Sunday, February 04, 2018


Was the release of the Nunes memo a success for Republicans? Some people think so.

But I have a hunch that this story -- which is completely unrelated -- says a lot about how ordinary Americans think:
A distraught father who lunged at disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in a court proceeding Friday seems to have a lot of support from the public.

As of early Saturday, more than 700 donors had pledged a total of more than $23,000 to help Randall Margraves, whose daughters were among Nassar's molestation victims.

Co-worker Aaron Pangborn said he set up the GoFundMe page to help Margraves with any potential legal fees resulting from Friday's courtroom incident....

“As father of 2 girls, the video made me cry ... that you were stopped before you reached him,” supporter Robert Wykoski wrote. “I would do the same.”

Margraves leaped at Nassar on Friday after listening to two of his daughters deliver victim-impact statements....

He requested five minutes alone with the “demon,” then used an expeltive to describe Nassar. When the judge said no, he asked for one minute. When she declined again, he ran at Nassar, but court officers tackled him almost immediately and arrested him....
Margraves wanted the right to inflict physical harm on Nassar, and quite a few people are fine with that. I'd like to see the results of a poll asking whether his request should have been granted. I don't think this would have received majority backing, but I'm guessing that support would be fairly high, particularly among men.

How much do ordinary Americans really care about the rule of law? The arguments both sides are making with regard to the Nunes memo assume support for proper procedure and due process. But to what extent do ordinary Americans believe in proper pocedure. Do they care about it in this case? Or do they regard proper procedure as a complex, arcane matter that only elitists can master?

The right hasn't put much effort into trying to make Carter Page a sympathetic person. People who are very interested in politics (across the ideological spectrum) know who he is and have opinions about him, but do average Americans? And haven't Democrats and non-conservative journalists established that Page is hanging out with Russians in a suspicious way? (This morning we learn from Time that Page wrote a letter to an academic publisher in 2013 claiming to be "an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit.") So apart from pro-Trump zealots, how many ordinary Americans really care if he's being spied on, regardless of whether the spies dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's?

On the other hand, do ordinary Americans care about the outrageous conduct of Nunes and the rest of the right? Do they care that the FBI and intelligence community are being attacked? An Axios/Survey Monkey poll released this weekend suggests that non-Republicans have generally favorable opinions of the FBI, but a lot of respondents seem to have no opinion.

i think this is all being argued on ground that matters to well-informed partisans, but not to the rest of America. I don't think the past week's events will change many minds -- either way.

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