Americans don't think of Russian strongman
We don't see him as a literary man, but as a man of action, at least in his own mind. In Putin-approved photos, he wrestles wild beasts and bends them to his severe Russian will. He rides horses with his shirt off, that sort of thing.
So we don't see Putin with pen in hand, at a desk by the fire, with loyal serfs and lickspittle oligarchs bringing him tea as he sketches out a broad outline of chaos in a faraway republic.
Yet with this ongoing Russian business, he couldn't have a more compelling American political drama to enjoy if he'd written it all by himself: the anti-Trump liberal media and their allies, the
Ignored in all the recent partisan political rage is a humble creature, wounded, weakened, perhaps wondering if all the screaming is worth it.
Many years ago, at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman reportedly asked of
"A republic," Franklin said, "if you can keep it."
I'm no drama critic, but the media reaction to the indictment of
But if you've ever watched bloodthirsty American adolescents play one of the more gruesome combat video games in your living room, you wouldn't have been surprised.
With a howl of triumph, the conquering avatar rips the living spine from the vanquished, holding the trophy aloft as virtual proof of righteous victory. And so, as
Naturally there was much loathing, snark and manic sarcasm, too, as the Watergate mantra was offered up, again and again by hopeful voices: Trump as Nixon, wandering the
This came not only from the liberal political media, but from their nominal allies in the big-government Republican establishment, because in all things Trump they are one, having hated him for months.
The boorish vulgarian defeated them, defeated the Republican establishment before he defeated
But equally predictable was the defensive reaction of the pro-Trumpers from the nationalist right, and it didn't take much imagination at all to write their dialogue. It doesn't take inspiration to write for loyal hounds.
And so the pro-Trumper Sean Hannity kept up his incessant loyal barking, arguing that in special counsel
There was nothing to see, nothing really, at all.
And others said that the Mueller indictment wasn't all that bad for Trump because the charging documents didn't show the president colluding with the Russians to take the election from Clinton.
But think again. It wasn't just some guy who was indicted. It was the president's campaign manager who was indicted. And Manafort will be squeezed the way the feds have always squeezed people, from mob bosses to politicians.
Their wealth will be squeezed, and their friends and family will be squeezed. All it takes to stop the squeezing is a statement, an admission, a story about someone else close to Trump, like a friend, or a son-in-law, and the thing metastasizes.
So there is something there. There's plenty there, including the likely wiring up of the so-called foreign policy expert,
If he were an expert -- and not some odd, self-important character straight out of a
Papadopoulos allegedly lied to federal investigators. They caught him, broke him and he rolled. Being from
Manafort was working on behalf of Putin's boys in
If Mueller is serious at all about Russian interference in
First, of course, Trump and his
It began with a push from never-Trump neoconservative
Because it was that dossier, instigated by the Republican neocon Free Beacon newspaper and later supported by Clinton and Democratic cash, that started all this.
So let us pray that Mueller investigates everything, all of it, all of them.
Mueller owes the republic.
It's not Putin's republic. It's ours.
And let's see if we can keep it.