Hesse fingers Williams Barr's clothes: We'll be surprised if Candidate Biden makes it all the way to the nomination.
Having said that, we'll also say this—Colbert King wrote a worthwhile column about the 1994 crime bill in last Saturday's Washington Post.
As best we can tell, King was opposed to the crime bill from the start. That said, many other people weren't. It wasn't just Uncle Joe:
KING (6/1/19): [L]et’s get back to Biden: Trump is deliberately misleading about the 1994 crime bill.We were surprised to see John Lewis mentioned. In the end, he voted against the bill, breaking with Bernie Sanders, who voted in favor.
Here’s what talk-show host Joe “The Black Eagle” Madison tweeted this week: “I bet most of the people listening to my show don’t know the history. The [Congressional Black Caucus] backed the crime bill.”
And columnist and author Earl Ofari Hutchinson is even more emphatic: Other black folks, as well as Biden, he says, should be the ones apologizing for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
Hutchinson correctly notes that were it not for the support of a coalition of black clergy and black community-level anti-violence advocates, as well as most members of the CBC, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the crime bill might have stalled in Congress. Remember: Drug and gang violence was plaguing black communities in the 1990s. While the bill contained some harsh provisions—expanded death penalties, toughened sentencing guidelines, money for more prisons—it also contained enough sweeteners—money for drug prevention, education and job training—to bring black legislators on board.
Biden championed the bill, to be sure, but he got cues from black leaders in Congress...
That said, a bit of Googling taught us that Lewis had voted, along the way, to let the measure proceed to a vote. Meanwhile, let's remember one other guy—and "the state of play in the 1990s:"
KING: But let’s not overlook the state of play in the 1990s, including right here in the District. A drug-fueled murder epidemic was plaguing the town. The No. 1 crime-fighter, who was hell on wheels when it came to pushing for stiffer penalties for the sale and use of marijuana, was then-U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. In a 1996 Post interview, Holder criticized the city for taking the view that minor crimes are not important, referring to the city’s attitudes toward marijuana use and other offenses such as panhandling. Holder said the District could learn from Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s “zero-tolerance” policy in New York, where crime rates dropped after police began aggressively enforcing laws against lesser offenses such as public drunkenness, giving officers an opportunity to check for drugs, guns and outstanding warrants. “If you take these so-called minor crimes seriously and treat them fully, it has a ripple effect,” Holder said. Lots of folks went to prison, thanks to Holder."A drug-fueled murder epidemic was plaguing the town?" Truth to tell, a lot of the killing was being done by people we'd be inclined to call "lost souls," though quite a few others called them "predators" in response to their heinous crimes.
The assistant professors like to gripe about the solutions people pursued. All in all, those assistant professors aren't the people who were getting murdered—and nothing will stop the assistant professors from dumbing our politics down.
For our money, King was perhaps a bit unfair in his own assessments. Did CBC members support the bill only for its education and job training measures?
Who's being naive now, Kay? We're not sure that's the way it was, or even how it should have been. Heinous crimes were being committed against innocent adults and kids.
King provided a look at a topic which will be used, once again, to stampede the young and the restless and to help Donald Trump get votes. Two days later, Monica Hesse devoted her latest gender column in the Post's Style section to William Barr's slick suit of clothes.
In an interview for CBS This Morning, Barr had spoken to legal reporter Jan Crawford from a perch in deepest Alaska. Hesse made little attempt to assess what Barr had said. She decided to decode his clothes.
This is the way she started her piece. Below, we'll let you compare it to the start of a truly heinous old column:
HESSE (6/3/19): William Barr showed up to his CBS This Morning interview looking like he was prepared to discuss not the investigation into possible Russian coordination with the 2016 Trump campaign but rather how to bait a fishing hook. The attorney general was working a distinctly “River Runs Through It” cosplay vibe: a tan half-zipped fleece vest over a checked button-down shirt, and in the background, a roaring fire.Hesse ignored what Barr said but examined the clothes he was sporting. Now, let's compare combs, as the old TV ad once said:
To be fair, the interview, which aired Friday, did take place in Alaska, where Barr was traveling. But there are business suits available in Alaska; Barr had worn one earlier on the trip, during a meeting about rural law enforcement issues. So his decision to skip a suit as he held forth on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation seemed like an attempt to communicate a message.
And that message was: I am a man of the people, and I am here to speak truths and help you earn a Webelos badge.
MCGRORY (10/31/99): Vice President Albert Gore came to his fateful encounter with newly menacing challenger Bill Bradley carrying heavy baggage. He was wearing an outfit that added to his problems when he stepped onstage at Dartmouth College: a brown suit, a gunmetal blue shirt, a red tie—and black boots.Gore and Bradley had debated health care. McGrory restricted herself to insults about the messages being conveyed by the disfavored candidate's clothes.
Was it part of his reinvention strategy? Perhaps it was meant to be a ground-leveling statement—"I am not a well-dressed man." It is hard to imagine that he thought to ingratiate himself with the nation's earliest primary voters by trying to look like someone seeking employment at a country music radio station. Maybe it was the first step in shedding his Prince Albert image.
We decided to run this pair of columns by a group of future anthropologists. "This is all we humans ever were," the despondent future experts opined, speaking from the miserable years which follow Mister Trump's War.
("You should have called your site The Hourly Howler," one wry future scholar said.)