I really don’t want to hear anyone saying that the staggering cave-in by the Democrats on Saturday – their monumental act of political and moral cowardice – was because they wanted to “move on and get down to the business of passing Covid relief and confirming cabinet posts, etc.” If that’s your defense of these weak reeds, please bear this mind: Congress is going into RECESS next week. They aren’t going to doing ANYTHING about Covid relief next week. (Just as they’ve not done anything about it for the 42 days of full Democratic control of Congress — oh, except whittle down the amount of their relief plan to the point where they are going to give help to FEWER people than Trump did last spring, and also weasel-word their way out of their clear, unequivocal pledge to send “$2,000 checks” to struggling Americans). They’ve not going to confirm anybody next week. They’re not going to do ANYTHING, because they’re taking a week off.
So even a full week of testimony – forcing stark, eyewitness evidence of Trump’s murderous perfidy (and that of his enablers) into the public eye, day after day, laying out clearly the new evidence that has been uncovered this week – would NOT have ‘distracted’ them from any other business next week … because they weren’t going to DO any other business next week. (Also, during this past week of the impeachment trial, we have seen the Senate do plenty of other business — including confirmation hearings.)
Let’s also dispense with the excuse that “the Republicans were going to acquit Trump anyway.” Yes, that’s very likely. But as a matter of principle, the Democrats owe it to the American people to lay out the full case, to tell the American people the full story, and to use every single power at their command to defend the constitutional republic, uphold the ideal of lawful democracy and at least attempt to serve a modicum of justice on a wanton criminal. Even if you lose this fight, is that not a fight worth making? And as a matter of political principle, you want to show every bit of the ugly filth of the insurrection and Trump’s role in it, you want to get it out in front of the American people and MAKE the Republicans go on record as supporting this thoroughly documented evil through their vote of acquittal.
The day began with a remarkable Democratic victory: they managed to get a handful of Republicans to join them in calling witnesses and thus holding a genuine trial. But in a matter of hours, they simply threw this victory in the gutter. They surrendered from a position of strength to the vile, deceitful political thug, Mitch McConnell, and saved the Republicans from themselves. It is an utter, inexcusable disgrace, an act of rank betrayal. And they got nothing for it. Nothing.
And now they’re going to shut up shop for a week. Take a break. Kick back. Do some sucking up to their donors. Oh, and all that “urgent” work on the “President’s agenda” from which impeachment was a distraction? Meh. It’s not so urgent after all, it seems.
I didn’t think the Democratic leadership could be any more sickeningly supine than they were throughout Trump’s corrupt and criminal reign. But I must give them credit. Even now, long after they lowered my expectations of them to the level of the depths of the Marianas Trench, they still retain the capacity to astonish – and sicken.