On the left, there is obsessive talk of impeaching Donald Trump. Despite the fact that the press reports which supposedly form the foundation of such talk are almost always based on anonymous sources, and despite the fact that the Trump administration has successfully refuted most if not all of them, the obsession continues. On his Wednesday night show, after successfully swatting away pathetic pro-impeachment arguments made by guest Krystal Ball and her citations of weak-kneed Republicans who can’t seem to resist bending with the Beltway wind, Tucker Carlson got fed up.
The segment (posted in full here) opened with a replay of Texas Democratic Congressman Al Green’s call for Trump’s impeachment on the House floor, followed by a snip of California Congresswoman Maxine Waters telling a cheering audience at a Center for American Progress event that “this” (whatever it is) “is going to put us a little bit further on our way to what I’ve been calling for for so long, and that is impeachment.”
Carlson then introduced Ball, whom he described as a “former congressional candidate who works with the New Leaders Council, a progressive organization.”
There’s only so much time for interview introductions, but readers here deserve to know (or be reminded) that there is much more to Ball’s resumé.
In that 2010 congressional race in Virginia’s First Congressional District, Ball received a whopping 34.8 percent of the vote against incumbent Republican Rob Wittman, who still represents that district. Ball underperformed all but one of Wittman’s five other Democratic Party challengers between 2007 and 2016, despite having a platform which allegedly included “Education reform, including charter schools” and “The Second Amendment as ensuring individual gun rights.”
As is so often the case, once a Democrat publicly espousing anything resembling reasonable and reform-minded positions makes contact with the leftist bubble, things change.
Ball was an MSNBC host on The Cycle from 2012 to 2015. Her NewsBusters history betrays a sharp turn to the left after that congressional race and a seething hostility towards Republicans and conservatives. This included a belief that the Tea Party movement, which indirectly yet substantially contributed to the rise of Donald Trump, “speaks more to … (the Republican Party’s) moral and intellectual bankruptcy and the crumbling of our democratic process than it does to … (its genuine) strength.” As to the GOP itself, because of its support for voter-ID requirements, it has “taken the place of Jim Crow.”
This background is important on two levels.
The first is that it should call into serious question Ball’s attempt to play nice in her recent book, Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World. Amazon.com’s book description says that Ball’s work “argues forcefully that the only litmus tests that matter for Democrats should have to do with economic issues and inclusion-and that the social and cultural issues, such as guns and abortion, need to take a back seat to issues of economic justice.”
Three immediate observations come to mind:
- Having looked around what’s happening on all too many college campuses, in the streets of all too many supposedly “progressive” cities, and in the leadership of the Democratic Party itself, all one can say to her theme, if she really believes it is: Good luck with that in today’s left. The hard-left couldn’t even hold its fire with a candidate for Omaha mayor who, “During his eight years in the Nebraska legislature … voted to support half a dozen bills restricting abortions.”
- “Economic justice” as the left and presumably Ball now define it almost inevitably creates a situation where, because of overarching and coercive government, people end up fighting over a stagnant or shrinking economic pie.
- Finally, it’s more than fair to contend that Ball’s wish to reconcile the left with the working class is a honey trap. What Ball really believes, plainly stated in May 2014, is that the Republican Party is doomed to “the facts of … (its) demographic demise.” To the left (and to Ball), the 2016 election only showed that it’s too early to declare the supposedly inevitable victory on that front. So the way to ease the transition to implementing the left’s statist dreams with minimal opposition is to fool the working class into believing for a few years that they’ll be helped by Democrats, and then to throw them overboard when demographics dictate that they’re no longer needed.
The second reason Ball’s background is important plays directly into the Carlson interview. It’s hard to understate, despite her broadcast experience, how poorly she performed, how weak her contentions were, and how bad Carlson made her look.
Ball’s strategy appeared to be to put charges out there, leave them on the table, and move on to the next charge as if declaring victory. Carlson wouldn’t allow it. Here are two such examples:
- Ball ridiculously claimed that Michael Flynn’s failure to be truthful with Mike Pence justified impeaching Trump because it created a situation where the Russians and other could “blackmail” Flynn. (Apology to readers: I’m sorry to have to report such an empty argument, but it’s what she said.) When Carlson pointed out that Flynn had been fired, making all such worries irrelevant, Ball claimed that Trump left Flynn in office “for quite a while.” Trump fired Flynn on February 14, just over three weeks after Trump’s inauguration, and within days, if not hours, of when he learned that Flynn had misled Pence.
- Ball stated as if it’s an undisputed fact that Trump revealed sensitive intelligence information to Russia. Carlson correctly noted that “Nobody who was actually in the room who has spoken has said that Trump, however impolitic he can be for sure, gave actual classified information to the Russians. No one who was actually physically present has said that. So why do we think this happened?” Ball’s answer: “… because we have multiple news organizations reporting that … (unnamed) European allies” are claiming that. Carlson correctly noted that what Ball cited comprises “no actual evidence … but you want to impeach him anyway.”
Finally, Ball admitted that impeachment in her mind is “ultimately a political question.” But instead of even trying to build a political case (given that her attempts at making some kind of legal case were so obviously awful), she began to cite Republicans who are “talking impeachment.”
As seen in the segment’s final minute below, Carlson’s patience ran out, after which Ball tried and even more miserably failed to make something of the alleged pressure Trump exerted on James Comey regarding the FBI’s Russia investigation:
TUCKER CARLSON: I don’t care what your party ID is. I want to know what the facts are. I want to know what’s reasonable and true.
KRYSTAL BALL: Mm-hmm.
CARLSON: And I just think it’s pretty over the top to call for impeachment with no actual evidence of a crime. That’s all I’m saying.
BALL: So let’s say that everything that’s been reported is true, that he really did try to pressure Comey, would then you think it was an impeachable offense?
CARLSON: If he tried, if it could be shown that this or any other president tried to commit obstruction of justice, that is without question an impeachable offense, and it ought to be pursued, no matter who does it.
BALL: And do you think that what’s been reported about pressure on Comey with regards to Michael Flynn, do you think that that constitutes obstruction of justice?
CARLSON: Well, it prima facie doesn’t, because it was to the top law enforcement officer at the FBI. And so presumably, if he thought that constituted obstruction of justice, he would have reported it to the Justice Department, as required by law, and he didn’t.
So like, I’m just saying, you can criticize Trump. But to call for his removal from office is a really big deal, and we’re throwing it around a little cavalierly. That’s all I’m saying.
BALL: So you don’t think that would be obstruction of justice, (unintelligible) loyalty?
CARLSON: I’m saying hard break. I’m afraid we’re totally out of time.
Carlson had already answered Ball’s final question, but, perhaps sensing that she had otherwise been completely routed, she didn’t care. She wanted to leave the interview with at least some viewers to think that Carlson hadn’t fully responded.
Nice try, Krystal. No sale.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.