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Don’t bother, they’re here

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“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)

The House Judiciary Committee voted out of articles of impeachment against the president several hours ago, and there’s been no mention of this fact by a front pager until now.

This is a sign, among other things, of how empty the impeachment process is. It’s a farce, because there’s not the slightest chance that the Senate will convict Trump, given that every vote on this matter, both in the Committee and in the House as a whole, and in the Senate after what now seems likely to be the most pro forma of processes at best, will feature a straight party line vote, with perhaps a couple of exceptions for Sen. Magic Underwear, heir to the crown recently vacated by John McCain as The Last Honest Man in America, and maybe (though I doubt it) a golden ticket or two for Susan Collins and Cory Gardner.

To say it’s a farce is not a criticism of the Democrats in any way, as not impeaching Trump under current circumstances would be an even bigger farce.

At least a couple of things flow from all this:

(1) A straight party line vote can be interpreted in one of three ways: Trump is obviously guilty of the charges against him, which warrant his removal, but the GOP is a corrupt party that has jettisoned any commitment to its constitutional obligations; Trump is obviously innocent of those charges, but the Democratic party is conducting a witch hunt; or the question of whether or not to impeach is actually a very difficult and close one, and thus all these party line votes represent the unfortunate triumph of partisanship over principle on the part of Both Sides.

The right wing scream machine will of course continue to push the second claim 24/7. The legacy media will, naturally, choose the third frame, for reasons that are too obvious to belabor. The fact that the first explanation is indisputably the correct one will have no impact on either of these outcomes.

(2) After Trump is acquitted if not sooner, he will immediately engage, probably openly or semi-openly, in even more flagrantly impeachable conduct than he did in the Ukraine matter. This was his reaction to the Mueller probe (recall that his infamous phone call with Zelensky came literally the day after Mueller’s testimony before Congress, which marked in Trump’s mind the end of the danger to him from that quarter.)

(3) Trump’s impeachment will, as a historical matter, end up marking an important milestone in the deterioration of the American constitutional system, as more and more people come to appreciate the farcical nature of these proceedings, despite or perhaps because of the solemnity with which they are being covered by the legacy media. Indeed that solemnity is, under the circumstances, if anything even more farcical than the proceedings themselves.

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