Thursday, August 18, 2022

Ain't Gonna Clap For Maggie's Form No More

Lithograph by Andy Warhol, via Piazzart.

Folks, I think I'm breaking up with Maggie Haberman, at long last, though not for the reasons you might expect, after today's "Mar-a-Lago Memo", in which she puzzles over the question of why Trump was so unwilling to give the White House documents back when the National Archives, and eventually the FBI, demanded them. 

Was it because he found them so darn exciting?

White House aides described how excited he was to show off all the material he had access to, including letters from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which he routinely waved at visitors, alarming his advisers.

Was it because he figures he's the Emperor, and all that stuff naturally belongs to him?

“From my own experiences with him, which is bolstered by those around him who are speaking in his defense, his actions seem to fit the pattern that as ‘king,’ he and the state are one and the same,” said Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer who frequently handles cases related to national security and security clearances...

LOL, "those who are speaking in his defense" should have a pretty fair idea.

Or is it more boyish carelessness, like his habit of tearing documents up and tossing the pieces onto the floor or into the toilet, a scorn for the adults who keep pestering him about national security? At other times, he'd dump it into a box and squirrel it in his room for no apparent reason at all!

Mr. Trump repeatedly had material sent up to the White House residence, and it was not always clear what happened to it. He sometimes asked to keep material after his intelligence briefings, but aides said he was so uninterested in the paperwork during the briefings themselves that they never understood what he wanted it for.

Ever occur to you Jared might have asked him to?

No, reader, it does not.

And of course Davidson too misses the big one (in my opinion), that he could have been holding onto the documents to conceal them from authorities, even though obstruction of justice is one of the possible crimes laid out in the search warrant. 

But for Haberman, never even for a second does it cross her mind that Trump could possibly have any criminal purpose for committing the crime. And thus her coverage in this case, to paraphrase Talleyrand, is worse than a crime; it's embarrassingly stupid.

Because, as it turns out, far from being the cynical exploiter she's always accused of being, her biggest fault as a journalist is a complete lack of guile. She's been tricking Jared and Ivanka all these years into passing her the most convincing evidence of Trump's psychopathy, ignorance, and recklessness, the things that make him such a terrible danger, and she doesn't even know it. To her, Trump is something like the dotty old earl of Emsworth in Wodehouse's Blandings Castle novels, a load of laffs, incapable of causing any serious harm, a source of the most innocent of merriment. She can't believe it's serious.

I thought she was a nasty person with ears as sharp as her tongue, and a brilliant writer, and it turns out her writing is so good because she has no clue what she's doing. She's like a journalistic equivalent of Andy Warhol, who carried out a searing critique of postmodern culture with an IQ (they say) of 86. 

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