Here's my next newspaper column:
With the first coming of Trump, truth became disposable for ninety-percent of Republicans. In recent days, it’s been revealed just how threatening that is.
First was Trump’s Supreme Court nominee uttering these remarkable words, possibly aimed at certain rumors regarding his selection: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.” All it lacked was the “Period!” concluding Sean Spicer’s first declaration as Trump’s press secretary. Same lyricist? Same relinquishing of integrity as precondition to getting the job?
Coming from the next Justice of the Supreme Court, whose position presumes independence from the executive branch, such an absurd statement was ominous. It indicates – your choice – brazen mendacity, disqualifying ignorance, or the sort of servility despotic leaders demand of their judges. “Finest legal mind,” indeed.
Between helping to chase Bill Clinton’s penis up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, and that outlandish Oval Offal claim, is Mr. Kavanaugh likely to be an impartial jurist? Of course not. Which explains the nomination. That, and his miraculous change of heart regarding special prosecutors and sitting presidents.
If lies emanating from the White House have become the norm, so has proof by Republican Congressfolk that pursuing truth isn’t a priority. Their made-for-public-consumption Peter Strzok “hearing,” really more of a “shouting,” was simultaneously abhorrent and hilarious. Expecting to bag him for all to see, Republican committee members were left holding one. So much so that after their self-inflicted debacle, during which Trey “Benghazi” Gowdy sank ever lower into his roost as Mr. Strzok methodically handed him his sit-bones, Gowdy opined there should be no further public hearings, because they’re a circus.
Said the ringmaster.
Mr. Strzok’s private communications were reckless. And, yes, he considered the implications of a Trump presidency, presciently finding them horrifying. Because it’s categorically foreign to their own behavior, committee Republicans were incredulous that one’s political views could be separated from the pursuit of truth. They all but stood up and sang it.
From the get-go, their premise was laughable: had Mr. Strzok intended to damage Trump, he had the goods and means long before the election; but he didn’t. Yet, placing discrediting the investigations above uncovering truth, Republicans kept at it, tediously emptying their quivers on a confident, unruffled target. Ignoring Russian involvement in our elections, and possible Americans’ activities in furthering it, they cared only about taking down anyone who might piece together what happened. We can only wonder what they’re so afraid of.
With the certainty of sunrise, had President Obama and his team been under similar suspicion, a Republican Congress would have shut down the government, if necessary, to pursue it. Unprecedented, outrageous, they’d have called it. Which, back to Trump and real life, it is. Theirs isn’t just hypocrisy. Not stupidity, either. Or hyper-partisanship. The applicable word is on the tips of my fingers. I’ll think of it.
Topping the current revelations was Trump, after soiling his way through Belgium and England, in Helsinki. Insulting allies, calling the US stupid and foolish, he pandered before meeting Putin and groveled after. In public, on foreign soil, he attacked prior American actions against a murderous dictator for whose “strength” and honesty he vouched. Accepting Putin’s protestation of innocence over findings of every American and European investigative agency except the aforementioned scurrilous (nope, still not the word) Republican House-dwellers, Donald, who’d just eliminated our top cybersecurity post, all but knelt before him and licked his knuckles.
Anyone who heard his words and buys his subsequent (predictably short-lived) “clarification” is as endumbed as Trump assumes.
Notwithstanding his indifference to knowledge, ignorance alone doesn’t explain Trump’s cowed deference. Nor does his troublesome naivety. “I tell you not making obvious, Donald,” hissed Putin, sotto voce. Probably.
(What IS that word?)
We may never know what went on between them in secret, but Trump’s disheartening performance afterward added to the perception of a US “president” behaving like a Russian asset. As-yet unanswered is why, and finding out ought never have become a partisan issue: now, more than ever, it’s an American one. After Helsinki, continued acquiescence is inexcusable.
Whoa! I just remembered the word! All this time, it was right there in our Constitution:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”[Image source]