So just what the hell do the Republicans want? They want the Bidens investigated? How many times exactly? The Republicans investigated Hillary Clinton six times and she was exonerated all six. The Republican “anyway verdict” was that it made no difference anyway, of course, because “Benghazi” remains a one note leitmotif that translates in the minds of their drooling acolytes into “bad Hillary.”
Donald Trump, on the other hand, was investigated once by Robert Mueller, who found ten separate instances where Trump obstructed justice. When asked if his report exonerated Trump, Mueller said “No.” The Republican “anyway verdict” was that the Mueller report “completely exonerated” Trump.
A common misreporting represents Trump bribing (or attempting to bribe) Voldomyr Zelensky to “investigate the Bidens.” That’s not entirely accurate. The only thing that was required of Zelensky was to announce an investigation into the 2016 election and the Bidens, at which point, if Rudy and company were bribing in good faith, the $400m in aid would be released. Whatever the outcome, whether or not an actual investigation ensued, the Republican “anyway verdict” was all that would matter. That verdict would have ensured, from that point forward, that the whiff of scandal would forever dog the footsteps of the Biden campaign, just as surely as her emails and Benghazi dogged Hillary Clinton’s.
So whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican being investigated, or threatened to be investigated, the Republican “anyway verdict” will always prevail if they don’t like the outcome. So I ask it again, why do certain members of the Republican Congress still want the Bidens investigated, when we know in advance that it will end in a Republican “anyway verdict”? Why don’t they just content themselves with their foregone conclusion that the damage has already been done and save the taxpayers some money? Because they need something to distract from the impeachment of Donald Trump and confuse the electorate, and just about anything will do. Why settle for one tactical advantage when you can have two?
The modern day Republican agenda is and always has been propaganda, propaganda in the nefarious tradition of Dr Josef Goebbels. Proof, favorable verdicts or outcomes, real world exonerations are helpful but entirely unnecessary. The important thing is the propaganda takeaway: a one or two or three word summary, like “Benghazi,” or “no collusion,” or “read the transcript,” that will fit nicely on a t-shirt or provide an adequate chant at one of Trump’s Nuremberg-variety rallies, will suffice.
In its surrender to the cult of personality, the Republicans have ceased being a party and have become instead a machine where, irrespective of the input, the output is foregone: a favorable verdict for them. In coming weeks and months that machine will make it increasingly difficult for politicians and political operatives to stand on principle, as some did when Donald Trump withdrew the Kurd-protecting troops from Syria. Anyone who decides to stick with Donald Trump no matter what will find himself or herself with ever-decreasing room to maneuver. Should the unlikely happen and Donald Trump finds himself impeached and convicted by the Senate, the “anyway verdict” may very well be that he has been acquitted. When you consider that, for the moment, Republicans hold the predominant power in Washington, that is troubling indeed.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.