July 20, 2024
Washington finds a bugaboo.
The Democrats have a dilemma. Their base would like to impeach Trump, but the public at large is against it, and Democratic voters themselves don’t put impeachment high on the priority list.
The Democrats have a dilemma. Their base would like to impeach Trump, but the public at large is against it, and Democratic voters themselves don’t put impeachment high on the priority list.

I  can’t think of a better illustration of our partisan divide than the reactions to Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Democrats are furious at Barr’s defense of his rollout of the Mueller report and his assertions of executive power. Some Democrats want Barr to resign, others want him to be impeached, and Nancy Pelosi says he’s guilty of lying to Congress. Republicans have found a hero.

Barr is the new Dick Cheney: a stocky, bespectacled, confrontational, blunt, intelligent, unapologetically conservative, experienced, high-powered official who believes in and fights for the office of the president. Just as Democrats loathed Cheney as a bugaboo manipulating President George W. Bush to further the interests of Halliburton, they attack Barr as a dishonest factotum of President Trump’s. The qualities that drove Democrats batty over Cheney — his inscrutability, his cleverness, his asperity, and above all his success — make them incensed about Barr. These happen to be qualities Republicans find appealing.

What’s behind conservative support for Cheney and Barr is their lack of embarrassment. Most Washingtonians, no matter their party, find it important to be held in esteem by the city’s tastemakers, who are overwhelmingly liberal. Not these two. The classic Cheney moment was his 2004 exchange with Pat Leahy on the Senate floor. Cheney complained that Leahy had called him a war profiteer. Leahy responded that Cheney had said he was a bad Catholic. So Cheney ended the conversation by telling Leahy to perform a physically impossible four-letter act. “You’d be surprised at how many people liked that,” Cheney recollected in a 2010 interview. “It’s sort of the best thing I ever did.” He’s selling himself short.

Republican fans of Barr circulated clips of his Senate appearance Wednesday even as media coverage of his testimony was uniformly negative. No Democrats are held in less esteem by conservatives than are the ones on the Judiciary Committee. They will never live down their treatment of Brett Kavanaugh. Trump supporters nodded in agreement when Barr said the controversy over his March 24 description of the Mueller report is “mind-bendingly bizarre.” They chuckled when he said Mueller’s March 27 letter to him was “a bit snitty and I think it was probably written by one of his staff members.” They guffawed when Barr described the verb “spying” as “a good English word.” They cheered when Richard Blumenthal asked for notes Barr had taken of his phone conversation with Mueller and Barr told him no. “Why should you have them?”

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See Also:

(1) What Dems left in their wake after Hill hysteria — defeat, desperation, fear

(2) New York Times Discovers Yet Another Spy Deployed Against the Trump Campaign in 2016

(3) urge: Trump Bounces to Best Economic Approval Yet in…CNN Poll [UPDATE: Impeachment Support Craters]

(4) Trump: Putin ‘Not Looking at All to Get Involved in Venezuela’

(5) The Farcical Bill Barr Scandal

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