The thing about playing chicken is that you have to know when to turn.
If you don’t, there are only two scenarios left.
One is mutual destruction.
Two — the other guy does know when to turn.
Then you get caught up in that side’s prop wash, the engine dies as you lose control — and you auger into the ground.
So it is with today’s Democratic Party, which is trying to impeach a successful president of the United States on charges that are so trumped up (excuse the phrase) that any prosecutor with an ounce of integrity would laugh them right out of court.
Do the Dems really think the Ukrainians in Kiev will go along with their bluff and be their patsy on a political blackmail charge?
That government has already given indications to the contrary and is launching its own investigation into the matter of former Vice President Joe Biden’s corruption — not the president’s.
Do they think the American people, and especially swing voters, are going to buy another fake scandal du jour after the Russian hoax and the whole Mueller shebang turned out to be a big fat nothing burger? Do I hear an engine cutting out?
But the recent polls show a “slight majority” for impeachment, you say. As a former pollster, I can tell you can get any number you want from any survey you want. It merely depends on how you phrase the question and exactly of whom you ask the question.
And mutual destruction — where Trump and Joe Biden completely self-immolate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) somehow picks up the pieces?
The Dems don’t have the votes in the Senate to pull that off and they also seem to have forgotten their own recent history with this gambit.
When the GOP House impeached former President Bill Clinton on various misdeeds regarding statements he made under oath in 1998, he came out of a Senate acquittal vindicated and better in the polls than when he went into the trial.
How? The Dems changed the subject from Clinton’s issues to personal ones involving sexual and personal liberty — making innocuous Ken Starr into Grand Inquisitor Torquemada in the process. So they know the drill.
So what are the Dems playing at now?
The truth is they aren’t playing at all. They are deadly serious and quite in principled earnest. This violates one of the first rules of political gamesmanship: Keep ideology out of the scenario.
When the true believers take over, logic and reason go out the window.
In my almost 20 years as a political consultant, I saw this on a constant basis.
This is because the ideologically motivated do not understand the difference between politics and government.
Politics is merely marketing and is about numbers, creative media, public psychology. It is about getting into office.
Government is about ideals, principles, and still — yes — politics. It is about governing well and staying in office.
But this kerfuffle — the current impeachment push — is politics pure and simple and the Dems are bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Obviously, they haven’t watched “The Untouchables” enough times.
Overcome with ideological hysteria and emotion, they want to stab and cut deep for the sheer vengeance of it. The smart play would be to remain calm, reasoned, accurate. That is the way grown-ups such as Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) handle things.
When you ask yourself why they think they can get away with it, as opposed to their above motivation, one is reminded of a quote from 19th century German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck.
He said, in speaking about geopolitics, that the greatest political fact of modern times was “that the United States and Britain spoke the same language.”
He was right — as throughout the upcoming century the U.S. and the U.K. were allied.
Such it is with the Dems and the press.
The opposition party mainly stays in their D.C.-L.A.-N.Y. bubble. They hear very little outside of that cultural and intellectual echo chamber.
Many of them truly think that if it leads in The New York Times, then that is what America is thinking.
The press and the Dems speak that same leftist language and act as enablers to each other. This allows them to remain comfortably numb that all is well — or frenetically alarmed that world is ending, depending on the circumstance.
However, there’s one big problem with that arrangement. His name is President Donald J. Trump.
While House Democratic firebrands like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) have been spewing, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) plotting, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) grandstanding, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) folding — Trump, the wily tactician, has deftly turned the tables on them by putting a glaring focus on Biden’s Ukrainian and Chinese deals for his son, Hunter Biden.
Combine that with the soon-to-come revelations of Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, and those of the investigations of U.S. Attorney John Durham — and you have a one-two punch that will likely render the Dem charges muddy at best.
It also may show the entire impeachment campaign for what it is — a Dem attempt to distract and change the subject before the Horowitz and Durham chickens come home to roost.
The president has timed this well. Either his Senate trial or the Biden-Obama-Hillary scandals uncovered by Horowitz and Durham will take place next spring and summer. Maybe both.
That would be just in time to suck all of the media oxygen out of the Dem primaries and convention.
The president, if he’s impeached, will be acquitted and will go into fall 2020 with the wind at his back.
Then presumably running against Warren, Trump could be looking at a 1988 GOP victory scenario — a win for George H.W. Bush. Or at least a 2004-type result, the re-election of another Bush.
Those were the last times the Dems were foolish enough to give the nod to far-Left Massachusetts pols.
That scenario holds if we stay at peace and the economy continues to hum.
If either of those goes south, all bets are off and everyone’s crystal ball clouds up.
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