Home / General / Time For Some <del>Game Theory</del> Smarmy Apologism For Donald Trump [3/150]

Time For Some Game Theory Smarmy Apologism For Donald Trump [3/150]

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The New York Times op-ed page came up with a particularly inane concept: have readers try to identify nice things to say about the unfathomably corrupt man-child currently embarked on a crusade to strip insurance from 24 million people. Astonishingly, the execution is even worse than the very-definition-of-smarmy concept:

Then there is James Comey, the F.B.I. director whom Mr. Trump fired last week, ostensibly for bungling the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and any role Trump’s people may have had in it. For honest liberals, there is a hypocrisy trap here.

No there isn’t.

Mrs. Clinton believes that Mr. Comey cost her the election by revealing, shortly before Election Day, that her emails were still under investigation. It’s hard to imagine that Mrs. Clinton wouldn’t have fired Mr. Comey too if she’d gotten the chance, which makes the whole fuss a bit suspect. It seems that both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump had reservations about Mr. Comey. Mr. Trump is just the one who fired him. Does that qualify as saying something nice about the president?

Even as political analysis, this is bad — it is, in fact, very unlikely that Clinton would have fired Comey. But that aside, this argument hasn’t gotten any less transparently stupid than when every fourth-rate Republican hack trotted it out last week. Indeed, it’s exactly the kind of intelligence-insulting illogic that the 1986 version of Kinsley would have mercilessly decimated. “Comey’s election tampering was a firable offense but firing Comey to obstruct justice is extremely bad” is an entirely coherent position — there’s nothing contradictory or hypocritical about it, at all. As someone said in comments previously, this is like saying that if you think an employee is incompetent it would be hypocritical for you to go to HR because she was fired for refusing to give sexual favors to her boss. This argument is, like, Fox & Friends dumb. Everything about this should be profoundly embarrassing for James Bennet.

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  • Downpuppy

    Clinton would never have got the chance to fire Comey. Obama would have, quite properly, beat her to it.

    • sam

      seriously. Do people not realize that the reason Obama didn’t fire Comey when he still had the chance to was because he was smart enough to know that he would never get his own replacement confirmed given the timing (Garland!), so he wasn’t going to leave open the possibility of Trump appointing someone exponentially worse?

      Comey definitely put his finger on the scale, but even after that, he was still viewed as someone who wouldn’t, say, completely tank an investigation because Trump asked ordered him to.

      • CP

        I strongly suspect that Obama also realized he couldn’t fire the FBI director without it looking like he was taking vengeance on a cop who was just doing his job in order to protect his preferred candidate. Same would’ve applied even worse to Hillary Clinton if she’d become president. (Even though objectively, both would’ve been completely within their rights to fire him for gross misconduct).

      • I think downpuppy means if Clinton had won. In that scenario I think Obama should have, I would have, and Obama might have fired Comey and nominated a replacement for the very reason that Clinton couldn’t without screams of coverup and calls for impeachment from the usual suspects.

        • Downpuppy

          Yes, very much. Or Comey could have resigned.

          Comey working under Clinton just wouldn’t have worked, and that was obvious to all 3 of them, everyone here, and blind puppies in Mongolia.

    • Brien Jackson

      Question I thought of last night: Obama’s DOJ had the power to appoint a special prosecutor before Trump’s inauguration, didn’t they?

      • sam

        special prosecutors aren’t independent counsels. They could still be fired the second Trump got into office.

        • Brien Jackson

          So?

          • Scott Lemieux

            It’s clear that Obama saw his role as promoting a smooth transition, and it’s clear that this was highly inappropriate given the unique circumstances of Trump winning.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              One of the things that kept Obama from being a great president was his entirely unrealistic sense of the way American politics should work as well as his even more unrealistic sense of how to make it work that way. Donald Trump’s victory made this weakness more salient. Obama’s Farewell Address utterly failed to grasp the moment.

          • sam

            So…even if Obama had appointed a special prosecutor who somehow managed to not get tarred and feathered as some sort of Obama spy/political hatchet man by our liberal media (TM), how do you think they would have been able to do their job on a PRACTICAL level, given that they would have been reporting to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as soon as the transition was over?

            I mean, we just saw how they treated the republican head of the FBI who, for all intents and purposes, PUT THEM IN OFFICE.

      • tsam

        If I had to guess, I’d say it was for the same reason Obama didn’t shitcan Comey after attacking an election candidate and saying things he wasn’t allowed to say. The political calculus is that any action has the appearance that he’s using his office to help Clinton get elected.

        • Bill Murray

          there were two months after the election and before Trump took over

          • tsam

            I agree. I would have run Comey right the fuck out of DC the day he held that press conference, and I would have taken the Russian interference WAY more seriously than tossing a few diplomats, but I guess that’s why I’m not the pres.

            • Crusty

              Perhaps the calculation was made that that would clear the way for Trump to make Sheriff Joe Arpaio the new FBI director.

              • tsam

                That was the counterpoint that made me drop the issue. It’s certainly a valid one–and I never thought Trump and Comey would be on the outs, considering Trump owes Comey that office, and Comey isn’t, by any objective measure, objective.

  • Brien Jackson

    Put another way: Yes Democrats wanted Comey fired and will stop criticizing Trump for it as soon as the administration also agrees to Democratic demands for a special prosecutor.

    • MyNameIsZweig

      Oh, I don’t know about that – hypothetically speaking, I’m not going to stop criticizing Trump’s blatant, ham-fisted effort to shut down the Russia investigation just because he was pressured into accepting the existence of a special prosecutor (assuming that happens, of course, and I’m highly skeptical that it will).

  • CP

    Mrs. Clinton believes that Mr. Comey cost her the election by revealing, shortly before Election Day, that her emails were still under investigation. It’s hard to imagine that Mrs. Clinton wouldn’t have fired Mr. Comey too if she’d gotten the chance, which makes the whole fuss a bit suspect. It seems that both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump had reservations about Mr. Comey. Mr. Trump is just the one who fired him. Does that qualify as saying something nice about the president?

    Even knowing how much they’re into it, it always amazes me just how much of conservatism is not about what happened or even what they claim happened, but about what they claim totally would happen because you just know it would. Which of course is inevitable when you do all your reasoning in stereotypes and prejudices.

    First time I noticed it was Peggy Noonan’s fangirling over George Bush because “You know him. He’s not exotic. But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?”” Like, she couldn’t even be bothered to find an anecdote about how George Bush had behaved once; it was a fantasy about how George Bush would behave, because you know he would, because he’s totally that kind of guy, because, because, well basically because Peggy Noonan says so, and why would she lie?

    Seen it happen oh-so-many times since…

    • Even knowing how much they’re into it, it always amazes me just how much of conservatism is not about what happened or even what they claim happened, but about what they claim totally would happen because you just know it would.

      That’s all they have.

      • CP

        I mean, is it too much to ask for them to at least make some shit up? Anything less half-assed than “well, it might have happened!”

      • Dennis Orphen

        See: Rand, Ayn.

      • Captain Oblivious

        When you are forced to continually manufacture inane defenses of a fundamentally indefensible ideology, hyoptheticals become all the more appealing.

    • malraux

      But W was the type to drunkenly drive over your hedge bushes and crash his car into your house…

      • Gator90

        Trump is the guy who starts the fire and raves dementedly about its magnificent beauty and bigness while the flames spread to the pants of the folks sent out to explain what happened.

        • tsam

          Then he gets mad at them for catching on fire. Idiots.

      • tsam

        That’s what made him so relatable. (Not to me, a friend of mine. Totally not me)

    • Morse Code for J

      As it happens, I honestly don’t see Clinton firing Comey. It would have looked terrible if the entire basis for so doing was that his press conference and letter to Congress negatively affected her election, and Clinton doesn’t usually set herself up for failure like that. She would have wanted more justification than that. And assuming she were to get it, she would have asked Comey to resign in lieu of being fired, and whatever he said, she would have had a candidate and a press strategy in mind for the day it happened.

      • CP

        Oh, yeah. I mean, she couldn’t do it without it completely destroying her presidency. The “what was Hillary Clinton hiding?” investigations would’ve made Benghazi look like nothing, and would quite possibly have led to another impeachment attempt.

        • Alex.S

          But under the new standard of “Why should anyone care that the President fired the FBI director investigating them?”, then she could have fired Comey without any problem.

          Therefore, because all Republicans now agree that there’s no issue with firing an FBI director in the middle of an investigation, then Hillary or Obama could have fired Comey without causing anyone to care.

          QED hypocrisy trap.

          • Colin Day

            As if that standard would ever have applied to Hillary.

            • sam

              This is the perfect distillation of the difference between Clinton Rules and Trump Rules.

              Clinton Rules – even when the Clintons do something that is actually innocuous or innocent, it gets investigated and/or spun as the most EVIL/NEFARIOUS thing in history* (see, e.g., Bill Clinton’s staff asking for, and getting turned down (!!!) for diplomatic passports when they went to North Korea on a fucking diplomatic mission to free journalists at the US government’s request)

              Trump Rules – Even when he violates every norm in history, and literally breaks laws in front of everyone’s faces, it gets brushed off as “trump’s gonna trump!”

              *this is NOT to say the Clintons have never done anything wrong – and just the fact that I have to include this fucking caveat every goddamn time I talk about the Clinton is another example of these goddamn rules.

      • Warren Terra

        Indeed. It’s entirely plausible – maybe even likely – that Obama would have fired Comey before a Clinton Presidency, as the notion of the two of them working together seems absurd. But Clinton could not possibly fire Comey without it looking like personal animus at least, corrupt practice at worst.

        Edited to add: once upon a time, Presidents tried not to, or not to be seen to, make major decisions on the basis of personal animus or corrupt motives. Sad I need to clarify that.

        • Thom

          But even if Obama had fired Comey, it would have been seen as “political” and Clinton would have been blamed for it.

    • D.N. Nation

      You know him. He’s not exotic. But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?”

      She’s with the WMDs.

      • Dennis Orphen

        Where’s Sally? She moved to the coast years ago and is at a protest march tonight.

        • Thom

          Sixteen stitches put her right and her Dad said
          Don’t say I didn’t warn ya
          Sally got married to a rock musician
          She met in California
          Tommy always talks about the day
          The disciples all went wild
          Sally still carries a scar on her cheek
          To remind her of his smile

    • Origami Isopod

      it always amazes me just how much of conservatism is not about what happened or even what they claim happened, but about what they claim totally would happen because you just know it would. Which of course is inevitable when you do all your reasoning in stereotypes and prejudices.

      And, of course, when you project like an IMAX.

  • I’m sure there were nice things to be said about Adolf Hitler, too. But, you know, Hitler.

    • Malaclypse

      This is, literally, the “But Hitler loved dogs” line, yes.

      • Yep. Just another attempt to normalize Trump.

        • kped

          They also did an article about Putin’s softer side…because he played the piano. “He murders journalists and political opponents and starts wars to gain foreign territory…but here is his softer side”.

          That happened….this weekend.

      • Colin Day

        Isn’t this more “But Hitler wiped out the SA”?

        • Say what you like about Hitler, but you have to admit, at least he killed Hitler.

          • Warren Terra

            Indeed, Hitler is responsible for the deaths of more Nazis than any other person. Never gets the credit.

          • CP

            I will never get tired of that line.

      • Manny Kant

        Unlike Hitler, Trump hates dogs and children.

        • efgoldman

          Trump hates dogs and children

          I get the feeling he fears more than hates them, both

    • Well, Hitler did kill Hitler, so that’s something.

  • kped

    Can’t wait for the upcoming NYT letter to more readers cancelling their subscriptions, explaining that they have to balance real news with both made up climate change stuff, as well as “nice things about Trump”. Should be another doozy!

    I also love how so many times writers are dicks to liberals complaining about this stuff on Twitter, and they’ll say things like “cancelling your subscription is like cutting off your nose to spite your face”. No friends, introducing “be nice to Trump” days is doing that. Hiring a guy to write weekly anti-climate science articles is doing that. Losing readers is a consequence of that.

    • NonyNony

      they’ll say things like “cancelling your subscription is like cutting off your nose to spite your face”

      I’m not on Twitter, but if I were I’d politely inform them that my subscription money will be going as an extra donation to ProPublica. So it’s nothing like that at all.

      • so-in-so

        Right, use the subscription to identify advertisers, and threaten boycotts on them…

    • brewmn

      I’ll just pop up to say that their actual reporting is vital to understanding what is going on in the world. And I’m hoping that, as soon as they stop mixing shit in with the Nutella, they’ll get a lot of readers back.

      But if they insist on running with this “let’s piss liberals off with pro-Trump-propaganda and climate change denialism,” then they are getting what they deserve. How about treating your loyal readers who believe in your mission with a little respect instead?

      • kped

        The problem is that a lot of their editorial decisions lead to reporting that is the opposite of vital. I mean, the Clinton stuff during the election was just awful. 30 paragraphs on stories that prove the opposite of the tone of the article, with “nothing happened” buried in paragraph 27. The paper does good things, but it also does a whole lot of bullshit (see: election, Iraq and WMD, etc).

        And their open hostility to readers on the left coupled with their pathetic desperation to appeal to those on the right makes it hard to blame anyone for cancelling.

        • Origami Isopod

          This.

          Also, while it’s possible the New York Toilet Paper still has the best local reportage in the metropolitan area, I see no reason to rely on it for global reporting. There are Pro Publica, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, Der Spiegel, and many others. They all have their drawbacks but they are head and shoulders above the NYTP.

          • Pat

            I read in the Columbia Journalism Review about a new muck-raking site that plans to focus on how industry gets the regulations it wants. Might also be worth supporting.

            • Origami Isopod

              Ooh, Wendell Potter! And that’s a great name for the site. Thank you for the link.

              • Pat

                It was on Jon Bernstein’s morning reads on Bloomberg. I’m just an over-sharer.

      • jam

        as soon as they stop mixing shit in with the Nutella, they’ll get a lot of readers back.

        I don’t think they’ll do that any time soon. Their owner and editors seem to approve of the status quo and unless they replace those people, they will continue as they are.

      • SNF

        My guess is that the NYTimes wants to appeal to conservatives to try to win them over, and the NYTimes assumes that liberals will stick with them no matter what.

        That’s why they get so pissy when liberals criticize them. They expect liberals to be their base revenue. Liberals aren’t supposed to make demands. If liberals are making demands that conflict with trying to appeal to conservatives, then that makes it impossible to hold on to liberal readers while growing in conservative readers.

        So people at the NYTimes try to argue that if a liberal isn’t paying for the NYTimes indefinitely, then it’s because they hate free speech. They want to guilt people into shutting up and handing over their money.

    • sam

      I was actually more perturbed by the pissy editors yelling at people on twitter about subscription cancellations than I was about the original hiring decisions. They weren’t defending the substance of the editorials, or trying to even argue some party line about “both sides”. These were fucking NYT EDITORS tracking down people on twitter who were talking about their disappointment with the NYT, and then tweeting ad-hominems at them.

      If I was actually paying* for access to the Times, that would have actually been the thing that pushed me over the edge – Not only do you not respect your subscribers enough to hire people who don’t spew lies, your best argument to win them back is to neg them? WTF?

      *For those who don’t know how subscriptions work – for every paper subscription, you get online access for yourself and two extra people (your ‘household’). My stepmom gets a paper subscription through her work – at a significantly reduced educational price, so she pays almost nothing for that. She then gave her two “extra” subs to me and my brother, since my dad would rather jump off a bridge than use digital technology. As such, I basically get the times for free – I suppose I could log out of my account, but that’s somewhat anticlimactic.

      Also, I’ll note that as an actual New Yorker, I find that the Times still has somewhat decent local coverage – I find myself immediately navigating to the NY section when I open it up these days.

      • kped

        I feel the same way. Like they were lecturing the people disappointed like they were children to be scolded. It was an awful look on their part.

        • Origami Isopod

          Civility trolling is never a good look, but this is an entirely new level of it.

      • tsam

        Not only do you not respect your subscribers enough to hire people who don’t spew lies, your best argument to win them back is to neg them

        WHAT A CUNNING PLAN. HOW COULD IT POSSIBLY FAIL?

      • I was actually more perturbed by the pissy editors yelling at people on twitter about subscription cancellations than I was about the original hiring decisions. They weren’t defending the substance of the editorials, or trying to even argue some party line about “both sides”. These were fucking NYT EDITORS tracking down people on twitter who were talking about their disappointment with the NYT, and then tweeting ad-hominems at them.

        My favorite was the deputy editor who kept saying You didn’t read the article.

        • ColBatGuano

          My favorite was the deputy editor who kept saying You didn’t read the article.

          That guy needed a swift kick to the balls.

        • sam

          ugh – that guy. And when I wrote something criticizing it, I got a bunch of weird people actually defending his shit – someone ELSE who kept insisting I didn’t read the article, then when I proved beyond doubt that I did read it, proceeded to insist that I was reading it “wrong” (and called me “hysterical” to boot – always a nice touch), and then when I called him out for his lovely misogynistic mansplainy bullshit, not only deleted the tweets directed at me, DELETED HIS ENTIRE TIMELINE.

          Of course, I saved screenshots, because I have been alive for more than a day. :)

      • so-in-so

        I was actually more perturbed by the pissy editors yelling at people on twitter about subscription cancellations than I was about the original hiring decisions. They weren’t defending the substance of the editorials, or trying to even argue some party line about “both sides”. These were fucking NYT EDITORS tracking down people on twitter who were talking about their disappointment with the NYT, and then tweeting ad-hominems at them.

        Maybe they are scared…

    • Phil Perspective

      Can’t wait for the upcoming NYT letter to more readers cancelling their subscriptions, ….

      Some of us weren’t dumb enough to fall for the NYT‘s transparent bullshit on November 10th because we weren’t born yesterday.

  • McAllen

    Between this nonsense and the constant articles about Trump voters, I think the NYT has not yet gotten over the idea that Trump and his supporters are the underdogs. Nevermind that Trump’s the goddamn president, he and his followers are the afflicted to be defended against the comfortable coastal elitists.

  • Slothrop2

    Why fire Comey when the letter had no discernible effect? Without the Comey letter, Scott Lemieux is like a grinder Man who lost his monkey.

    • malraux

      troll i know, but silver seems more valid on this than cohn

      • addicted44

        Cohn is good, but if that article ends the way it began, then that’s some pretty poor analysis (I couldn’t read through the end as the Times paywall kicked in).

        His entire argument is basically “there were outliers, which were clearly outliers at the moment to the point where I hated writing an article based on the outlier. A week later, however, the results we had matched the outliers.” Stuff like this happens all the time. The most likely conclusion(assuming your polling is robust, which since this was about presidential elections was about as robust as you can get) is that something happened in that week that led the respondents to change their opinions so it got closer to outlier values, rather than the outliers actually being correct.

        In addition, even if Comey hadn’t affected the election, his behavior was definitely a fireable ofdense (as ironically shown quite amazingly by Trump’s deputy AG).

        • Dilan Esper

          Actually, the argument is more like “there are reasons to expect that people told pollsters they weren’t voting for Trump who were, in the end, inevitably going to vote for him. And there is strong evidence that this started showing up in the polls before the Comey letter. However, some people who can’t stand the thought that voters don’t actually tell pollsters their actual voting behavior paid no attention to that evidence so they could latch onto a story that all those conservatives were going to cause the election of Hillary Clinton until the Comey letter happened. And they dressed up their conclusion in scientific jargon about polling.”

          • humanoid.panda

            This of course , assumes that the pool of undecided voters consisted only of leaning to trump but ashamed of it people. However, there was a whole bunch of people in that. pool, say stay at home or Hillary or Johnson or Hillary , etc. There weren’t many of these people , sure , but the whole point of the debate it that the tiniest of swings pits Hillary in WH.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Dilan lecturing Nate Silver about not understanding polling methodology is fucking hilarious.

              • humanoid.panda

                What’s especially funny is that throughout the election there was a constant buzz about Trump having a ceiling of 45-46% of the vote, based on polls. His final result was 45.8%, which implies the numbers of “ashamed Trumpers” was close to zero. What really did happen is that, on the one hand, he over-performed in crucial states, and on the other hand, Hillary failed to hit her ceiling of 50% of national vote. While I think Comey has very little with Trump’s strength in the Midwest, circumstancially at least, Comey+Assange account for Hillary’s softness.

              • FMguru

                Dilan is an established and acknowledged master of the subject of Not Understanding things, so in a way he’s the ideal person for the task

          • addicted44

            The evidence he cites is 1 poll (the NYTimes/Siena poll) and maybe another poll (the ABC poll) which he didn’t even notice at the time, but is noticing in hindsight (IOW, pattern matching).

        • Jim in Baltimore

          Nate Cohn thought Biden was going to throw his hat into the ring.

          • humanoid.panda

            And Nate Silver thought that Trump can’t win primary, even though his own model disagreed. Those numbers guys can be as misguided as anyone else when doing punditry- but their weaknesses as pundits is no reason to disqualify their numbers.

        • Scott Lemieux

          As Silver says, Cohn has a solid argument that a “small Comey” effect is more likely than a “big Comey” effect, but it’s not a strong case at all that it didn’t move 100,000 votes, and Cohn doesn’t really argue that if you look carefully.

    • You just know someday fairly soon, Slothrop’s going to shoot up an elementary school, and when they take him into custody, he’ll be screaming “Lemieux made me do it!”

      • Nobdy

        I could see someone vandalizing a condiment rack and credibly blaming it on years of Loomis’ propaganda.

        • Dennis Orphen

          The Twinkie Catsup Defense. Sorta.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Thowing little packets of ketchup to the crowd, and yelling ‘Attica! Attica!’

    • Nobdy

      This is conceptually correct. If something had no effect that means it wasn’t a bad thing to do.

      Let’s stop arresting people for attempted murder and stop firing people for trying to tamper with elections!

      P.S. I obviously think the letter had an effect.

      • ThresherK

        The H.I. McDonough defense: It ain’t armed robbery if the gun isn’t loaded!

      • wjts

        “I am presently incarcerated, imprisoned for a crime I did not even commit. ‘Attempted murder,’ now honestly, did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for ‘attempted chemistry’?”

  • tsam

    …putting on my uniform and checking out my weapon…

  • Nobdy

    Hello, I too can pretend I don’t know what “pretextual” means. Can I write for the Times now?

    If you fire someone because he is black, but it also turns out that he was embezzling, are you still a racist?

    I guess the Times would say no?

  • SatanicPanic

    At this point, would it be wrong to speculate that the NYT is auditioning for the official government newspaper after Trump hounds its competitors out of business?

    • NonyNony

      Part of me wonders if there’s some very odd New York Pride thing going on with Trump and the NYT.

      • Pat

        No, I’ve argued before that if Putin was planning to drop a billion dollars influencing the US election, NYT editors are probably a pretty cheap investment.

      • addicted44

        I highly highly doubt it. No one in NY, especially the circles the NY Times editors move around in, like Trump, or think he represents them.

        It’s likely more influenced by the fact that just like the NYTimes likes to “understand” the heartland, because they are not them, they feel a paternalistic need to give this guy who obviously goes against all their values, an opportunity because he represents those heartland Real Americans ™.

        • Pat

          That’s not what I said, addicted. I said that I’m speculating that Putin’s groups are manipulating NY Times editors, either directly or indirectly. In the case of the 2016 election, they manipulated them to attack Clinton.

          Since the NY Times has never explained their reasoning behind their EMAILS coverage or their hardened anti-Clinton bias, and we know that the Russians decided to interfere in our election, I conclude that the NY Times editors are bought and paid for by Russian interests. You’re excusing them. I’m not.

    • humanoid.panda

      I am as pissed of at the NYT as anyone else , and have in fact switched my subscription to the WAPO, but this is slanderous nonsense . The Times published as many damaging scoops on Trump as anyone else, and the idiot conservatives they hire are anti Trump people . Their problem is they feel guilty about theanti Trump position oblbjective reality is forcing on them, so they keep on trying ways to restors the balance of the universe

      • SatanicPanic

        So you’re saying it is wrong to speculate? I’m just asking questions.

        But in all seriousness WaPo was much better in 2016 and continues to be. I subscribed to both after the election and dropped NYT because I wasn’t reading it.

        • Pat

          I think it’s irresponsible not to speculate. I just confine my speculations to the Discussion section.

        • NonyNony

          WaPo has been shockingly good after Bezos bought them.

          I hate to admit I was wrong, but apparently I was (I was a skeptic that Bezos’s takeover would mean anything good for the paper).

          • Pat

            I grant you that there is plenty of precedence where having billionaire X buy a paper means it goes to the craphouse.

  • tsam

    Then there is James Comey, the F.B.I. director whom Mr. Trump fired last week, ostensibly for bungling the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and any role Trump’s people may have had in it. For honest liberals, there is a hypocrisy trap here.

    ZING–CHECKM8 LIBTARDS LOL U TRIGGERED SNOFLAKE?

    • Ask Me Gently

      there is a hypocrisy trap here

      This makes me think of Wile E. Coyote setting out a leg-hold trap which then fails to operate when the Roadrunner steps on it, but of course snaps shut on the coyote’s snout when he goes to investigate.

      • tsam

        And the overarching theme that this happens EVERY time. Nevertheless, he persisted.

  • Woodrowfan

    Liberals wanted that employee fired for being incompetent. Why are they made the employee was fired for refusing to have sex with the boss???

  • ASV

    Also, pointing out someone else’s hypothetical hypocrisy actually doesn’t qualify as saying something nice about the president.

  • Origami Isopod

    Gosh, I can’t imagine why the New York Toilet Paper didn’t enable comments on either of Kinsley’s articles!

  • Davis X. Machina

    There’s one person, in Short Hills, who’s sure they’re paying too much in taxes. And likes oriental rugs.

    The entire paper is aimed directly, with laser-like focus, at them.

    The rest of the world can go hang.

    • Origami Isopod

      Short Hills = Tunbridge Wells?

    • BloodyGranuaile

      Has the Times published any articles on how millennials are killing oriental rugs yet?

  • rewenzo

    “Clinton Would Have Fired Comey Anyway” is the ultimate in Republican projection.

    It is EXTREMELY unlikely that Hillary Clinton would have fired Comey given how colossally fucked up it would have appeared. It would be an obviously stupid move, never mind the fact that Comey unquestionably deserved to be fired. But it was understood that HRC was not in a position to fire him because of the terrible optics.

    There’s a very good question whether Obama would have been in a position, post-Clinton victory, to fire Comey, given that Republicans in Congress had made no secret of their desire to continue their Benghazimails investigations until the sun went supernova. If lame duck Obama fires Comey, everyone knows that he’s doing it to protect HRC, and HRC has to promise to empanel a special investigation commission anyway.

    This is the case even though it was clear that (a) Comey had committed several fireable offenses; and (b) Comey and Clinton could in no way have a productive relationship.

    Second, even if Obama or HRC was going to fire Comey they wouldn’t have done it in such a nakedly transparent and thuggish way. They would have lined up all their ducks in a row in such a way as to make it clear why Comey was being fired (incompetence) and they would have bent over backwards to assure people that whatever investigation was ongoing would continue without political interference.

    Even so, there would have been tremendous blowback. Because everyone understands that firing people who investigate you appears to be a cover up.

    They certainly would not have (a) waited until Comey testified negatively about the administration and that the investigation is ongoing and serious; (b) had the AG, who is a person of interest in the investigation who perjured himself already on the subject and who promised to recuse himself recommend that Comey be fired; (c) asked the DAG who took office a week ago to come up with a flimsy pretext; (d) actually circulate that flimsy pretext as the reason; (e) two days later admit that Comey was fired because the President thought the investigation was a witch hunt.

    Like, there were lots of completely bullshit investigation of Obama and Clinton, and there would have been more of Clinton. Investigations I would be 100% certain were witch hunts which would turn up no actual wrongdoing. Even so, if Obama and Clinton had reached out and FIRED the guy in charge of the investigation, I would have considered that incredibly suspicious.

    There’s a credible dilemma here concerning what an administration is supposed to do with an FBI director who is bad at his job (perhaps even dangerous) who is coincidentally investigating the administration. There’s no way to do it without engendering some suspicion but there are definitely ways of mitigating it. The complete failure of the Trump Administration to take any of those steps, and the lockstep agreement of the Republican caucus to support this transparently thuggish move is the much greater constitutional problem.

    • Downpuppy

      I see a conversation :

      Obama: Hi Jim. I’ve asked you here to discuss..
      Comey: I just happen to have my resignation letter in my hand. It’s been a pleasure working with you.
      Obama : Thanks, Jim

      because, you know, grownups. You remember grownups?

  • Alex.S

    I remember a lot of summer 2016 discussion that consisted of two thoughts–

    1. James Comey screwed up big time with the press conference, taking actions that an FBI director simply should not do.

    2. Because of those actions, there was no way for the Democrats to do anything to him. Pushback had to be mild to avoid turning it into “Democratic Party vs THE LAW!” and there was no way for any formal punishment or reprimand to come down from the Obama administration.

    • Pat

      So as soon as Comey decided to do the press conference, he realized that he would get to go scot-free?

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