Dear Commons Community,
Maureen Dowd’s column yesterday was a salvo at those in Washington who want to play fair with Donald Trump and his Republican allies. She reviews several “us versus them” situations and concludes that Trump does not eat “your soul in small bites…He devours the entire thing in one big gulp.” Here is an excerpt:
“The transformation of William Barr from respected establishment lawyer to evil genius outplaying and undermining his old friend Robert Mueller is a Grand Guignol spectacle.
At many of the most consequential moments in American history, I have watched officials bend over backward to be equitable, only to end up faltering and doing enormous damage to the Republic.
It is possible to be “fair” in a way that is not at all fair.
It’s simply bad judgment, ceding the ground to malevolent actors who use any means to achieve their ends, including flattening and sliming the proponents of “fairness.”
I first saw this dynamic during the scalding week of the Thomas-Hill hearings. It was infuriating to watch the Republicans play to win as the Democrats halfheartedly tried to get at the truth…
…Joe Biden was striving to be “fair” to his vicious, duplicitous Republican colleagues who were jamming an arch-conservative liar onto the Supreme Court.
James Comey also got tangled up on the issue of fairness, with disastrous results. Afraid that he would be blamed if it was discovered that the F.B.I. had been secretly investigating the woman expected to be the next president, the then-F. B.I. chief violated his own agency’s norms to announce that he was reopening the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails on the cusp of the election.
But he did not tell the public that the F.B.I. was also looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. As The Times has now revealed, the F.B.I. was worried enough to set up a honey trap, sending a comely government investigator posing as a research assistant to draw out George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, in a London bar.
President Obama got similarly wrapped around the axle when he stayed mum on his administration’s investigation into Russia’s sabotage. Obama choked after the diabolical Mitch McConnell warned the White House that, if it went through with a plan to publicly shame Moscow, he would regard that as a partisan act.
And finally, we have the unfortunate Robert Mueller, who took a tortuous route to decide not to decide on obstruction of justice. Like Comey, Mueller believed in his own purity so much that he was blinded to his naïveté.
Barr helped the White House by outmaneuvering the mute special counsel in shaping the narrative about “my baby,’’ as the attorney general called Mueller’s report. Barr ground his wingtip into Mueller’s throat on Wednesday during his Senate testimony. He spoke of Mueller dismissively, like an errant errand boy who threw a silly snit after failing to complete the task he was given.”
Mueller’s trust in Barr led him to miss the moment when Trump gobbled up the attorney general’s soul like a midnight snack — in one bite.
Dowd tells it like it is!