Over the weekend, as you may recall, I suggested, meekly, that by voting to call witnesses and then abruptly not calling witnesses was a confusing strategy and would be a PR problem for The Team Who Herds Cats. Friends on Twitter in our chat room dragged me for it.
- Democrats had the power to call key witnesses and then backed down. (WaPo)
- Democrats let Trump off the hook by not calling witnesses. (CNN)
- The Senate was surprised to get a request for witnesses (ABC)
I had some headlines on GoogleNews, Yahoo, and the AP but lost them in a browser crash; but I would say that the three above are representative enough. (Another headline that survived the crash: “Offered an opening, Democrats let Trump off” – CNN)
I will also note that most of the PR puff pieces following the acquittal are about the brave, brave seven Republicans who stood up to their party and up against Lord Damp Nut, and not about the incredible job that the House Managers did. They are not in any headlines today.
Here’s the thing: the Dems didn’t explain the strategy before-the-fact and after-the-fact they tried to justify/rationalize it.
(You can try to tell me all you want that it was eleventy-dimensional chess to get the statement from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler about McCarthy’s phone call with Trump into evidence, and it might be true, but it was not explained beforehand and it was not explained well afterhand that this was the goal. I maintain and the headlines above are proof.)
To the base (which does NOT include the media) it looked like surrender, and as Lord Damp Nut was acquitted, it has take on the stink of surrender.
This is what I meant with the passage about the Chris Matthews oeuvre: “Did the strategy work?,” and the answer in all measurable ways is NO.
(And no, I am not blaming the Democrats and especially the House Managers. They did a spectacular job. The blame is squarely on the shoulders of the cowards in the Coup Klux Klan who put One Man over Country, not even the party.)