This is palpable desperation, but all too predictable. When you have nothing, throw mud.
The Republican strategy going into the impeachment hearings relies on a man pulled out of the ranks specifically to be Trump’s rabid attack-dog. Republicans hope that Jim Jordan “smears” and disrupts Lt. Col. Vindman’s testimony, along with the testimony of other witnesses, sufficiently to save Donald Trump.
“Trump already announced his intention to attack Vindman as a partisan hack after the wounded combat veteran with a Purple Heart voluntarily came for his deposition two weeks ago dressed in full uniform and was escorted inside by Capitol Police acting as an honor guard. In his opening statement, Vindman testified that he reported his concerns about the call up the chain of command until he ran into a political appointee who told him never to speak of it again and stashed the full transcript in an inaccessible top secret server,”
“Attack the wounded combat veteran,” it took Trump in order to get here, where Republicans want to attack wounded vets as partisan hacks. Moreover, the spear in this strategy is a guy that “brands” himself as the tough one.
“If you can’t fight on the facts, you attack the character of witnesses—which he proved himself a champ at during the Benghazi hearings. Jordan’s uniform is shirtsleeves, to signify working-man cred and that he’ll take the fight outside if you don’t shut up and let him talk,”
Ironically, like many of the Republican elected officials outside the performance art studios in the capital, Jim Jordan is … not liked.
“Jordan is the kind of person even his erstwhile allies don’t like. In a Politico article in 2017, the retired former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said that Jordan ‘is an idiot. I can’t tell you what makes him tick,’ adding for good measure that he’s also ‘an asshole’ …
Carlson does a wonderful job highlighting the irony in the strategy. Jordan purportedly ignored direct pleas, not indirect evidence, but direct pleas from Ohio State University wrestlers that they were being sexually abused by the team physician. A mountain of evidence shows that Jordan exposed powerless victims to a sexual monster, without remorse. Yet he is the one appointed to muddy-up witnesses who passed multiple background checks to ensure an unimpeachable character.
“Jordan and his team intend to treat Vindman as if the servant and patriot is a fixer and crook like Michael Cohen, trying to stay out of jail by ratting on the boss. They want to put the motive of the witnesses on trial, instead of the actions of Trump … May the better team win.”
This is desperation.
However, as disgusting as it will be watching Jordan perform, we ought to remember one thing. He is very very good at what he’s been asked to do. We can mock him all week long – and I plan to – but he was moved over to this committee because he earned the spot, despicable as it may be. He is the best at what he does. The asshole role comes naturally.
I do not envy the witnesses having to go up against him, because there will be no way to “win.” One can, however, disarm someone like Jordan. Jordan will get frustrated by what he hears, and people like Jordan use that frustration to feed their anger, which fuels everything. A witness might make a well-placed comment on Jordan’s demeanor and disrupt everything. As a random example: “Congressman, I am here because I was asked to answer questions, and without regard to your personal anger, I can only say …” If a witness notes the anger at just the right time, it drains some of its power. The anger becomes a “thing,” out in the open and part of the discussion. Jordan then has to either acknowledge it and ramp it up (very dangerous), or drop it down, which is a victory for the witness because he or she gains credibility.
It is hard.
But it is also telling. The Republican strategy might be all they have, but it is a damned dangerous strategy. In the Trump-era, Republicans have largely succeeded by bloodying up people who never got in front of a microphone, never had a chance to demonstrate their humanity. The few that have, such as Dr. Blassey-Ford, have succeeded enough to terrify Republicans. Jordan will enter the room relying upon rabid-Republican-Right hatred of anyone who crosses Trump. But the moment the hearing is gaveled, that anger will be focused upon Americans like Vindman, good Americans, and when citizens see good Americans bloodied up by angry assholes, they could turn, fast.
It may be your best strategy, but I would be very careful there, Jimbo.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom