The Meaning of the Attacks on Barr
Pelosi targets AG as criminal liar; conservatives claim it’s a smear campaign intended to head off investigations into 2016 FBI actions.
My take: Democrats feel they have no option but to pursue Barr to the ends of the earth. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has yet two pieces Friday claiming this effort is motivated by a desire to neuter Barr’s probe into the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia. Beltway media remains transfixed by every twist and turn of Democratic outrage at Barr and rejects the Journal’s thesis. Pelosi and Co. are being applauded for doing what they think is right. But the chances are a lot higher that their pursuit hurts their 2020 chances than that they actually do any damage to the attorney general — let alone force him from office. Barr simply doesn’t care and is experienced enough to know how to decline, delay, and deflect.
Only Mueller Can Speak for Mueller
Hill Democrats try to directly book G-Man of few (spoken) words for testimony.
My take: Team Mueller has proven to be adept at leaking (despite its reputation to the contrary). Now the main question is just how clever Mueller will be when he finally appears on the Hill. It is a near certainty that he will be more cautious in his pronouncements than Democrats would like. The additional questions are, what are Muller’s own goals when he finally speaks and how effective will he be in achieving those goals?
Mind the Gap
Trump’s job approval on the economy is well above his overall approval numbers.
My take: This is why it is essential that the eventual Democratic presidential nominee have a clear theory of the case about how to be a good steward of a good economy. If the party picks someone to go against Trump who is seen as incapable of handling the economy, Trump could win re-election with a historically low job approval rating.
Not a Bumper Sticker
Michael Bennet trumpets entrance into Democratic field with essay that would fill the beds of a pair of Ford pickups.
My take: The Coloradan has fans among the donor class, the Obamas, the Clintons, and his Senate colleagues, but he is going to need a lot of time on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire to get better known by those voters who don’t read Medium posts.
Biden the Free Trader
My take: Hillary Clinton hurt herself politically with some in 2016 by walking away from her past backing of trade pacts. Biden will eventually have to demonstrate whether he plans to stand and fight — or shift and explain. Both paths are littered with danger.