Saturday, March 17, 2018

McCabe Move Part Of Strategy

Chris Hayes tweets "My prediction is that the McCabe firing, like the Comey firing, will end up backfiring."

It might. I was never convinced Trump would (successfully) lean on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but I've never been slick enough to be elected President of the United States of America. Donald Trump has.

Donald Trump has made several moves, let alone issued numerous tweets, which probably are tactically bizarre. When he recently announced steel and aluminum tariffs, several GOP members of Congress were very skeptical, even Senate Finance Commmittee chairperson Orrin Hatch, who argued "Tariffs on steel and aluminum are a tax hike the American people don’t need and can’t afford." That should count as impassioned condemnation from a guy who has said Trump is "the best President I've served 'under' (including) Lincoln, Reagan, and James K. Polk." (Orrin Hatch is quite old.)

The President already has walked back a portion of that plan. Similarly, he has suggested capital punishment for drug dealers, not ony an excessively punitive but borderline bizarre idea that will not come to fruition.

But the push for a protectionist trade policy and killing criminals is part of a larger Trumpian strategy for 2020.  The popularity of tariffs nationwide is questionable, but it is likely the idea has gained him net support in Wisonsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Like the death penalty, it sends the message that Donald Trump is a no-nonsense, authentic guy who will stand up for the average person, whether beleagured manufacturing workers or voters he has convinced street crime has exploded out of control in cities.

Fun fact: The "Don't Mess with Texas" slogan was created by an ad agency, working under contract from state government in Austin, to mobilize support of the public to change its habits to reverse the epidemic of litter spiraling out of control in the state. Nonetheless, it quickly became a go-to line for pundits, politicians, and others, unaware of its origin, to demonstrate their swagger.

Tariffs and drug crime are not at the top of President Trump's consciousness. Neither is Andrew McCabe, no matter how vindictive Grump is.  But they are part of an overall strategy. And now we have a dismissal which may in and of itself- as Hayes expects- be a bad tactic, but part of a clever strategy.  Politico reports

But McCabe sees bigger forces at work in the Justice Department inspector general’s inquiry — which he views as part of a broader campaign to impugn him for his role in handling the FBI’s Russia investigation and his ties to special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Look, it’s personally devastating. It’s so tough on my family,” he told POLITICO during a wide-ranging interview conducted earlier this month, before his firing.

“But at some point, this has to be seen in the larger context,” said McCabe, 49, who says he has voted for every Republican presidential nominee until he sat out the 2016 contest entirely. “And I firmly believe that this is an ongoing effort to undermine my credibility because of the work that I did on the Russia case, because of the investigations that I oversaw and impacted that target this administration.”

“They have every reason to believe that I could end up being a significant witness in whatever the special counsel comes up with, and so they are trying to create this counter-narrative that I am not someone who can be believed or trusted,” McCabe added. “And as someone who has been believed and trusted by really good people for 21 years, it’s just infuriating to me.”

"Trying to create this counter-narrative that I am not someone who can be believed or trusted” is the primary purpose- but only part of the President's motivation.

In getting rid (he hopes) of McCabe, Trump once again has said "you're fired." Typically, he has had others, usually the Chief of Staff (his bodyguard in the case of James Comey) do the actual dirty deed.

But Donald J. Trump rose to national prominence in large measure because of his willingness- even delight- in firing people on "The Apprentice." Many people confused the program with real life, and many people, prone to live their lives vicariously through other people, envy and admire individuals able to snap their fingers and magically get rid of undesirables.

The McCabe move was part of the the Trump strategy- for defeating Mueller and for currying favor with voters. It's Donald Trump, Tough Guy, an image as divorced from reality as Donald Trump, Patriot.

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