There was once an episode of The Simpsons called “That ’90s Show.” I occasionally feel I’m watching such a show when I observe politics today. I wrote about this in a little post yesterday. I’d like to add some more now.
On CNN (Fake News!), the president of the Family Research Council said, “Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan.” He was referring to President Trump. “They let him have a do-over. They said, ‘We’ll start afresh with you and we’ll give you a second chance.’”
I thought of a phrase that President Clinton leaned on: “I believe in a God of second chances.”
I’ve also thought of the extreme contrast between Clinton and Ken Starr, the independent counsel in a slew of Clinton scandals. There could hardly have been two more different people in America, we all said. It was a clash of cultures.
Starr once allowed that he liked to take a morning run, by the water. He’d stop and sing a hymn and offer a prayer. Do you recall how Clinton’s man James Carville mocked this? “He’s a devout, virtuous, and God-fearing warrior, come to bathe in the healing waters of the Potomac and smite all the sodomites and fornicators from Washington.”
Now, think of Donald Trump and Robert Mueller.
Mueller was a Marine officer who fought in Vietnam. Highly decorated. As a Justice Department official, he took on Noriega, Libyan terrorists, the Gambino crime family, and other such characters. He was a Republican FBI director. He is so straight — so square, you might say — he insists that the men working for him wear white shirts (not blue, for example). He is married to the girl he met when they were both 17. He is a churchgoer. And so on.
This, too, is a culture clash. Mueller and Trump could not be more different in their backgrounds, careers, and ideals. Under ordinary circumstances, Mueller would be conservatives’ cup of tea. But these are extraordinary times. And they may be just warming up.