Plus also, Waiting for Mueller: We're happy to say that Gloria Borger got it totally right. Here's how the carnage went down:
James Comey, long known as Comey the God, was basically at it again. Inevitably, Comey had written his latest high-minded opinion column.
Inevitably, the New York Times, for unknown reasons, had decided to print it.
What happened next happened on CNN. Shortly after the end of yesterday's Senate appearance by Williams Bar, Jake Tapper broke the news about the return of the god.
First, Tapper reported the appearance of the Comey op-ed. Then, he quoted an excerpt:
TAPPER (5/1/19): Gloria, let me—I just want to bring in something that James Comey wrote today in the midst of this investigation. In the midst of this hearing, rather.Thus spake Comeythustra. Our question would be this:
James Comey, the former FBI director, who had previously said that he thinks—that he thought the attorney general, Bill Barr, should be given the benefit of the doubt? That benefit of the doubt has been thrown out the window.
He wrote an op-ed in the New York Times—James Comey, "How Trump co-opts leaders like Bill Barr"—which includes saying that "proximity to an amoral leader"—that is President Trump, in Comey's view—"reveals something depressing. And I think that is at least part of what we have seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can't resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump. And that adds up to something they will never recover from.
"It takes character like Mr. Mattis', the former defense secretary, to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites."
Does anyone know why we still have to hear from this high prince of the pompous? His own ridiculous pompous behavior threw the last election to Candidate Trump. Does anyone know why he's still sounding off—inevitably, in the New York Times—about The Moral Decline of Everyone Else on Earth?
Apparently, Borger has a similar thought! When she gave voice to her excellent thought, Brother Tapper rolled his eyes and the rest of the panelists laughed:
BORGER (continuing directly): First of all, I don't know why James Comey feels the need to weigh in at every sort of large moment.Everyone knew what Tapper meant, and everybody laughed. That said, the answer to Borger's mordant question is obvious:
TAPPER: Yes, you do. You know why.
TAPPER: Yes, you do. You absolutely know why.
BORGER: Well, I kind of—I'm thinking about that—
BORGER: —but he does.
Why does Comey "feel the need to weigh in at every sort of large moment?" Because he's high god of the pompous! And now that he's criticizing Trump instead of getting Trump elected, the New York Times is silly enough to think we should hear what he says.
We think there's a larger lesson here. It concerns the type of establishment critter deified by the pundit class at any one point in time.
As of July 2016, Comey was one of those gods. As so often happens with such overpraised people, he went screeching off the rails that month, then again in October 2016. His ridiculous self-regard helped put Trump where he is.
Down through the years, we've noted a certain fact. Whenever Insider Washington confers godly status on some player, that exalted person will, quite routinely, soon show that he isn't a god.
(We say "he" because very few women have ever been afforded that status.)
So it went with Comey the God. Warning! The current great establishment god is, of course, Mueller himself.
From where we sit, Mueller's report was much less impressive than we'd constantly heard. In this morning's New York Times, Michael Schmidt was novelizing furiously on this great god's behalf, regarding his alleged anger at Barr.
Our suggestion would be this:
Yesterday, Barr made some intriguing claims about Mueller. In particular, he said Mueller was more upset with the news media than with Barr himself after Barr released his four-page letter concerning the principal conclusions of the Mueller report.
Cable novelists swung into action, insisting that couldn't be true. We're looking forward to seeing what Mueller himself might say about this.
Uh-oh! Cable pundits did career off the rails in the aftermath of Barr's letter. They were trying to figure why Mueller the God hadn't stated a judgment about the possibility that Trump had committed obstruction of justice.
As we noted at the time, many pundits seemed impossibly daft as they tried to puzzle this out. In the process, these silly tribunes even began to criticize Mueller the God!
Last night, on CNN, Michael Isikoff broke every rule in the book. He suggested that Mueller may have been upset, in the wake of Barr's four-page letter, because he was getting so much criticism from these hapless pundits.
"At least part of the subtext here is Mueller was upset at the criticism he was getting after Barr's letter for not making the call [regarding obstruction of justice]," Isikoff said. "And that's why he wrote the letter [to Barr on March 27]."
Is there any chance that something like that could be true? This morning, the Times was busy constructing a novel. We'd prefer to wait to hear what Mueller actually says.
That said, "cable news" is on the air around the clock. Mueller's account will be heard some day, but novel production is instant.