By Charlie Gerow
A half century ago, pop singer Peggy Lee grabbed a Grammy Award with a hit entitled “Is that all there is?” She walked listeners through a series of events that were supposed to be monumental but turned out to be disappointments.
House Democrats must have been hearing those strains after this week’s first hearing in the “public phase” of the impeachment process. (This was written before the second day of hearings)
After being hyped by the media and Adam Schiff as the ultimate in political theater, the day’s actual show was a dud — at best.
Schiff and company had planned on a banner day. They set it up. They wrote the script. They built the stage. They promoted the show.
It was so much that there were “therapy dogs” stationed outside the hearing room for folks to “de-stress.” You can’t make this stuff up.
But when the curtain closed on the first day they had to be disappointed. Few minds were changed, although some Democrats began to quietly express concern about the direction in which things are headed.
What viewers were treated to was a jumble of third hand testimony. It was reminiscent of the scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” when Simone intoned, “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night–I guess it’s pretty serious.” “Thank you, Simone,” deadpanned Ben Stein, playing the unnamed teacher.
The two diplomats who were hyped as “star witnesses” provided hearsay and opinion, little more.
But Democrat Congressman Mike Quigley was quick tell us that “hearsay can be much better than direct (evidence).” Ask any first-year law student about that theory and they’ll tell you how ridiculous it is. A quick look at the Federal Rules of Evidence might help Congressman Quigley.
Despite every national media outlet trumpeting the “bombshells” that were dropped during the day, people who watched the proceedings had a very different view.
The bombshell they saw was when Rep. John Ratcliffe asked the two witnesses if there was anything they had seen that amounted to an impeachable offense. Silence. “Shout it out,” prodded Congressman Ratcliffe. Crickets.
That pretty much summed up the day’s hearing. A process that, if carried to fruition, would overturn a national election and the manifest wishes of the American people, began with hearsay testimony from witnesses that admitted they had no first-hand knowledge and whose positions were such that they had never even met the President of the United States or talked with his Chief of Staff.
Despite all this, the end of this movie has already been spoiled. Unless there is some totally unforeseen development, the House will impeach President Trump.
The Senate will either dismiss the charges outright or there will be a trial resulting in acquittal of President Trump. How far into 2020 this process runs is a big question. Some Democrats are betting that dragging this out will give them an advantage by running against an impeached president. Others openly worry that the boomerang effect could hurt them badly in 2020.
If there is an actual trial in the Senate, those senators busy running for president will be forced to leave the fields of Iowa or small town of New Hampshire and return to Washington to sit through the trial. That could have some very interesting impacts on early primary states.
Meanwhile, there is a growing angst among voters who voted two years ago for a Democrat-controlled Congress, based upon issues like health care, prescription drug policies and infrastructure improvements. They’ve been let down by a congress fixated on evolving theories to impeach the president, but doing nothing else.
When congressional Democrats are asked by voters what they’ve done for them, the conversation will be brief.
At the same time the economy continues to improve American lives. The stock market is setting records on a daily basis, more Americans are working than ever before, wages are up and consumerism is soaring.
The economy will be the key to victory in 2020 as it always is.
The political landscape doesn’t look too good for the Democrats who want to be president. The Democrat donor class isn’t happy with the current front runners. Neither are voters. So there are new entrants to the Democrat contest. Jumping in are Michael Bloomberg and Duvall Patrick. Others are rumored to be getting in, a clear sign of dissatisfaction with the current field.
There’s even talk that Hillary Clinton may run again. She says people are begging her to run. Donald Trump should be so lucky.
Charlie Gerow is the CEO of Quantum Communications. He and Democrat Mark Singel appear each Sunday morning at 8:30 am on Face the State on CBS-21.