THE POL­I­TICS OF SCANDAL

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

“Let’s not get car­ried away,” ad­vises New York Times colum­nist David Brooks in a sur­pris­ing new op-ed which cites how lit­tle ev­i­dence of “un­der­ly­ing crime” has sur­faced re­gard­ing the pos­si­ble re­la­tion­ship be­tween Pres­i­dent Trump and Rus­sia.

“In the pol­i­tics of scandal, at least since Water­gate, you don’t have to en­gage in per­sua­sion or even talk about is­sues. Po­lit­i­cal vic­to­ries are won when you de­stroy your po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents by catch­ing them in some wrong­do­ing. You get se­duced by the de­light­ful pos­si­bil­ity that your op­po­nent will be elim­i­nated. Pol­i­tics is sim­ply about moral su­pe­ri­or­ity and per­sonal de­struc­tion,” writes Mr. Brooks.

“The pol­i­tics of scandal is de­light­ful for cable news. It’s hard to build rat­ings ar­gu­ing about health in­sur­ance leg­is­la­tion. But it’s easy to build rat­ings if you are a glo­ri­fied Court TV, if each whiff of scandal smoke gen­er­ates hours of ‘Break­ing News’ in­ten­sity and a del­uge of spec­u­la­tion from good-look­ing for­mer pros­e­cu­tors,” he con­tin­ues.

“The pol­i­tics is great for those forces re­spon­si­ble for the lawyer­iza­tion of Amer­i­can life. It takes power out of the hands of vot­ers and elected of­fi­cials and puts power in the hands of pros­e­cu­tors and de­fense at­tor­neys. The pol­i­tics of scandal drives a wedge through so­ci­ety. Po­lit­i­cal elites get swept up in the scan­dals. Most vot­ers don’t re­ally care,” he writes.

Mr. Brooks later con­cludes, “Things are so bad that I’m go­ing to have to give Trump the last word. On June 15 he tweeted, ‘They made up a phony col­lu­sion with the Rus­sians story, found zero proof, so now they go for ob­struc­tion of jus­tice on the phony story.’ Un­less there is some new rev­e­la­tion, that may turn out to be pretty ac­cu­rate com­men­tary.”

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