Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Democrats got some 'splaining to do.

Exactly how were campaign finance laws violated and why would the GOP base give a damn?

Yesterday was a "triumph" for Democrats, and the NYT and Washington Post fell all over themselves - for the umpteenth time - claiming that this time, for sure, the Trump administration was going to topple and fall.  Keep resisting, folks, it's gonna happen any day now!

But of course, another day, and Trump is still around - like a bad penny.   The problem is, of course, that as President, he likely can't be indicted for violating campaign finance laws (irony alert - you become President by violating the very laws designed to prevent you from illegally becoming President, and then are immune from removal from office!).   Maybe after he leaves office, they will charge him - but by then, who would care?  And if Hillary had won - would any of this investigation be taking place?

It is like the "lock her up!" chant - largely meaningless.  Since Hillary lost, there is no point in investigating further.  If she had won - well, Mr. Mueller would be leading a different protracted investigation and Bill would have to start hiding the interns again.  So maybe it is a good thing Hillary didn't win - for her sake.  Republicans would have no problem with the appointment of a "special counsel" if she had, and they would not be crying "witch hunt" nearly so loudly - in fact, not at all.   The Clintons have been through this before, of course, so maybe they wouldn't be bothered by it.

But getting back to Trump, the big problem that many folks have is understanding exactly why paying someone "hush money" is illegal.   In fact, it probably isn't.  The crux of the matter appears to be whether campaign money was used to pay off these accuser(s) and whether this was designed to "alter the outcome of the election".  Both appear to be thin reeds.

To begin with, unless a check was cut from the campaign checking account, I don't understand how it can be automatically assumed that the money paid to hush up Stormy Daniels was campaign money.  Or was Trump dumb enough to use his campaign account and in the "Memo" section, write "hush money"?

The second part - affecting the outcome of the election - seems also thin to me.   Granted, some explosive "October Surprise" revelation of a torrid affair with a porn star might have changed the minds of some voters.  But after the revelation of the "groping" tape and the GOP's decision to not give a damn, it is questionable whether it really would have many any difference.   Trump could have an affair with a hooker in the middle of 5th Avenue, and no one would give a damn.   We all understand that he is even more morally challenged than Bill Clinton.   Hell, at least Bill was embarrassed by it all, not proud.

Don't get me wrong.  I despise Donald Trump and his ilk.   The kinds of guys who think that anything gold-plated is "classy" and send away for mail-order wives from foreign countries kind of make me ill.  It is the worst sort of Nouveau Riche trash there is.   And that is one reason Trump has a chip on his shoulder about old-money liberal "elites" - they wouldn't let him into their little country clubs, which is probably why he keeps buying his own.

But getting back to the media and the Democrats, they have to do a better job of explaining this to the people.  There is a lot of innuendo and conclusory statements made in the press, but not a lot of explanation as to what crimes were committed and why they matter.  And the press, particularly the  Post and the Times, have been crying wolf for so long, it is hard to take them seriously.

And why Democrats would cheer the downfall of Trump and the rise of the Pence Presidency is beyond me, quite frankly.