I understand: Levity is an important part of life.
Politicians understand this, too. Goodness knows Donald Trump understands this.
However, there are certain times when you don’t crack that joke whip.
For instance, on Jan. 20, 1961, the mood would have been tempered a bit had John Fitzgerald Kennedy said this: “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and with a new president who will eventually become very close with Marilyn Monroe, if you know what I mean. Heh heh.”
It kind of ruins the moment, no?
Well, unlike Lloyd Bentsen, I did not know Jack Kennedy, nor was Jack Kennedy a friend of mine.
I do know that Rep. Adam Schiff is no Jack Kennedy, however and, quite frankly, even my made-up joke is better than the California congressman’s.
Schiff, one of the appointed impeachment managers for the Democrats, was making his closing arguments Monday during Trump’s Senate impeachment trial when he tried to argue that abuse of power was, in fact, an impeachable offense.
“Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election, or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let Jared Kushner run the country, delegating to him the decision whether to go to war,” Schiff said.
There’s so much horrible humor here that you kind of wonder where to start unpacking it.
Yes, I understand hyperbole, but really, leaving Jared Kushner in Washington while Trump goes to Mar-a-Lago and “delegating to [Kushner] the decision whether to go to war” sounds like the worst sequel to “Risky Business” ever.
I can just see it now: Kushner in a button-down shirt and underpants, pouring himself a Chivas-and-Coke then sliding through the White House’s Grand Foyer in his socks singing The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy.”
Meanwhile, I’m not entirely sure why Schiff is so desperate to hang onto Alaska, especially considering the fact we got it as an afterthought that was being sold before the days of oil exploration.
It’s worth way more than just an election, so we’d make a fair amount flipping Alaska, even after holding onto it for over 150 years. (Look, sometimes you’ve just gotta wait for stuff to vest.)
Moreover, if Trump did sell Alaska, we’d be losing two reliably Republican Senate seats and one GOP House seat.
Is Schiff mad here? I mean, sure, GOP Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski can sometimes be relied on to give the Democrats some votes, but she’s still a Republican.
Perhaps the biggest issue: None of this would ever happen.
The president can’t work things out so that he can sell Alaska to get favorable treatment from Russia.
He’s not going to give Jared Kushner war powers.
None of this would happen.
This doesn’t just make Adam Schiff’s argument unfunny, it also shows how hyperbolic he has to get to make “abuse of power” stick as a charge.
Schiff’s entire impeachment has been a highway freezing-rain pile-up of hypotheticals which are meant to divert from the fact that the actual abuse of power in the wake of the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is roughly nothing.
At least we got that hee-larious “parody” phone call from Schiff when he was describing the “transcript” of the actual phone call between Trump and Zelensky.
“I hear what you want,” Schiff said in September. “I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times so you better listen good: I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. Understand? Lots of it, on this and on that. I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, I’m going to put you in touch with the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr.
“He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I’m going to put you in touch with [Trump attorney] Rudy [Giuliani], you’re going to love him, trust me.
“You know what I’m asking, and so I’m only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways. And by the way, don’t call me again. I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked,” he said.
Who said this guy wasn’t funny? Pretty much everyone — and he’s not very accurate, at that.
So no, Rep. Schiff, you’re not a Jack Kennedy. Heck, you’re not even a Ted Kennedy these days.
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