I think Nancy Pelosi is hoping and waiting for “the” under-the-waterline leak that torpedoes the Trump administration’s impeachment defense. A smoking gun memo. Or a White House official breaking ranks and testifying.
That isn’t a guarantee this will happen and she’s got plenty of other good reasons for a delay. But this alone argued for a pause in stirring the pot. Some particularly foul-smelling turds might just bob to the surface.
It is clear and obvious such turds are dammed up behind the White House’s stonewalling. The Administrations general indiscipline also makes it likely someone will let one slip. Either a self-serving jerk (“Hello Mr. Bolton, so happy you’ve decided to come clean.”) or maybe an honest patriot (another whistleblower? The person who wrote “Anonymous?”)
We’ll just have to wait and see. Maybe nothing comes out. Maybe some New Year’s soul-searching or lawyer-client chats or self-serving calculation delivers a bombshell.
More broadly, I think delay is the right strategy. Yes, delay means impeachment will fester and soak up airtime into 2020. But that is a good thing in my view.
Trump-land thrives on keeping people off-balance with rapid-fire narrative progression. Never let a story get stale. Even a fresh outrage is preferable to letting any one negative story fester too long. The audience gets buried, perplexed, and ultimately numbed to the dizzying. overwhelming shocks. Sort’ve like the Group 3 dogs in the Learned Helplessness experiment below.
Letting impeachment fester threatens to slow the mad carousel of confusion that protects Trump. If it slows it down enough, other turds will likely bob to the surface and stay in focus… And that is a self-reinforcing cycle that even Trump may fail to break. Although he’ll probably start a war with North Korea if he really has to change the subject…
American psychologist Martin Seligman initiated research on learned helplessness in 1967 at the University of Pennsylvania as an extension of his interest in depression. This research was later expanded through experiments by Seligman and others. One of the first was an experiment by Seligman & Maier: In Part 1 of this study, three groups of dogs were placed in harnesses. Group 1 dogs were simply put in a harnesses for a period of time and were later released. Groups 2 and 3 consisted of “yoked pairs”. Dogs in Group 2 were given electric shocks at random times, which the dog could end by pressing a lever. Each dog in Group 3 was paired with a Group 2 dog; whenever a Group 2 dog got a shock, its paired dog in Group 3 got a shock of the same intensity and duration, but its lever did not stop the shock. To a dog in Group 3, it seemed that the shock ended at random, because it was their paired dog in Group 2 that was causing it to stop. Thus, for Group 3 dogs, the shock was “inescapable”.
In Part 2 of the experiment the same three groups of dogs were tested in a shuttle-box apparatus (a chamber containing two rectangular compartments divided by a barrier a few inches high). All of the dogs could escape shocks on one side of the box by jumping over a low partition to the other side. The dogs in Groups 1 and 2 quickly learned this task and escaped the shock. Most of the Group 3 dogs – which had previously learned that nothing they did had any effect on shocks – simply lay down passively and whined when they were shocked.
As you can see, I’m heading back into political commentary in 2020. Figured its more salient than interest rates. And more interesting now.