Everyone is to blame for the current decrepit state of being in our nation’s capital. There’s a reason to assign guilt to and find the roots of dysfunction in every Washington resident institution. And, yes, according to our readers, that includes National Journal.
The hundreds of reader responses to National Journal‘s “Who Broke Washington” series run a full gamut of finger-pointing. Harry Reid’s a “PIMP and the PROSTUTE [sic]” writes one reader. “The Marxist in the White House” is to blame, another reader writes. Or maybe it’s Karl Rove, who’s been “the sole owner of driving the wedge between political parties.” The American people are to blame for not “decisively choosing between the two parties,” writes another. It’s the D.C. media’s fault “for sucking up to Washington’s powerful.” It’s National Journal‘s fault, because, as one reader wrote, “I think you know.”
No joke, two responders even left the blame at the feet of Jesus, compared with one vote for Satan.
This is obviously not scientific. People who comment on online stories (and we love you guys — keep doing your thing) are not representative of America as a whole. But polling backs up a “blame everyone” sentiment. A Pew survey from the end of last month found that 77 percent of Americans felt either angry at or frustrated with the federal government as a whole. And they are also not big fans of journalists and the media. A new CBS News poll finds that Americans are largely split in whom they blame for the government shutdown, with 44 percent blaming congressional Republicans and 35 percent blaming Democrats and the president. Americans also don’t trust, well, polls.
In his “Who Broke Washington” piece today, Ron Fournier places blame on former House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a man who “checks every sleazy box,” from redistricting to a political “my-way-or-the-highway mind-set.” The thing is though — and Fournier gets at this point — this kind of aggressive political sorting is rampant among everyone. That, of course, includes our wonderful commenters.
National Journal‘s readers may be onto something when they blame a wide swath of America (and deities), political and otherwise, for our current political troubles. Large numbers of Americans don’t trust anything, and some resort to political demagoguery with ease. Washington isn’t going to get fixed by retreating to specialized outrage networks and calling each other “PROSTUTES.” The practice of assigning blame itself can become a crutch that keeps things broken. We may not have all “broken” Washington, but we may all deserve some of the blame for keeping it this way.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."