Until you speak to Drum's friend: Yesterday, Kevin Drum spoke to a friend. We can learn a lot—although, needless to say, we won't—from their conversation.
Drum's friend is less enlightened than we are. This is Drum's account of their conversation:
DRUM (9/22/19): I had an, um, spirited discussion about political matters with a friend this morning, and among other things he disagreed with my considered assessment that Ukrainegate, if true, represented “Nixonian levels of corruption.” In fact, he saw nothing wrong with it at all. It was just ordinary politics and he figured that presidents ask foreign leaders for favors like this all the time. Oh, and why did Joe Biden want to get rid of that prosecutor, anyway?News flash! "Ukrainegate" is going to look that way to a lot of people:
They'll wonder why an all-around "Fredo" like Hunter Biden was ever offered "a lucrative seat on the board of a company called Burisma, which is a major energy company in Ukraine."
They'll wonder why he was ever offered that seat, and they won't be crazy to do so. (We're quoting The New Yorker's Adam Entous, speaking on NPR last night.)
They'll assume that some slippery motives were involved somewhere in the mix. It's hard to assume that such an assumption is wrong.
They'll wonder why Hunter Biden accepted the lucrative post. They'll wonder why his father didn't tell him to quit. They'll wonder why it doesn't make sense to ask the Ukrainian government to develop information about this matter. They'll assume that our team isn't worth listening to, and on many occasions that's right.
Over Here, we hear various representations about this matter. We're inclined to believe the things we hear from those on our team, but The Others are inclined to believe what they hear on Fox, and they often hear things on Fox which aren't completely bogus.
As Drum continued, he continued to characterize the way this whole thing looks to his friend:
DRUM (continuing directly): What’s more, he said, this wasn’t nearly as bad as all the stuff Hillary did. Nor was it as bad as Obama promising “more flexibility” to the Russians on a hot mic. It was just more Democratic witch huntery, like Mueller all over again, who proved that Trump was innocent of obstruction of justice because you can only obstruct criminal investigations, not counterintelligence inquiries.Of course, Mueller didn't "prove that Trump was innocent of obstruction of justice." It's silly to claim that he did.
I wasn’t even really mad about all this. Just depressed. This is what a big chunk of ordinary conservativedom thinks, and nothing is going to change it.
On the other hand, Mueller also didn't claim that he had found ten instances of obstruction, as we liberals are now told on a regular basis by Nicolle Wallace, our newest and bestest friend.
All in all, the American nation has split into two warring political tribes, in large part because of the activity of our aggressively tribal news orgs. Members of the two tribes hear recitations of different facts. They also hear different types of erroneous statements, generally without understanding that what they're hearing is wrong.
Drum's friend isn't crazily wrong when he sees the latest excitement as "just more Democratic witch huntery, like Mueller all over again." We made clowns of ourselves with our true belief in the things we kept saying King Mueller would prove, and we're largely making clowns of ourselves by believing that this will be the magic route to impeachment now that King Mueller has failed.
It's very, very hard to believe that there will be a good ending to this. Over Here, we have to 1) win next year's election, and 2) look for ways to convince more people to listen to things we say.
As a team, we have no desire or inclination to engage in that second activity. In part for that reason, there may be an increasing chance that we won't accomplish that initial goal.
(When we see Trump say "Pocahontas," we go straight to "racist" and "slur," full stop. It doesn't enter our brainwashed heads to wonder why our candidate made that peculiar claim during all those years. They do wonder about that Over There. Concerning that possible damaging matter, We are more brainwashed than They are.)
Drum is right in one respect, a bit premature in another. In his post, he was describing "what a big chunk of ordinary conservativedom thinks." And given the haplessness of our own tribe, there's no sign that we'll ever find a way to address that state of affairs.
By the way:
Why was Hunter Biden offered that lucrative seat? Why didn't his father tell him to quit? Why won't our other candidate speak to the question of whether Michael Brown was actually "murdered?" We aren't asked to consider such questions. The Others are encouraged to do so.
These are a few of the many questions we won't see raised on The One True Liberal Channel. We liberals are being propagandized too—and like tribal groups since the dawn of time, we're strongly disinclined to understand this fact.
Impeachment is right around the corner again! So we're persistently told, and so we truly believe.
Final point: Every time this matter is discussed, voters are hearing an amorphous suggestion that Candidate Biden was engaged in something underhanded, corrupt.
Over here, we enjoy laughing at Giuliani's craziness. Our favorite pundits all take this approach.
Unfortunately, he put this back in play this past week, and it may end up serving Trump well. Who is getting zoomed by who? We can't say we're sure.
And also this: For Chait's assessment, click here.