Part 1—What others saw: Last Thursday's hearing involving Peter Strzok was frequently unattractive.
Frequently, the hearing showed our floundering species, Homo sapiens, at its unattractive less-than-worst. Cable stars played tape of such moments. If you're a resident of liberal cable, you've frequently seen this:
GOHMERT (7/12/18): I've talked to FBI just around the country. You've embarrassed them. You've embarrassed yourself. And I can't help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lied to her about Lisa Page—We liberals have frequently seen that latest moment from Gentleman Gohmert. We've also seen tape of the snarling Rep. Jordan, who specializes in ugly parodies of the time-honored Q-and-A process.
UNKNOWN: Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous!
GOHMERT: Credibility of a witness is always an issue, and you—
UNKNOWN: Shame on you!
UNKNOWN: Mr. Chairman, this is intolerable! Harassment of the witness!
UNKNOWN: What is wrong with you? You need your medication!
GOODLATTE: The gentleman controls the time.
GOHMERT: Thank you.
We liberals were shown lots of tape of people like Gohmert and Jordan. It helps us remember that we are the folk who are decent and good, unlike those in the other tribe.
Those in the other tribe saw other things during that hearing. Here's an excerpt which hasn't been played for we who watch MSNBC:
GOODLATTE: Let's discuss a text that hits home for me. On August 26, 2016, you texted Ms. Page, quote, "Just went to a Southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support." And "smell" is in capital letters, all capital letters. What does Trump support smell like, Mr. Strzok?That exchange wasn't replayed for us the liberal tribals. Neither was this, which followed:
STRZOK: Sir, that's a expression of speech. I clearly wasn't smelling one thing or the other. What I was commenting on is living in Northern Virginia, driving—
GOODLATTE: Well, what does that mean?
STRZOK: What I meant by that was living in Northern Virginia, having traveled 100, 150 miles south within the same state, I was struck by the extraordinary difference in the expression of political opinion and belief amongst the community there from where I live.
GOODLATTE: And you describe that as "smell," in capital letters?
STRZOK: Sir, that was a choice—the quick choice of words in a text.
GOODLATTE (continuing directly): Well, OK. So earlier, you had texted Ms. Page that another part of Virginia—Loudoun County, which is, I think, in Northern Virginia—is quote, "still ignorant hillbillies." end quote.When he said his neighbors were ignorant hillbillies, that was just an expression of the healthy competition between two neighboring counties!
Is that what you meant? That you consider Trump supporters to be ignorant hillbillies?
STRZOK: No, sir. Not at all.
GOODLATTE: What did you mean by that?
STRZOK: Well, sir, the first thing I'd tell you as a—as a proud Fairfax County resident, there's a healthy, sort of, competition between Fairfax and Loudoun. Second thing I would tell you is that in no way did I or do I believe any resident of Loudoun County, or Southern Virginia or anywhere else in the nation, is—are any of those things. That was a flippant text—
GOODLATTE: So do you understand the implications of this text when my constituents in Virginia read it?
STRZOK: I do, sir. And I would ask you to tell them that that was a—in some cases, certainly, unfortunate use of words that in no way do I believe that those things are what—
Can you smell Trump supporters when you go to a Walmart? Are the people of Loudoun County really just ignorant hillbillies?
Strzok was asked such questions at various times during his long day's journey into Mister Trump's Coming War. Queried by Rep. Grothman, he returned to the "friendly rivals" hook:
GROTHMAN: You refer to people who live in a county just beyond Washington, D.C.—a little bit more normal, still a Democratic county—you refer to them as this county, Loudoun County, as being gentrified but is "still largely ignorant hillbillies." I don't mean to embarrass you in that, because it doesn't surprise me that people in the swamp would refer to people once you get a couple of hours away from Washington as ignorant hillbillies.Grothman knew Strzok was using the argot of those inside The Swamp. For his part, Strzok suggested that Grothman probably speaks in that same playful way manner the people one state away from his Wisconsin abode.
STRZOK: ...You may not have been here this morning. I certainly, I do not view the people of Loudoun County as ignorant hillbillies. I live in an adjacent county and much like, in Wisconsin, you might let folks in Minnesota, with a sense of rivalry—
GROTHMAN: Well, no.
On liberal cable, we the people weren't encouraged to think about these exchanges. Instead, we were encouraged to watch the tape which showed The Others at their dumbest, most venal and worst.
In conservative circles, they the others were encouraged to view moments like these as examples of Agent Strzok's arrogance, of his being too smart by half. This is the way our discourse now works in the era of for-profit Internet/cable.
We liberals are inclined to see Jordan's snarling bully-boy persona as the deep truth about Them. The others are inclined to see Agent Strzok's healthy if unfortunate banter as displaying deep truth about Us.
How do The Others view such banter? At one point, Rep. Comer went ahead and said this:
COMER: With respect to the clear bias against Donald Trump in your text messages, and your clear prejudice against the Trump voters—and by the way, I'm one of those smelly hillbillies from Appalachia that you've referenced in your texts—you were in a supervisory role at the FBI. What would you do if you found texts from a subordinate of yours that exhibited the same type of bias that you had towards a group of people that were key witnesses or key whatever to the investigation? How would you handle that scenario?Comer represents Kentucky's first congressional district. He was born in Carthage, Tennessee. (Hey wait! That's Al Gore's home town!)
Comer pretended to take Strzok's playful banter in a personal way. Or who knows? Maybe the fellow's just so dense that he couldn't see the friendly nature of the statements Strzok had playfully texted.
Members of our warring tribes saw different things last Thursday. People paid by corporate cable encouraged them to do so.
"Both [parties] read the same Bible and pray to the same God." Abraham Lincoln said that!
Tomorrow: Another snapshot