For decades I have been cautioning conservatives to be vigilant about not becoming ensnared in the false-premise trap, but they have rarely taken my advice. Nevertheless, being a glutton for punishment, I’m hoping some Republican Senate and House members read this article and think long and hard about how to react to the criminal behavior of the Dirty Dems between now and the 2020 election.
When President Trump called Ukrainian President Zelensky to congratulate him on his party’s parliamentary victory, White House National Security official Alexander Vindman was listening in on the call (though no one seems to know why). When Vindman was asked, in Adam Schiff’s Stalinist court, what he heard on the call, he said, “I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support for Ukraine.”
Vindman’s comments set off another round of predictable hysteria by Democrats, which is certainly nothing unusual. But did Vindman’s words really deserve bombshell status? Hardly.
For starters, the transcript of Trump’s call does not indicate that he made any demands on Zelensky, let alone a demand to investigate Joe Biden. What Trump did do was ask President Zelensky to do him a favor. In a real court of law, falsely using a word like demand would go the credibility of the witness and make everything else he says suspect.
Second, at no time did Vindman accuse the president of breaking any laws. Rather, he merely said he believed Trump did something that he (Vindman) thought was “inappropriate.” Doing something that a third party believes to be “inappropriate” is not a violation of the law, and certainly not grounds for impeachment.
Aside and apart from the fact that Vindman lied when he used the word demand, his statement that he did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen is nothing more than his opinion — and an opinion is not a fact. Democrats, however, are selectively incapable of distinguishing between opinion and fact. If an opinion squares with their narrative, it is deemed to represent truth, and, as Uncle Joe put it, Democrats “choose truth over facts.”
Speaking of truth, the truth of the matter is that Vindman’s interpretation of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky is irrelevant. It is not his job to monitor the president and make sure that he isn’t violating any laws. Vindman and all other Deep State personnel work for the president. Their job is to help implement his policies, not spy on him!
All things considered, rather than treating Vindman like a hero, a strong case could be made that by advising Ukrainian officials in a manner that was against Trump’s wishes, he is guilty of espionage. Had all the roles been reversed, the Dirty Dems would have immediately opened an investigation into Vindman, and they would have been justified in doing so. In other words, in the same kind of situation, Democrats would have gone on the offensive, a strategy that is unthinkable to many Republicans.
But never mind Vindman’s opinions for now. Let’s focus on a more important issue — the supposed illegality of a quid pro quo. The dictionary defines quid pro quo as “something that is given or taken in return for something else.” That’s pretty straightforward, as it should be, because quid pro quos are used in just about every kind of human interaction. Consciously or unconsciously, every person on earth offers and receives quid pro quos every day.
Politics aside, the most obvious example of a quid pro quo is the purchase of a product. Virtually every kind of purchase is a quid pro quo interaction between consenting adults. A retailer, for example, does not agree to give a customer his products for free. Both sides understand, if they are sane adults, that the implied agreement is, “I’ll give you my product if you give me X amount of money.”
Ditto with dealmaking. Deals don’t get closed if one side is being asked to give up something without getting something of value in return. In all business and personal interactions, there is always a quid pro quo, whether it be expressed or implied.
Which is why Mick Mulvaney had it right the first time, before he started backtracking, when he said, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.” There is no such thing as a non-quo favor in Washington, where everyone has an agenda. Something is always expected in return. It’s called “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
What the Dirty Dems are trying to do is draw an equivalency between Trump’s quid pro quo and Biden’s, but in reality they are completely different. Using a quid pro quo to get information on a suspected perpetrator of a crime is a perfectly legitimate act. Using a quid pro quo to bribe a foreign leader to line your son’s pockets is not. Simply put, Trump was doing something to help American taxpayers, while Biden was doing something to help his son at the expense of American taxpayers.
Thus, a quid pro quo, of and by itself, is neither illegal or inappropriate. It is simply a negotiating strategy that can be used for legal or illegal purposes and for appropriate or inappropriate purposes.
Further, the implication that Joe Biden cannot be investigated because he is running for president is absurd. Sorry, but it’s not Trump’s fault that Biden is running for president, and it’s certainly not his fault that Biden appears to have committed a serious crime. But it is his fault if he does not do his duty and at least investigate why and how Biden got a foreign prosecutor fired.
Which leads me to the subject of false premises. A premise can be either true or false. If a premise is factually true, it is an honest premise that can be honestly discussed. If a premise is factually false, it is a dishonest premise that cannot be honestly discussed.
Most false premises, especially when put forth by the left, are usually a priori in nature, whereby someone states his conclusion (which is his opinion) as his premise, meaning he states it as though it were a proven fact. If you enter into a debate that is based on a false premise, especially a false premise that is a priori in nature, you cannot win, because the very fact that you are debating the issue implies that you accept the false premise as valid. It’s always a mistake.
Using an a priori premise is an age-old debating trick that Republicans fall for time and again, which is why they are constantly on the defensive, always arguing one point or another that is based on an a priori premise. “The debate on whether climate change is destroying the planet is settled, so we have to stop using fossil fuels immediately” is a perfect example of an a priori premise.
The truth is that millions of people — including many highly respected scientists — do not believe that climate change is destroying the planet. The insistence that it is, notwithstanding mountains of evidence to the contrary, is nothing more than an opinion, yet climate-change activists relentlessly use it as a premise.
Keeping all this in mind, if and when the House of Representatives follows through and actually impeaches Donald Trump, the Republican controlled Senate should refuse to act on the charge, because the entire impeachment case is being built on a foundation of false premises, the most important of which is that Donald Trump used a quid pro quo in his conversation with the Ukrainian prime minister (which he did not), and that is a crime (which, in this case, it is not).
Listen, Republicans, if you can’t figure out how to deal with the treachery of criminal Democrats, I have an easy solution for you: Just do exactly what you think Democrats would have done to you had you tried to impeach Barack Obama — no matter how serious his crimes were. As some long-forgotten philosopher once said, “Learn from your enemies. There is much they can teach you.”