Twelve chances to ding President Donald Trump on impeachment.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper couldn’t resist.
At the fourth Democratic Party presidential debate in Ohio, moderator Cooper opened the floor with a softball question about impeachment — after which he made clear all 12 on stage would have an opportunity to address. Play ball, he said. And play they did.
Guess how the talking points went?
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Impeachment must go forward.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “I think the House will find [Trump] worthy of impeachment.”
Joe Biden, former vice president: “This president is the most corrupt president in modern history, and I think in all of our history.”
Great. Thanks guys. Now you there, Sen. Kamala Harris — you’ve called for Trump’s impeachment numerous times in recent times. So how are you able to give him a fair hearing?
Well, Coop — [I’m]just being observant because he has committed crimes in public … [and] as a former prosecutor, I know a confession when I see it,” Harris said.
Swing! Thank you, Sen. Harris.
Sen. Cory Booker? Can you be fair on impeachment — ostensibly, to the point of putting on a good show about that innocent until proven guilty thing?
Booker: “This has got to be about patriotism and not partisanship. … We have to conduct this process in a way that is honorable. … This president has violated his [duty]. I will do mine”
Super. Score another for impeachment.
But what of the possibility of distraction? Are Democrats getting distracted by impeachment calls?
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Rest assured, America. “We can do two things at once,” she said.
“Not at all,” Julian Castro, ex-Housing and Urban secretary, said. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
And as Mayor Pete Buttigieg called in from left field: Besides, what choice do we have?
“The president has left the congress with no choice” but to impeach, Buttigieg said.
Batter up. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard approaches the plate.
“If impeachment is driven by the hyper-partisan interest, it will only further divide nation,” she said.
Great. Good points. Good, solid Republican talking points. No wonder Democrats don’t want Gabbard on the stage. No wonder CNN reportedly hates her.
“Every candidate here is more patriotic … than the criminal in the White House,” chimed in millionaire businessman Tom Steyer, the guy who funded an Impeach Trump movement.
And the crowd applauded. Back in the game.
“I support impeachment,” businessman Andrew Yang said.
And finally, Beto O’Rourke. Beto, with the bouncing cadence, the bouncing rhythmic voice. The bouncing rhythmic voice that says nothing.
“I think about everyone who’s ever served this country in uniform,” O’Rourke began. And then he went on: Whaw whaw whaw, whaw whaw, whaw whaw whaw whaw.
Like Charlie Brown’s teacher — only bouncier.
Welcome to the fourth Democratic Party debate.
Welcome to the best the Democrats have to offer.
The number one issue they bring to the table?
Impeach Trump. It’s the signature issue of the party; the signature issue of the Democrats’ presidential trail.
And after listening to the cream of the Democrat crop, one thing’s becoming very clear: Team Trump doesn’t have a whole lot to worry about. If Democrats, this far into primary season, are still campaigning first and foremost on impeachment, then the second term of Trump seems pretty secure.
It’s swing and miss for the Dems, all the way home.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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