“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.”



Peak Dude Bro

As predicted yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley commencement speech riled up the usual suspects because Hillary Clinton. But I found the reaction from unpaid New Republic intern (I hope) Graham Vyse particularly irritating.

Not because it was worse than the drivel poured forth at Fox News, etc., but because it exemplifies a particular strain of post-election posturing about Clinton that makes me want to gather the sisterhood and embark on a cross-country nut-punching spree. The first fucking line is infuriating:

Hillary Clinton is auditioning for a role in the Trump resistance.

Motherfucker, do you even know WHY there is a Trump resistance? Do you understand how it launched? It’s because on November 8, 2016, the retrograde racist, sexist, xenophobic, authoritarian element that has sandbagged this country from its founding banded together with Eurotrash white nationalists to push a highly qualified woman aside and deliver the presidency to an ambulatory genital wart.

This outrage was unprecedented in its scale. But it reflected literally hundreds of millions of incidents every competent woman in this country has experienced at multiple points in her life. It was the ultimate confirmation of what women have felt in their bones from toddlerhood: We’ll never be good enough. We are second-class citizens.

Vyse goes on, citing as evidence of Clinton’s overweening ambition tweets from fellow dudes:

Clinton is adopting the language of the Trump resistance, and indeed there are indications that she wants to be a key figure in that movement.

Motherfucker, Clinton IS a “key figure in that movement,” whether she wants to be or not. Trump’s elevation to the presidency was and is a tragedy for the entire planet. Everyone who comprehends that fact has a role to play in mitigating the damage, pointing out the corruption and attempting to roll back this grave injustice.

But you can’t erase the most high profile victim of this crime and delegate Michael Moore or Bernie Sanders to lead the movement that sprang up in response to that outrage. We won’t let you.

And by “we,” I mean the millions of women who knitted caps until there was no more pink yarn. The women who drove all night to descend on Washington DC on January 21 and dwarf Trump’s inaugural crowd. Those who turned up to march in cities all around the world to form the largest single-day protest in the history of the planet. And the millions of women who are still calling, faxing and emailing their elected representatives to this day.

No, it wasn’t all about Hillary Clinton. It never was! But when you try to sideline her, many of us perceive that as a dismissal akin to the one we heard loud and clear on November 8. That pisses us off. And you wouldn’t like us when we’re pissed off.

Vyse concludes:

Clinton shouldn’t be a central resistance figure. What losing presidential candidate, after all, has ever returned to lead the opposition? Not John Kerry, not Al Gore, not Michael Dukakis. The Democratic Party is right to be elevating its younger rising stars. But clearly she still feels the pull of politics, and who’s going to stop her from giving speeches and interviews whenever she pleases? The Bernie Sanders wing of the party might want to wish her away, but only she has the power to decide that.

Kerry, Gore and Dukakis? Just shut the fuck up right there, Mr. Vyse. Kerry, Gore and Dukakis weren’t trying to become the first woman to ascend to the presidency in the 241-year history of our republic. They didn’t win more popular votes than anyone besides Barack Obama only to be robbed by corrupt traitors colluding with a hostile foreign power to install an embarrassing and incompetent demagogue.

And in case you didn’t notice while cherry-picking Clinton’s speech to find triggering evidence of female ambition, the central theme of it was to motivate the enthusiastic young women graduating that day to take leadership and create change. Hell, she even said “run for office.” It’s right there in her speech. We heard her. Did you?

As for the “Bernie Sanders wing of the party,” I can only speak for myself when I say I stand with all Democrats who are united in resisting Trump and the Republicans’ disastrous agenda. I’m glad Clinton called it what it is — a con. I’m glad a $15 minimum wage is now official Democratic Party policy. But no faction within our party gets to tell the other to sit down and shut up. Not now. Not ever.

That said, I would like to offer a piping hot mug of shut the fuck up to Mr. Vyse and the countless other young white fellas in prominent perches throughout our liberal media. But after that, the fucking kitchen is closed. Make your own goddamned sammitch.



“Believe in Yourselves”

Hillary Clinton gave the commencement address at Wellesley today, and she used the occasion to righteously roast Trump’s ass. At one point, referring to her own graduation from that institution, she pointedly mentioned that the class of 1969 was “furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice. After firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice.”

The crowd went wild. Here’s the full speech:

Here’s an excerpt in which Clinton calls out the Republican con in no uncertain terms:

You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason. Just log on to social media for ten seconds. It will hit you right in the face. People denying science, concocting elaborate, hurtful conspiracies theories about child abuse rings operating out of pizza parlors. Drumming up rampant fear about undocumented immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor. Turning neighbor against neighbor and sowing division at a time when we desperately need unity. Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes. Like the size of crowds.

And then defending themselves by talking about “alternative facts.” But this is serious business. Look at the budget that was just proposed in Washington. It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us, the youngest, the oldest, the poorest, and hardworking people who need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle-class life. It grossly underfunds public education, mental health, and efforts even to combat the opioid epidemic. And in reversing our commitment to fight climate change, it puts the future of our nation and our world at risk.

And to top it off, it is shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it. Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll never solve them. It matters because it undermines confidence in government as a whole which in turn breeds more cynicism and anger. But it also matters because our country, like this college, was founded on the principles of the enlightenment. In particular, the belief that people, you and I, possess the capacity for reason and critical thinking. And that free and open debate is the life blood of a democracy.

Bet she never thought she’d be urging a Wellesley class to use their elite educations to resist the New Dark Ages in 2017! The full transcript is here.

In other Hillary Clinton news, Rebecca Traister’s fascinating piece on Clinton was published in NY Mag today. Here’s a stark warning about the lessons of 2016:

“Whoever comes next, this is not going to end. Republicans learned that if you suppress votes you win … So take me out of the equation as a candidate. You know, I’m not running for anything. Put me into the equation as somebody who has lived the lessons that people who care about this country should probably pay attention to.”

Yep. Also, this will launch a thousand angry tweetstorms from all points on the compass:

There are plenty of people who yearned for Clinton to get mad; during the campaign, an imagined litany of Clinton’s fury entitled “Let Me Remind You Fuckers Who I Am” went viral. “Oh, I am [pissed],” she says. But as a woman in public life, “you can’t be angry for yourself. You just can’t. You can be indignant, you can be annoyed, you can be frustrated, but you can’t be angry … I don’t think anger’s a strategy.”

You mean it’s not a strategy for you, I clarify. “For me, yeah.” She pauses. “But I don’t think it’s a good strategy for most people.”

But this was an election that was, in many ways, about anger. And Trump and Sanders capitalized on that.

“Yes.” Clinton nods. “And I beat both of them.”

Anyhoo, fascinating stuff.