The Dems have two simple goals in their impeachment circus.
1. Win favor with lefties who have been pushing money and providing manpower on the promise of lynching Trump.
2. Don’t make it look like a circus, but claim that it’s a sad civic duty that Republicans are unfortunately refusing to participate in. That’s been the Pelosi line all along. That’s supposed to win over conservative Dems and independents.
So the simple task for Republicans is to make it look like a circus. Which hasn’t been hard.
In an attempt to pull off No. 2, the Dems have kept the proceedings fairly boring. Which has helped lose them their audience. The only people really enjoying the hearings are the insiders, bureaucrats, and media analysts who have dominated the process.
A session of law professors testifying, for some misguided reason, isn’t compelling viewing. Fast forward to Pamela Karlan deciding to throw in a joke about Barron Trump and the whole thing goes to hell.
Karlan was playing for Door No. 1. The Dem committee needed Door No. 2. That’s what happens when you have a mixed agenda.
But Karlan wanted to score points with the base and use her moment in the sun to get more famous. Despite the disapproval of the Dems, Karlan has built up #resistance creds that will be helpful in future nominations by insulting Trump. Meanwhile she managed to torpedo Dem messaging.
But Door No, 2 isn’t working anyway. Independent support for impeachment has been draining away. And the #resistance is less than enthused. The Karlan position of trying to spice things up is one option. Why not bring back the excitement by making the whole thing into a circus?
The question is who is the target audience for this. Is it the independents and moderates who are said to want professional hearings? Or is it the furious anti-Trump twitter mob that thinks the Barron joke is hilarious?
With the former increasingly lost, the Dems might as well embrace the circus. That was Pamela Karlan’s real message. If you can’t win over anyone else, you might as well pander to your terrible base.