Remembering Vincent The Chin: Last night, David Gergen made a bit of a point on CNN.
Don Lemon threw to him out of a break. Gergen noted a downside to the focus on the Donald J. Trump [HEART] Putin-and-Russia stuff:
LEMON (3/9/17) FBI Director James Comey meeting with lawmakers today as the House and Senate intelligence committees ramp up their investigations of Russia's meddling in the election."There's something very fishy underneath all of this" Donald-and-Vladimir stuff, Gergen said. "We all know that."
Back with me, David Gergen, Kirsten Powers, Alex Burns, and Jack Kingston. We're in the middle of a conversation before the break. David, you wanted to weigh in on what?
GERGEN: Of course we need to be covering this story if the FBI has got major investigations underway—and there's something very fishy underneath all of this, we all know that. At the same time, Jack Kingston has a point, but I disagree with, on where he came out with it.
And that is, while we're doing this so much, the administration is enjoying the fact that we're distracted from covering this health care bill. And they're jamming it through in the middle of the night. Nobody knows what's in it. Nobody knows how much it's going to cost. And nobody really understands what it's going to do to Americans who so desperately need health insurance. And that's a major, major story. It's hard to cover in the midst of all this other stuff, but we have to do both.
Given Gergen's insider status, we were glad to see him say that. That said, we agree with his assessment of that possible downside.
We've especially thought about this with respect to Trump's tweets last weekend. Discussion of those wiretap tweets has eaten enormous time and space. That time and space is being taken away from discussion of the health care bill and the new executive order.
As we've seen the health care bill moving along under cover of wiretap tweets, we've begun to think about the late Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, who we didn't personally know.
According to the leading authority, Gigante was "a New York mobster in the American Mafia who was boss of the Genovese crime family from 1981 to 2005." That same authority describes the gambit for which he may have been best known:
With the arrest and conviction of [John] Gotti and various Gambino family members in 1992, Gigante was officially recognized as the most powerful crime boss in the United States. For the better part of 30 years, Gigante feigned insanity in an effort to throw law enforcement off his trail. Dubbed "The Oddfather" and "The Enigma in the Bathrobe" by the press, Gigante often wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in his bathrobe and slippers, mumbling incoherently to himself, in what Gigante later admitted was an elaborate act to avoid prosecution.We don't know to what extent that foolishness actually happened. But by the middle of this week, the apparent craziness of Trump's recent tweeting had us thinking about Gigante's feigned incoherent mumbling, in his bathrobe, out in the streets.
Is it even dimly possible that Trump is playing a form of chess? That he chose to take the crazy route last weekend, not that he really went crazy?
In some ways, it doesn't much matter. The mainstream and liberal worlds have almost completely lost the ability to stage a national discussion. The discourse has splintered apart into tribal strains. We're very much living in Babel.
That said, Trump's tweets last Saturday morning stole a lot of focus. Was he really raging on the moors? Could his incoherent tweeting really have been a game?
Where's the justice: Decades earlier, Bob Dylan mumbled incoherently in Greenwich Village too. They gave him a Nobel Prize!