The Bible tells us that “there is nothing new under the sun,” and indeed that adage is reflected in the world around us. Pop culture tells us the same stories time and again, stories that themselves are rooted in tropes, i.e. ‘commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices.’ One such trope, made famous by a bravura Kevin Spacey performance, and itself born of real-life (and troubling) police and criminal prosecutorial attitudes, is the “he must be guilty of something, so we are justified in doing XYZ.” Pick up a presumed bad guy, and even if you can’t pin a particular crime on him, you know in your gut that he’s guilty of something else. So, you don’t feel so bad in bending the rules in order to get him locked up.

Problem is, that’s not how things are supposed to work because, sometimes, you’re wrong. More importantly, bending the rules takes you down a peg, morally, and over time, erodes others’ confidence in your judgment, your honesty, your uprightness, and so forth. For certain, your like-thinkers, cohorts, and “tribe” members will have your back – groupthink is powerful – and that might give you confidence that your bendy-bends are for noble purpose and good cause – but you don’t win converts by lying or cheating, and you don’t get to stand on moral high ground that you’ve washed away.

The pursuit of Trump-defenestration has, after nearly three years of any-avenue relentlessness, taken on the feel of such “he must be guilty of something” sloppiness. This latest matter, the allegation that he improperly bribed or threatened the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, smacks of “impeach first, fill in the details later” certitude. The Angry Left’s seething over the perceived injustice of Trump’s victory has not abated. Indeed, Pelosi’s rush to use the “I” word suggests otherwise: that it boiled over to a degree that even the savvy and seasoned Speaker could no longer manage it. “The Squad’s” Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s declaration that “we’re going to impeach the motherfucker,” combined with Rep. Jerry Nadler’s Ahab-like monomania, the slavering hordes on Twitter, and a number of other “take him down by any means” partisans, have won dominance over the Party’s direction and actions.

So, into the breach they leapt, even before they gathered easily-available information. Pelosi could have waited until the transcript and the whistleblower complaint got released before declaring for impeachment, with no political harm. Instead, she charged ahead, for undisclosed and hotly debated reasons. Yesterday, I considered that she did so to take charge of the narrative and protect Biden, but I may have gotten it backward, especially in hindsight: this looks likely to knock Biden out of the race, something that party strategists may actually desire and be happy to hasten. Some think that Pelosi simply caved to the “burn the witch” crowd’s pressure, some think that she saw weakness in her party’s field of candidates and moved to make certain the election was about Trump, not policy, and on and on.

The problem that the Democrats have is that we, the public, have seen this spectacle before. We’ve been told repeatedly that, this time, they’ve got him. That, this time, there’s meat on the bones. That, this time, there’s enough evidence to win an impeachment vote and convince enough Republicans in the Senate to vote him out of office.

The repetition of such declarations has induced a weariness in the public. More problematically, it has raised skepticism, because of the aforementioned “guilty of something” erosion of trust.

Diehard Trump supporters, at this point, will not be convinced of impeachable guilt, no matter what.

They don’t matter.

Diehard Trump haters, at this point, are already convinced that he should be in jail, no matter what.

They don’t matter.

Everyone else, however, will need a legitimate chain of evidence and logic. The Democrats, in their relentless and often-hyperbolic denunciations, have raised the threshold of that legitimacy in the public’s mind. They certainly believe otherwise – that Trump is a demonstrable low-life and therefore it’d be easier to convince the public that he did the things they say – but their failure after nearly three years to make any of their assertions stick undermines them and bolsters the witch-hunt counter-narrative.

And, now, we’ve got the Ukraine matter. If you’re of the “he must be guilty of something” mindset, you can read the transcript and complaint and be wholly convinced that he deserves to be removed from office (or worse). But, if you’re “we’ve seen this before,” your skepticism will probably win the day. There’s the usual Trump sloppiness in the transcript, but there’s no smoking gun (and the fact that some of the Dems are crying “coverup” about the transcript suggests they agree).

Then there’s the whistleblower document.

I gave it a quick look. Something felt “off” about it, and that’s beyond the “I was not a direct witness…” red flag. I wondered about the heavy footnoting and the polished nature of the document.

I wasn’t alone, and I find myself in agreement with The Federalist’s Sean Davis: this complaint looks like a carefully crafted hit piece a la the Steele Dossier. It has the stink of deep-state and dirty political games about it, a stink that will work against the Democrats.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t any substance to this allegation, but the crux of the matter is whether the public will agree with the “Impeach him!” crowd or will conclude that this is a “usual suspect” twisting of nothing into something.

The latter is the likely outcome, and it’ll be the Democrats’ fault for so destroying their own credibility.

Many friends opined, when Nancy dropped the “I” bomb, that Trump was just handed re-election. I’m inclined to agree.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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