Republican activists are debating among themselves about what the Senate’s next move should be if the Democrat majority in the House sends them two Articles of Impeachment. Should they take the ball and run with it by holding a full Senate trial or decline to hold a hearing at all and expect to score points by throwing the ball away?
This could be one of the greatest opportunities for political theater and civics education in our lifetimes, but I fear that too many Republicans will remain comfortable playing defense, even when they finally get the ball.
The impeachment sham is a ruthless game of political theater, and it’s a tactic at which Democrats have always outshone Republicans. In this case, their show has a weak story line, and promises almost certain failure, yet they continue to play it for all it’s worth. They have further cast themselves as heroes despite being a particularly unlikable bunch.
For example, it hardly plays well when Nancy Pelosi explains the need to move forward with impeachment by wrapping herself in the American flag and the Constitution though she and her party have shown such regular contempt for both.
Republicans on the other hand, have a Pulitzer Prize winning story about collusion, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, phony FISA warrants to spy on political adversaries, foreign interference and even a real “quid pro quo.” Most dramatic is that the greatest suspects are those who continue to accuse Donald Trump of precisely those crimes. They need to oust him before he ousts them. From the beginning, those most culpable have known that Donald Trump’s presidency would threaten to expose it all. That was one thing about which they were right. What a story! And Republicans are thinking about leaving it on the cutting room floor?
This is the beginning of the resolution to the story arc, the best show of the season during sweeps month. Over 50% of the public is desperate for this story to be told. A good portion of the other 50% haven’t heard it yet.
There is still plenty of suspense in this story. With the Durham and Barr reports in the spring, more evidence is expected to further reveal the true guilty parties. To not take advantage of the opportunity to reset the stage now and start telling the other side of the story would be a crime in itself.