by Russell Dobular
Kamala Harris this week, in her ongoing quest to find just the right parade to jump out in front of, suddenly reversed her position on impeachment by coming out in favor of it, and, for good measure, defended Joe Biden, saying, “Leave Joe alone,” when asked about the propriety of the Vice President’s son serving on the board of a foreign energy company. Still casting about for some way to win the hearts of Democratic voters, she then tweeted out a defense of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail clusterfuck, saying, “Hillary Clinton served our country with distinction and always put our country first — something Trump knows nothing about.” HRC herself responded to Harris’ fawning with the kind of finger-on-the-pulse instincts that made her such an effective campaigner. “But my e-mails,” she replied winsomely. Staff sources at Third Way claim that Neera Tanden literally busted a nut in the middle of a thus far unnamed fine dining establishment upon reading the exchange.
But it isn’t only undiagnosed-sociopath Harris who’s being careful to avoid suggesting there might be something wrong with the VP’s son getting $50K a month from a foreign entity whose country falls within his daddy’s purview. Elizabeth Warren, in an episode reminiscent of her reversal on the question of whether or not the DNC primaries were rigged (she answered with an unequivocal “yes,” in an MSNBC interview, before changing her mind the next day, presumably after party leadership sat her down and gave her a good talking to), first claimed, when asked, that her anti-corruption plan would not allow a little ne’er do well shit like Hunter Biden to take a cushy gig with a foreign company. Then she quickly did the math on superdelegates who might be miffed at that answer and backed off to, “I don’t know. I mean I’d have to go back and look at the details.”
Aside from cowardly and opportunistic politicians, the corporate media has been doing Cirque Du Soleil-level acrobatics to convince the public that black is white, up is down, and there’s nothing untoward about a recent drug rehab alum landing a lucrative gig for which he had no apparent qualifications in a country where his dad just happened to be making decisions regarding US policy. What could possibly be wrong with that? Just look at all the job fairs they hold on the lawn at Betty Ford. Any ex-addict can tell you what a hot commodity employees who might be doing bumps in the bathroom between strategy sessions are in the current labor market.
Regardless of what Trump did, it’s all very reminiscent of the way Democrats tried to sell the public on the idea that there was nothing weird about setting up a private server in a basement, or deleting 30,000 e-mails that were under subpoena at the time they were destroyed. There’s a word for that. The word is illegal. Don’t believe me? Go set up your own private server, run classified information through it, then start deleting e-mails when the man catches on. Tell me how that works out for you.
Or how about the interference Dems ran for the pay-to-play scam that was the Clinton Foundation? If there’s a reasonable explanation for how a major donor ended up on the International Security Advisory Board, without having any expertise in the area, I’d love to hear what it is. Or why it was that countries that gave big donations, many of which were autocratic regimes with horrific records of human rights abuses, got huge increases in their arms shipments during HRC’s tenure as Secretary of State. If these facts belonged to any Republican, Democrats would connect the dots pretty easily. It belonging to the Clintons, they wrote it all off as a conspiracy theory. They still do, even with the smoking gun in the form of a total collapse in donations after the 2016 election. If it was all about charity and not about buying access, why did the donations dry up once there was no longer a Clinton lined up for the Presidency? Donations to the Salvation Army don’t rise and fall with election outcomes. Why would the Clinton Foundation have that unusual distinction, if not for the fact that it was always an elaborate bribery scheme?
What Democrats seem to forget in these situations is that most people aren’t hyper-partisan party loyalists. Only 14% of those polled have a “great deal” of confidence in the media that pedals these narratives, and the Congress that’s handling the impeachment inquiries has a 20% approval rating. Beyond that, only around 29% of voters identify as Democrats. If we had to venture a guess, we could safely say that about half of those are extremely partisan, like, Nancy-Pelosi-is-doing-a-heck-of-a-job, and nothing-wrong-with- the-Secretary-of-State-having-a-home-brew server, kind of partisan. The rest are probably like most Americans: deeply skeptical of the whole bloody system and all its players. So, what you really have are a fringe minority representing about 14% of the public who think a VP’s kid cashing in on his father’s influence is A-OK, as long as his father is a Democrat. For everyone outside the partisan bubble, that assertion is batshit. Just like the assertion that because Donald Trump is a lying scumbag, Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. One has nothing to do with the other, and anytime your argument becomes, “My candidate is less of a scumbag than your candidate,” a la, #butheremails, you’ve already lost.
The most dangerous part of all this, just as was the case with HRC, is the way that denying the reality of the Biden family’s long history of corrupt behavior and practices now, is going to set the Democrats up for a rude awakening later, should he become the nominee. In this sense, as in most others, they are being ill-served by their preferred media sources. The Ukraine is truly the least of it. At best, Biden repeatedly turned a blind eye to his brother James and son Hunter repeatedly and blatantly cashing in on his political position. At worst, he tailored policy to aid them in their ventures. The only question really is whether Biden’s behavior represents the kind of corruption that we still have laws against, or the kind of corruption that’s so rampant in our new Gilded Age that it’s all perfectly legal. Either way, the more the average voter hears about it, the less they’re going to like it.
None of this is to say Democrats shouldn’t be pursuing impeachment on the grounds that Trump pressured a foreign country to investigate a political rival. But if they continue to try to have it both ways, its going to blow up in their faces. If they make a corruption case against Trump, while at the same time denying that Biden’s behavior was itself corrupt, they’re opening up a contradiction wide enough to drive a Trump re-election through. The masterstroke would be to impeach Trump and repudiate Biden at the same time. That would go a long way to refuting any suggestion of partisanship, and would stand in sharp contrast to the way the GOP is ultimately going to rush to Trump’s defense for fear of his rabid base. It would also give the Democrats something they haven’t had in a long time, even among their own voters, many of whom are more reluctant and resigned than enthusiastic about the party: credibility. Admitting wrongdoing by one of their own most prominent establishment figures would be so completely out of character, it would make a lot of people who have given up on the Democrats take a second look.
But of course, the odds of the Dems throwing Biden under the bus where he belongs, are somewhere up there with Chuck Schumer forswearing corporate contributions; slim to none. So get ready for that same, “I must be taking crazy pills,” feeling that you had in ’16 every time a “liberal” told you that nominating a historically unpopular candidate in the middle of an FBI investigation wasn’t going to cause any particular problems. And once the But His Son tweets start (in about 3, 2, 1), there’s no turning back. The Democrats will once again be putting themselves in a position where they have to defend the indefensible, largely by screaming “whataboutism” at anyone who points out the obvious fact that Biden is just as corrupt as the early 20th Century Irish ward heelers from whom he gets so much of his political style. A less hapless leadership would see the writing on the wall and be running away from Biden as fast as their septuagenarian legs can carry them. Instead, just as Democrats have embraced every slimy person and institution that Trump has ever had a beef with, from the media, to the intelligence services, to John Brennan, they’re likely to double down on Biden as he increasingly comes under fire from Trump and his surrogates. Given that, this is the best thing that could have happened to Biden’s primary campaign. And consequently, it’s also the best thing that could have happened to Trump’s re-election prospects. Donald Trump has been given many blessings in life, but nowhere more so than in the quality of his enemies.