From focus groups to crocodile tears: A review of ‘Impeachment,’ a play in countless acts

From focus groups to crocodile tears: A review of ‘Impeachment,’ a play in countless acts
Adam Schiff in the role of petty tyrant lifting his gavel (Image: YouTube screen grab)

One of the most telling moments during Day 2 of public impeachment inquiry hearings came at the end when House Democrats gave former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch a standing ovation. Then again, it was fitting. Applause is the mechanism through which an audience expresses approval at the end of a play, which is what yesterday’s event was.

This is not to say that the hearings will receive rave notices from the American people. After all, there were no waterworks, though Democratic questioners labored hard to get Yovanovitch to tear up, as she did during a closed-door session. They asked her repeatedly how being fired after 33 years of service in the State Department made her feel and how it impacted her family.

Leading (bad) actor Adam Schiff turned in a convincingly lifelike performance in the role of petty tyrant. He came off as the model of officiousness, refusing to allow Republican committee member Elise Stefanik to ask a procedural question, chanting in a monotone, his eyes at full bug “Gentlewoman will suspend. Gentlewoman will suspend. You’re not recognized.” It was his best work since his dramatic reading of the transcript of the president’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart and almost eclipses his worst, which was a scene in which a cardboard cut-out of him recited the line “We take no joy” in trying to impeach the president.

The Democrats spared no expense (taxpayers’ money, of course) in producing this travesty. They actually went out and field-tested terminology among focus groups to determine which impeachable offense most resonated with the American theater-goer, ultimately abandoning quid pro quo in favor of bribery.

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If there’s one part of the production that needs heavy rewriting, it’s when Democrats attempt to introduce comic relief by telling reporters that they are carrying out this charade in the name of justice. They should really stick to sappy melodrama, which is what they do best.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.