A Pyrrhic Prosecution

Former President Donald Trump. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

One challenge of being a professional take-slinger is keeping track of the takes you’ve slung, particularly if you’re slinging them every day. When news broke last night that Donald Trump will probably soon be charged with a crime in Manhattan, the topic seemed familiar—dimly. “Haven’t I written before about the politics of a Trump indictment?” I wondered.

I had, it turns out. About 100 newsletters ago.

Another challenge is the risk of issuing conflicting takes. There’s nothing wrong with that in principle: As John Maynard Keynes (didn’t quite) put it, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” But self-contradiction violates an implied warranty of punditry, that the sage columnist sees further and with greater clarity as he gazes across the political landscape than the average Joe does.

Thinking that the politics of indicting Trump were good in November and not so good in March risks breaching the warranty and—gasp—calling that sagacity into question.

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