaining in the Senate than when cast to the wolves.

  3. And, while Senators prefer to keep their seats, far more important for them is keeping on the good side of the D.S., which has Six Ways from Sunday, and maybe much motive, to make a Senator's life into a living hell.

    1. Of course I read Rand Paul's statement. In the end, it looked like a bit of grandstanding on his part--not unwelcome, however. What he ends up saying is others should be speaking out like he is, but he doesn't actually claim that they're contemplating betrayal. Knowing that removal is simply not in the cards, Paul thus positions himself as principled and fearless. I'm OK with that. It's politics.

    2. I’ll second your reasoned opinion. Not always a fan of Paul, but his position could matter greatly. A bold move. I’m all for it.

    3. I'm not a fan, either, in general, but when he's right he tends to be very right. I'll take that whenever I can get it.

    4. This is a case of, as Harry Caray sometimes had cause to say (when a Chicago player jacked one, in a close game during a pennant race), "you talk about hittin' 'em when they count!"

  4. Agree 100%

    >I'm not a fan, either, in general, but when he's right
    >he tends to be very right.

    Trump knocking off a couple of incumbent Democratic Senators in the midterms did a lot for Trumps reputation with the GOP in the Senate.

    It seemed like all of a sudden, the GOP Senate Majority started to work a lot more with Trump.

    1. "Trump knocking off a couple of incumbent Democratic Senators in the midterms did a lot for Trumps reputation with the GOP in the Senate."

      Exactly. They all know he was the guy who pulled that off. Recall how he taunted the Rep losers like Mia Love who wouldn't accept his help? He pulled the winners over the line--he knew it and they knew it, and those who weren't running saw it.

  5. All any Senator need reflect upon are the rallies Trump has been holding since before his election--packed to the rafters with an overflow crowd larger than Resistance protesters.

    Obama and the Clintons always had closed-door high-dollar dinners as fund-raising bonanzas to press the flesh with those buying access to the center of power.

    Trump holds arena rallies for 10s of thousands of supporters, and the campaign funds are in the mail.

    The political math should be obvious.

    1. Should be obvious even to the likes of Murkowski?

    2. Murkowski could be "old dog, new tricks" syndrome. Some never learn past graduation.

  6. Murkowski Worries:

    - The picture with Feinstein during the Kavanaugh hearing.
    - Her alleged Cocaine habit
    - fact she won as a write in
    - she’s not up for re-election till 2022
    - General corruption in Alaska politics. Seems to be an old boys / families network.

    - Anwar and other projects opened by Trump
    - fact she was primaried and lost
    - last gop candidate was 3rd tier / lousy candidate
    - Trump is known to enact revenge
    - Palin has been muttering about seeing 2022

  7. I see that Pelosi named seven impeachment managers. Is it merely coincidental that that is the exact number of dwarfs who surrounded Snow White?

    1. There are no coincidences in politics.

    2. And we all can guess which one is "Dopey."

  8. Mr. Wauck,

    This is one time where I disagree with you about Rand's motives. I think that this was not grandstanding. This was 100% about principle. He is a very principled man.

    I'm with you that I often disagree with him. But I don't doubt his belief in his convictions.

    Collins is a different case as she's a blue state Rep. But if Murkowski or Delecto, or any other RINO defect on the President, they're playing with fire. First, the President will train his fire on them and second the voters will bounce out the Benedict Arnold Rep who doesn't stand with the President. c.f Forbes' comments about DJT's astounding crowd sizes.

    1. I don't doubt his convictions. The reason I said that this was grandstanding, but welcome, was because to date the GOP senators have all stuck together and McConnell has expressed confidence that they will. I agree with Paul on this.