I have mentioned before how the wrong use of metaphors suggests that the speaker is either not interested in what they are saying or is trying to obfuscate. Jonathan Chait writes that when it comes to the impeachment hearings currently underway, Republicans are struggling to defend the indefensible and their confusion over what metaphors to use to describe the process a symptom that fact.
Republicans have spent weeks calling impeachment proceedings a coup, and then a witch hunt. Confusingly, they appear to believe witch hunts are quasi-judicial proceedings run by actual witches, and accordingly circulated merchandise depicting Democrats as a coven. Then yesterday — of all days to stop talking about witches! — they made the puzzling decision to switch metaphors again, and begin likening impeachment to a Soviet show trial. It was as their sole messaging objective was to make Arthur Miller turn over in his grave.
Just when the party faithful was assimilating the new metaphor — communist witches are plotting to remove President Trump by force and possibly the casting of spells — they excitedly announced a new and surprising development.
Of course neither Stalin’s show trials nor the Salem Witch Hunt was known for publicly leaking friendly claims for the defense. Trump’s loyalists did not seem remotely troubled by the contradiction between their attacks on the denouncing the proceedings as a pure sham and claiming they had yielded evidence of exoneration.
The evidence that Trump abused his authority over foreign policy for domestic political gain is so manifest and redundant that his defenders have given up anything even resembling a substantive defense. They are shambling from slogan to slogan, never bothering to make any of them hang together.