“Righteous” Monsters Russiagate Open Thread: No Violin Tiny Enough, Mr. Comey

I’m sure he really, honestly believes he was acting in good faith, there was nothing else he could do, just following orders, ma’am. Small consolation: His reputation seems to be “everything” to Mr. Comey — and history has never been kind to the “just following orders” defense.








Like Every Other Pundit, Amy Chozick Will Never Forgive Hillary Clinton for Amy Chozick’s Mistakes

From the excerpts I’ve seen, Chozick’s new “tell entirely too much” book reads scarily like it was written by a teenage girl looking to pick a fight with her stepmother. Selfish beeyotch kept lecturing me about how that new boy ‘couldn’t be trusted’, so of course I *had* to go to the party with him, and now that I’m stumbling home barefoot with a roofie hangover, I want the world to know that it is ALL HER FAULT!

(A sentiment with which, of course, too many of her fellow NYTimes access journalists concur.)

Carlos Lozada, at the Washington Post has a thoughtful review of a thoughtless person book:

Amy Chozick, the lead New York Times reporter on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, believes that the news media’s focus on Clinton’s private e-mail server — a story the Times broke and that Chozick would write about extensively — was excessive. She even grew to resent it. Chozick also thinks that reporting on campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails turned journalists into “puppets” of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, and she struggles to explain why they did it anyway. She contends that sexism played a big role in Clinton’s defeat but also encounters it first-hand among Clinton’s campaign staff. And while she hammers the candidate for having no clear vision for why she sought the presidency, Chozick allows that competence, experience and policy were hardly selling points in 2016, when it “turned out a lot of people just wanted to blow s— up.”

These are some of the revelations and contradictions permeating Chozick’s “Chasing Hillary,” a memoir by turns poignant, insightful and exasperating. It’s a buffet-style book — media criticism here, trail reminscences there, political analysis and assorted recollections from Chozick’s past tossed throughout — and while the portions are tasty, none fully satisfies. In the unending debate over what happened in 2016, and whether journalists contributed to Donald Trump’s victory, Chozick offers plenty of self-recrimination, but she still blames Clinton for not grasping how the game was played…

“Chasing Hillary” offers some searing moments surrounding election night, as when the Clinton team’s data guru grasps that his Florida models were off (Latino turnout lower than expected, white turnout huge in the Panhandle), then turns to campaign manager Robby Mook and says, “But, Robby, if our models were wrong in Florida, they could be wrong everywhere.” Mook eventually delivers the news of impending defeat to Clinton. “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me,” she answers. “They were never going to let me be president.”

The next day, Times reporters consider what they’d missed — and why. “God, I didn’t go to a single Hillary or Trump rally,” a colleague of Chozick’s admits, “and yet, I wrote with such authority.”…

When she felt insecure at work, Chozick would channel Clinton. “I adopted Hillary’s mood,” she recalls. “I went around despondent and aggrieved, pissed off at the world, at my editors, at myself for not being ‘likable enough.’ ” But that’s not the Clinton she wants to remember, Chozick concludes. She wants to remember the Hillary who “tried to hold it all together — her marriage, her daughter, her career, her gender, her country.” The Hillary who taught her about grit, to believe she could excel but also to allow herself to stop striving.

“Hillary taught me all of that,” Chozick writes in her final lines. “So what if she hated me?”

Reading this book, I often had the same question.


 
The excerpt the NYTimes chose to highlight did Chozick no favors…

“Several people told me” is the media version of Trump’s “Many people have said” — that most pointless of metaphors, a transparent figleaf.


(Again: I strongly suspect this is very much still the playbook at the NYTimes.)








Credit Where Due Open Thread: Now He Tells Us…

So long as President Trump continues disgracing the Oval Office, thoughtful people will probe their own role in helping him get there.

Such appeared to be the motivation behind a mea culpa issued by CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on comedian Larry Wilmore’s “Black on the Air” podcast. In a discussion of presidential politics, Wilmore argued that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, was the victim of a “coordinated attack” coming from Republicans. “Benghazi was … the expression of that attack. In fact, what’s his name, was it [former Rep. Jason] Chaffetz who actually kind of agreed that that’s what they were doing, was weakening her as a candidate.” (Wilmore may have been referring to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who said in 2015, ““Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”)…

“And I hold myself somewhat responsible for that,” continued Toobin, a steady presence on CNN since 2002. “I think there was a lot of false equivalence in the 2016 campaign. That every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the p–––y, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’ And I think it led to a sense of false equivalence that was misleading, and I regret my role in doing that.”

I would really, really like to believe Toobin’s confession was the first sign that the “savvy” journalists are panicking about the ham-handed half-wittery of Trump’s enablers and sidling towards the exits. But I don’t think he spends enough time on what Calvin Trillin calls “the Sabbathday Gasbag circuit” to qualify as a leading indicator, unfortunately.








Excellent Read: “Deep in Clinton country, voters stand by their candidate”

The Washington Post is straight-up trolling the NYTimes here, and it is hilarious:

The pilings of long-gone piers still jut out of the murky Hudson River in New York County, N.Y., reminders of a shipping industry that’s all-but-vanished from the region. There’s almost no manufacturing left in the towering buildings at the southern end of the county where it once thrived. Throughout the area, large warehouses once used for trade have been torn down or repurposed.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that this is the sort of place where Donald Trump would have been successful in the 2016 election. Unless, that is, you know that shipping and manufacturing left New York County a very long time ago. New York County is Manhattan; the warehouses are now art galleries and the skyscrapers where piecemeal manufacturing once took place are now offices and expensive apartments.

Far from backing Trump, Manhattan was one of the most heavily pro-Hillary Clinton counties in the country in 2016, supporting her by a 77-point margin. (In his home county, Trump won only 9.7 percent of the vote; for every 2.6 votes he got, a third-party candidate got one.) We don’t hear much about how Manhattanites have responded to the first year of Trump’s presidency, though, despite how much we’ve heard about how regions central to Trump’s candidacy are still home to people who stand by their choice. There are a lot of reasons for not focusing on the views of people in Manhattan, including that the city is not without a voice in the media and that how it voted was not particularly surprising (compared to the fervent support Trump enjoyed in the Rust Belt).

Nonetheless, we decided to see if voters in Clinton country stood by their candidate one year into Trump’s tenure. We know Trump’s supporters are sticking with him, but are Clinton’s sticking with her? Is Trump convincing any opponents to rally to his cause?
Read more








Hillary Clinton at CodeCon

Hillary Clinton just wrapped up an interview at CodeCon. It went sorta like this:

I didn’t see the whole thing, but here are a few notable excerpts:

Will she run again? “No.”

On her future: “I’m not going anywhere, I have a big stake in what happens with this country. I am very unbroken about what happened because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else. I don’t want it to happen to the values and institutions that we care about in America. I’m going to keep writing and keep supporting people who are on the front lines…”

Democratic strategy going forward: “You’re absolutely right [Democrats] used to leave so many races uncontested, and we’re not going to do that anymore.”

On Russian interference in the election: “The Russians in my opinion could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided by Americans.”

On who was directing Russian interference: “I’m leaning Trump.”

Here’s the full interview (trigger warning: The intro and outro music is “Roar”):

The interview will launch thousands of dude-bro hot takes to the effect that Clinton should sit down and shut up. Trump may have to invent more genuine frontier gibberish to express the proper levels of outrage. Me? I’m glad she’s laying it all out there. We need her voice.

PS: One amusing detail: In response to a question about how well she knew Trump, Clinton said she went to “his third wedding on a lark” and noted that she sat behind Shaquille O’Neal, so she “didn’t see anything.”