A Cup of Bad Cheer
"Madame Speaker, the president of the United States."
We're going to see that tomorrow. And I suspect the moment that follows -- as well as other similar moments during the State of the Union Address -- are going to be truly terrible for the Republican Party in ways they haven't considered yet.
The moment after Trump is announced to the joint session of Congress, every Republican senator and every Republican congressman -- close to 300 in the room -- is going to leap to their feet and have a massive and extended WILD CHEER to show their support, even more than usual since he is currently in trial and under impeachment.
I think this is going to be a truly terrible optic for the GOP.
Not for party members, they'll love it. They'll be in heaven over it. But for most everyone else, Democrats and independents (the latter of whom are probably the most-important voting block in the November election, and the former who have to be as riled up and as anxious to vote that they'll burst waiting). they will almost all be aghast. Because it will be the picture of an actively impeached president, not not even acquitted, who forced the blocking of any witness to testify in the Senate trial, who forced the blocking of any new evidence or documents to be admitted into the trial, who sent lawyers to defend him who literally, knowingly lied, who didn't even tell "the court" that one of those lawyers was a fact witness, and who just had his Justice Department block emails about Ukraine from being released, standing there, being WILDLY CHEERED and given a long standing ovation by the very people who voted unanimously not to impeach him and voted near-unanimously not to hear witnesses or accept actual new evidence and documents to his trial.
This will appear to most, I believe, as -- "Look what we did! We blocked everything! We covered-up his crimes! We all did it! And we got away with it!!! So, screw all of you! Now, let's cheer the crook and let's cheer ourselves!! Hurrah!!!"
This, as I said, will be a truly terrible optic for the Republican Party. To most Americans watching, I believe it will look heart-sickeningly ghastly.
And it's going to get worse. Because history and tradition tells us that 20 to 30 times during the speech, Trump will say things that will get the GOP right back on their feet, WILDLY CHEERING him. And themselves. Over and over and over. And they likely will be standing and WILDLY CHEERING some things that most of the voting public knows are lies, and that the elected officials themselves know are lies.
In fact, not only will they spread this WILD CHEERING throughout the evening, but history and tradition tells us that they'll be leaping back to their feel and once again WILDLY CHEERING Trump within 15 seconds of when the initial WILD CHEERING has finally died down. That's because that's when the Speaker of the House announces that she has "The high honor and distinct pleasure to introduce the president of the United States." (Though it will be interesting to hear if Speaker Pelosi uses that traditional words or not...))
But back on their feet they'll go, WILDLY CHEERING again. Mere seconds later.
I don't think Republicans have a clue how bad this will look. If they did, they wouldn't do it. I suspect they think this will be a great thing, showing their love for Trump and showing their base. And it will be a great thing for Trump and their base. But you can't win in November with that. And to most everyone else it will look creepy, sick, pathetic, disturbing.
Indeed, I believe that this will be a monumentally-terrible optic for the Republican Party. In the middle of an impeachment trial -- that they blocked witnesses and evidence from being heard, despite 75% of the American Public wanting them, because the American Public know you have witnesses and evidence in a trial. All the while, amidst their WILD CHEERING, trying to claim that it's the other party who was political.
And proving for everyone to see clearly that -- say it all together -- this is not about Trump, we know who he is, this is about the elected officials of the Republican Party...WILDLY CHEERING the impeached Trump in the midst of his trial...who enable him and are complicit.
2/3/2020 08:12:11 pm
It won't happen, primarily because there aren't enough Republicans in Congress with integrity or intelligence; but I really hope Don-Don goes off script and starts freestyling grievance and insults at the House Democrats and the Bidens. Since the vote on his impeachment trial isn't until the next day, he might anger or at least put the gear of not being reelected into enough GOP Senators to get a pink slip Wednesday. I know...but a man can dream.
2/3/2020 08:51:52 pm
I don't expect Trump to go off-script, though I think it's reasonable to think that he may, if only briefly. But no, as you say, your dream won't happen. And yes, a man can dream...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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