The last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism, Samuel Johnson famously said. Another refuge is beating up on the local newspaper.

Congressman Devin Nunes’. Attacks on the Fresno Bee – including TV ads – thus show both his character and his desperation.

Nunes is distorting the Bee’s coverage of him and a winery with which he is associated.. He’s also ludicrously suggesting the paper, which has endorsed his previous campaigns, is somehow out to get him. This rings false; Nunes appears to be aping his ally President Trump’s blasts at the media because he has few other options.

Nunes is facing a strong opponent this time, and he has little to run on other than his conspiracy theories and his thoughtless alliance with Trump. He also can’t exactly champion how he has used his chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee to politized the investigation into Russian interference in our elections.

Despite his problems, Nunes’ seat is thought to be safe. But the attacks on the Bee suggest he may be in real trouble. Why would he bother with such an attack if he isn’t feeling the heat – or trying to discredit any dirt the paper may have on him?

He may survive this challenge. But scoundrels eventually run out of refuges.