Why, Indeed?

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 02: Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner speaks in the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force April 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. The U.S. government report... WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 02: Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner speaks in the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force April 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. The U.S. government reported an unprecedented 6.6 million jobless claims this morning as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Getting a lot of questions like this one from TPM Reader NL

Help me out here. Why on earth are Democrats/Biden beating this drum? It seems like the right and politically convenient thing to do. We are in a fight to save our democracy and many others around the world. Why are people not calling this shit out and putting MBS and Jared in the spotlight?

It is not like there is some well of support for the country that birthed > 80% of the 9/11 hijackers. There is literally no price Dems will pay for fanning this in the media. It also forces Republicans on the record. Ideally, Republicans line up with Team USA and MBS gets to see what isolation of the kingdom looks like.

What the fuckity fuck? Is fighting just not in the DNA of Dem pols?

Partisans ask a lot of questions like this — and I don’t use that term in at all a negative sense. I mean people highly engaged in the binary engagements of U.S. politics. Much of the time the answer is that most of the population, or even more saliently, most of the population that is politically gettable doesn’t see this as important as you do. You see some echo of this — though I don’t put them on an equal footing — when GOP partisans demand their elected leaders say Benghazi or Hunter Biden’s laptop, just a lot more loudly.

But there’s a bit more than that here. And I’ve been getting a lot of emails like this one from NL. Democrats are in a fight for their lives. There are policy levers, electoral campaign levers, the other side’s scandals levers. They really need to be pulling all of them at once, even though at least a couple of them are really broken down for reasons mostly beyond Democrats’ control. But here you have an opposition party that has married itself to Russia for the last seven years and the ex-President’s son-in-law who is engaged in some of the most massive corruption in American history.

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More to the point these stories aren’t unrelated. They’re part of a common story, the story of princelings and authoritarianism that is playing out in Ukraine and those Saudi dinners. So, yes, this really does deserve a lot more focus — and not just giving it a whirl for a few days, but on a sustained basis. We are a story-telling species. That’s how we understand reality. So you need to tell story in a way that connects the dots and do so over time. And aggressively. Republican politicians for a lot of reasons — and many of them not at all good — are simply better at this. And they’re helped along by a compliant media.

There’s a strong sleep-walking-toward-the-abyss feeling at this moment from the Democratic leadership. Some of that is rooted, I think, in a collective sense of resignation that the 2022 midterm is going to be really bad. And I think there’s a good chance that’s right. But Democrats should be hammering these stories not only because they are political advantageous but because they are the reality of the situation. And there’s little that politicians or a political movement can do that is more important than telling voters the reality of the situation, whether that yields good short term electoral results or not.

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