My favorite sporting anecdote involves the iconic ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ world heavyweight-boxing clash betweenMuhammad Aliand George Foreman.
At the time, Ali was 32, and highly polarizing trash-talking Louisville Lip ex-champ was seven years older than the current champion Foreman, a ferocious undefeated warrior considered unbeatable by pugilist experts.
Very few gave Ali a chance of even lasting a few rounds against a man infamous for his ‘anywhere punch’ that broke something anywhere it hit.
And even fewer gave him a chance when he spent the first few rounds ignoring his trainer’s advice and sitting on the ropes, soaking up Foreman’s relentless barrage of fearsomely brutal punches.
This ‘rope-a-dope’ strategy seemed destined for inevitable humiliating failure, but there was method to Ali’s apparent madness.
Foreman grew increasingly enraged as Ali persistently taunted him into hitting him even harder. But he also grew increasingly tired.
And by the end of the eighth round, he was shattered.
At which point, Ali suddenly flew off the ropes and unleashed a devastating fusillade culminating in a savage left hook and right-hand hammer blow that knocked Foreman over and out.
It was the most stunning KO in boxing history, but it was something Foreman revealed afterwards that became so iconic.
Impeachment hearings could be as potentially as messy for the Democrats as it is for Trump (pictured October 28)
The iconic ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ world heavyweight-boxing clash between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman is pictured
‘I hit him in the third round so hard that he fell on me, ‘Foreman said. ‘I thought,“ That’s it! ”’ But then he started screaming at me, “That all you got George? Show me something! ”And I knew then I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. ‘
I thought of this when Democrats launched their formal bid yesterday to impeach President Donald Trump – an old friend of Ali’s with the same penchant for trash talk and hitting people who hit him even harder.
The vote to authorize rules for the impeachment inquiry, in the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives, fell almost entirely along party lines, 232 – 196.
But it was notable for two things: 1) No Republicans flipped and 2) Two Democrats voted against it.
The first point is significant because it indicates that so far, President Trump enjoys rock solid support from his own party in direct contrast to Bill Clinton at the same stage of his impeachment process in 1998 when 31 Democrats voted in favor of setting up a formal process for considering it.
The vote to authorize rules for the impeachment inquiry, in the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives (pictured), fell almost entirely along party lines, 232 – 196. But it was notable for two things: 1) No Republicans flipped and 2) Two Democrats voted against it.
The second point is also significant because it shows Democrat leaders driving this impeachment don’t even have rock solid support from their own party for it.
One of those two Democrats who voted against, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew explained his decision by saying: ‘At the end of the day we’ll have the same president and same candidate and a failed impeachment process, and the only difference will be that the president will have been exonerated of charges.’
And therein lies the massive problem facing Democrats as they embark on this impeachment process – as things stand, it will almost certainly fail.
I warned several months ago that this Ukraine scandal was not a hill the Dems should choose to die on in their battle to unseat Trump.
It’s a strange case because Trump’s already admitted much of the allegation against him, readily conceding that yes he spoke to a foreign leader about investigating corruption before he would release US aid, and that he mentioned Joe Biden in connection with alleged corruption.
The only question remains whether he specifically demanded Ukraine’s president Zelensky investigate Biden, Trump’s possible rival in 2020, before he would release the $ 400 million in aid .
In other words, was there a direct ‘quid pro quo’ in which the US President deliberately withheld the aid money unless Ukraine dug dirt on his own domestic election rival?
Trump says no, and already those giving testimony appear to be giving completely conflicting statements on whether he did or not.
There are lots of very serious questions still to be answered about Biden’s son Hunter’s employment with a dodgy US energy firm while his dad was second most powerful man in America and spending a lot of time himself on political missions in the Ukraine
But whatever the truth, I remain far from convinced it’s an impeachable offence anyway.
As former Trump advisor Steve Bannon said on CNN last night, if Biden WAS involved in anything corrupt in the Ukraine while he was Vice-President, then that would surely be a perfectly legi timate thing for a current US president to demand was investigated?
And there are lots of very serious questions still to be answered about Biden’s son Hunter’s employment with a dodgy US energy firm while his dad was second most powerful man in America and spending a lot of time himself on political missions in the Ukraine.
So impeachment hearings could be as potentially as messy for the Democrats as it is for Trump.
But the wider issue remains this: I don’t think this impeachment has a cat in hell’s chance of being successful, given the hyper-partisan nature of current US politics.
And it’s hard not to escape the conclusion the Democrats are reluctantly proceeding with it because they think it’s their best, perhaps only, way to stop Trump winning again in 2020.
In fact, some of them have admitted as much.
‘I’m concerned that if we don ‘t impeach this president, he will get re-elected’ said v ehement anti-Trumper, Texas Rep. Al Green last May.
And that fear is almost certainly what’s really motivating this move.
But what the Democrats don’t seem to have realized , or have chosen to ignore in their self-righteous desperation to nail Trump for anything, is that a failed impeachment attempt will hugely help him get re-elected.
If zero Republicans have turned on Trump at the first hurdle in the House, why on earth should anyone expect 20 Republican senators to vote to convict him?
Especially when public opinion is so divided on the issue, with a new Washington Post / ABC News poll showing 49% of Americans supporting Trump being impeached but 47% opposing it.
Dig deeper into those poll results and they reveal that most Democrat voters (82%) support it, and most Republican voters (also 82%) oppose i t. But the majority of Independents (49% to 47%) are against it.
None of this suggests Republican senators will come under anything like nough pressure to flip. Not unless there are new bombshell revelations that come out to game-change what we already know about Trump’s behavior in the Ukraine scandal.
And there’s another massive problem for the Democrats.
While all this is going on, the US economy continues to power away.
It emerged today that 128, 000 jobs were added in October, way higher than the 75, 000
August and September numbers were also revised sharply higher, and America is now enjoying record low unemployment for African-Americans and record high total unemployment.
Trump promised to go after terrorists, and a few days ago, US special forces killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured)
Even Trump’s most vociferous media critics have had to grudgingly admit these are great stats.
As for the President, he’s rightly ecstatic about them.
Trump promised to get Americans back to work, and he is doing just that. He also promised to go after terrorists, and a few days ago, US special forces killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
So this has been a great week for President Trump in delivering on several of his key 2016 campaign promises.
In fact the only thing that could be even better for him as he heads into another election year is a failed attempt to impeach him – which is exactly what I think is going to happen.
That will fire up his base, demoralize his liberal opponents and on the back of a surging US economy, and successful war on terror, virtually guarantee him another win.
In fact, President Trump may well choose to borrow the words of his boxing idol Muhammad Ali and say to his fast-punching opponents: ‘That all you got, Dems?’