The Just Get Over It Defense
Lincoln probably did not say—though he probably should have said—that “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Permit me to observe that the converse is true as well: you can reason with all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot reason with all the people all the time.
It’s a question of counting noses. Clearly, there are huge numbers of Trump Cult members who will never be made to see reason. Trump and his enablers hope that there are so many of them that he will escape the consequences of his acts and even win reelection. Thus, his ultimate defense will have to be: “Sure, I extorted the Ukrainians to interfere in the 2020 election. So what? Get over it.”
Understandably, Trump and his enablers are nervous about just how many of our fellow Mericans will cotton to the Just Get Over It defense. Said nervousness leaves them floundering between the three remaining conceivable defenses.
The Deny the Undeniable Defense
That would be “No Quid Pro Quo. Read the Transcript.” Works just fine for folks who are infinitely gullible and who will not, in any circumstance, read the damn transcript to see that it evidences an extortionate quid pro quo.
As Lincoln said, or didn’t say, you can fool some of the people all the time. But just how big is that “some”?
The Explain the Inexplicable Defense
As WaPo tells us this morning, some of Trump’s enablers are giving that one the old college try.
Of course they are.
House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy.
All three occupy a special place in the Ukraine narrative as the people in most direct contact with Trump. As Republicans argue that most of the testimony against Trump is based on faulty secondhand information, they are sowing doubts about whether Sondland, Giuliani and Mulvaney were actually representing the president or freelancing to pursue their own agendas. The GOP is effectively offering up the three to be fall guys.My comment: Trump’s modus operandi is to act like a mob boss, giving secret orders to his henchmen to do his dirty work. It’s all about deniability.
So why hasn’t Trump taken the obvious course of throwing Giuliani and his merry men under the bus? That would seem, on the face of things, to be his least bad option.
One explanation is that it would make Trump look bad, and his vanity prevents it. A second explanation would be that, in his delusion, he thinks he did nothing wrong. A third explanation would be that he is acting like a rational bad man—not betraying his henchmen because of all the dirt they can spill on him.
In this case, I go with number three.
OK, What About the Defend the Indefensible Fallback Argument?
First point: Defend the Indefensible sounds like a first cousin of Just Get Over It, but they aren’t really the same thing.
Just Get Over It invites the listener to adopt an amoral attitude, disregarding all the facts, all the legal arguments, and all the moral concerns.
By contrast, here, Defend the Indefensible requires the listener to accept the proposition that the end—a political advantage for Trump—morally justifies the means, i.e., disobeying Congress’s decision to give military aid to Ukraine, at a time when it’s under invasion and its people are dying.
It’s understandable that Trump and his enablers do not relish trying to make that argument.
It’s 8:30 AM where I am. Good morning to today’s readers in Germany, India, Kenya, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Pakistan, and the United States. I’m going to post this and go back to bed.