I don’t get it. Politicians seem incapable of doing things that strike me as so obvious as to be no-brainers. Let me give you a case in point. I have now watched Michael Avenatti on television a good many times. Avenatti, for those of you abroad or not paying attention, is the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the porn star who appears in porn films as Stormy Daniels. Avenatti has become the darling of cable news interviewers for one very simple reason: he answers the questions he is asked simply and directly. “Have other women come forward to you with stories about Trump and non-disclosure agreements [NDAs]?” Answer, “Yes.” “Can you identify the man whom Ms. Clifford says threatened her?”” Answer, “Not yet.” “Was Ms. Clifford verbally bullied into signing the NDA?” Answer, “Yes.” “Will you tell us how?” “No.”
The effect, at least on me, is galvanic. You simply never hear a public figure give straight answers to straight questions, even when they are willing to do so. They seem incapable of it, as though they have been programmed by handlers and focus groups to spew tested word salads.
Let me tell you what has provoked this rant. Yesterday or the day before I was watching Tom Perez being interviewed by Chuck Todd on MSNBC. Perez was Obama’s Secretary of Labor for four years and is now Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a Clinton choice. The DNC has launched a civil suit against the Republican National Committee for twenty million dollars in damages to compensate for the Republicans’ role in the hacking of the DNC e-mails. I did not know, or had forgotten, that in the aftermath of Watergate, the DNC actually won a $700,000 civil judgment against the RNC for the break-in at the Watergate Apartment Complex that started the whole affair.
Todd observed that County Democratic branches were upset about the suit, fearing that it would drain away money that ought to be used in the 2018 mid-term elections to support local Democratic candidates. Then he asked Perez, “How much will the suit cost the DNC?” Perez replied with a word salad of talking points that did not answer the question and left me completely unwilling to believe anything Perez said.
Here is what should have happened [figures invented for the purpose of making a point]:
Question: “How much will the suit cost?”
Answer: “4.2 million dollars. Maybe more or less depending on how things go. But not one penny will come from the DNC. We have set up a separate DNC Legal Defense Fund [ed. cf the NAACP Legal Defense Fund] and no expenses of the suit will be paid for by DNC funds that must be used to support local candidates this Fall.”
Just that. Period. Now, to be sure, the answer is somewhat duplicitous, since presumably anyone who would donate to the DNCLDF would also be willing to give to the DNC. But the psychological effect on the listener would be electric.
These people are not stupid. They may be pigs, but they are not stupid. Why can’t they see this?