Schiff plays the hero in im­peach­ment farce

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NEWS - John Kass [email protected]­bune.com Twit­ter @John_Kass

Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat Adam Schiff, the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee chair­man, has been in his glory in run­ning the Trump im­peach­ment (in­quiry) hear­ings, with the TV spot­light upon him and his al­lies in Wash­ing­ton’s Demo­cratic Media Com­plex urg­ing him on in this to­tally un­nec­es­sary farce.

Yet from his perch up high at the hear­ings, with that long neck and those pursed lips, I fig­ure Schiff could have at least worn a black robe trimmed with fur. He pre­sides over this ab­sur­dity like a me­dieval church­man in a bad movie, de­ter­mined to burn all the witches and win the ado­ra­tion of all those lit­tle peo­ple he finds be­neath him.

Wasn’t it only yes­ter­day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thought go­ing full im­peach­ment on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was a po­lit­i­cal mis­take? But now she’s de­ter­mined to take him down. And Lord High In­quisi­tor Schiff is in­deed grate­ful. But what has this re­ally ac­com­plished?

It has al­ready caused col­lat­eral dam­age to for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, the mod­er­ate-left Demo­crat who once openly bragged on video about putting his thumbs on the scale of Ukrainian jus­tice, while his son Hunter was do­ing ques­tion­able gas busi­ness in that fa­mously cor­rupt coun­try. Each day the Democrats pur­sue im­peach­ment, Bi­den is weak­ened in the crit­i­cal, early states of Iowa and New Hamp­shire.

You think Schiff ’s im­peach­ment hear­ings don’t hurt Bi­den? OK, then please tell it to Michael Bloomberg, the big gulp New York bil­lion­aire who is mov­ing into the Bi­den breach. An­other is for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. De­val Pa­trick, an African Amer­i­can born on the South Side of Chicago. He wants to cut into Bi­den’s last re­main­ing fire­wall among African Amer­i­can vot­ers in South Carolina. Pa­trick doesn’t make this move with­out a wink and nod from Bi­den’s beloved boss, for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

What Im­peach­ment The­ater tells us is that Demo­cratic mod­er­ates have been over­whelmed by the left, now the dy­namic force in their party. This was in­evitable. Years ago, the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment col­lapsed of its own weight after all those jobs were sent over­seas, and all the need­less wars that cost Amer­i­can blood and trea­sure. The Bushies hoped to use Trump to suck up all the media oxy­gen, and then they’d slide in. They mis­cal­cu­lated. Trump was never the cause of the GOP estab­lish­ment col­lapse, only the symp­tom of it. And now they hate him.

But back to Schiff and the farce in Wash­ing­ton. The hear­ings were full of Wash­ing­ton speak, the play­ers mum­bling what seemed like for­got­ten tongues about the sa­cred rights, feel­ings and pre­rog­a­tives of fed­eral bu­reau­crats who were ir­ri­tated by the fact that they serve at the plea­sure of a pres­i­dent many of them de­spise. Trump an­grily tweeted at one diplo­mat who was there as a feel­ing wit­ness, not a fact wit­ness, but were Amer­i­cans moved one way or an­other by the tes­ti­mony? I don’t think so.

The feel­ings of bu­reau­crats are im­por­tant, yes, feel­ings are in­tensely im­por­tant to the left now, and tears are even bet­ter, es­pe­cially on TV, since they’d rather not talk about the econ­omy or of Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates want­ing to im­pose gov­ern­ment health care and strip pri­vate in­sur­ance from union work­ers in crit­i­cal bat­tle­grounds like Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio and Michigan.

The pres­i­dent sets for­eign pol­icy, not the un­elected diplo­mats. Trump is ac­cused of with­hold­ing aide to Ukraine un­less Ukraine in­ves­ti­gated the Bi­dens and re­ported Demo­cratic in­trigue in Ukraine run­ning up to the 2016 elec­tion. Democrats now ar­gue that this is bribery, and that for­eign aide should not serve do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est. But pres­i­dents al­ways played it that way, with sur­ro­gates mak­ing end runs around the for­eign pol­icy bu­reau­cracy in Wash­ing­ton.

Tru­man had his Mar­shall Plan to re­build Europe. Bil­lions of Amer­i­can dol­lars have been given to Egypt, so it won’t at­tack Is­rael. Obama gave mil­lions of dol­lars in cash on pal­lets to

Iran to sweeten the mul­lahs. One of his top for­eign pol­icy aides, Ben Rhodes, fa­mously bragged to the New York Times about how easy it was to ma­nip­u­late Amer­i­can jour­nal­ists on the way to Obama’s Iran nu­clear deal.

Obama with­held anti-tank mis­siles promised to Ukraine. Why? Be­cause he was pres­i­dent. He was elected to set for­eign pol­icy, even if that meant lean­ing over a hot mic in 2012 and tell Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev to in­form Rus­sian boss Vladimir Putin that “after my elec­tion I have more flex­i­bil­ity.” Was that smart? No.

Was it smart of Trump to call to the Ukrainian pres­i­dent and men­tion the Bi­dens? No. But he did it.

Is it im­peach­able? With an elec­tion less than a year away, is im­peach­ment the orange hill that the Democrats should die upon? No.

Many of you will dis­agree. Many have and will of­fer rea­son­able coun­ter­ar­gu­ments. Some of you might think the Schiff Show has been a valu­able ex­er­cise in sav­ing the repub­lic just so that El­iz­a­beth War­ren, Bernie San­ders or the mayor of South Bend, In­di­ana, can wreak their will upon it and upon the econ­omy.

Trump’s bom­bas­tic per­son­al­ity has been an is­sue from the mo­ment he de­feated the un­lik­able Hil­lary Clin­ton and sent the Wash­ing­ton estab­lish­ment and their Belt­way media palace guardians into ab­so­lute hys­ter­ics. They’ve been quite hys­ter­i­cal for three years.

You want to get rid of Don­ald Trump? You want to re­tain him? Here’s what you do: Go to the polls next Novem­ber and vote. That’s how we do things.

It won’t sat­isfy Adam Schiff, but then, he’s al­ways wanted to be a screen­writer. And he can write him­self into an­other movie, and play the hero, once again.

Lis­ten to “The Chicago Way” pod­cast, with John Kass and Jeff Car­lin, at www.wgn­ra­dio.com/cat­e­gory/wgn­plus/thechicago­way.

JOSHUA ROBERTS/AP

Adam Schiff, chair­man of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, speaks dur­ing Fri­day’s im­peach­ment hear­ing.

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