Like most thinking Americans (Adlai Stevenson: “That’s not enough; I need a majority”) I listened this week to the daylong Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey show, aka Michael Cohen’s ‘fessing up to the House Committee on Oversight. As usual, the Democrats wimped out and the Republicans stomped on their enemy with lead-footed pirouettes.
Well? We have been trained for years not to expect anything better.
If the past 40 years have taught us anything — which they have not — it’s that Democrats are cowards and Republicans are liars.
Let’s start with Cohen’s lukewarm grilling by the Democrats. In remarks submitted in writing to the House committee, the president’s longtime personal lawyer offered 3,800 words of evidence of Trump’s wrongdoings: many of them criminal. Democrats on the committee could have used those remarks to ask Cohen to expatiate upon his recollections of Trump, before and after his election.
The Democrats did not do this.
Save for Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont; Alexandra Ocasio in her blessfully brief comments; congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley; and Elijah Cummings in his closing remarks, the Democrats just juggled small dice.
Try as I can, I cannot think of a single probing question the Democrats asked, save for those four.
I need not, and prefer not to, go into the Republicans’ questions to Cohen. Many of them used their 5 minutes of glory to pitch themselves to their hometown crowd: to voters and donors.
None of the Republicans said a word in defense of Trump. It was ad hominem dogpiling all the way.
One of the repeated, pointless questions Republicans asked was whether Mr. Cohen planned to write a book about his decade and more about working with Individual 1. And how many millions he expected to make from it.
Mr. Cohen said yes, and that he had turned down one book offer for $750,000.
So? Is it illegal to write books now? What else is the guy going to do for the next three years, sitting in a small room?
I may be wrong, but I believe that no member of either party, in this 8-hour playgame, mentioned the U.S. Constitution.
Republicans used it to holler. I have been grilled by law enforcement figures more than once. I found it useful to ask them, when they shut up, to please stop yelling at me: to lower their voice and speak politely.
In my experience, it always worked.
After they lowered their voices, we always got along.
Many times during that Wednesday hearing, I wished that Mr. Cohen had asked the congressmen and –women to stop shouting at him, and speak politely.
As my Oma used to say: “It couldn’t hurt, and it might help.”
Pardon me for quoting an old legal cliché: “When the facts are with you, pound the facts. When the law is with you, pound the law. When the facts and the law are against you, pound the table.”
All I heard Wednesday from the Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight was old boys and girls pounding the table and making pitches to their home districts: How much they love America, and, of course, our troops.
The Republicans were nauseating, but the Democrats were blithering cowards and blind.
What’s clear is that Democrats have to kick out their old guard: a bunch of trembling, bought-off cowards; and that, if we survive the next two years, we have to defeat Trump in the 2020, and until then, let him destroy the Republican Party, and all the cowards in it.