FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2022
Our need for a federal indictment: Last evening, late in The 11th Hour, a rising pundit, Juanita Tolliver, said the quiet part right out loud.
Presumably based upon her fees as a political strategist, Tolliver seems to live in the palace at Versailles. (We base that assessment on the standard backdrop one sees when she appears by remote.)
Judged by prevailing norms, Tolliver may well be a highly capable political strategist. At any rate, her statement on last evening's program struck us as highly instructive.
Responding to a question from Stephanie Ruhle, she took the quiet part loud. This was the start of a longer statement:
TOLLIVER (6/16/22): Let's be real, Stephanie. The only people who can take care of Trump are the Republican voters who keep supporting him, and if they turn away, that's the key.
Sadly, I'm not sure if these Select Committee hearings will have any impact on Republican voters, especially Republican primary voters who are casting ballots across the country in the coming weeks and months. But I do think that what can get rid of Trump also is a DOJ prosecution.
Imagine if federal charged are finally brought against Trump. Imagine if he's finally held accountable, and has some sort of penalty for this type of behavior...
Imagine all the federal charges, the cable analyst said!
That was just the start of Tolliver's lengthy statement. At some point, we may force ourselves to transcribe the fuller exchange which followed.
For today, we'll tell you this:
It seems to us that Tolliver's statement captures the basic political problem facing our flailing blue tribe. That problem would be this:
We're very, very concerned about the possibility that Donald J. Trump could get elected again. And we seem to feel that he can only be stopped if we can get him locked up.
As Tolliver continued, this point became more and more clear. Because MSNBC, for obvious reasons, is currently slow-walking transcript production, we won't be posting the text of her full statement today.
Tolliver offered no sense that our blue tribe can fashion a political solution to this political problem. We're left with one way out—federal indictment—and as she continued, Tolliver suggested that the January 6 committee is actively seeking that end.
How silly can it get when the brightest minds of our floundering tribe attempt to puzzle this out? By the 7 o'clock hour this morning, Jonathan Lemire was actually asking, on Morning Joe, if there is any chance that Trump could be indicted on an "attempted murder" charge, based on the statements he made when Mike Pence was facing peril.
Might Trump get charged with attempted murder? Yesterday afternoon, this idea entered the stream through this tweet by Harry Litman.
"Not clear if you could convict him of attempted murder of the Vice President," Litman wrote, "but not clear you couldn't." As of this morning, Lemire was asking, apparently in total seriousness, if some such thing might be possible.
With a justified sense of foreboding, our tribe is afraid that Donald J. Trump could get elected again. But we don't know how to address that possibility on a political basis. We don't know how to convince The Others not to vote for Trump.
Yesterday's hearing brought our current perilous state into clearer focus. On a national basis, it seems to us that our perilous political situation is made up of four parts:
First: Almost surely, Donald J. Trump is a sociopath or something like that. (For better or worse, our mainstream press corps has agreed that this fairly obvious possibility must never be discussed.)
Second: We now possess a wide array of thoroughly ideological news / opinion orgs. Our news orgs are now almost completely segregated on the basis of viewpoint.
This includes cable news channels, talk radio shows and various sites on the web. As this segregation has hardened, the Internet has turned into the misinformation superhighway, a far cry from what had once been planned
Third: We the people are highly susceptible to tribalized misinformation. That seems to be true no matter how ludicrous that misinformation may be.
Among such people in the red tribe, it started with the claim that Obama was born in Kenya, then moved on to the unfounded claim that the 2020 election had been stolen.
Eventually, it moved on to embrace the idea that a vice president could simply decide, on his own, whether the certified results of an election had to be respected.
Who could believe such a ludicrous thing? Millions of people can!
Fourth: This brings us to the fourth part of our political problem. The fourth part of our problem is Us.
Our tribe has been a problem for years—but as is typically true within human tribes, we're largely unable to see this.
Those are the building blocks of the political peril we face. That said, it has occurred to us, in the past few days, that everything we ever needed to know about this state of affairs we learned as a college freshman!
We expect to explore that idea in our reports next week. For now, let the word go forth to the nations:
To some extent, we've met the enemy. And the enemy—in part—is Us!
We're loathed by tens of millions of voters. They can't wait to vote against us, but our favorite pundits and strategists seem to have no idea why that is.
The rest of us get very angry every time someone asks!
As Tolliver noted, these red tribe voters aren't watching the current congressional hearings. Our strategists seem to think that our only hope is to get Trump locked up.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe isn't super-impressive. We're part of our nation's political problem, and that problem is very real.
How does Einstein's explanation fit in? It's one of our most frequently asked questions!
Back in 1915, Albert Einstein wrote a book for general readers which sometimes didn't make sense. His explanation of "the relativity of simultaneity" made no apparent sense, but our tribe's most respected academics and journalists have been repeating that explanation for more than a hundred years!
No one seems to have noticed the fact that the explanation doesn't seem to make sense. When our discernment is so limited on the highest academic and publishing levels, why should anyone expect Tolliver or Lawrence or Rachel or Joe to see through the political glass less darkly?
For ourselves, we don't see an obvious way out of our current mess. On various sides of various aisles, misinformation is big business now—and we the people are highly susceptible to the pleasures it affords.
Just as it ever was, this leaves us splitting ourselves into warring tribes. And at present, our nation's creaking electoral systems favor the red state alignments.
Watching last evening's 11th Hour, we thought we heard the quiet part being stated out loud. We don't know how to speak to The Others, and they can't wait to prevail.
That said, by the end of our freshman year, we had learned all about this! The story starts with the horrible kid who was disrespecting the cafeteria lady, but then it moves on from there.
"Man [sic] is the rational animal," a famous logician is said to have said. We still seem to think that his statement's correct—but only about Us, of course!
Just as an aside: In summary, these are our nation's big problems:
Sociopathy; partisan "news orgs;" imperfect discernment; Us.
We'll guess that Trump is a sociopath, as Mary Trump basically said. Over the course of the past six years, two people tried to insert this topic into the public discourse.
Our cable channels turned Mary Trump into a standard political pundit. On the academic front, Dr. Bandy X. Lee got fired by Yale, and has never been heard from again!