It’s a bit of a cliché to quote Casablanca when it comes to Washington’s gift for manufactured outrage, but the classics are classics for a reason. When Captain Louis Renault orders Rick’s saloon shut down, Rick (played by Humphrey Bogart) protests: “How can you close me up? On what grounds?”
Renault (played by Claude Rains) replies, “I am shocked — shocked — to find that gambling is going on in here!”
Then a croupier walks up to Renault and hands him some money: “Your winnings, sir.”
“Oh, thank you very much,” Renault says. “Everybody out at once!”
The scene came immediately to mind amidst the instant outrage over reports that the Trump administration was threatening Alaska’s senators. On Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski voted not to move to debate on the Senate health-care bill. That angered the president. She “really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!” the president complained on Twitter Wednesday morning.
That afternoon, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke called both Murkowski and Alaska senator Dan Sullivan, according to a story first reported by the Alaska Dispatch News. “I’m not going to go into the details,” Sullivan told the paper, “but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs [policies] and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop.”
The story sent “shocked — shocked!” shockwaves across Washington. How dare the Trump administration threaten the state of Alaska!
Let me say up front that what…
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