I can't think of a better illustration of our partisan divide than the reactions to Attorney General William Barr's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Democrats are furious at Barr's defense of his roll-out of the Mueller report and his assertions of executive power. Some Democrats want Barr to resign, others want him to be impeached, and Nancy Pelosi says he's guilty of lying to Congress. Republicans have found a hero.
Barr is the new Dick Cheney: a stocky, bespectacled, confrontational, blunt, intelligent, unapologetically conservative, experienced, and high-powered official who believes in and fights for the office of the president. Just as Democrats loathed Cheney as a bugaboo manipulating President George W. Bush to further the interests of Halliburton, they attack Barr as a dishonest factotum of President Trump's. The qualities that drove Democrats batty over Cheney—his inscrutability, his cleverness, his asperity, and above all his success—make them incensed about Barr. These happen to be qualities Republicans find appealing.