I had an epiphany about the dual purposes of this hearing.
First, to put Barr under oath to answer questions. What he is doing in answering those questions — meandering, fuzzing, sleazing, lying, wasting time — can’t be entirely controlled by the process. Unless his lies can be fact-checked credibly and instantly, they simply float into the Big Lie cloud the GOP has produced as a campaign tactic.
And not only has Barr lied, he’s dragged in Trump’s lies to make fact-free accusations about Democrats. The AG is not supposed to be a politicized liar, let alone a liar of any stripe.
But I think it is less what Barr says than what he does that is important.
And what he does is meander, fuzz, be a sleazy caricature, a sort of cartoon of the character of lawyers: that they’re untrustworthy, cynical and smarmy, that they use “technical” aspects of law to con juries into finding for their clients.
Barr purports to refer to law, to the Constitution in a sort of contemptuous way — as if he’s in a more elevated, more knowledgeable position than are the people questioning him. And then, having made those casually tossed-off references, he deliberately takes a wide detour.
But the bigger purpose of this hearing is for each political party member to present to the American people what the party’s platform, what the party’s agenda and ethics are. Which party is smarter, more knowledgeable about government, more supportive of the people they represent.
Who is a democrat and who is a fascist?
If you see if this way, you realize Barr is a useful pawn.