A new set of impeachment hearings is now underway. But the after-effects of the previous set of hearings have not been forgotten — and they have now fostered an unusual political by-product. Consider that the nation had become quite familiar with House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff. The California Democrat was on-camera and in the news for weeks during the first impeachment hearings.
Some now wonder whether Mr. Schiff aspires to run for higher office with his newfound visibility — maybe a Senate run. Perhaps he could take House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s place in the future. Mr. Schiff has also been involved in substantial fundraising for fellow Democrats through United for a Strong America, his leadership PAC. He’s made some rousing speeches as well.
Now comes a report which suggests Mr. Schiff’s “star is rising,” and that he may have his eye on an even higher office than those on Capitol Hill. Imagine: Schiff 2024. The lawmaker’s trademark “sober demeanor” could be working for him, say some observers.
“One of his House colleagues from the Golden State said she saw a president in the making as Schiff led the televised hearings,” writes Scott Wong, a senior reporter for The Hill.
“When we look at the characteristics of what we want to see in a president, it is somebody who is not going to lose composure because he’s been poked. And we’re seeing that on display from Adam Schiff every single day,” an unnamed California Democratic lawmaker told the reporter.
“He’s not too vanilla. But I kind of want that now after Trump. We need boring,” the source said.
“He has a lot of options,” a senior Democratic aide said of Mr. Schiff.
“Most Democrats think he will aim higher, though Schiff has kept his cards close to the vest,” Mr. Wong observes, also adding that Mr. Schiff declined to comment on such possibilities.
Of course, not everyone agrees with such speculations.
“Say this for Rep. Adam Schiff: His imagination is vivid and he has a flair for the dramatic. If only he had more respect for facts and a tighter tether to reality. The California attack dog is, in real life, a frustrated writer of rejected screenplays, and he’s produced another dud in the Democrats’ impeachment report,” counters New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin.
THE IMPEACHMENT PRESS
So how are the Democrats faring with round 2 of the impeachment “process,” this time led by House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler? Some headlines of note from the last 24 hours:
“Dems’ impeachment trickery” (American Spectator); “Trump impeachment hearing sparks partisan brawl” (The Los Angeles Times); “The impeachment drive climbs into the clown car” (Slate magazine); “Founding Fathers would be ‘horrified’: Legal experts testify Trump should be impeached” (NBC News); “‘I’m not going to take any sh–‘: Nadler girds for battle” (Politico); “White House and GOP decry liberal backgrounds of legal scholars in impeachment hearing” (Fox News); “Majority opposes impeachment in only 2020 states that matter” (Breitbart News).
NOT SO KEEN ON NATO
President Trump just had a whirlwind visit among his European and western allies. A timely poll reveals some Yankee sentiment: Just 35% of likely U.S. voters believe America should continue to contribute more money to NATO defense than any other member country. So says a Rasmussen Reports survey which also reveals that 49% say the U.S. should not shell out any more money than the rest of the member nations.
A major global poll of respondents in 18 nations, meanwhile, offers similar findings. NATO warrants, for example, a 39% favorability rating in the poll, which also found that the international public “hugely underestimates the United States’ financial contribution” to NATO. Another 62% continues to believe that “an armed attack on one NATO country is an armed attack on all.” See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
FAKE NEWS: IS IT IMMORAL?
President Trump could be morally justified in his criticism of fake news — that tricky misinformation that appears real but is laden with agenda, ulterior motives or sensationalism.
“Fake news feels less immoral to share when we’ve seen it before” said the Association for Psychological Science, which has published new research revealing this unexpected phenomenon.
“People who repeatedly encounter a fake news item may feel less and less unethical about sharing it on social media, even when they don’t believe the information,” the group reported.
The new research from the London Business School found that seeing a fake headline just once leads individuals to “temper their disapproval of the misinformation” when they see it a second, third or fourth time.
“Repeated encounters with fake news lends a ring of truthfulness to it that can increase people’s tendency to give it a moral pass, regardless of whether they believe it,” said the research, which tracked the reactions of 2,500 people who were exposed to fake news.
“We suggest that efforts to fight misinformation should consider how people judge the morality of spreading it, not just whether they believe it,” said Daniel A. Effron, the associate professor of organizational behavior who led the research.
He also believes the findings have important implications for policymakers and social media companies trying to curb the spread of misinformation online.
“The results should be of interest to citizens of contemporary democracies, Misinformation can stoke political polarization and undermine democracy, so it is important for people to understand when and why it spreads,” Mr. Effron said.
The research was published Wednesday in Psychological Science, an academic journal.
POLL DU JOUR
• 87% of the global population have heard of NATO.
• 69% of NATO funding is provided by the U.S.; the average “guess” among global population is that the U.S. provides 39%.
• 39% have a favorable opinion of NATO, 33% say it is “a force for good in the world.”
• 17% say NATO is “a waste of money.”
Source: An IPSOS/King College London poll of 14,004 adults in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Britain, and the U.S. from Oct. 25-Nov. 8 and released Tuesday.
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