Wednesday, May 15, 2019


I have doubts about this:
More than 20 House Democrats will stage a marathon public reading of the entire redacted Mueller report beginning Thursday at noon, and likely ending in the early morning hours of Friday.

“We’ve been saying for weeks that if you think there was no obstruction and no collusion, you haven’t read the Mueller report. So the ongoing quest has been, ‘How do we get that story out there while we are waiting for the witnesses to come in?’" said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) who has been organizing the effort since Friday.

Scanlon is the vice chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee....

The reading of all 448 pages of the report will take an estimated 12 to 14 hours, Scanlon said. Shifts will be divided up among the readers, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who will follow Scanlon as the second reader.

“I’d be amazed if even 1 percent of the American people have read the Mueller report, in part or in its entirety,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who has specifically volunteered to read the last few pages. “We have to catch up the American people any way we can. I would hope this would spur reading of the Mueller report all over the country.”
This might get some attention -- although at a moment when Alabama is outlawing abortion, a trade war is heating up, and we're inching toward war with Iran, it doesn't seem to be getting a lot. It might pique the interest of a few people, but I Democrats could do better.

If you say that most Americans aren't reading the report because it's long and written in legalistic language, why would a marathon oral presentation of the same text be more compelling? And the readers are House Democrats? Look, Jerry Nadler is my congressman and I love him to death, but he's not exactly Olivier. Get some celebrities to do the reading -- or, if you think that's tacky, find ordinary Americans who've suffered in the Trump years. Give the event a sense of drama. Hell, if you got Hillary Clinton to do it for real it would at least draw more attention, though the "sore loser" whining (in the mainstream as well as right-wing media) would probably negate any benefit.

I accept the premise that the style and length of the Mueller report prevent its findings from being easily digestible by the general public. So boil the findings down. We need an elevator-pitch summary of each of the most damning charges in the report, all presented in well-made TV ads or Web ads, one outrage per ad. Where appropriate, the crimes should be compared to the crimes of Richard Nixon, so it's clear that this is serious stuff. Hasn't the argument in favor of further hearings in the House been that if the information in the Mueller report is restated in more vivid language, the public will outraged? Well, do that outside the halls of Congress. Get the word out in the most compelling manner possible. Oh, and every TV appearance by a Democrat talking about this subject should focus on a specific bad act by Trump. (If the parties were reversed, Fox News would have expended considerable energy boiling the report down this way, and rolling out the allegations one at a time, in easily processed form.)

The marathon reading is something. But we need more.


UPDATE, THURSDAY. And no, this isn't the answer:

This ad is only secondarily about how bad Trump is. It's primarily about how bad Democrats are, because they're not pursuing impeachment. Impeachment can't lead to conviction given the makeup of the Senate, as even Tom Steyer knows, though in theory it can educate the public about Trump's crimes. But this ad doesn't educate. It whizzes through Trump's misdeeds, impatient to get to the indictment of the real enemy, the Democratic Party. It's worse than useless, and I say that as someone who's a frequent critic of the Democrats.

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