Devin Nunes as Jacques Clouseau

Over at The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway details how Devin Nunes went from a snackpack-ish young Republican (slightly hawkish on Russia) to the victim of endless media hit pieces as he stood up for what's right and defeated Adam Schiff's lame attempts to push the Russian collusion story.

For those who don't get the reference...

It's a great read, but one part about it really stuck out to me:

The daily onslaught of Russia collusion stories made life difficult for anyone who stood against the tide. The media were in a constant state of hysteria. Nunes stood mostly alone in insisting there was no evidence Trump had colluded with Russia, but there were strong indications the FBI’s investigation of the issue had been corrupted. It wasn’t just Democrats, media operatives, and leftwing groups who were attacking him but even fellow Republicans.

Sen. Lindsay Graham frequently appeared on television in the last year to complain about the Russia collusion hoax. He even held a couple of hearings in the fall of 2020 — long after it mattered. But back in 2017, Graham went on NBC News to mock Nunes, saying he was running “an Inspector Clouseau investigation.” Republican Rep. Walter Jones called on Nunes to resign from the committee leadership.

When Graham was on NBC News, did the anchor or whoever not mention (or not know) how ridiculous that analogy was? Yes yes it works as a soundbyte, a pithy thing to put next to his photo in the newspaper article about his interview the next day.

There's only one teeny tiny minor problem with this comparison:

Clouseau was always right about another character's guilt or innocence.

Just like Nunes.

In the first movie, nobody else on the police force (there's no Dreyfus yet, but there's Henri and Tucker) agreed with Clouseau's contention that "The Phantom" was actually Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven): the police are trying to figure out his identity with the sting operation at the beginning (the one that almost catches Clouseau's wife), and it's heavily implied that the police force isn't interested in the Lytton-as-Phantom theory and that's why Clouseau goes to Switzerland to catch Lytton in the act himself. So if Nunes was running a "Clouseau investigation" in this case it means going above and beyond to nail the guilty party (that only Nunes recognized was evil). You can't even necessarily call it a bundled investigation really: the zany physical comedy you associate with the character actually wasn't present in the original 1963 film: I actually rewatched it about a month ago (during an evening snowfall, and I had European ski resorts on the brain). 

In the second movie, nobody else on the police force (particularly Dreyfus, but also Hercule because Clouseau's underling's name has to start with H for some reason) believes that Maria Gambrelli is innocent. So if Nunes is running a "Clouseau investigation" he's busy trying to to prove how a person (Trump) is innocent even when every official voice is insisting he's guilty. Remind you of anything you'd heard of over the past four years? Here's where the film mocks Clouseau as always making things worse as he doggedly pursues his goal: this is the personification of Inspector Clouseau that the general public thinks of.

But calling Nunes' efforts to prove how Schiff and the Democrats invented the entire Russian collusion hoax "an Inspector Clouseau investigation" isn't the insult that 2017 Graham thought it was. It actually fits the facts on the ground better than he might think.