Republican Premeditated Ignorance

The term “premedicated incompetence” was coined by a woman I worked with back in the 1970s. It designated the phenomenon of college-educated men who could not figure out how to load a dishasher if there happened to be a woman handy.

Something like that is going on with Senate Republicans. Instead of refusing to learn how to load a dishwasher, they are refusing to listen to the arguments and evidence against Trump. It is clear they are determined to get their sham of a trial over with asap so that they can vote to keep Trump in office. To do that, they have to remain ignorant.

But why? Trump’s unfitness for office isn’t going away. More evidence will be made public, much of it sooner rather than later. Watchdog groups and investigating journalists are finding new documentation of Trump’s corruption all the time. There is even a remote chance we’ll get to see Trump’s tax returns and other financial records before the November election.

“The truth is going to come out,” Rep. Adam Schiff said to the Senate. “The only question is: Do you want to hear it now? Do you want to know the full truth now?”

And we know the answer. It is no. Greg Sargent writes,

GOP senators who vote against subpoenaing new witnesses and documents run the risk that more damning revelations will come out after any such vote, and after their inevitable acquittal. This could allow those revelations to be hung around their necks, as examples of what they sought to help Trump cover up.

But it’s now clear we’ve been looking at this from the wrong angle. The truth, plainly, is that in this scenario, the fact that the votes on evidence and acquittal will come before any future revelations is a feature of doing it this way.

That’s because a vote for acquittal (which, again, is inevitable) before more damning revelations are unearthed is politically less costly than a vote for acquittal after any such revelations.

Yes, future revelations will stand as evidence of what GOP senators covered up. But that’s still politically less risky, from their perspective, than taking the chance that new evidence could be still more damning than what’s already known, and that they’d have to then acquit at that point.

Clearly, if you think acquittal is your only option, but you know deep down the SOB is guilty, you might as well stay ignorant of the evidence. You’re better off that way, even. So some day when even the PBS News Hour crew is wailing about Trump’s violations of the Constitution, Senate Republicans can claim that the House managers of the trial just didn’t make their case.

Except they pretty much did make their case. What I have seen and heard this week allows no room for doubt that Donald Trump abused the power of his office to manipulate the 2020 election.  Tom Scocca:

The figurative gutters of Fifth Avenue are awash in blood and spent shell casings. What the Senate cameras recorded was a day-long showdown between reason and brute force. Schiff and the other impeachment managers have all the facts and principles on their side. The president’s defenders had nothing to counter them with but nonsense and lies. Nonsense, lies, and 53 votes.

Adam Schiff’s speech yesterday was especially brilliant. Were Republicans listening?

See also More Than One-Third of GOP Senators Reportedly Left Room During Schiff’s Speech.

So, here we are.

My understanding is that Trump’s lawyers may begin their presentation as early as Saturday. (Per Senate rules, during an impeachment the Senate meets six days instead of five.) One suspects they will have much less to say than the House managers did. When Trump’s lawyers are done, Senators may submit questions in wiritng that will be reviewed by the Chief Justice. He will decide which ones will be asked. Sixteen hours are allotted for questions.

When questions have concluded, the Senate will have a brief (four hours tops) debate about whether to call witness or acquire documents. If Republicans vote as a block to nix witnesses and documents, there will be nothing left but the final vote. So the “trial” might be over by the end of January, which is what Trump and McConnell want.

I suppose we can still hold out hope that at least three (the Chief Justice would break the tie) Republicans will choose to vote for witnesses, which at the very least would draw the trial out past the scheduled SOTU address. But I’m not holding my breath.

12 thoughts on “Republican Premeditated Ignorance

  1. Will the Senate Republicans survive (there are seven Republican Senators in jeopardy – one Democrat) if the united cry after the acquittal is "A WHITEWASH for the White House" which emphasizes not the vote to let Trump off for his offenses but for the vote to suppress evidence.

    Advertising which features an ostrich in the famous pose will punctuate the point.

    I'm not making any predictions but pounding the facts and the votes that individual candidates made seems like the way to go. Using the phrase, "cover-up" repeatedly should make a dent in the thick skulls of low-information voters. 

  2. The tighter Republicans wrap themselves around Trumpism the worse they'll look as new tales of malfeasance emerge before November. I'm perfectly OK with that.

  3. I like premeditated ignorance almost better.  I don't think there is a medication to cure this ignorance

  4.  The House managers have put on a brilliant presentation that makes the case irrefutable that Trump violated his oath of office and abused the power of the presidency.  It's also crystal clear that he obstructed Congress in an attempt to cover up his crimes and wrong doings. There is no doubt that he has done what he is being charged with.

     The question now is whether the GOP Senators will rise to fulfill  their duty and put Trump out of office. I can't imagine defending Trump in light of what has been shown already. It seems to me that if I were in the position where I had to face either the wrath of Trump or the wrath of the American public. I would take my chances in finding political security by holding on to my integrity and honor by being true to the Constitution and the American people. 

    • "I would take my chances in finding political security by holding on to my integrity and honor by being true to the Constitution and the American people."

      Elected republicans, and these GOP senators in particular, have demonstrated time and again that integrity and honor are no longer values they respect.  In fact you cannot function as a "republican senator" in ways they're expected to by McConnell and hold those values dear.  

  5. Looking exclusively at Bolton… He's writing a book and he's offered to testify to the Senate. I'm not sure of the planned release date, but the book will be out WAY before November. How does this play out? The Senate refuses to hear testimony in January and the book drops like a bomb in May with details about what the inside dealings with the Acting Chief of Staff and the Sec of State and (potentially) Mayor Bug-eyes were. If the book says what the evidence suggests, the decision not to hear testimony will become cannon fodder in several Senate races with the majority at risk. 

    Trump may have his lawyers working on a plan to tie up the Bolton book until 2021. I'm not sure if Trump can. S & S (the publisher) also has a few lawyers and there's a lot of profit at stake depending on the timing of the release date. 

    If you're a Senator concerned with surviving the 2020 election and the gauntlet of a 'cover-up' has already been thrown down… the shadow of willful ignorance and the intent of a cover-up by denying evidence becomes a really risky scenario.   

    (If I was Chuck, I'd want to know what's in the book now.) 

  6. Schiff put the finishing touches on phase one of connect the dots.  His case for ouster was strong, pointing to the harm that Trump can do in the time between now and the election.  In spite of the quite unwelcome task of policing their own party.  Republicans cannot now ignore the big picture and were shown it plainly.   

    The picture lacks many dots and which have been withheld or redacted, but the gestalt is quite apparent. Everyone is required to play in Trump's distorted reality with his friends of the day.  All must play by his rules.  Trump is to controls all the referees and have them report only to him.  Trump collects all the revenues and opponents  must pay all of the expenses.  It is time for this game to be over.  "And oh yeah, about that mess in the stands, how was I to know fans are messy, but you will need to clean that up.  I'm a germaphobe you know." Trump tweets.

  7. If nothing else,  I'm  glad the Republican brain dead cult is being called out in public by Schiff.  It may be all we get but it matters. 

    There is a word for Republicanism : mendaciousness.

    We are headed straight to oligarchic  fascism. If we could vote our way out we already would have.  But  they have rigged what power we have.

  8. I wondered what this strange feeling was after my blood pressure spiked and I ended up on a diet, starved of caffeine and coffee, with an extra half a BP pill daily. Then I realized. It is a replay of the Katrina disaster.  It is a  governmental  landslide of doom that is unavoidable no matter the goodness and virtue raised against it. The TV coverage of both events, the heroism exerted, the inevitble destruction, all are the same.  And it becomes such a scene of preventable disaster and failed response that the frustration is overwhelming. And what do they have in common? Responsible Republicans.


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