The fallout continues from the very first day -- the full day -- of impeachment hearings. What exactly have we learned?
Well, that really depends on who you are.
If you're, for example, a mid-level nonprofit executive from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, someone who announces your pronouns to strangers and regularly writes fervid letters to The New Yorker, your preconceptions likely were confirmed by what you saw. You hated Donald Trump when you woke up Wednesday morning, and you hated him slightly more when you went to bed Wednesday night after watching 11 straight hours of CNN.
But if you were anyone else in America -- a normal person, someone with kids and a job and a marriage you care about -- the hearings likely had no effect at all. You keep hearing distant rumblings about "Ukraine" and "ambassadors" and transcripts of phone calls, but you're not quite sure what it adds up to, you suspect it is mostly politics.
The people who run things hate Trump obsessively. They always have, you know that; they're not hiding it. And maybe they have good reasons for that. Maybe they don't have good reasons for that.
But there's an election just a year from now and you can decide then. For now, you wish the buffoons on television would stop yapping about Trump 24/7 and talk about something that maybe is relevant to your life.
But they won't stop. They're single-mindedly focused on despising Trump.
It's weird, and it's unhealthy.
Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor: [William] Taylor and [George] Kent handled hard questions thoughtfully, stayed away from rank speculation. They acted without animus. And we're clearly driven by a sense of duty to the rest of us. Taylor and Kent should make us proud of the people who serve us in government.
Don Lemon, CNN anchor: We saw two credible witnesses give sworn testimony, patriots here.
Max Boot, CNN global affairs analyst: And they are utterly convincing. They come across as men of integrity, as civil servants who are patriots.
Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general of the United States: The credibility of this really patriotic American coming forward and then saying what he said.
Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC anchor: I am gobsmacked by the contrast, the patriotism, the stoicism.
Glenn Kirschner, MSNBC analyst: These guys give you patriotic goosebumps. They don't have a dog in the fight. They are not Never-Trumpers. They're in there just telling it like it is.
You got that? So, the people you're watching making slashingly partisan arguments in Congress during the hearing don't in fact, "have a dog in this fight."
So, contrary to all appearances, ignore your own perceptions -- these people are neutral. They're disinterested. They're as blind to partisanship as Lady Justice herself.
"Trust us," say the news anchors. This is all totally on the level, as believable as Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy results. You'd have to be a total wacko to doubt it.
Democrats are not convincing voters the president should be removed a year before the election. It has nothing to do with getting that done. They're impeaching Trump for the benefit of the true believers who watch MSNBC in primetime, who think Chuck Todd is like a newsman.
In fact, says NBC's Chuck Todd -- who, by the way, hosts a TV show on Sunday mornings right here in Washington -- anyone who questions the official version of the story literally has been brainwashed like an inmate at a North Korean prison. Todd honestly feels sorry for people like that.
Chuck Todd, NBC/MSNBC host: He's conditioned 30 to 40 percent of the country to essentially [believe that] whatever you hear, it's not what you think.
Unidentified, off-screen guest: Right, sir.
Todd: But we are living in a moment where we have a part of one of our major political parties that is just not accepting the premise, is just not accepting facts that are facts.
"Just not accepting facts that are facts." It's pretty funny.
But it's not actually real. Partisans on television like that guy say things like this not to convince you -- that's not going to work. They say things like that to reassure themselves that their ruse is working. And on some level, they know that you don't believe them, which is why they double the volume.
But the adults in the conversation -- and by the way, there are some -- know the score.
According to a CNN report this afternoon, top Democrats secretly admit to one another that this isn't working, they're not going to get Trump through impeachment hearings. Democrats are not convincing voters the president should be removed a year before the election.
It has nothing to do with getting that done. They're impeaching Trump for the benefit of the true believers who watch MSNBC in prime time, who think Chuck Todd is like a newsman.
This is all a sham. It's a variety show staged for the benefit of the party's donors and its activists. It's not actually going to move votes. And by the way, for the sober Democrats -- and there are some -- there's a lot at stake here. Not everyone is a buffoon, there are some smart people in this game, and the smart ones know that.
They also know that in the end, impeachment could very well wind up hurting them -- hurting the Democratic Party -- just like it hurt the Republican Party in 1998 when they impeached Bill Clinton for much clearer reasons than they are impeaching Donald Trump.
So, in fact, it likely will hurt the Democrats, and that's starting to dawn on them now and that realization is having an interesting effect. It always does.
At the moment you realize you're not convincing anyone, the moment you get that your propaganda is impotent, you change. And in this case, the establishment is basically doing less and less to conceal what they're really up to.
Here's one example. Early Thursday morning, Bloomberg News -- named after the guy who is running for president, by the way -- published this tweet summarizing the first day of hearings.
Keep in mind, Bloomberg News is a news operation and we're quoting: "The first public impeachment hearings against Donald Trump laid out how a handful of loyalists led by Rudy Giuliani wrested control of U.S. policy from seasoned diplomats."
"Wrested control of U.S. policy from seasoned diplomats" -- presumably in whose hands it should remain.
Consider that for a minute. By the way, that's the underlying assumption of all the dumb people. Todd believes that as a matter of faith. But is there a clearer inversion of the Constitution of the United States? Hard to think of one.
Diplomats don't control foreign policy, they carry it out! Who controls foreign policy? Well, voters do.
They control their country, in fact, through their elected officials.
So it doesn't matter if every single bureaucrat in the State Department disagreed with the president's policy on Ukraine or whatever, Russia or Burkina Faso -- fill in the blank. It doesn't matter.
Their job is not to make policy; it is to affect it. It's to carry it out. They work for the president. All presidents -- Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Obama, Trump -- it doesn't matter, whoever is elected next.
When Chelsea Clinton becomes president, they'll take orders from her. Good!
They take orders from the elected person because that person was elected and they weren't.
The president is the only person with power in the executive branch -- that's how democracies work. And that's why in Washington, almost nobody still supports democracy.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Nov. 14, 2019.