So the J-6 committee prime-time hearing show trial is under way, but I can’t live-blog it, as it is cocktail hour out here on the Left Coast, followed by dinner, and I have a plump chicken on the rotisserie as I speak.
I’ve been working on a drinking game for the “hearing,” though I am having some difficulty, and really need Ammo Grrrl’s help with this. First thing you need to do is check your health insurance and see how many liver transplants it will cover. Because, if we stipulate that you take one shot every time someone says “insurrection,” you’ll be blind drunk in 15 minutes and need your first liver transplant in 30 minutes.
Likewise with the phrase “undermine the Constitution.” Three livers by midnight. “Donald Trump wouldn’t accept the results of the election.” Or, “Donald Trump sought to overturn an election.” “Attack on the capitol.” “Worst/darkest day in American history.” Forget it. (Not to mention a double shot every time you want to slap Liz Cheney; it would be alcohol poisoning.)
I don’t even like liver anyway, no matter how pickled.
This leads to a serious point, believe it or not. The purpose of the prime time Watergate hearings in 1973 was to bring down Nixon, but the country was still naive enough to believe the cover story that the hearings were a genuine congressional “investigation” to find the truth. The purpose of the present hearing is not to find out what actually happened before and on January 6 (though there will be plenty of talk about this), but to make sure Trump cannot return to the Oval Office in 2024. (Hold this thought.)
It was a stroke of genius on the part of Democrats in 1973 to put North Carolina’s Sam “Cornpone” Ervin—a diehard Dixiecrat segregationist and adherent to the Old South hated by northern liberals—who played to the hilt his persona: “I’m just a CAHtry- LAWH-yer.” The media was strangely silent about his dubious background as he became Grandpa Walton for the America who had never paid attention to him before—in many cases had never heard of him before.
Will the public buy it today? Some will, of course. But I expect the ratings will be weak, unlike the 1973 summer hearings, which did boffo ratings. The media will do their best to amplify the scripted (by a former producer of ABC’s “Good Morning America” the Democrats hired to make the hearings show business) “findings” of the hearings, and you can expect Trump’s popularity ratings to take a hit.
Is Rep. Bennie Thompson today’s equivalent to Sam Ervin? I doubt it. He was clearly reading from cue cards at the opening of the hearing. But more to the point: these hearings, especially with the media echo chamber to back them up, could do great damage to Trump. But I think the Democrats will blow it. If the committee had any capacity for subtlety, they would develop a picture of Trump’s worst quality: his narcissism. This would be forward-looking, rather than backward looking. Why did Trump do what he did—not what did he do? Much of the public—perhaps a decisive number of independent voters who will determine the 2024 election—will attach an appropriate discount to these hearings, which very few Americans did in the Watergate hearings in 1973.
Anyway, my roasted chicken is almost done, I have a nice bottle of wine to open. Tomorrow and tomorrow!