Friday, September 27, 2019


I was telling you last night that Frank Bruni had written the worst impeachment column so far, and now here's David Brooks writing his version of the same column.
Yes, Trump Is Guilty, but Impeachment Is a Mistake

This political brawl will leave Trump victorious.
I still give Bruni the edge -- his whimpery tone ("Impeachment should terrify you") gives his column an extra dollop of awfulness. Brooks, at least, doesn't wet himself in the process of writing.

Brooks smugly ignores the arguments of impeachment advocates.
This will probably achieve nothing....

Usually when a leader takes a big risk, it’s because there’s a big upside. But Nancy Pelosi is taking a giant risk and there is little upside. At the end of this process Trump will probably be acquitted by the Senate. He will declare himself vindicated and victorious in his battle against The Swamp. An ugly backlash could ensue — in both parties.
Impeachment supporters don't expect a conviction. What we hope for is a process of public education. Voters will learn a great deal about the president's misdeeds and will watch Republicans in Congress cover up for him in real time. If Brooks is skeptical that the process will work as intended, he's free to argue that. But he ignores what advocates are actually expecting and assumes we naively anticipate a Senate victory.
This is completely elitist. We’re in the middle of an election campaign. If Democrats proceed with the impeachment process, it will happen amid candidate debates, primaries and caucuses. Elections give millions and millions of Americans a voice in selecting the president. This process gives 100 mostly millionaire senators a voice in selecting the president.
Except it doesn't because, as Brooks just told us, the Senate won't vote to convict. Nor does it cancel the 2020 election, even in the unlikely event that the Senate does convict. Brooks isn't arguing against impeachment in this case, he's arguing against impeachment under any circumstances. Whose cockamamie idea was it to give a bunch of elitists the right to remove a president between elections? Oh, right -- the Framers.
As these two processes unfold simultaneously, the contrast will be obvious. People will conclude that Democrats are going ahead with impeachment in an election year because they don’t trust the democratic process to yield the right outcome.
Foreign interference, voter suppression, the fact that 40% of the presidential elections in the 2000s have ended with the popular vote loser in office -- no, we don't trust the democratic process to yield the right outcome. But we also don't think impeachment will remove Trump from office -- though if it does, there's still an election scheduled.
... According to a Quinnipiac University poll, only 37 percent of Americans support impeachment.
That poll was conducted from last Thursday through Monday. More recent polls from YouGov, Business Insider/SurveyMonkey, Morning Consult, and NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist show support for impeachment equaling or exceeding opposition.
Democrats are playing Trump’s game. Trump has no policy agenda. He’s incompetent at improving the lives of American citizens, even his own voters. But he’s good at one thing: waging reality TV personality wars against coastal elites. So now over the next few months he gets to have a personality war against Nancy Pelosi and Jerrold Nadler.
As long as Trump is in office, we'll all be playing his game. But Trump doesn't win his game every time. He regularly goes bankrupt. He sues and loses. Right now, he's losing this battle. Trump fights everyone he doesn't like every day. You can try to ignore it or you can punch him in the mouth. He's not used to getting hit. He got hit this week, hard.
... This could embed Trumpism within the G.O.P. If Trump suffers a withering loss in a straight-up election campaign, then his populist tendency might shrink and mainstream Republicans might regain primacy. An election defeat would mean the people don’t like Trumpism. But the impeachment process reinforces the core Trumpist deep-state message: The liberal elites screw people like us. If Trump’s most visible opponents are D.C. lawyers, Trumpism becomes permanent.
This is ridiculous. Mainstream Republicans are as likely to say "The liberal elites screw people like us" as Trumpists. See Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan. Even nice old Poppy Bush.

They're going to say liberal elites screwed Trump if we beat him fair and square in November 2020. Hell, they're going to say it if he wins.
Democrats are running against a man whose approval rating never gets above 45 percent. They just have to be normal to win.
I think Brooks's definition of "normal" is Joe Biden. Now look at what the Trumpers have been trying to do to him. Forgive us if we don't think victory is inevitable, even with the "normal" candidate topping the ticket.

And, of course, this is Brooks's message: Democrats have to be normal to win. Republicans, on the other hand, can win with a candidate who's a criminal and a freak. This is Democrats' problem to solve.

Okay, yes -- this one's bad also.

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