March 1, 2019

Chris Christie misses the point:

None of the Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are defending President Trump over the “substance” of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.

“The interesting thing is that there hasn’t been one Republican yet who has tried to defend the president on the substance, and I think that’s something that should be concerning to the White House,” Christie said during an ABC panel....

"And so I think it’s going to, as the day goes on, it’s going to get tired of hearing the attacks on Cohen’s credibility,” Christie added. “He’s not a credible witness, but he does have corroboration on certain things. Where is the defense of the president?”

The Republicans on the committee, like President Trump, are engaging in a base-only strategy -- they're appealing only to Republican voters. (This makes more sense for them than it does for the president. If Trump wants to win reelection, he has to win states that aren't really conservative and that gave him a tiny margin of victory last time. Most GOP members of the House, by contrast, are in districts carefully drawn to be solidly Republican.)

Committee Republicans aren't defending the president because the base doesn't think the president needs defending. The base thinks the president is awesome. The base is certain that any negative statements about the president are Deep State disinformation.

Besides, the base votes Republican principally because the base believes that Republicans' enemies are pure evil. By that standard, committee Republicans are defending the president. If the base thinks Michael Cohen appears really evil, that's proof that Trump is great and Republicans are on God's side.

Negative partisanship -- it's all they've got, but it's all they need.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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