Were You Lying Then or Are You Lying Now?


The question often arises. But it’s less often that you get to ask, “Where you lying this afternoon or are you lying this evening?”

Mulvaney This Afternoon

ABC REPORTER: Let’s be clear. What you just described is a quid pro quo. Funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.

MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy. … I have news for everybody. Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy. Elections have consequences.

Mulvaney This Evening

Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.  The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption. … There never was any condition on the flow of the aid related to the matter of the DNC server.


Every Day, It’s A-Getting Closer, Going Faster Than a Roller Coaster



Washington Post, Live updates: Mulvaney confirms Ukraine aid was withheld in part over request to investigate Democrats, despite Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo

I knew they would get there, because they had to get there, and there was absolutely nowhere else for them to go: Withholding military aid to a country under invasion until they did up dirt on your political opponents.

Happens all the time. Perfectly normal. Nothing to see here. So …


A Fabulous Defense Tactic

dumb 2

Please refer to the law school type hypothetical outlined in the immediately preceding post.

During the course of the murder investigation by the House Committee, President Doe, having been advised that the entire inquiry is “unconstitutional,” demands that all witnesses flatly refuse to give evidence to the House.

Witnesses who are unfriendly to President Doe, or who are neutral toward President Doe, or who fear the legal consequences of defying a congressional subpoena, disregard President Doe’s order, sing like canaries, and provide an abundance of damning evidence.

But witnesses who still owe full allegiance to President Doe—and who would have been prepared to give testimony favorable to his case—obey his order not to cooperate.

On the Relationship Among Hard Political Data, Stone Cold Political Calculus, Ukrainian “Drug Deals,” and Rational Arguments


Greg Sargent, John Bolton’s eruption shows that Trump’s defenses are collapsing

Well, one would certainly hope so—though both Mr. Sargent and Mr. Sargent’s headline writer strike me as just a tad optimistic. So let us unanimously resolve to avoid premature declarations of victory. And to drink no champagne before its time.

And let us also dig a little deeper.

Where the Kool-Aid Addicts are a Clear Majority

I assume your general familiarity with my immediately preceding post. There, looking at the Republican senators up for reelection in 2020, I pointed out that in each relevant states, support for Trump has suffered a massive loss since he took office. Nevertheless, in many “red” states, it appears that very hard core Trump supporters remain in the majority.

In those states, I assume, the senators’ knees will jerk, and they will vote for acquittal, no matter what. (It’s metaphysically possible that some such senator will have a Damascus Road experience and decide to commit political seppuku, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.)

Where the Kool-Aid Addicts are Only a Big Minority

In other states represented by Republican senators, Trump has done such a marvelous job of pissing off every reasonable person that the hard core Kool-Aid addicts are now only a significant minority. And Trump’s approval hovers at, say, +1 or -2.

There, a vote to convict and remove would pretty much guarantee a primary loss. While a vote to acquit would pretty much guarantee a loss in the general election—especially given the way things are going.

When Considerations of Amoral Political Expediency Yield an Indeterminate Result

If you are a Republican senator from a swing state, deciding whether to vote to convict or to acquit on the basis of pure political expediency does not work. Each alternative is politically inexpedient in the extreme.

Given that circumstance, they could always vote their conscience.

Please hold that thought for ten seconds and then let us move on.

Here, Ladies and Germs, is Where Actual Arguments Might Come into Play

Republican senators in swing states would love to be able to argue, a la Clinton, that “yes, it was pretty bad, but it wasn’t impeachable.” They will be driven to articulating such a talking point by an irresistible compulsion as great as the impulse that drives a herd of lemmings to jump off a cliff.

But here’s the problem.

Nada, Rien, Bupkis, Zilch, Zippo

Donald J. Trump, who insists on controlling his own messaging, does not know the difference between a superficially plausible argument and the crazed cry of a wounded animal.

Donald J. Trump is giving his peeps nothing to work with.


Interestingly, About 67 Percent of Americans are Traitors

CBS published the results of a poll conducted October 8 through October 11, and released the results this morning.

Mr. Parscale, who manages Trump’s reelection campaign and who believes that it is treasonous to inquire about Trump’s wrongdoing, may be interested to learn that about 67 percent of Americans are, in fact, traitors.

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Moreover, 16 percent of Republicans approve of the impeachment inquiry. But let’s look on the bright side for The Donald. He still has 84 percent of the minority of voters who picked him in 2016!

And—yet more splendid news—a lot his remaining 84 percent of a minority are all riled up!

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In fact, Trump’s majority of a minority is now SO riled up that people saying “No, he doesn’t deserve to be impeached over Ukraine” have climbed to a whopping 38 percent!

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And the good news never ends. A ginormous 29 percent of us are prepared to describe “Trump’s actions on Ukraine” as kosher! How sweet it is!

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It just goes on and on. To respond to Ukrainegate, a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious percentage of Republicans want their elected representatives to act like the assholes they are. Five percent of Republicans would rather they criticize Trump. And the remaining twenty percent will be perfectly OK if their senators just cower in the corner and suck their thumbs.

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And when offered a ternary choice rather than a binary choice, our nation’s current views on Ukrainegate, by party, are as follows:

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Summing Up: Who are the Hard Core Trump Base and How Many of Them Are There?

The best answer, one would suppose, comes from the data shown immediately above. Seventy-five percent of self-identified Republicans say “the impeachment inquiry is a political distraction” (while the remaining 25 percent say that it’s either “critical” or “serious”).

People identifying themselves as Republicans or as Republican-leaning independents make up 41 percent of our population. Three quarters of 41 percent is 29 percent.

Soooo … the 75 percent of Republicans who think it’s all a political distraction are pretty clearly the same 29 percent of all ‘Mericans who think “Trump’s actions on Ukraine” were “proper.” And they are pretty much the same 70 percent of Republicans who told pollsters that they want their elected representatives to respond to Ukrainegate by acting like assholes. (Why only 70 and not 75 percent? I don’t know. But a logical explanation might be that a little slice of Trump’s hard core think he’s pure and innocent—and that most expedient thing would be to cough up the evidence, so that everyone can see how pure and innocent he is.)

Another somewhat inconsistent data point is the 37 percent of Americans allow as how “the administration should not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.” But it’s exactly the number you get when you add up the Republicans who think it’s all a witch hunt and the Republicans who think Trump’s Ukraine conduct was wrong but not impeachable.

To Sum Up the Summing Up

  Percent of American Population
Identify as a Republican or a Republican Leaning Independent and Love to Drink the Kool-Aid 29%
Identify as a Republican or a Republican Leaning Independent, Only Sip from the Kool-Aid but are Stone Cold Partisan 8%
Identify as a Republican or a Republican Leaning Independent and Can Still Carry on a Rational Conversation 4%
Sum of the Above: All who identify as a Republican or a Republican leaning independent 41%