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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Do Republican Senators Have the Civic Integrity of Paula Duncan?

Bubble Boy Ventures Out into the Real World (Getty Images)

Trumpican Paula Duncan was a juror in the Paul Manafort trial. As such one might have expected her to acquit Manafort on all charges. She would know that the trial was perpetrated by the Deep State witch hunt to remove her Lord and savior, the chosen one, blessed be his name from the presidency. Therefore one could expect with reasonable confidence that her loyalty to the president would trump her loyalty to the Constitution.

Such an assumption proved wrong. The exact opposite occurred.  She voted to convict on all charges. She voted guilty even on the chargers where one and only one other juror voted not guilty.  Reporters asked her about her votes after the trial concluded. Her reply demonstrated the primacy of her civic responsibility. It was not enough to not convict someone simply because of his ties to the president. Instead she examined the evidence, weighed its meaning and voted accordingly. That vote was GUILTY. GUILTY AS CHARGED, all 18 times.

Another exercise in evidence examination just occurred in a different venue (“The History Class Focuses on an Extraordinary Era: The Present,” Audra D. S. Burch, NYT October 24, 2019, print edition). In the Chalmette, Louisiana, high school, world history teacher Chris Dier, conducted classes on impeachment. He provided background material on the three previous impeachment-related American presidents before turning to the current example. The instructor recognized an opportunity to teach a real-time lesson in civics and political science. He devoted two 90-minutes class periods to the subject. He considered it a civics class at a time when many Americans are not familiar with civics.

His goal in the class was for the students acting as [better-behaved] Representatives and Senators to answer the same questions the American people are going to be asked during the impeachment process. In the two classes, the students would deal with the questions to be faced by both the House and the Senate: should the President of the United States of America be impeached and if so should he also be removed from issue? The question of should a President who is removed from office remain eligible to run again for the office, say in 2020, was not included. Since many of the students are 17 years old, their first presidential election may revolve around these issues.

The students followed a more rigorous approach than adult voters are likely to. They studied impeachment as developed by the Founding Fathers and the procedures used in the two houses.  The students then examined the Ukrainian evidence as provided by the teacher, evidence which is growing by the day and will grow more so by the time of the actual impeachment and vote to remove.

Initially the 21 students divided into 12 to impeach, 4 not to impeach, and 5 undecided. After another round of discussion by the students the vote shifted to 14 impeach and 7 not to impeach. The district was won by Trump with 65% of the vote. Presumably not all the students told their parents how they voted.

These two examples from two different venues, a courtroom and a classroom, provide the Democrats with a blueprint for conducting the actual impeachment hearings. Both the jurors and the students examined the evidence presented to them and then discussed it. One sees hear the importance of the prosecuting attorney and the teacher. It is essential for them to present sufficient evidence in a clear narrative format accessible to the deciders to reach a desired outcome. The Kavanaugh hearings won’t work. Apparently the Democrats have wisely chosen to let lawyers make the case rather than the politicians. That process worked in the Manafort case and in the classroom. Although the teacher did not take sides, he did present the relevant material (at least in a condensed manner) sufficient for the class to work He also did instruct the students to behave in a respectful manner, a far cry from the way Congress conducts itself.

One issue for the Democrats to address in the impeachment is to recognize that there are two audiences. I do not mean the House and the Senate. As we were reminded again and again during the Mueller investigation, the confrontation is a political one which will be fought in the public arena. One side did an extremely effective job in poisoning the jury pool while the other was lackluster to the point of nonexistence. The Mueller report and the Congressional appearance turned out to be the most anticlimactic events in American history. If the Democrats do not learn from the Mueller fiasco, they are doomed to the same unsatisfactory results.

While certain events in the impeachment will take place televised during the day, the battle also will be fought in the media and on the web during and after the televised hearings. We already have seen the scorched tactics that will be unleashed against anyone who dares to tell the truth under oath. The number of people who anticipated Vindman be characterized as a double agent loyal to the Ukraine is probably about the same who foresaw the purchase of Greenland and sharpiegate. Naturally the so-called whistleblower is not one, but a Deep State operative working for Biden. The firestorm will be fierce.

One strong possibility is the impeachment hearings and removal hearings may not have the stage alone. Last summer Duped-by-Russia Hannity repeatedly stated that any day, the Inspector General would release his report documenting the abuses of the Deep State in initiating the Mueller report in the first place. He could scarcely contain himself as he anticipated the indictments of all the people he had identified as being part of the witch hunt. So far that has not happened. It is only a matter of time before the report it is released and when it is it is likely to be during the hearings. Who will be best prepared to deal with that report when it happens?

In the meantime there is a second report or action to consider now. Bill Barred-for-Life has been tasked with indicting all the people Duped-by-Russia Hannity has identified as being part of the Deep State witch hunt. The integrity of the DOJ attorney is irrelevant. Look at how Barred-for-Life spun the Mueller report and quashed an investigation into the Ukrainian incident. Is there any doubt that he will attempt to indict the entire Deep State? According to Bull Trump station talk shows, all these conspirators are now quaking in fear and lawyering up for onslaught to come. They are sore afraid. The day of reckoning is soon upon when the true guilty parties of the fake Russian collusion inquiry are exposed. That exposure will then spill over into the fake Ukrainian impeachment. The impeachment and removal hearings will not have a monopoly on the news. The war will be fought on multiple fronts.

That war already is underway. By the time Rachel Maddow has completed one of her long extended essays, Duped-by-Russia Hannity will have excoriated corrupt Schiff and his Soviet-style secret hearings a dozen times. He will do so relentlessly and persistently every single day from now until the 2020 elections if necessary. He will use the exact same words and phrases to do so as he instructs his Trumpican audience in what to believe. That audience is the one Republican Representatives and Senators fear…unless they are retiring, are not worried about backlash or primary challenges, or have a conscience.

To answer the question then, “Do Republican Senators have the civic integrity of Paula Duncan?” the answer is “NO!. WHAT ARE YOU KIDDING ME! IS THAT A TRICK QUESTION?”  However, they are not all blithering idiots. They know that the President is guilty on all charges. What they may do then is attempt to thread the needle and adopt the Democratic strategy from the last impeachment: “Yes, he is guilty but his actions do no rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors warranting removal from office.” They may soothe their conscience and satisfy the Trumpican voters with that maneuver but it may not satisfy the President. After all how can he be compared to Lincoln and Washington if the House impeaches him, a majority of the Senate votes to remove him from office, and the other Senators think he is guilty as charged but the infraction was too small to justify expelling him. What infraction? The phone call was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Read the transcript!

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