Let Us Now Praise Republicans (Sort Of)

Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings in 2015.Jeff Malet/Newscom via ZUMA

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So what’s going on in the aftermath of the Barr memo? The Washington Post reports that many Democrats want to give up on investigating President Trump:

Many Democrats appeared eager to pivot back to health care, an issue that cut their way during last year’s midterm elections, after a summary of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report suggested it was far less damaging to Trump than many had expected.

And Republicans?

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Monday laid out his next steps for dealing with the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. First up: Launch an investigation into whether Hillary Clinton, Trump’s former democratic challenger, got help from President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice.

As much as we despise this stuff, you have to hand it to Republicans. They never gave up on Benghazi. That led directly to Hillary’s emails, and they never gave up on that. It seemed hopeless, but they never gave up. And in the end, they won. They managed to get even a buffoon like Donald Trump elected president.

I’ve never really been someone who believed that one party was fundamentally rougher and tougher than the other. Progressives complain that Democrats let Republicans walk all over them, but it’s the same on the other side: conservatives complain endlessly that Republicans let Democrats walk all over them. Both sides believe the other party is more disciplined, more ruthless, and more strategic than theirs.

But it’s hard to really believe there’s any symmetry here when you read stuff like this. Sure, there are cutthroat operatives in both parties. But look at the big picture. We know almost nothing about the Mueller report except for the carefully curated excerpts provided by a partisan attorney general, but many Democrats are eager to give up anyway. Even though we almost literally know nothing. In the meantime, Republicans, based on nothing at all, are revving up yet another investigation of Hillary Clinton—who is now a private citizen and will never run for any public office again.

This seems to reflect the natural impulses on both sides. Anyone who doubts this really, really needs to read “Swimming with Sharks,” Franklin Foer’s classic account of young Republicans and young Democrats. Be sure to read it to the end.

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