Thursday, July 25, 2019

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Among the Gang of 500, the consensus is absolute: the star of the Mueller Movie flopped substantively and stylistically, killing off any chance of impeachment.   

Just-released Rotten Tomatoes rating score: 23%.

The Washington Post’s fair-minded Dan Balz and the hyper-partisan Larry Tribe agree: the prospects of impeachment are now pretty much nil, and the focus needs to be on removing Donald Trump via the 2020 ballot box. 

The New York Times, caught between a desire for impeachment (like most of the rest of the media) and its apparent need to make snap judgments (like most of the rest of the media), decided that it could divine the will of the people by having its reporters and columnists talk to each other, by watching cable TV, and by reading Twitter.

The paper’s conclusions were expressed thusly:

“Liberals who support opening impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump had hoped that testimony by the former special counsel would finally electrify their efforts. The early verdict suggests that did not happen.”

“With a six-week August recess looming and the views of most Americans fixed on what is now a two-year-old story line, a lasting shift in public opinion appears unlikely.”

“Suggests” and “appears unlikely” are weasel hedges, but you get the point. 

Among the quotes circulated by the White House’s rapid response team:

“Impeachment is over. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is going to stand for her members bringing forth something that is going to obviously lose.” – ABC News’ Terry Moran

Principled liberals who want impeachment now were no match for the groupthink and theater criticism that decided that Mueller’s halting performance and Democratic House members’ less-than-stellar questioning = the end of any possibility of impeachment.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial has a smart/funny lead that has the added advantage of being true:  “The only person in Washington happier than Donald Trump about Robert Mueller’s Wednesday appearance before Congress is Nancy Pelosi.”

Politico says Judiciary Chair Nadler argued, again, in private, to start impeachment hearings, but was rebuffed by the Speaker.

As someone (me) tweeted last night:

.@SpeakerPelosi is not choosing politics over principle. Her highest principles are stopping @realDonaldTrump from 4 more years & keeping the House majority. She is data driven in service of principle.

My take: When the New York Times news sections, the Wall Street Journal ed board, Larry Tribe, Sean Hannity, Dan Balz, Nancy Pelosi, Terry Moran, Donald Trump, and 498 members of the Gang of 500 all agree on the meaning and implications of a big event, well, that is going to cause a self-fulfilling prophecy, the will of tens of millions of Americans and the principled stands of scores of House Democrats be darned.

Up next: Some polls that show little change in support for the I word; a handful of additional Democrats will come out for impeachment; House majority attempts to get former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify (which is Pelosi’s main stall tactic meant to satisfy her pro-impeachment caucus); Democrats, the media, and a few Republicans rightfully will push to do more to stop Russian and other foreign interference in the 2020 election – efforts that will be largely rebuffed by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

In other news:

North Korea’s missile launch gets surprisingly little coverage, even in the North-Korea-Missile-Launch Paper of Record.

My take: This remains the most urgent national security challenge the White House faces and/but the president is going to need a fourth act if he wants real progress. And a fifth act.

Biden Unfurls Opposition Research Against Harris, Booker

My take: More aggressive former VP is not the most verbally skilled person at talking trash about his opponent’s record by surfacing facts unknown to scrambling reporters.  Based on Wednesday, if this device is Team Biden’s plan for surviving and thriving in the second debate, he’s going to need a lot more practice – and a sharper stiletto.

Harris of the Hamptons

California Senator/presidential hopeful has August stop planned to soak up coin.

My take: It is a tea leaf made of iron that is much prized — a presidential candidate getting a snark-free item on Page Six is a big deal that speaks to the momentum of the moment and, perhaps, beyond.

A Fox News poll suggests huge enthusiasm for the economy and higher ratings for President Trump.

After 6am, check out the Quinnipiac Poll for new presidential campaign numbers out of Ohio.

Top sports story: Kawhi and Paul George present a second chance for Doc Rivers

Top business story: SpaceX attempts first short flight of Starship prototype rocket but stops after engine fires

Top entertainment story: A$AP Rocky Charged With Assault by Swedish Prosecutors

Big Four

New Hampshire

Castro beefing up campaign staff in N.H.

South Carolina

Politics lures visitors to early-primary states like SC, NH.

South Carolina Supreme Court abolishes common law marriage.

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