Thursday, July 25, 2019

Schiff May Be On To Something

In his opening statement yesterday as chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) noted the greed, corruption, and dishonesty which the Special Counsel uncovered in the Trump Administration. However, he emphasized a different problem when he told Robert Mueller

Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump himself, knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy and used it.

Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words, but how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it and made full use of it?

That disloyalty may not have been criminal. Constrained by uncooperative witnesses, the destruction of documents and the use of encrypted communications, your team was not able to establish each of the elements of the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, so not a provable crime in any event.

But I think maybe something worse: The crime is the violation of law written by Congress. But disloyalty to country violates the very oath of citizenship, our devotion to a core principle on which our nation was founded that we, the people and not some foreign power that wishes us ill, we decide who governs us.

Charlie Pierce noted "Schiff's argument about disloyalty is what established the mood." Pierce maintained

Instead of Gohmert's bellowing that Mueller's investigation was "un-American," we had the Democratic members of the committee explaining the actual un-Americanism of allowing foreign ratfckers to help pick a president. And, if there was a moment that drove this all the way home, it came when Mueller told the committee that foreign ratfcking was not merely something out of recent history.

And why not? It worked the first time and six weeks ago

During an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Trump was asked whether his campaign would accept information from foreign governments in this upcoming election or turn it over to the FBI.

"I think maybe you do both," Trump said, adding that if Norway had information on an opponent, he thinks he would want to hear it. "I think you might want to listen, there's nothing wrong with listening."

When asked whether he would want that type of interference in the 2020 election, Trump said: "It's not an interference."

"They have information. I think I'd take it," Trump continued. "If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI."

That's "maybe" as in "if it will benefit me financially." 

President Trump will try to paint this election as his kind of people against the Democratic kind, "us" vs. "them," patriots vs. traitors, the latter as he has tried to portray Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Tlaib, and Omar. 

Democrats can embrace being the party of openness, diversity, and inclusiveness, as those four congresswomen represent. But they already are largely perceived as that. And give voters the choice being a party which has embraced those values and one which has embraced the flag.... we don't want to  know the outcome.

Fortunately (though unfortunately because he actually is the President), Donald Trump has given Democrats an opening, one wide enough march an army through, one implied by chairperson Schiff. Donald Trump is disloyal- and barely tries to hide it.  He is disloyal, unpatriotic, and flat-out does not like this country. 

Embrace that, Democrats.  Put the President on the defensive about loyalty to the country. It's not enough to point out that Trump committed obstruction of justice, which is an abstraction to most people. Few voters are going to rush out to vote against someone because they've been convinced he has committed a crime they may suspect (inaccurately) other politicians have committed.

This is not John McCain, George Herbert Walker Bush, or even George W. Bush the Democratic Party is running against. It is Donald J. Trump, who a while back sold out this nation to the highest bidder.  A Garry Trudeau character knows what to call him. Try it.

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