Plays to Impeach: Strategies That Will Doom The Donald

August 1, 2017

As with the tides, political fortunes ebb and flow. They begin at the edges and work toward deep water.

Consider the influence play of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), among the earliest to surface the “I” word. Her label, however hasty, is a nuisance meme in the mainstream. Of course she’d call for the president’s impeachment, most have tut-tutted.

But now Rep. Waters has company, not from the left-wing shallows but major Republican tributaries. Conservatives want rationalism not trumpism and they’re willing to risk the wrath of the president to have it. To wit:

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL  The icon of business journalism is now firing weekly bow shots at Trump, telling him there’s little time left and calling for radical transparency on Russia. The outlet’s plays were plainly-stated declares and outright challenges for the president to learn the job and lead the country.

JOHN MCCAIN  Last week, with brain surgery sutures still intact, Arizona’s senior senator strode to the chamber floor and, like a ruler weighing a rival’s fate, snapped a thumbs down on the Senate’s skinny repeal of Obamacare. John McCain’s play was part peacock and, by implication of his breaking ranks, part call out on Republicans.

JEFF FLAKE  Days later, Arizona’s other senator took a turn. The mannerly Jeff Flake all but called for mutiny with the debut of his skunkworks treatise, Conscience of a Conservative. With rehearsed precision, Flake explained, “I’m concerned where the [Republican] party goes…being conservative means something in terms of demeanor and comportment…we should be sober, predictable…meanness is not a conservative value…” His plays weren’t ornery like Maxine’s or the Maverick’s. Nor were they urgent prescriptions as from a worried Wall Street. By way of pings and challenges, they were descriptive and aspirational but with the unmistakable message: The president’s party is over.

Still, the White House is oblivious to these turns. Its plays are repeating and now utterly transparent: Fake news labels that cultivate mistrust in media and incite a dangerous base. Twitter rants that perpetuate chaos and cultivate paranoia, especially for AG Jeff Sessions and maybe special counsel Robert Mueller. Decoys that blame West Wing personnel for the created chaos (e.g., Scaramucci for Spicer, Kelly for Priebus). Peacocks that tout a weekly theme. And proxies that push Clinton conspiracies through the fair and balanced filter. That’s you, Fox & Friends.

At this point, you might expect progressives to gang tackle Trump. But out of fear or restraint they are mostly passing, and wisely so. After all, why throw rhetorical bombs when the opposition is imploding? As written in this blog many times, it’s counter-intuitive but sound strategy to encourage The Donald.

Trump’s playbook has been solved and his compromised enablers are looking for new inspiration. With the likes of The Journal and Arizona’s restive senators, more plays and players are sure to test the waters that are washing The White House away. Cue Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, et. al.  It’s a full moon over Washington and the tide is rising.

Post by Alan Kelly