Charles P. Pierce on fleeting hopes that any Senate Republican might actually give a rat’s patootie about the rule of law and the Constitution as demonstrated yesterday.
In the Senate on Tuesday, the Republican Party, represented by its majority caucus, formalized its fealty to this renegade administration*. It had several chances to demonstrate a modicum of independence, a smidgen of human courage, and it failed every time. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer proposed amendments to add further documents and witnesses to the deliberations. All of them failed by a straight, party-line 53-47 margin.
In this, no Republican was different from any other Republican. Lisa Murkowski and Tom Cotton were the same. Thom Tillis and Ted Cruz were the same. Cory Gardner and Jim Inhofe were the same. Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse were the same as Mike Rounds and Mike Enzi. And they were all the same as Mitch McConnell. There were no moderate Republicans in the Senate on Tuesday. There were no Never Trumpers. There were only collaborators. There was no independence in the Senate on Tuesday, only complicity. And it was a deadening, sad thing to watch.
“I like to look around and see how many of my colleagues are looking guilty,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “I saw a lot of them just sitting there, looking down.” The Democratic senators seem content to plug along, letting the majority keep voting down what would seem to anyone who’s ever watched a police procedural on TV to be reasonable requests. “All this talk about how they’re asking the Senate to do the House’s work, that’s just BS,” said Senator Mazie Horono. “I’m listening very carefully, I take notes, and then I make my comments parenthetically, like, ‘What a bunch of…’”
House manager Hakeem Jeffries later made a fine presentation of how many witnesses testified in previous impeachments. (Andrew Johnson’s trial had 40 of them.) That’s the kind of thing that will survive on the record after all the knee-jerk constitutional negligence has been toted up. Barack Obama was wrong in 2008 and Joe Biden is wrong today. The fever never will break. The patient is going to have to die.
What’s even sadder is that when all of this is over, even if Trump loses reelection ignominiously and the Senate returns to a Democratic majority, there will be no accountability for the collaborators. They’ll appear on cable chat shows and even if they have a scintilla of remorse, shame, or guilt for letting Trump off the hook, they will smile sweetly and say something mealy-mouthed like “what’s past is past, let’s move on.” Yeah, no.
At the end of World War II when the occupied territories were liberated from the Nazis, people who collaborated with the Germans were marched through the streets, the women with shaved heads and striped of their outer garments, and a lot of them were killed outright. Well, we’re better than that; we shouldn’t physically harm them. But we should never forget, and those who marched in lockstep with the criminals should be held accountable.