Sen. Marsha Blackburn is not a serious person, but she has a serious job. Well, at least until recently, one assumed it was a serious a job. In any case, she doesn't take it seriously.
The internet was abuzz yesterday when Tennessee's junior senator was seen reading a book during the ongoing impeachment trial, which is only the third such trial of a president in American history. Blackburn confirmed on Twitter that she was catching up on reading. This understandably annoyed people. Senate Republicans have generally adopted the attitude of overprivileged teens annoyed at being asked to pay attention during civics class. They've spent the week mocking the idea that they should even have to sit through this trial or listen to even the suggestion that the Dear Leader has done anything wrong.
But Blackburn in particular has been on a bender. After touting her book of choice — Kimberly Strassel's Resistance (At All Costs) — Blackburn turned her attention to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who offered damaging testimony before congress in November about President Donald Trump's now-infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president. Vindman is an Iraq War veteran who earned a Purple Heart. But Blackburn has been questioning his patriotism ever since he dared to testify about the president in a less-than-obsequious manner.
Yesterday, she repeated an attack against Vindman that originated in the dankest conspiracy swamps of the right-wing internet. She went on to call him "vindictive" and to claim he had leaked information against the president — a claim Vindman denies, and one that wouldn't change the damaging content of his testimony anyway.
Earlier in the week, Blackburn was pumping out bad-faith rhetoric about Trump's decision to temporarily put a hold on aid to Ukraine that had already been approved by Congress. She compared it to instances in which the Obama administration withheld aid to various countries. What she left out, of course, is that then-President Barack Obama was never caught, or even accused of, withholding that aid as part of an effort to extract a favor from another country that would benefit him personally and/or politically. That is the core issue in the impeachment trial — you know, the one that Blackburn can't be bothered to pay attention to.
This is not a comprehensive list of the stupid things Blackburn has said or tweeted this week. But as we've noted here many times, the thing to remember is that she is not stupid — but she thinks you are. She thinks her base is. She has apparently decided that lies are more beneficial to her than the truth — or at least that it doesn't even matter what is true.
One needn't be partisan to say this. The Democrats are an often feckless and cowardly lot, frequently in thrall to the same corrupt forces that infect so much of our politics. But what honest person could disagree with what Rep. Adam Schiff said in his closing argument last night?
Do we really have any doubt about the facts here? Does anybody really question whether the president is capable of what he’s charged with? No one is really making the argument, Donald Trump would never do such a thing, because of course we know that he would, and of course we know that he did.
It is plain to anyone who cares to look that this president prioritizes what he wants over anything else, whether that is the integrity of our elections orthe voice of a woman saying "no."
But what is somehow still surprising is the way other people are willing to debase themselves to stay in his good graces. Pointing this out, at this point, feels like pissing on an iceberg in an attempt to make it melt. But here we are.