How irrelevant is the National Review? Let me count the ways.
Oh hell, I’m not going to waste my time or yours! Everyone knows it is irrelevant, and has been proudly so ever since it published its infamous “Against Trump” issue in January 2016. Conservatives could no longer take it seriously, and liberals never did.
But now it is not only irrelevant; it is downright pathetic.
On the day when Rudy Giuliani presented some of the most compelling evidence yet of election fraud during a legislative hearing in Arizona, the National Review published a column called “The Stolen-Election Narrative Needs to End.”
Not only was the conclusion wrong, not only was it constitutionally unsound, not only was its argument fundamentally unconservative, but its premise was embarrassingly simple-minded. If it were written by the AP, we would call it Fake News. Oh hell, let’s just call it what it is — a steaming pile of dung.
Columnist Jim Geraghty decided that President Trump had accused the FBI and the Department of Justice of possibly being “involved in” trying to steal the election from him. No, that wasn’t really what Trump thought; it was him talking off the cuff and mixing humor, sarcasm and skepticism in a characteristic reminder that he had no reason to trust the FBI or the DOJ.
Maybe Trump was a bit too subtle for the dunces at NR. They’ve missed every major conservative accomplishment of the last four years, and they are no doubt a tad peeved at Trump for making their brand take a close second to Harvey Weinstein for credibility.
But still there’s no excuse for writers pretending that they don’t understand how words can be stretched into a variety of uses.
So what got Geraghty’s knickers in a knot was when Trump said in passing about the FBI and DOJ that “maybe they are involved.”
“Involved in what?” you might well ask, thus sparing yourself from the embarrassment that rightly awaits Geraghty and the National Review.
So let’s unwind the president’s words, which were spoken to Maria Bartiromo in an interview on Fox News on Sunday. The president engaged in a nearly 40 minute soliloquy lamenting the attack on his presidency that started 5 years ago and is continuing today, but the relevant part that concerned Geraghty was as follows:
“We’re talking — there are a lot of dead people that so-called voted in this election. But dead people were, in some cases, in many, many cases, thousands of cases, voted, but, also, dead people made application to vote. They were dead 10 years, 15 years, and they actually made application. This is total fraud. And how the FBI and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they are involved — but how people are allowed to get away from this stuff — with this stuff — is unbelievable. This election was rigged. This election was a total fraud. And it continues to be, as they hide. And the problem we have, we go to judges, and people don’t want to get involved …”
So plainly the words “Maybe they are involved” spoken about the FBI and DOJ don’t make any sense in this context if they are meant to imply that the two agencies were “involved” in stealing the election. Does Geraghty really mean to imply that Trump is suggesting that the FBI may have been involved in the “total fraud” of dead people applying to vote and then actually voting? Even I don’t think Geraghty means that, yet he specifically says “the president speculates that the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI may be involved in the effort to steal the election.”
So obviously Geraghty thinks the president’s words mean that he is accusing the FBI and DOJ of something nefarious.
But when we look at the full flow of Trump’s rambling words, the truth seems a lot less scary. The president seems at this point to be throwing up his hands metaphorically in a gesture of surrender and disbelief. “This is total fraud,” he says, and then he seems to be about to ask how the FBI and Department of Justice could have let such a travesty take place.
“And how the FBI and the Department of Justice — I don’t know…” the president’s voice trails off and then resumes “Maybe they are involved.” It is not an accusation, but the plaintive rumination of a man who is looking for some logical explanation why the top law enforcement agencies in the United States seem powerless to combat a massive electoral coup.
And in fact if Trump had wanted to accuse the FBI of involvement in stealing the election, he had plenty of opportunity to do so. A couple of minutes later, Bartiromo was able to squeeze in a relevant question during one of the rare breaks in Trump’s near filibuster:
“Where is the DOJ and the FBI in all of this, Mr. President? You have laid out some serious charges here. Shouldn’t this be something that the FBI is investigating? Are they? Is the DOJ investigating?”
The president answered quickly and pointedly. “Missing in action. Can’t tell you where they are,” he said about the federal law enforcement apparatus’s apparent interest in the constitutional crisis of election fraud. Again, we have to think the president is expressing frustration that the FBI seems incapable of stirring from its lassitude long enough to weigh in on dad people voting.
“Are they looking at it,” the president continued. “Everyone says, ‘Yes, they’re looking at it.'” Trump then went after the DOJ for not ever bringing charges against James Comey, Andrew McCabe and others who created the Russia Hoax. His point? How long are we supposed to wait for the DOJ and FBI to do the right thing? “Where are they with all of this stuff? And what happened to Durham? Where’s Durham?”
Yeah, where’s John Durham, the US attorney who’s supposed to be investigating how the FBI under Obama was spying on the Trump campaign?
“All I can say is … nobody’s come to me and said, oh the FBI’s nabbed the people that are doing this scheme [or] the FBI is looking at Dominion.”
In other words, the FBI and DOJ have a history of doing nothing to help this president. If he now should show little confidence in their ability to apply the law fairly and evenly, we cannot blame him. Even if he jokingly suggested that, based on their track record, maybe they were involved in a plot to destroy him, we cannot fault him. Because, face it, that pretty much sums up the hostility that President Trump has faced from the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Intelligence Community from Day One.
Oh yes, and the same hostility he has gotten from the guardians of “Conservative Inc.” at the National Review for five years. How sad!
And if you have been sleeping in a van down by the river for the last five years and think the column by Jim Geraghty was a one-off, then take a look at the editorial published by National Review the same day.
It’s titled “Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame,” and sounds like it could have been written by any two-bit socialist on CNN’s payroll. The only disgrace I see is the so-called Republicans who constantly surrender to Democrats.
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