WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2022
A chance to rethink how we got here: Yesterday afternoon, it happened again.
In truth, it seems to happen with great regularity now. Yesterday, "The appearance of a new arrival on the front...became the topic of general conversation" and rerouted the discourse again.
(See Chekhov, Lady with Lapdog.)
Yesterday, the new arrival on the front was former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a remarkably composed young woman who is either 25 or 26, depending on whether you read the Washington Post or the New York Times.
According to the Post, Hutchinson was only 23 in early December 2020 when the chain of events in question started. Here's the way Kranish et al. begin this morning's profile:
KRANISH ET AL (6/29/22): Cassidy Hutchinson was about to turn 24, already a key official at the White House after a meteoric ascent from obscurity, when she heard a startling noise. It was early December 2020, and President Donald Trump was livid because his attorney general said the election had not been stolen.
Upon investigating the noise, Hutchinson was told by a White House valet that Trump had thrown a porcelain plate against the dining room wall, which was now dripping ketchup. Hutchinson grabbed a towel to wipe up the mess as the valet told her to steer clear of the president because “he’s really, really ticked off about this right now.”
Kranish started with the ketchup—and with the claim that Hutchinson was 23 at the time. Later, the Post's profile explicitly says that she's "now 25."
In the New York Times' corresponding profile, Maggie Haberman says that Hutchinson is "now 26." No, it doesn't matter—but Hutchinson is such a new arrival that our nation's major newspapers can't even agree on her age.
That said, Hutchinson was remarkably calm and composed as she offered yesterday's testimony—some of which was based on her first-hand experience, some of which was not.
A startling array of major journalists have commingled the two types of testimony, failing to make the distinction explicit. That isn't Hutchinson's doing or fault. It's simply the way our journalists may tend to behave as they start composing our novels.
At this point, we'll offer a personal reaction to Hutchinson's testimony. We were greatly impressed, as we sometimes are, to see the way some people who are so young will sometimes emerge with so much capability and with so much composure.
As we watched, we thought of Kaitlin Collins, CNN's chief White House reporter.
Collins had just turned 25 when she was hired by CNN. She had a very slender (and unimpressive) journalistic resume.
We assumed that this might be a fairly standard type of TV hire, with telegenicity being one of the major criteria in the hiring decision.
We were surprised and impressed by what followed. For our money, Collins emerged during 2020 as one of the only White House correspondents prepared to act like an actual journalist in the face of the manifest lunacy of Donald J. Trump's daily hour-plus monologues about the Covid pandemic.
At that time, we were grateful for the chance to see someone push back as she did. We're still impressed by Collins' self-confidence every time we see her on CNN.
We're impressed by her confidence and grateful for her presence. We thought of Collins as we watched the preternaturally composed Hutchinson testifying before the world at probably age 25.
By this morning, Hutchinson' testimony has become the stuff of emerging press corps novels on such programs as Morning Joe. That isn't Hutchinson's doing or fault. It's the doing of more established people—the kinds of people who novelize news in much the way other folks breathe.
We know of no reason to doubt a single word Hutchinson said. Indeed, former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney quickly posted a tweet vouching for her honesty.
That doesn't mean that her every recollection is perfectly accurate. More significant, perhaps, is this:
The mental disorder of Donald J. Trump has long been quite apparent. On Morning Joe, our tribe's novelists complain about the various things people like Meadows refuse to say—but they themselves have persistently refused to say that throughout the past seven years.
(We'll return to this seminal topic in this afternoon's post.)
Did Donald J. Trump want to go to the House on January 6 and participate in shooting and killing House members from the gallery, as Michael Beschloss explicitly said on today's Morning Joe?
We don't have the slightest idea. Needless to say, Hutchinson never said anything like that.
We don't know if Donald J. Trump had some such picture in his head when he allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of his limousine and tried to go to the Capitol. That said, it isn't impossible that he had some such crazy thought in mind, though Beschloss was simply forging a novel when he excitingly treated this as some sort of established fact.
As Beschloss shouted out his novel, Joe and Mika just sat around; Willie also said nothing. Meanwhile, Hutchinson was being hailed as a "hero" on the show. Assuming her basic testimony holds up, we don't necessarily disagree with that.
Hutchinson is, and was, extremely impressive. But people! Right through December 2020, she was also a Trump supporter!
Hutchinson was, and possibly still is, a conservative Republican. She had interned for Scalise and Cruz before signing on at the Trump White House, then getting hired by Meadows.
According to this 2018 profile, she'd started at the Trump White House hoping to make "my small contribution to the quest to maintain American prosperity and excellence." Imaginably, this fact could help us think about one of the ways our blue tribe got saddled with last Friday's horrendous political defeat.
Hutchinson is quite impressive—and she supported Trump. The same can be said of The Justice Department 3—Rosen, Donoghue and Engel, three plainly competent, intelligent men who talked Trump out of a very bad idea in the last few days before January 6.
Rosen, Donoghue and Engel testified before the January 6 committee on June 23. All three seemed highly competent and quite straightforward—and until his post-election meltdown, all three had supported Trump.
Last Friday morning, a very different "new arrival" hijacked the national discourse. We refer to the Supreme Court decision in which, according to the New York Times, a five-member majority voted 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade.
That was an enormous political defeat for our own blue tribe. Two days later, the Times published a very unusual profile of the conservative political groups which had worked, for many years, to hand us that defeat.
How had we managed to get to that place? Also, how could our self-impressed blue tribe possibly improve our game?
We'll suggest that a hint might be found in Cassidy Hutchinson's brilliant performance at yesterday afternoon's hearing. Also, in that unusual profile by the Times, to which we'll turn tomorrow.
At this site, we're grateful for Kaitlan Collins' work every time she appears. For the record, her slender journalistic resume before arriving at CNN was created at The Daily Caller, the site Tucker Carlson created.
We're routinely impressed by Collins. We're eternally grateful for what we saw her do during those pandemic gong-shows, as other scribes just sat around.
Routinely, we're impressed by Collins. Is there possibly some small thing our blue tribe can learn from that?
Tomorrow: A very unusual profile
Maybe add Liz Cheney to this list of people who appear to have crossed over from the dark side. The issue might be the field of vision. Or the logic of judgment. Worth pondering. What might Godel or Wittgenstein have to offer?ReplyDelete
"That was an enormous political defeat for our own blue tribe."
Well, only if your tribe's political mission is a gross misinterpretation of the US constitution.
...but hey, who are we kidding: of course it is. Right, dear Bob?
"...Trump had thrown a porcelain plate against the dining room wall, which was now dripping ketchup."
Whoa. If this ain't treason, we don't know what is. How come The Commander is still not tried, convicted, and executed?
"but Hutchinson is such a new arrival that our nation's major newspapers can't even agree on her age. "ReplyDelete
It depends on when her birthday is -- perhaps it happened recently. Someone could look it up with some effort, but as Somerby notes, it doesn't matter.
As could you have. It turns out it takes but a few seconds to find out her exact birthday is unknown, at least on the internet.Delete
Where's the daily multiple posts attacking Somerby's every word? This all you got today? :)
"as we watched the preternaturally composed Hutchinson testifying before the world at probably age 25."Delete
I'm not writing this blog -- Somerby is. If he wishes to pretend that the media are unable to get a birthdate correct, he needs to look it up -- not me.
But notice how, as his essay goes on, Hutchinson becomes "preternaturally" composed! And he has no idea when her birthday is, but he throws in the word "probably" to side with age 25 instead of 26, on what basis, if her birthday is unknown?
These hearings should demonstrate to all that it is a good idea to be carefuly who you protect and defend. Some people don't deserve loyalty.
I’ll tell who is crazy. Anyone who thinks Trump thought the election results would be overturned without violence.ReplyDelete
Trump doesn't "think." He just cons and bullshits his way through every situation.Delete
"That said, Hutchinson was remarkably calm and composed as she offered yesterday's testimony—some of which was based on her first-hand experience, some of which was not."ReplyDelete
We can agree that she was reserved, but I thought she looked tense and nervous, not calm and composed. And what does Somerby gain by describing her affect as he does, when he cannot know what she was feeling? He gets to praise Kaitlyn Collins for her Trump coverage during the election.
All of her testimony was about what she witnessed or reporting what she heard someone say to her. Somerby's idea that she is repeating hearsay and thus her statements are suspect is wrong because (1) this is not a trial, she is not giving evidence in support of or to refute any charges, there are many exceptions to hearsay in actual court cases, about which I think Somerby knows very little. But hearsay is evidence received from another person. ("I saw A stab his wife" is not hearsay, but "A told me he stabbed his wife" is hearsay.)
Hutchinson's evidence was largely of the type where she says she heard Trump say "He deserves it." while delivering a message to Mark Meadows, or Mark Meadows was on the phone for 20 minutes at the rally, as I tried to deliver a message to him and he shut the car door. When she went into the dining room, she said she saw ketchup on the wall and a broken plate, then the intern told her that Trump was upset about Barr telling him the election wasn't stolen. That is what the intern told her. She didn't say Trump threw the plate against the wall. These distinctions make her statements not hearsay, but testimony to her own direct experiences.
But notice how Somerby's first substantive comment about the testimony is to imply that it is unreliable (using the Republican talking point that witnesses are reporting hearsay).
"Did Donald J. Trump want to go to the House on January 6 and participate in shooting and killing House members from the gallery, as Michael Beschloss explicitly said on today's Morning Joe?ReplyDelete
We don't have the slightest idea. Needless to say, Hutchinson never said anything like that."
If Somerby has no idea whether Trump wanted to go to the Capitol building on 1/6, he hasn't been watching the hearings. Several people have already testified that Trump wanted his secret service to arrange for him to go to the Capitol building along with the marchers.
Hutchinson testified that Trump's staff tried to figure out a way for him to do that. The secret service insisted that it was not possible. Mark Meadows told Trump that they were still working on it, so Trump told the crowd that he would be there with them, then he became upset when he was told after his speech that he could not go to the Capitol. That is entirely consistent with previous testimony that Trump wished to be there. As is Trump's own statement in his speech that he would join the march.
So, why does Somerby say he doesn't know what is true about this? What standard of proof does Somerby need, beyond the statements of several people in sworn testimony and Trump's own statement.
Yet Somerby then says "The mental disorder of Donald J. Trump has long been quite apparent," without any of the cautiousness attributed to statements about Trump's intentions to join the marchers on 1/6 (which Somerby calls "craziness." Somerby's unwillingness to accept sworn testimony from multiple Trump staff members is akin to Trump's unwillingness to accept multiple people telling him that he lost the election. Somerby believes what he wants, evidence be damned. That is very similar to the interviews with Trump supporters, like those online by Jordan Klepper:
Except Somerby keeps insisting that he is some kind of liberal blue tribe member. Uh, huh.
Yeah, we don't know if Trump wanted to go to the Capitol, except for what Trump himself repeatedly stated publicly.Delete
Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. Secret Service blocked him from making good on his pledge to join supporters marching on Jan. 6, 2021, from the White House to the Capitol ahead of that day’s deadly riot.
The former president told The Washington Post that the “Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute.”
Except that, as any child could see by reading the quote, Somerby didn't deny Trump wanted to go the House on J6.Delete
He denied Trump wanted to go to the House on J6 to shoot AND kill House members from the gallery.
Logically, the statement is false unless both its conditions are met.
Cass is the latest scorned bipolar who wanted to be the next Mrs. Trump.ReplyDelete
I might believe you if you said that she wanted to be the next Hope Hicks. Even people with bipolar disorder can be witnesses and give accurate testimony in a hearing. Note the use of another psychiatric term to disparage someone. Somerby has set a very poor example for his fanboys.Delete
By the way, Melania is now reported by Stephanie Grisham as having refused to send out a tweet or text calling for peace at the insurrection. Is Grisham another scorned bipolar? Why did the Trumps hire so many bipolar people? Coincidence...I think not!
Stephanie Grisham, a longtime Trump loyalist who served as the former president’s press secretary and as Mrs Trump’s chief of staff, resigned within hours of the text exchange on 6 January 2021, when a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the seat of Congress to reverse his election defeat.Delete
“Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?” Ms Grisham allegedly asked the First Lady.
“No,” came the reply.
"Did Donald J. Trump want to go to the House on January 6 and participate in shooting and killing House members from the gallery, as Michael Beschloss explicitly said on today's Morning Joe? "ReplyDelete
Did Beschloss say Trump wanted to shoot and kill House members? I don't know because I don't watch Morning Joe. Did Trump want violence at the Capitol building? Well, Hutchinson testified that he demanded that the secret service stop screening attendees for weapons and that they let those with weapons into the cordoned off area to hear his speech. She says he thought the crowd there was too small. They objected that those excluded had guns and other weapons, and Trump responded "They aren't there to hurt me."
This does imply that Trump understood that they had brought weapons to hurt others, not him. Because why would they bring weapons to a peaceful rally? No one has said that Trump wanted to go to the rally to shoot anyone himself, but he clearly knew there were people at his rally with guns and other weapons, and then he urged them to march to the Capitol. Hutchinson also testified that Mark Meadows said that 1/6 would be very bad, and she said others were concerned about violence. So the president and his staff knew there would be violence. Presumably Trump wanted to watch the violence, as he did avidly on his TV at the White House.
Somerby is not above distorting what someone has said, especially when he dislike them, as he does Morning Joe. I wouldn't assume Beschloss said anything like what Somerby attributes to him, without having seen the show myself. But he could have said something about Trump wanting to witness what actually took place in the 1/6 attempted coup.
"according to the New York Times, a five-member majority voted 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade."ReplyDelete
This is an accurate statement. Roberts did not vote with the majority to "overturn Roe v Wade". He offered a separate, more limited opinion on the case at hand.
I think Bob was making a sarcastic reference to the NYT's inaccuracy.Delete
"That was an enormous political defeat for our own blue tribe. "ReplyDelete
Somerby says this about Roe v Wade, but that was not a defeat -- it was a foregone conclusion once Trump appointed a Catholic conservative majority to the court. The defeat was Trump's election over Hillary Clinton.
As we have pointed out here numerous times, Somerby did nothing to support Clinton. He predicted Trump would win and he knocked Democrats at every opportunity, as he did later with Biden and all of the Democratic contenders for the nomination. We have analyzed the contributors to Hillary's defeat, including the Bernie bros who stayed home in WI, MI, PA, the progressives who voted for Jill Stein, and the black voters whose votes were suppressed by voting procedures or by the Russian Facebook campaign targeted at convincing them that Clinton was not theit friend.
But Somerby himself did his best to make sure Clinton didn't win the White House, even though she won the popular vote (Somerby calls these "wasted votes").
"Two days later, the Times published a very unusual profile of the conservative political groups which had worked, for many years, to hand us that defeat."ReplyDelete
This is an odd statement. Those conservative groups certainly supported Trump and other Republican conservative presidents and candidates, but how does Somerby say that Democrats have not supported their own candidates?
The main efforts of anti-abortion groups has been to harrass women using abortion services (and others just visiting for other health services) and to enact state laws limiting abortion (passed by Republican legislatures in red states). The Democrats have done the same in blue states, which is why there are still many states where women can seek abortion services if they are so unfortunate as to live in a red state. These blue states have such laws because choice has always been part of the Democratic platform and because Democrats have worked as hard as conservative anti-abortion groups to ensure the continuance of choice in our country.
Can there be any doubt where Somerby's sympathies lie when he lauds red-state anti-abortion groups while denigrating the left? Has Somerby never heard of NARAL or Planned Parenthood and does he not understand who funds those groups and who has been showing up at the rallies? Does he not know who protects women from the red mobs who hurl threats and cruel chants at women trying to exercise their rights in red states?
Can Somerby be any more of an asshole? It is hard to see how.
Kaitlyn Collins is conservative. She got her journalism degree from the University of Alabama and went to work for the Daily Caller before working for CNN. No wonder Somerby likes her.ReplyDelete
"Last Friday morning, a very different "new arrival" hijacked the national discourse."ReplyDelete
Somerby says "new arrival" as a reference to his Lady With the Lapdog conceit. But the Roe v Wade wasn't anything new on the scene, having been leaked a month ago. Somerby keeps suggesting that the 1/6 Commission is competing with Roe v Wade news, when it isn't. This business about Trump has been around since 1/6/2021. No one is going to forget about Trump's crimes just because the Supreme Court decides to take away women's right, something that is also not news, given the leak.
So, why does Somerby use this stupid reference to Chekov's short story, when it doesn't apply? When you read the story, it is about a rake who gets his comeuppance when he falls in love with a woman he cannot have. Maybe Somerby likes the misogyny inherent in the story? Or maybe he just wants us to think he sits around reading Chekov a lot -- he never mentions more than this one story, which was no doubt an assignment in his Freshman English class at Harvard. But the reference makes no sense here at all. Because not only are there no ladies and no lapdogs and no rakes, but there is also nothing new. This is even the 6th hearing.
If there is personal meaning involved, then Somerby needs to see a shrink. If this is just filler, then we should be wondering who is paying Somerby by the word. Or if this is Somerby's private joke, showing animosity to anyone who would actually read Chekov, he still needs to see a shrink. Whatever is true about Somerby, his writing today makes no sense, at least concerning lapdogs.
These hearings are certainly making Trump look bad. That's their purpose. But, I weep for what the hearings could have been.ReplyDelete
If the J6 Committee had allowed both sides to choose their own members, and if the minority were allowed to call its chosen witnesses, the nation could have united in discovering and accepting all the facts. Instead, the Democrats created a partisan witch hunt that's helping to tear the country apart. The Democrats put political gain above what's good for the country.
As a result of these hearings, I'm less likely to vote for Trump, but I am much less likely to vote for any Democrat for Congress.
P.S. If these hearings result in Trump not being a Presidential candidate in 2024, one might think this sort of ugliness would be behind us. I don't think so. The demonizing skills of the Dems and their media allies are too well developed. Any other Republican candidate will also be made to look like an evil madman.
"These hearings are certainly making Trump look bad. That's their purpose."Delete
No, their purpose is to determine the facts of what happened and to communicate that information to the American people.
The J6 committee did allow both sides to choose its own members. The members proposed by the Republicans included several people who implicated in the events to be investigated, making them inappropriate as members due to conflict of interest. When the chair asked for replacements for them, the Minority Leader threw a fit and withdrew all of the names. The chairman then appointed two Republicans to the committee anyway.Delete
When you are investigating an event, the witnesses are testifying to matters of face, not opinion. There is no need for rebuttal witnesses when someone says they heard or saw something, or shows video of what happened. Some Republicans who are potential witnesses have refused to testify. Republicans could work on them, to get them to share their testimony, especially if it differs from what has already been provided to the commission. Calling this partisan, or a witch hunt, suggests a severe misunderstanding of what is happening and a lack of good faith about getting to the truth. It does seem unfair to take your pique over Republican malfeasance out on Democrats.
If Beschloss said it explicitly, Bob would quote him, and he doesn’t. He is playing us for rubes. The rest of this tacky bullshit is sad. So She was one of those people who say things differently than “us?” So suddenly I’m not supposed to believe her. Bob’s goalposts are on a revolving stage.ReplyDelete
Should we find her account more credible
than people who won’t come forward and
testify under oath? The fair answer would be yes. Should we hold her composure against her as Bob would have us do?
I’ve known and argued with conservatives
my whole life. Many of them actually embody
the values they profess to believe, at odds as that often seems with the polices and leaders they support. That’s all that likely happened here. Bob probably knows it. Hutchinson is a decent person, ambitious perhaps, in a den of fake decent people. Trump bellows in a tweet today, why would She help clean up the mess he made throwing his food around? She’s the anti-Kellyanne.