Oh my Gawd, he gets paid to write this. Paid a lot to write this drivel!
Let’s Not Get Carried Away
I was the op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal at the peak of the Whitewater scandal. We ran a series of investigative pieces “raising serious questions” (as we say in the scandal business) about the nefarious things the Clintons were thought to have done back in Arkansas.Now I confess I couldn’t follow all the actual allegations made in those essays.
But that didn't stop me from gleefully printing each and every one, no matter how far-fetched!
Now I confess I couldn’t follow all the actual allegations made in those essays. They were six jungles deep in the weeds. But I do remember the intense atmosphere that the scandal created. A series of bombshell revelations came out in the media, which seemed monumental at the time. A special prosecutor was appointed and indictments were expected. Speculation became the national sport.
And op-ed page editors continued using the passive voice as if they had no culpability in the matter at all!
I mean, you do realize you're confessing to journalistic malpractice, right? Publishing allegations for which you have no evidence and which you do not even understand. "These accusations are incomprehensible, I can't make heads or tails of what is even alleged to have happened. Well, I guess I'd better publish them in a major national newspaper!"
In retrospect Whitewater seems overblown.
Really? You think Whitewater might have been "overblown?" A manufactured pseudo-scandal which never produced any evidence of wrongdoing (other than a BJ), you think that might have been "overblown?" You know, most of us didn't need the help of retrospect to see that. But, you know, most of us don't have cushy jobs with major media outlets. To land that kind of gig, you have to be dead wrong in public over and over again, especially when it comes to the Clintons and whatever phony scandal Richard Mellon Scaife can dream up to feed to Matt Drudge.
In retrospect Whitewater seems overblown. And yet it has to be confessed that, at least so far, the Whitewater scandal was far more substantive than the Russia-collusion scandal now gripping Washington.
Yeah, you can tell that this Russia thing has no substance by the number of people having to recuse themselves and how many administration members are lawyering up.
There may be a giant revelation still to come. But as the Trump-Russia story has evolved, it is striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred — that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians. Everything seems to be leaking out of this administration, but so far the leaks about actual collusion are meager.
Jeezus, do you hear yourself? When a Democrat was in office, no scandal was too ridiculous to be given credence and trotted out on to the national stage. But when it's a Republican, even an incompetent, deranged Republican like Trump, suddenly all this smoke surely doesn't indicate a fire!
I'm hearing echoes of Iran-Contra. "Sure, the Reagan Administration directly violated the law, but come on. What harm was done? Surely his intentions were good!"
Or the Iraq Invasion: "Well, sure they lied, manipulated intelligence, cherry-picked any bullshit from any unreliable kook that seemed to support their story and ignored all the relevant experts, but obviously, this was a failure of the intelligence community!"
There were some meetings between Trump officials and some Russians, but so far no more than you’d expect from a campaign that was publicly and proudly pro-Putin.
Well, maybe my standards are a bit different, but I would expect ZERO meetings between a candidate and the KGB! Especially when that candidate is not a part of government, not involved with foreign policy and has no earthly god damn clue what the hell he's doing.
Second, there is something disturbingly meta about this whole affair. This is, as Yuval Levin put it, an investigation about itself. Trump skeptics within the administration laid a legal minefield all around the president, and then Trump — being Trump — stomped all over it, blowing himself up six ways from Sunday.
Wait, there are Trump skeptics within the administration? The Trump administration? The administration who gave us this sickening display of obsequious devotion?
Now of course Trump shouldn’t have tweeted about Oval Office tape recordings. Of course he shouldn’t have fired James ComeyBut even if you took a paragon of modern presidents — a contemporary Abraham Lincoln — and you directed a democratically unsupervised, infinitely financed team of prosecutors at him and gave them power to subpoena his staff and look under any related or unrelated rock in an attempt to bring him down, there’s a pretty good chance you could spur even this modern paragon to want to fight back. You could spur even him to do something that had the whiff of obstruction.
Okay, first of all there was no special prosecutor until AFTER Trump fired James Comey. How are you gonna sit there and pretend that firing Comey is some sort of pushback against a special prosecutor?
And secondly, Bill Clinton is hardly a paragon of presidently virtue, hardly a modern-day Lincoln, but an unsupervised, infinitely financed team of prosecutors with subpoena power and direction to look under every unrelated rock in order to bring him down is EXACTLY what happened to Bill Clinton, and you didn't see him firing the guy investigating him or implying blackmail against Ken Starr. It's one thing to say that Trump can't be expected to live up to the standards of Imaginary Lincoln, but shouldn't he at least be held to the standard of Slick Willie?
And third, firing the director of the FBI when the FBI is investigating you is hardly a "whiff of obstruction." It's pretty much textbook obstruction.
There’s just something worrisome every time we find ourselves replacing politics of democracy with the politics of scandal.
Yes, and I'm sure you said the same about "Fast and Furious," the IRS "scandal," birtherism and Benghazi, right? Haha, I'm kidding. Of course you didn't, you disingenuous piece of shit.
In democracy, the issues count, and you try to win by persuasion. You recognize that your opponents are legitimate, that they will always be there and that some form of compromise is inevitable.
My God, it's as if he's completely unaware of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and the entire Freedom Fucking Caucus!
And how do you reconcile "recognizing your opponents are legitimate" with King Birther himself, the Oaf in the Oval Office? What the fuck was birtherism if not an attempt to delegitimize the Presdient?
Donald Trump rose peddling the politics of scandal — oblivious to policy, spreading insane allegations about birth certificates and other things — so maybe it’s just that he gets swallowed by it.
Oh my GAWD! So he is aware of Trump's "politics of scandal," or as it's known in the real world "racist conspiracy-mongering. But somehow there's always an excuse for a Republican - in this case, that he's gotten "swallowed" by the culture of Washington scandal or something.
The people who hype the politics of scandal don’t make American government purer. They deserve some of the blame for an administration and government too distracted to do its job,
Good! The best possible outcome of all this is an administration too distracted to do its job! Although, to be fair, it is already distracted by petty Twitter feuds, golfing, insulting foreign leaders, and shiny objects.
Also, when you say "the people who hype the politics of scandal," I assume that includes former op-ed editors of the Wall Street Journal?
Things are so bad that I’m going to have to give Trump the last word. On June 15 he tweeted, “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story.” Unless there is some new revelation, that may turn out to be pretty accurate commentary.
Oh, yes. Very accurate. Right up there with "I did not have sex with that woman," "I am not a crook," and "there is no doubt that Sadam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction."
You know, if there's one type of statement that can be relied upon for truthfulness, it's a statement from the accused that he didn't do it. I mean, if he says he's innocent, he must be, right?