Defending Donald Trump isn't easy, given that he's already released the call notes showing he tried to stiff-arm the Ukrainian government into doing him some political favors. You can't say it never happened, and there's only so many times you can shout "No quid pro quo!" or gripe about the whistleblower. So the attempts at changing the subject just get weirder and weirder, like Republicans complaining the impeachment depositions are "secret" -- they're not; they're just behind closed doors for now, and Republican committee members get to be there and ask questions, with equal time and everything. But we're nonetheless impressed by the Wall Street Journal's latest attempt to dazzle its readers with shiny bullshit. In an editorial yesterday, the WSJ editorial board insisted you can't impeach a president for being incompetent. That's a step beyond the usual "he's not guilty because nobody followed his dumb orders," because now they're just plain fibbing about the reason for impeachment in the first place.

That's way beyond moving the goalposts. The WSJ board is tackling a straw man stuffed with red herrings and kicking the Logic Football completely out of bounds (especially since the football is over-inflated with hot air). With the Jester on the sidelines in a cast.

The editorial starts off with a phony premise and gets progressively worse, grumping that if US envoy Bill Taylor's testimony Tuesday really was such damning proof of a dirty deal in Ukraine, the ultimate evidence against Donald Trump, then why are the Democrats not releasing it, huh, HUH? There might not be anything very damning, because after all, "all we have to rely on is Mr. Taylor's opening statement and leaks from Democrats."

That, and Trump's readout of the call, and the whistleblower statement, which is corroborated by a raft of testimony by others. Ah, but wait! Maybe the Dems are afraid the truth will come out! Taylor's opening statement sure "doesn't make Mr. Trump's Ukraine interventions look good," but what about his answers to members' questions, huh? Maybe it actually shows that Donald Trump is a saint, and that's why Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi are hiding the transcript of Taylor's full testimony!

House Republican Lee Zeldin, who was present at Mr. Taylor's testimony, tweeted Tuesday that "Much of his leaked opening statement collapsed, but Schiff keeps the public in the dark on that!" Mr. Zeldin adds that "This transcript should be released ASAP along w ALL of the other transcripts." The American public is left to wonder what in the name of democratic legitimacy to make of the competing claims.

Gosh, we bet if Taylor's testimony really undercut his opening statement that thoroughly, some Republican might have leaked the details that exonerate Trump. It seems possible, at least -- and it would be fine to leak, for such a noble purpose.

And then it's time for the editorial's great reframing of what this scandal is all about, whatever the real details of Taylor's testimony, which will never see the light of day, or may, like other closed hearings, have to wait a few weeks or even longer. How's this for an exoneration?

Intriguingly, Mr. Taylor says in his statement that many people in the Administration opposed the Giuliani effort, including some in senior positions at the White House. This matters because it may turn out that while Mr. Trump wanted a quid-pro-quo policy ultimatum toward Ukraine, he was too inept to execute it. Impeachment for incompetence would disqualify most of the government, and most Presidents at some point or another in office.

Sure, we heard again and again that Donald Trump couldn't be guilty of obstruction of justice because no one around him followed his orders to please obstruct justice for him. But this one's actually kind of new: It's not just the fake argument that trying to abuse your office is fine if you're really bad at it; we've heard that one all along, and it's still bullshit. As any follower of news from Florida, knows, incompetent criminals get convicted of criming all the time.

But that phrasing is really an impressive thing, isn't it? Donald Trump isn't even being impeached for a crime at all -- it's "impeachment for incompetence," and golly, isn't that just beating up on the guy for having one of his oopsie days? Why, even George Washington was sometimes less than 100 percent competent! Are you going to impeach George Washington? Well the editors of the Wall Street Journal aren't about to let Democrats smear the father of our country like that!

The Otter Defense

This being Donald Trump's Republican Party, however, when they get up to march out of the room, they won't manage to hum the same patriotic melody, so they'll immediately start fighting over whether to hum the Star Spangled Banner, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, or that Lee Greenwood thing that barely even has a tune. Then someone will say something racist about Ilhan Omar and they'll call it a very successful defense of the Great Man.


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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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