No one could play the straight man when he was in gear …
“Iraq in its quest for democracy lacks only — only! — what America then had: an existing democratic culture.”
— George F. Will, Winter 2004
“As experience in Eastern Europe has shown, democracy doesn’t mean simply holding elections. First, you need a democratic culture, or what is usually called a civil society.”
— Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2003
Midnight: I’m melting! Melting!
12:05 am: Feeling a strange urge to become a Walmart greeter.
12:09 am: Those seventysomething presidential candidates don’t seem that old.
It might be useful, before we begin, to recall that the first article of impeachment against Richard Nixon detailed obstruction of justice.
It was useful for us, anyway. Before diving into the second half of the Mueller report — which might have been subtitled “If He Did It” — we wanted to refresh our memory of what an honest impeachment looked like. The dishonest one is more familiar to a contemporary audience, but you really don’t want Ken Starr setting the rules of engagement.
Might as well call it: We’re about to endure one of the ugliest elections in American history.
Granted, we’ve only been around for sixty years of it, so we might be giving undue weight to the present, which, unlike the past, is always uncertain. And granted as well, the 1860 election had certain consequences that we’re not facing. Yet.
Funny thing about the Civil War: It broke out five weeks after Lincoln’s inauguration, and ended—
See, that’s the funny thing. It hasn’t.
Methodology: Open the front door.
Result: Cat does not go out. Nor does cat stay in.
Conclusion: Cats are incapable of making up their own damn minds.
So, it’s been a week.
What do we know?
We know that William Barr issued a tightly worded letter claiming Robert Mueller found no evidence to support the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russian government, and punting on the question whether Donald Trump’s actions regarding the investigation amount to a legal case for obstruction of justice.
We know that Barr himself is someone a courtroom drama would call a hostile witness, someone whose word is not to be trusted.