A Second Acquittal

The vote is in.  57 Senators voted to convict Trump.  43 voted to acquit.  In the topsy turvy world of Senate impeachment trials, that means that Trump was acquitted.

As I said earlier this week, I still think getting banned from twitter was the best thing that ever happened to Trump as far as this impeachment was concerned.  If he had been on twitter, he would have been tweeting conspiracy theories, taunting the Republicans with the prospect of a 2024 run, and basically being the same self-destructive bully that he was for most of his presidency.  It would have potentially pushed a few more Republicans, especially those up for reelection in 2022 and fearing a repeat of what happened in Georgia, over to voting to convict.

The Democratic house managers also blew it.  For all the positive media attention they received, the house managers often seemed more concerned with playing to their base and the case for incitement (as opposed to dereliction of duty) was nearly impossible to actually prove.  There may be certain Democrats who could possibly make a convincing, nonpartisan case.  Eric Swalwell isn’t one of them.

For now, Trump has been acquitted, Trump 2024 has begun, and no one’s learned anything.

The Lincoln Project: Making Schadenfreude Great Again

I’ve been following politics for a while now and it’s hard for me to think of any group that’s been more overrated, overarrogant, and overfunded than the Lincoln Project.  The idea that this band of aging and obnoxious grifters had anything to do with defeating Trump has always been shaky one.  (Speaking as a nominal Republican who did not vote for Trump, the only time that I really considered casting my vote for the President was when I thought about how pissed off Rick Wilson would have been if Trump was reelected.)  For the most part, The Lincoln Project made ads that played to people who had already made up their minds and they raked in a lot of money that apparently went straight to their bank accounts.

On Twitter, it has always been easy to spot anyone involved with The Lincoln Project.  The more a political account spends bragging on itself and defensively refusing to answer even the most mild of questions, the more likely that person is going to be involved in some way with The Lincoln Project.  The minute I saw a consultant named Rachel “The Doc” Bitecofer saying that she could get Anna Navarro elected to the U.S. Senate, I knew that someone with political instincts that bad had to be involved with the Lincoln Project and, lo and behold, she was!  With their arrogance, their attempts to sound tough, their inability to actually back up any of their claims of competence, and their cult-like following of media sycophants (“You’ve just gotten the attention of the Lincoln Project!” all-purpose weirdo Kurt Eichenwald once tweeted at Sen. Ron Johnson), the Lincoln Project has always been easy to hate.

So, I won’t lie.  Watching the group implode over the past month and a half has been one of the best parts of 2021 so far.

Larry Flynt Was Still Alive?

Larry Flynt died yesterday.  I was under the impression that he had died years ago but apparently not.

Probably the best thing that ever happened to Larry Flynt is that Woody Harrelson played him in The People vs. Larry Flynt.  When most people talk about Larry Flynt, they’re not really talking about Flynt.  Instead, they’re talking about Woody Harrelson-as-Larry-Flynt.  Harrelson-as-Flynt was a charismatic ne’er-do-well who fought for the 1st amendment and who was redeemed by his love for Althea.  The real Larry Flynt was a man with shady past and an extensive criminal record (including once attempting to shoot his own mother).  He once argued that rape wasn’t a big deal and his daughters accused him of molesting them.

No one can deny that he was a successful publisher.  He knew what men wanted to see and obviously, he knew how to promote himself.  Unlike Hugh Hefner, he never pretended to be an intellectual.  In 2003, Flynt reportedly purchased nude photographs of Jessica Lynch and then refused to publish them, saying that Lynch was a “good kid” who was being used as a pawn by the government.  It’s hard to imagine either Hefner or Bob Guccione doing the same thing.

Today, the idea of people going to monthly magazines for their porn seems quaint.  Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler — all of that’s moved to the internet.  Would the internet be a different place today is Flynt had never been born?  Probably not.  If Larry Flynt hadn’t done it first, someone else would have.  Sex sells.

Here We Go Again

The 2nd impeachment trial of Donald Trump began today in the Senate.  To be honest, the most interesting thing about this trial is just how little anyone outside of the beltway and the media really seems to care.  He’s been out of office for less than a month but Donald Trump is already old news.

What’s interesting is that, by suspending his social media accounts, Silicon Valley probably saved Trump from totally self-destructing.  If Trump were still on twitter, he would currently be tweeting out conspiracy theories in all caps, ranting about fake news and probably claiming that the January 6th riot was actually an Antifa operation.  He would be constantly claiming that the election was stolen and every day, he would drop a hint about running again in 2024.  His continual online presence would be dragging down Republicans and, not looking to repeat what happened in Georgia, many GOP senators would probably be more open to voting to convict.  Trump has always been his own worst enemy and, if he was on twitter right now, he would probably be so unhinged that he would end up getting convicted and barred from ever running again.

Instead, he’s off twitter and he’s no longer able to make himself the number one story.  As a result, the country is moving on.  They’re worrying about whether they’re going to get a stimulus check.  They’re wondering if schools are ever going to reopen.  While various Twitter warriors and other political junkies are still eager to get their fix of Trump hate, most people just want to be able to get on with their lives.  They’re less interested in what Trump did and more concerned with what Biden is going to do.

Unless he somehow gets back on twitter in the next few days, Trump is not going to be convicted and this is all basically a waste of time.  I have a feeling that if the House had impeached Trump immediately after January 6th, it would be a different story.

Still, if Trump is convicted, I think barring him for running again will just make him more powerful.  Trump’s whole act is to say that “the Swamp” is scared of him.  Bar him from running and it will just lead to Trump going from being a defeated incumbent to being the man that the Swamp so fears that they passed a law to keep him out of power.  A convicted Trump’s endorsement will carry even more power with his supporters.  How do you end up with President Donald Trump, Jr?  You start by convicting Donald Trump, Sr.


Thank You, Tom Brady!

Normally, I don’t gamble.  I don’t think it’s a good idea.  I think it leads to compulsive behavior.  I think anyone who says that they have a fool proof system is full of shit.  Making risky bets is a good way to lose not everyone you love but your life as well.  Gambling on a regular basis is not something that I endorse in any way.

However, I did make an exception when it came to the Super Bowl last night and now, thanks to Tom Brady, I’ve got some extra cash!  I’m not going to say how much because the internet is an evil place.  To make clear, I’m not going to be able to retire based on my Super Bowl winnings but, at the same time, it’s still enough that I feel like I owe Tom Brady and all of the Buccaneers a huge debt of gratitude.

(Gratitude, yes.  Money, no.)

It was a total of three bets, all of which paid off.  Two of the bets were on the Buccaneers while the third one was on the total amount of points that would be score during the game.  I bet that under 47.5 points would be scored.  As you can imagine, I spent the entire final 4 minutes of the game dreading the prospect of either a surprise touchdown or even a series of field goals.

Thank you, Tom Brady!  Usually, I would never gamble but Brady is just too much of a sure thing.  Once he retires, I’ll probably never place another bet.