Saxman: Bill Barr Called Bullsh*t

By Chris Saxman

In football, the quarterback has one job – get rid of the ball. Take the hiked ball from the center and get it to another player who then moves the ball toward the goal.

The longer the quarterback possesses the ball, the more time and opportunity the defense has to control the forward progress of the offense. Over the last twenty years in the NFL, no other quarterback has been more efficient successful with the central task of getting rid of the ball than Tom Brady.

Because he has been coached so well over the years and surrounded with other well coached players, his teams have been more dominant in this era than any team in any other era in professional football history.

Some have labeled Brady the GOAT – the Greatest of All Time. I disagree vehemently with that because it is unfair and unjust to compare people who play in different eras. While Brady’s success is undeniable, it has come at a time when others played in much different conditions.

I call this era of football The Passing the Ball While Not Being Allowed to Be Hit Ever or, more succinctly, the Video Game Era of the NFL. Given the rules of this era, Brady has excelled and I mean to take nothing away from his accomplishments.

BUT, can you imagine Tom Brady playing more than 8 to 10 years in the 70s and 80s on rock hard frozen astroturf and actually being allowed to be hit? Frankly, I can and as a Steelers fan I enjoy the imagery. Often.

Brady is the GOHE – the Greatest of His Era and frankly that should be good enough.

Thirty five years ago, the NFL began to change when it realized that the speed and strength of their players need to be accounted for in its rules. The game was moving to more of an aerial based offense versus the old three yards and a cloud of dust running attack. As such, the quarterbacks were becoming more valuable and more vulnerable.

The fans loved the higher scoring games and NFL owners knew they had to protect the position that would determine, ultimately, the value of their businesses – their quarterbacks. Arguably the single most difficult position to play in professional team sports, the quarterback must be protected at all times and at all costs.

Thirty five years ago, on Monday Night Football, the nation watched in horror as Washington’s quarterback, Joe Theismann was hit from his blindside by New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. That tackle ended Theismann’s career. It’s one of those gruesome plays where an athlete is obviously hurt because the viewer sees the physical damage to the body. In Theismann’s case, his leg was…well…yeah…I still can’t describe it and there is no way I am posting a video of it.

There have been other moments captured during competition which are similar or even worse, but that was the first and it changed everything because everyone saw it together and in real time. Undeniable. THAT just happened.

Since then, the Left Tackle in football has been regarded as one of the most valuable positions because it protects the back – the blind side – of right handed quarterbacks.

There’s even a movie about it called Blindside.

In this Blindside scene, Michael Oher is taught by his adoptive mom, Luanne Tuohy, just what the nature of the left tackle means to the team. Tuohy is played brilliantly by Sandra Bullock.

This team is your family, Michael…you have to protect them from those guys.

We are witness to a similar event in our politics namely the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and since today is the last day to release the Kraken, I thought it would be healthy for us to start to get on the same page.

Unlike thirty five years ago when we all watched the gruesome injury to Joe Theismann take place, Americans are not seeing the same things and as such, we have very different opinions as to what is actually going on.

If you have not been following the Axios series by Jonathan Swan, I strongly recommend you do.

The series is called “Off the Rails.”

The series is an excellent job of reporting that lays bare what many have feared – the President of the United States lied, in premeditated fashion, about the 2020 election results.

(Before you comment or reply – please read all six parts of the series)

Many of us have paid close attention from the bleachers, as we did during the years long investigations into the 2016 elections, allowing the process to move forward through the system of checks and balances.

We all have opinions, but we let it play out.

After all, every one is afforded in this country (if one can afford it) one’s day in court.

It’s what we do or what we at least aspire to do. The whole “more perfect” thing.

And because that is what we aim to do, our country has heretofore been able to stay “on the rails” as this American republic keeps chugging along the train track of history.

“More perfect”may just prove the old adage about the destination being the journey.

In the fourth of now six articles in “Off the Rails”, then Attorney General Bill Barr shows he had the stones to say what had to be said. Here’s the reporting:

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president’s theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were “bullshit.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and a few other aides in the room were shocked Barr had come out and said it — although they knew it was true. For good measure, the attorney general threw in a warning that the new legal team Trump was betting his future on was “clownish.”

Here was much maligned Attorney General Bill Barr calling it straight and keeping the republic’s train on the rails. As Swan’s reporting shows later on in the series, it got more dangerous than you could possibly imagine. But back to the scene in the White House…

These things aren’t panning out,” Barr told the president, standing beside his chief of staff Will Levi. “The stuff that these people are filling your ear with just isn’t true.” Barr explained that if Trump wanted to contest the election results, the president’s internal campaign lawyers would have to do it.

The Justice Department, he continued, had looked at the major fraud allegations that Trump’s lawyers had leveled. “It’s just bullshit,” Barr told the president. Cipollone backed up Barr by saying the DOJ was investigating these claims.

Trump pointed at the TV and asked if Barr had been watching the hearing. Barr said he hadn’t. “Maybe you should,” the president said. Barr reiterated that the Justice Department was not ignoring the allegations, but that Trump’s outside lawyers were doing a terrible job.

“I’m a pretty informed legal observer and I can’t fucking figure out what the theory is here,” he added. “It’s just scattershot. It’s all over the hill and gone.”

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. – Mark Twain

The president’s most ardent defenders will tell you that they know he lies, that he exaggerates, and that somehow it’s still okay because at least he’s fighting for them. After all, the all lie.

Reminds me of the scene in “An Officer and a Gentleman” when Richard Gere cries out, “I got no place else to go!”

Yes, it’s a sad place we are in when good, honest people knowingly accept lies if seemingly done on their behalf or more broadly our behalf. They will accept the lies for a supposed greater good.

And yes the media has moved from probably biased to being outright partisan for one party. (Yes, both) Or have you noticed that no one ever argues to the contrary on that charge? Hell, too many disgracefully embrace it as a badge of honor.

The question that has finally been answered by Bill Barr was always this, “How far are you willing to let it go?” Or “When do you have our back?”

When the quarterback – no, not Trump – had his blindside exposed and Lawrence Taylor was barreling down on it.

How far were folks willing go along with the bullshit that President Trump was peddling in his premeditated attempt as the blitzing linebacker was sent to overturn the election?

Thankfully, Bill Barr knew where the line was and is – the law.

The United States Constitution.

Ultimately, adherence to that document protects our franchise the States United and Barr had our back. He protected the family. Barr called Bullshit, resigned his post, and protected his allegiance to the oath he swore to the Constitution. Some argue that he committed a few holding penalties or illegal use of the hands, but maybe that’s part of the larger game. He could have stood up and repeated the lies. Instead, he called “bullshit.”

That so many conservatives in Congress have placed their re-elections over what many of them have run on – protecting the Constitution – should not come as a surprise. They are by definition, after all, representatives of their constituents who have been intentionally misled.

And if you think for a nanosecond that this disease is found only in the Republican Party, then you just aren’t paying attention.

This is the treacherous Whataboutism point in the painful American conversation taking place today. The place where Republicans howl – not incorrectly – that the Democrats did it too! (Yes, they did) NO! The Republicans started it! Like two kids arguing in the back seat.

Seriously. What a crappy argument. Didn’t we learn so very long ago that two wrongs don’t make a right?

This whole sad, pathetic, and dangerous episode underscores one of the realities dogging the political Right in America – they don’t seem to have a goal or purpose other than opposing whatever the Left is trying to do.

Ironically, that is a flipped script from forty years ago when all the Left could do was oppose Ronald Reagan and his ascendent party.

The one goal conservatives used to have was protecting or “conserving” the Constitution.

Now they attack Bill Barr who had their back the whole time.

The sooner they recognize it, the sooner they will be able to put a competitive team on the field to protect the quarterback – The Constitution.

The real GOAT.


-Axios: Jonathan Swan’s multi-part “Off the rails” series….

Chris Saxman represented the 20th District in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002-10. A businessman and active member of the community, he is Executive Director of Virginia FREE, a non-partisan, non-profit that informs the business community in order to advance free enterprise and responsible, pro-business government. He and his wife Michele live in Richmond.

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