Sunday, February 14, 2021

Trump's blood lust - Political vampires have no honor

No honor among political thieves

There are only seven honorable Republican senators and Jennifer Rubin (WaPo) tags them.

In a masterly job of lawyering, public education and civic performance, House impeachment managers got every available Republican vote to convict former president Donald Trump on Saturday. Alas, there were only seven available — the other 43 Republicans apparently made up their minds before the trial had even started. The Republican honor roll: Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.). It was the most bipartisan impeachment verdict in American history.

Earlier in the day, House managers were compelled by Senate Democrats to accept the stipulated testimony of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) rather than her live testimony. Many Americans, including the House managers, learned plenty in the development of the case against the disgraced former president. There was far more evidence of guilt than we had imagined. The White House intervened to allow the mob to gather on the Ellipse. Scores of his MAGA followers believed they were acting on Trump’s command. We got even more evidence of his guilt and of the total irresponsibility of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) when we heard Herrera Beutler’s testimony read into the record: Trump knew the Capitol and his vice president were imperiled. He seemed perfectly pleased and indeed scolded McCarthy for not being as committed to him as the violent insurrectionists were.

… Nothing could be more hypocritical or symptomatic of spinelessness than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Having delayed the trial beyond Joe Biden’s inauguration, McConnell voted to acquit on Saturday, arguing that a president couldn’t be tried once out of office. And then he proclaimed, “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. … He didn’t get away with anything yet.” If that is not an admission of McConnell’s own failure to uphold his oath, then nothing is. Given that seven Republicans found the courage to do what he could not is an indictment of his moral feebleness thorough partisanship.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared at the House managers’ post-verdict news conference and tore into McConnell. She excoriated him for the grounds on which he claimed to acquit, since he was the one who delayed the trial. She mocked McConnell: "So for him to get up there and make this indictment against the President and then say but ‘I can’t, I can’t vote for it because it’s after the fact.’ The fact that he established! The fact that he established that it could not be delivered before the inauguration.” Calling Republicans “cowardly,” she pointed out that McConnell affirmed that the managers had proved the case. She rightly concluded McConnell and Republicans were bent on acquitting the former president no matter the facts.

The House managers conducted themselves with grace and honor. We saw the intellectual and emotional strength of Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), who had just lost his son (named after Thomas Paine, whom Raskin quoted frequently). Newcomers Rep. Stacey Plaskett, a non-voting Democratic delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) proved themselves to be rising stars. …

We are reminded that the country has one functioning, pro-democracy party and another under the sway of the MAGA mob and the instigator of a violent insurrection. Never has the gap between the parties been so great, nor the need for one side to prevail so essential to the survival of the republic.

Political vampirism

From Wiki: “A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead creatures that often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighborhoods they inhabited while they were alive.” …

Trump’s Taste for Blood is the target of Maureen Dowd’s NYT opinion piece. If Republicans won’t convict, bring on the handcuffs.

(Thanks to Scriber’s Editor-at-Large Sherry)

… The first time I realized that Donald Trump took pleasure in violence was back in March 2016. In an interview, I asked him about the brutish rhetoric and violence at his rallies and the way he goaded supporters to hate on journalists and rough up protesters. Even then Mitch McConnell was urging Trump to ratchet down the ferocity.

I told Trump that I had not seen this side of him before and that he was going down a very dark path. With his denigrating mockery of rivals and critics, he had already taken politics to a vulgar place, and now it was getting more dangerous.

Shouldn’t parents be able to bring children to rallies without worrying about obscenities, sucker punches, brawls and bullying, I wondered?

He brushed off the questions and blithely assessed the savage mood at his rallies: “Frankly, it adds a little excitement.”

A couple of weeks later, I pressed him again on his belligerence and divisiveness, and, with utter candor, he explained why he was turning up the heat.

“I guess because of the fact that I immediately went to No. 1 and I said, why don’t I just keep the same thing going?” he said. “I’ve come this far in life. I’ve had great success. I’ve done it my way.” He added, “You know, there are a lot of people who say, ‘Don’t change.’”

Dear reader, he didn’t change.

And everything bloodcurdling that happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 flowed from his bloodthirsty behavior. He had always been cruel and selfish, blowing things up and reveling in the chaos, gloating in the wreckage. But it was only during his campaign that he realized he had a nasty mob at his disposal. He had moved into a world that allowed him to exercise his malice in an extraordinary way, and he loved it.

Trump never cared about law and order or the cops. He was thrilled that he could unleash his mob on the Capitol and its guardians, with rioters smearing blood and feces and yelling Trump’s words and going after his targets — Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence.

It was Manson family-chilling to watch the House impeachment managers’ video with a rioter hunting for the House speaker, calling out: “Where are you, Nancy? We’re looking for you, Na-a-ncy. Oh, Na-a-ncy.”

It was like watching his vicious Twitter feed come alive. Others were chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” even as a gallows, complete with noose, was erected on the lawn. Watching those shivery videos, it hit home how Pelosi and Pence could have been killed and the melee could have turned into a far worse blood bath.

Had that happened, Trump would have found otherwise forbidden pleasure in feasting on their remains.

The Democrats put on an excellent case, and they were right to impeach Trump. But if the Republicans won’t convict him, then bring on the criminal charges. Republicans say that’s how it should be done when someone is out of office, so let’s hope someone follows through on their suggestion.

A few days ago, prosecutors in Georgia opened an investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election there. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could drag Trump into court on tax and fraud charges. Karl Racine, the attorney general for D.C., has said that Trump could be charged for his role in inciting the riot.

Maybe a man who gloated as his crowds screamed “Lock her up!” will find that jurors reach a similar conclusion about him.

So the question remains: How do you (politically) dispose of, or at least (politically) constrain, a king of the political vampires?

Perhaps you can find an answer in the writings of Bram Stoker and Ann Rice.

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