In an orgy of unlawful plotting, Marjorie Taylor Greene went to Bedminster, New Jersey, last week and promised Donald Trump a “long and excruciatingly painful” impeachment process for Joe Biden. The absence of details of what the impeachment is about was reminiscent of Trump’s onetime demand of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It’s not the inquiry that matters, it’s the announcement of an inquiry that matters.
The hope is that something — anything — substantive will emerge from the inquiry. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Until then the impeachment of Joe Biden remains an outcome in search of a process. Everyone has their marching orders. True, they have nothing on Biden. But wouldn’t it be great if they found something?
This is how you take “but, her emails” to the next level. It’s now become “but, his …,” fill in the blank later. Or mutter something about Biden taking bribes. The point is, impeachment is now the go to strategy for the Republican Party whenever a Democrat becomes President. It’s a decision box that asks the question “Democrat?” If the answer is “Yes,” the arrow points to the action box “Impeach.”
And the man behind it is Donald Trump. This senile, stupid, quasi-literate, gibbering old fool isn’t the only person the so-called “MAGA Squad” subgroup of the Republican Freedom Caucus in Congress needs to please. They also in turn need to please his base. If Trump is happy his base is happy. It’s a formula destined for disaster, and most other Republicans are powerless to stop it.
Greene is no longer an official member of the Freedom Caucus, having been expelled after a contretemps with the recently publicly disgraced Lauren Boebert. But they all have the same goal, and they all pressured spineless Kevin McCarthy to announce the impeachment inquiry, which he dutifully did, of course. His marching orders came from Greene and the Freedom Caucus. Their marching orders came from Trump. And that is how the levers of power are manipulated, sometimes by remote control.
The destination? Another attempt at a coup d’etat of the United States government, of course. Not satisfied with the outcome of the January 6 insurrection, Donald Trump has spent the last two and a half years trying to come up with an alternative way to steal the government. In other words, if the Beer Hall Putsch fails, look for new routes to power. But keep looking. Even if you must do so from within the confines of Landsberg Prison.
But Trump isn’t Adolf Hitler. For one thing, he’s not young enough. There can be little doubt that, once Trump is inevitably jailed for violating the conditions of his parole in one or more jurisdictions, he will try to direct the coup from inside his jail cell, just like a mob boss these days, or Hitler back in the 1920s. But he’s getting older and he is deteriorating rapidly. How long can he last? Clearly not very long.
The Republican Party doesn’t seem to have a strategy after Trump dies or goes permanently to prison. They are men and women in loud, angry desperation. Their future is bleak and they know it. And yet they continue to take orders from this madman.
Republicans lack the skill, the patience and the maturity to forge a sane strategy of their own, so they will inevitably follow this fool until he ends his days in his bunker, in disgrace, without hope or prospects for recovery. I’m fine with that. I suspect you are too. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.