So let us begin with what the president tweeted on Sunday.
“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes—and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”
I haven’t written about Trump in a bit, and so let’s review. I opposed him throughout the Republican primaries, and was betting on a different horse. Character matters, and character counts. After he secured the nomination, I continued to disbelieve in the conservative noises he was making. I wrote in the name of another candidate in the general election. After he was elected, I was surprised at the depth of my relief over the fact that Hillary was out of the picture. And when I use the phrase “depth of my relief,” I am talking about a couple million fathoms. Not only was I surprised at my relief on that front, I was also surprised when Trump started keeping various campaign promises. That was not what I expected.
All of my political life as an adult, I was accustomed to people running to the right, and then governing to the middle. This was the way of the world, and it even happened with candidates I was convinced wanted to govern to the right. “Not as conservative as I’d hoped” was the general way of things, and this, “more conservative than anybody dared to hope” was an unexpected windfall. It was like finding a winning lottery ticket in your pocket, one that you didn’t buy.
Put it another way. All my life I have been lied to by honorable men. Now I find myself in the weird position of having been told the truth by a dishonorable man. One hardly knows where to look.
As an aside, too many evangelicals are pining for the good old days. They would much rather be lied to by respectable men than told the truth by a disreputable man.
I say all this so that you will know that the following (keen) analysis is coming from someone who is ambivalent, conflicted, jarred, tangled, and having way more fun than I thought I would be having under this administration. The whole spectacle is far more gaudy than my taste generally runs, but at the same time Trump has certainly shown a genuine talent for getting the chimps jumping. This means that my evening trip to the zoo, whenever I am watching the news, is far more interesting than it was before. I find myself chortling over the things that the disreputable Trump is doing, instead of the way it used to be, when I was in anguish over what all the responsible people were doing.
But here is the anomaly. The tweet I began with is plainly vintage Trump, and it certainly highlights the crazy town times we live in. Trump, by all accounts a cad and a bounder, is once more doing a profoundly honorable thing, periodically saying extraneous, unnecessary and unhelpful things along the way. In the meantime, his adversaries in the Deep State, Respectable Men who graduated from Respectable Colleges and who have Respectable Positions and who have had the Respectable Media slather them over with multiple layers of additional Respectability, are behaving like some of the seedier elements of the Sicilian Mafia.
Let me quote Andrew McCarthy on this, giving you an able summary of some of the monkeyshines in question.
It has now been confirmed that the Trump campaign was subjected to spying tactics under counterintelligence law — FISA surveillance, national-security letters, and covert intelligence operatives who work with the CIA and allied intelligence services. It made no difference, apparently, that there was an ongoing election campaign, which the FBI is supposed to avoid affecting; nor did it matter that the spy targets were American citizens, as to whom there is supposed to be evidence of purposeful, clandestine, criminal activity on behalf of a foreign power before counterintelligence powers are invoked.
But what was the rationale for using these spying authorities?
The fons et origo of the counterintelligence investigation was the suspicion—which our intelligence agencies assure us is a fact—that the Democratic National Committee’s server was hacked by covert Russian operatives. Without this cyber-espionage attack, there would be no investigation. But how do we know it really happened? The Obama Justice Department never took custody of the server—no subpoena, no search warrant. The server was thus never subjected to analysis by the FBI’s renowned forensics lab, and its evidentiary integrity was never preserved for courtroom presentation to a jury.
This whole thing is a cartoon. All the ruling elites are acting like a coyote in a cartoon. This is not the Justice Department, this is the Justice Melodrama Theater. This is inside-the-Beltway crinkum crankum. For a patriotic American, this embarrassing enough to make your ankles get hot. If a distinterested pursuit of justice were a Miss America finalist, this is a pig in a petticoat. If a disinterested pursuit of justice were a fifty dollar latte from an upscale Manhattan joint, this is a cold cup of coffee dregs in a Flying J styrofoam cup, with a cigarette butt floating in it. This whole fiasco is a regular floor show. Somebody needs to get this oozing travesty back in the jar and screw the lid on it. This is premium grade dreck. We are dealing with a small regiment of attorneys, all of whom graduated with the greasiest tongues in their class. In case I have not made my meaning clear, this pursuit of nakedly partisan goals by means of our justice system and intelligence agencies is demented and twaddlesome. The dishonesty glows with an eerie, incandescent fire, the kind that Dante used to write about. If I were one of the people involved in this junior high jive show, I would ask for directions to some place on earth where nobody would know me, and would live out my days with a paper bag over my head. The case against the president is like that homeless guy’s saucepan—many good points, but no bottom. This whole thing is acting like a fifth rate coup attempt in a ninth rate banana republic. The independent prosecutor would land this thing except that the airport is socked in with clouds of stupidity. The pretended impartiality of these investigations tastes like a bowl of stewed hay. If world class justice were a thoroughbred winning the Derby, this endeavor is a spavined mare with the staggers. We have a bunch of Ivy League attorneys earning big money chasing little pink dinosaurs.
I have expressed myself in this way because I didn’t want this scandal to end if I still had any music still inside me.
And the basic juxtaposed conclusion is inescapable. Donald Trump, being manifestly the kind of man he is, has done an honorable thing and called for an investigation of that which manifestly calls for an honest investigation. And all the honorable types are wearing huge gobs of swamp slime as though it were some kind of an external ornament.
One last comment. Despite my “about time” approval of a real investigation into the Whited Sepulchers of Washington (WSW), I nevertheless know that there will be all-in Trump supporters who will be peeved at the daylight I still put between myself and the president (e.g. comments like “manifestly the kind of man he is”). Look. The fact that I can see what is going on right now means that I am not blinded to the big picture. I hope Trump wins the fight he is now in, and I hope that he wins it decisively. But neither was I blind when Trump was suggesting Ted Cruz’s father was implicated in the JFK assassination. You know, I kind of still remember that.
Nevertheless, it is possible to recognize that Trump, despite everything, is, comparatively speaking, the good guy in this fight. When we look at him, we know what we’ve got. When I look at him, I have no illusions whatever. But what is happening is this. The shimmering veil of illusion that used to bestow respectability on … the Swamp, on the Deep State . . . no, no, overused so let’s call it the Deep Swamp . . . is starting to unshimmer more than a little bit.
Trump has had metaphorical smallpox in his earlier life, about seventeen times. And the basic trick that the Respectable but Vile Establishment has used for years, if any reformers gets too close to their precious, is to contaminate them with smallpox and bustle them off to the pest house, thus quarantining them. And along comes Trump, no heroic figure, certainly, but nevertheless immune to their basic tactic—having had smallpox so many times already, you see. Out of all the tawdry accusations that have been hurled at him, let us acknowledge with discrete understatement that not all of them are false. Does anyone seriously believe that a fling with Stormy and a subsequent payoff were “unthinkable scenarios?” Does anybody hear about stuff like that and react with “oh, my great aunt, not Donald J. Trump!”?
Bueller? Bueller? Mueller?Superficial moralists in the evangelical world conclude that all of this is the result of a sad degradation of our national morals, not to mention the selling out of the evangelical conscience.
No, the undeniable fact is that nobody cares about Stormy or anybody else like her. Superficial moralists in the evangelical world conclude that all of this is the result of a sad degradation of our national morals, not to mention the selling out of the evangelical conscience. No, what is starting to happen is that we are finally cleaning house because our national morals are so important to us. But what has thrown everybody among the Captain Obvious Pundits is the fact that the great housecleaning has started with the pretentious and polished hypocrites, instead of with the cads.