The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Final Wisdom and a Failed Coup

Posted on | March 25, 2019 | 1 Comment

Gonna miss the sunshine and palmettos.

LITTLE RIVER, South Carolina
Last night, while I was pounding out 1,700 words about the Marianne Williamson presidential campaign, the political world at large was going insane over the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation:

For President Donald Trump, the fight over the “witch hunt” is only just beginning.
Now that special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Trump’s campaign is over, it’s being transformed into a rallying cry and a weapon for the president’s re-election campaign.
The pall of the two-year probe lifted Sunday, when Attorney General William Barr released a summary of Mueller’s findings that said the wide-ranging investigation found no evidence of collusion by Trump’s 2016 campaign with the Russian government. Barr’s four-page letter was immediately seized upon by the Republican president and his allies as a weapon to use against Democrats, the so-called Deep State and the media.
Even before Mueller’s conclusions were revealed, it was clear that Trump saw the end of the investigation as a political opportunity. . . .
“Democrats and their liberal media allies for two years slandered President @realDonaldTrump for ‘conspiring with Russia,’” press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted. “It was all a malicious, preposterous lie given wall to wall media coverage despite zero evidence. This should never again happen to an American President.”

You can read the rest of that Associated Press report, but you see the biased angle here. The liberal media narrative now is how Republicans weaponized the Mueller findings as ammunition for Trump’s re-election, as if we are supposed to forget how Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) pushed the “Russia! Russia! Russia!” conspiracy theory as a weapon to de-legitimize and undermine Trump’s presidency. The media’s bias consists mainly of assuming that whatever Democrats say or do is always right, whereas anything Republicans say or do is always wrong, and we’re not supposed to notice this bias. Therefore, even when a 675-day investigation (inspired by a phony dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign) fails to find evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing, the media cannot simply report the fact that the president has been exonerated, nor acknowledge that he was absolutely right in calling the investigation a “witch hunt.” No, Trump is a Republican and therefore, according to the biases of the media, he must be guilty of something.

So rather than reporting the actual news — the attempted “Deep State” coup has failed — instead the Associated Press spins the Republican reaction to the Mueller report as inherently sinister. It’s wrong, according to the AP, for this result to be “transformed into a rallying cry and a weapon for the president’s re-election campaign.” Why is it wrong? Because it is wrong for a Republican president to try to get re-elected. These professional journalists claim to be objective, yet they apparently lack the ability to step back and question the accuracy and fairness of their own assumptions. But I digress . . .

Probably not the ideal wardrobe for Myrtle Beach.

Anyone can, and lots of people do, sit in front of a laptop tapping out political screeds about the latest Drudge Report headlines, and it’s ridiculous for me to sit here in South Carolina ranting like this when that’s not what I traveled 500 miles here to do. My three days and two nights in the Palmetto State weren’t merely an excuse to enjoy the sunshine and scenery, but rather I came here to see what the Williamson campaign looks like on the ground at close range. It’s one thing to sit home nurturing a wild hunch that a long-short dark horse candidate could exceed expectations in a year when Democrats might be desperate enough to beat Trump that they’ll risk going with an untested outsider. It’s another thing to travel to an early primary state and directly examine the candidate’s operations. To do this, as a conservative journalist covering a Democratic primary, one must undertake the difficult task of trying to gain psychological distance from the situation. Pure journalistic objectivity is a mirage, a delusional ideal, but nevertheless I must attempt to set aside my own undeniable biases and try to think of this campaign from the perspective of a typical Democratic primary voter: What do they want? What kind of messages will appeal to the enraged grassroots gripped by Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Buttigieg surges to third place in new Iowa poll
The Hill, March 24

Do you see what I mean? As crazy as it seems to me, many grassroots Democrats in the crucial early caucus state of Iowa believe that the gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, could be the next president. And if Mayor Booty-Judge must therefore be taken seriously, who can confidently say Marianne Williamson has no chance in the 2020 race?

As I say, however, doing this kind of coverage requires more than merely believing that the long-shot candidate actually has a chance, it also requires me to soberly and accurately report policy statements and rhetoric that are almost entirely antithetical to my own beliefs. Picture me sitting in a black church in the South Carolina Low Country, listening to a speech by Marianne Williamson, jotting down notes and praying that my head doesn’t literally explode Scanners-style.


The only common ground of agreement between Williamson and myself is a resentment of our out-of-touch political elites, and while our worldviews might otherwise be 180 degrees diametrically opposed, Democrat primary voters may just be in a mood for an outsider candidate who does what Donald Trump did to the GOP field in 2016 — stomp through it like Godzilla destroying Tokyo. The way Bernie Sanders got screwed over by the DNC, an insider scheme to deliver the nomination to Hillary Clinton, who then proceeded to bungle away what looked like a sure thing — she never set foot in Wisconsin! — has inspired a wrathful mood among Democrat grassroots activists, who are as contemptuous of their party’s leadership cabal in much the same way grassroots conservatives despise the GOP elite. In such a climate of populist discontent, almost anything is possible, and I guarantee you that campaign managers for Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand — all of whom are United States Senators, for crying out loud — are wondering how their candidates could possibly be trailing Mayor Booty-Judge in Iowa.

And so I sit here drinking my sweet iced tea and using the free wifi, while I deliver The Final Wisdom from South Carolina:

Marianne Williamson was in the pulpit at Bethel A.M.E. Church Sunday morning, and the sermon she was preaching began with a reference to Esther, the Jewish wife of Persia’s King Xerxes, who saved her people from destruction by the king’s evil minister, Haman. Williamson evoked Esther as “a vessel for the salvation of her people” who were “disadvantaged and oppressed.” Certainly this Bible-based message about deliverance resonated with the black congregation, whose historic church dates back to the 1860s. However, the woman in the pulpit, who has been called Oprah Winfrey’s “spiritual guru,” had not come to the South Carolina lowlands as an author promoting her books, but rather as a candidate for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
“Being American does not only give us rights, it gives us responsibilities,” Ms. Williamson told the congregation. “This country must have a great rising up.”
For all the talk about the Religious Right’s role in Republican politics, little attention is paid to the influence among Democrats of the Religious Left, of which Ms. Williamson is a recognized leader. And if the odds against her winning her party’s 2020 presidential nomination are a million-to-one, there are nonetheless serious Democrats who believe she can achieve such a miracle. One of them is Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu, state director of the Williamson campaign. An experienced politician who served in the Georgia legislature before returning to her native South Carolina, Dr. Tinubu was twice the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 7th District, getting more than 100,000 votes against Republican Rep. Tom Rice in this deep “red” district. Dr. Tinubu introduced Ms. Williamson at Bethel A.M.E. by saying, “I consider her a sister,” which is about as strong an endorsement as any Democrat needs here. . . .

Read the rest of my column at The American Spectator. Now, I’m heading north toward Fort Bragg, where I’ll visit my granddaughter before heading back home, where the high temperature tomorrow will be 50°F and the low will be below freezing. Gonna miss the sunshine, but remember the Five Most Important Words in the English Language are:






One Response to “Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Final Wisdom and a Failed Coup”

  1. Saturday Links | 357 Magnum
    March 30th, 2019 @ 10:26 am

    […] The Other McCain comments on the Russia Collusion Investigation. Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Final Wisdom and a Failed Coup. […]