|Stainless Steel Skull Skeleton Head Tongue Ring going for £1.05 from ebay.co.uk.|
(Kelly wrote that in 1996 in his debut column as the liberal-hating editor of even-the-liberal New Republic; Stephens's link is to a Maureen Dowd eulogy in which she manages to mention that she once bought Kelly a couch, but doesn't say if it was a fainting couch.)
He seems to really mean to move beyond concern trolling, too—he's suggesting he really wants Democrats to win in November:
On the other hand, what he's linking to there is the expression of his desire that Democrats should take over Congress "as a check on a dangerous and lawless president. I also think Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors for conspiring with Michael Cohen to violate campaign-finance laws and that he ought to be impeached, convicted and removed from office." So I don't know.
Back in July he was complaining that threatening to impeach Trump was too punk, and would only energize the Republican base—that was before Cohen's guilty plea convinced him that Trump had committed an actual crime, because he's a skeptic on the Russia investigation, and apparently unaware of Trump's use of office to attempt to enrich himself and his children, or his long history of tax fraud, as detailed in The New York Times last week, which is almost certainly still going on (when he sold two condos at lowballed prices to Eric Trump in April 2016, he was following Fred Trump's playbook).
Today we learn in the Times that Jared Kushner never pays income tax at all, on a perfectly legal basis, though still obscene: he takes depreciation on the value of buildings he owns for tax writeoffs, even though he hasn't sold any of the buildings and thus hasn't lost any actual money—in contrast, his stock portfolio has hugely appreciated in value (his net worth is $324 million, five times what it was in 2008), but because he hasn't sold any of that he doesn't owe any taxes on it either. We really need to see Trump's tax returns, in any event. His business hasn't been primarily in real estate for a while, but with his hundreds of LLCs and five children and their dozens of LLCs there's plenty of opportunity to shove money around and out of the tax authorities' sights.
But I think it's Stephens who's being overenthusiastic in thinking you can pin an entire presidential impeachment on the matter of Stormy Daniels. Clearly Trump committed a crime there, as has been clear to most of us since long before Mr. Bret Stephens found out about it, but it's basically a campaign finance violation, and I don't think it looks to most Americans like a "high" crime (most Americans believe all campaigns are dirty).
Now he's complaining about all that incivility in the first place, from those ruffians Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder
and, of course, Kavanaugh
Say, something tells me Bret Stephens doesn't like it when we talk about Kavanaugh! Just a gut feeling I have.
I'll tell you right now, I don't think my wonderful Congressman Jerry Nadler is at all wrong to want to pursue a perjury investigation against Kavanaugh, given that he very clearly committed it on several occasions in the Senate hearings; I don't think Booker and Harris misrepresented Kavanaugh's views on racial profiling in the wake of the 9/11 attacks (Kavanaugh suggested he would be against it sometime in the future, but he clearly wasn't against it in the moment) or whether contraception is an abortifacient (Kavanaugh was clearly representing the conservative-Catholic, and false, view that certain contraceptives are abortifacients); I don't think Schumer has made Kavanaugh the central issue (he's been much more engaged in recent days with health care issues); and the red-state Democrat who has most clearly lost standing out of the Kavanaugh mess is certainly Phil Bredesen in the Tennessee governor race, who was afraid to condemn the lying judge; and "The New Yorker ... and much of the rest of the media" aren't really organs under the Democrats' control.
And civility is overrated when one is up against a party that likes to put toddlers in cages, as somebody (Zerlina Maxwell) was saying. And as Lemieux points out, if he really cares about the Democrats winning in November, none of the factors he mentions are especially important, since the map favoring a Democratic takeover of the House and not of the Senate isn't affected, and since everybody really fucking hates Kavanaugh (except, apparently, for Stephens).
But beyond that, it seems to me that Stephens has been misleading us. He doesn't really care how punk we are. He merely wants us to leave his fellow Brett alone.
Let's go see what Driftglass has to say, which I've been avoiding until I finished this. Here's Rep. Adam Schiff on how a Democratic House can act "as a check on a dangerous and lawless president." Yeah, it was part of the plan.