As Erik Wemple satirically noted, the great experiment is how long cable news can talk about a report it doesn’t have? Lionel Richie had the answer. Since the day after the 2016 election, well-intended people have been pounding away. At every twit. Every policy, appointment, act and utterance. I warned some friends, smart and passionate people, who took that path that they would not only fail to achieve their goal, but would undermine their cause by doing so.
One lie is a tragedy. One million is a statistic.
Call it burnout. Outrage fatigue. It’s not that Trump’s every act wasn’t worthy of criticism, huge or trivial, significant or merely the sort of twist that could only matter if your hatred was so deep that you were blind to the fact that no one outside of your echo chamber cared. Yet, there they were, pounding away. Daily. Hourly. Pounding, pounding, pounding. Only the most passionate bothered to listen anymore. It was obvious this would happen.
The only possible outcome of constant Trump Outrage was inertia. The indiscriminate, constant attacks guaranteed that serious dangers would be swept together with banal offenses, and a nation would grow inured to the din of screaming. Some suffered Trump Delusional Syndrome, where even things that weren’t particularly bad were twisted into heinous crimes against humanity. Things that were bad, even very bad, were lost in the droning. It wasn’t merely hyperbolic, but off-the-charts crazy. Some will disagree. Of course they will.
My old father, no longer with me, would call me every day to tell me about what he learned the night before from the television show he called “Rachel,” that this was the end for Trump. “Rachel says this is it, he’s done.” I would reply that he’s still the president, despite Rachel, and would likely still be tomorrow as well. He struggled to understand this, as he was reared in an age when the news was reasonably reliable.
There was one thing, however, for which everyone said they were waiting. There was a man in whom so many reposed a level of faith as their savior that was religious. Sure, he had been less adored when he headed the FBI, but now, as independent counsel, he was immune from criticism and promised to deliver without fear or favor. This would be it. This would be the end. While there were doubts swirling everywhere else, there was no doubt, none, that his would be the voice upon which a nation could rely. And he would end this national nightmare.
Robert Mueller delivered his report to the Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, who then sent the letter he was required by law to send to Congress. This was . . . not the letter they were looking for. The special counsel will not be indicting anyone else. Not the Trump children. Not Trump. The indictments already obtained, the convictions in hand, are condemning of the nature of the people with whom “Individual 1” associated, the deceitful and unlawful way in which his businesses, and putative charity, were run. That the incessant dumb, petty, vulgar and false noise that emitted constantly from Trump’s twitter was exactly what it was already known to be. There was no edge left to play, blunted by the constant rubbing of the resistance.
But it does not do the one critical thing they were supposed to do: prove Trump stole the election from Hillary with the aid of Putin.
The Mueller Report is in, and no matter what it says, it will not be the key to bringing Trump down.
People lie to hide the truth. They lie to hide crimes. And while everyone is dying for a peek at Robert Mueller’s bombshell report to see if he says any crimes were committed by the Trump campaign in 2016, the truth is actually already out there, hidden in plain sight.
Mr. Mueller’s report may never go public, but we don’t need a peek at the recommendations he delivered on Friday to Attorney General William Barr to credibly assess that something unethical and likely illegal went on in 2016. The repeated lies told by Trump campaign staff members — lies about their connections to Russian figures — already spin a grand tale of conspiracy and deceit. And it’s a tale so suspect and sordid that President Trump and his associates felt the need to lie to hide it from law enforcement.
This concession speech comes from the president of the American Constitution Society, Caroline Fredrickson, who is smart enough to grasp that her dream has died. It’s been “so suspect and sordid” all along, and yet it came to nothing. And that’s where it will remain. Not necessarily because that’s where it should remain, but because America is tired of the constant screaming about the huge and petty.
Trump didn’t win the day because he’s deserving. He didn’t win because he’s some master at 8D chess. The terminally outraged gave him the victory he could never achieve on his own by their devaluing any wrong by overstating every detail, no matter how trivial or even non-existent, until most stopped listening, stopped caring.
The best and last hope was the Mueller Report, and while its substance remains under wraps, it will not bring down a presidency. At best, it will confirm that this vulgar, amoral ignoramus is what has always been obvious, and yet never served to achieve the goal of ousting him from office.
The shift in strategy has already been underway, unseating him in 2020. But the consequence of delusion is to believe that he’s sufficiently hated to accept anyone in his place, including those who would remake America into a socialist, social justice Utopia dedicated to the reinvention of the hierarchy of the privileged and the oppressed.
While the popularity of a trio of women, conclusively disproving the fantasy that women are any more endearing than the men they replaced, who fulfill the role of absurd cartoon characters that Trump would have to create if they hadn’t been drawn by the Democrats themselves, the newly awoken politically passionate dolts have done the impossible: made the alternative to the Trump the lesser of evils.
We will be deluged with spin, cries, speculation and rationalization, all of which will be believed with a fervor unseen since the first Crusade, now that the Sword of Mueller has fallen and Trump remains in place. And if you failed to see how this was the inevitable outcome from the start, then you suffer from the delusion. Trump could never have done this without you.