Yesterday a North Carolina newspaper carried the bold-letter headline: “Comey says Trump lied about his firing.” As I glanced at it in the coffee-shop that I often visit down here, hard by the South Carolina border, a fellow-customer cracked, “Oh no! Not that! He’s finished now. No president has ever lied…” We shared a wink as we went our separate ways.
The passing encounter brought to mind those memorable words spoken by Reggie Hammond: “You’re graspin’ at [stuff] now, Jack…”
That movie-line perfectly describes Big Media’s continual posture, some five months into Mr. Trump’s term. They depict our 45th president as the country’s – and possibly the world’s – most hated man. I doubt if there would be as much fuss if Frank Nitti or Al Capone had gained the top office. (Nitti and Big Al would surely have quieted things down by now – probably with offers that couldn’t be refused.) Liberals and the media (but I repeat myself) have historically tolerated a great deal in certain politicians – primarily those of the Democrat persuasion – but a billionaire Republican businessman with an eye for the sharp deal and a rock-solid conviction about what is (and isn’t) good for the country is far beyond the pale. He’s got to go – the sooner the better.
In the liberal media’s calculus, a president’s most important skill is to look “presidential.” If he’s a Republican, this means that he makes no response to anything his critics might throw at him. His job is to just stand there and take it. Since Mr. Trump’s election – indeed, well before that – pols, pundits and reporters have flung stuff at him as fast as they can shovel it, but it just won’t stick. Worse yet, he keeps tweeting snarky ripostes back at them. (Yah! Yah! Missed me a mile! Is that all you’ve got? You throw like a girl! Your mother wears combat boots!)
This frustrates experienced Dems and media veterans who were used to taking out any Republican they didn’t like with just a few volleys from the smear-machine and a critical column or two in the New York Times. During the era of Democrat-dominance, a relatively small media cadre could control the political narrative and convince the hoi polloi that it was true – there being no other generally available source of news. A mere word or raised eyebrow from His Holiness Walter Cronkite was enough to undo a president or ruin a war-effort.
Ha! Ha! Those were the days! But those halcyon days of the Mainstream Media’s absolute power are gone forever, never to return, unless government can somehow gain control of the highly diffused internet – a prospect about as likely as recovering gold from seawater. If our experiment with Prohibition taught us anything, we should know by now that any attempt by government to deny the people a commodity they want is doomed to failure. Thus, complete control of the political narrative by any media-coalition is gone with the wind.
But Big Media’s inability to control that narrative doesn’t mean that all such efforts have ceased. Liberals are good at pretending that they’re in charge, even when they’re not – and they don’t give up without a real scrap. Accordingly, a determined Establishment Resistance designed to keep Donald Trump from governing – indeed, to depose him, if at all possible – is proceeding at flank speed. This gang consists of mostly Democrats but also some Republicans.
Senator Schumer (D-NY), Representative Pelosi (D-CA) and other resistance-leaders are prominently featured on TV, sobbing about all the suffering victims of Mr. Trump’s mean-spirited policies, and issuing grave warnings about the country’s future if he remains in office. Failed presidential candidate Senator McCain (R-AZ) also runs to any available microphone to critique every move the president makes. Damaging leaks from the so-called Deep State – a “shadow government” of Obama-holdovers imbedded in the federal government – are eagerly published at every opportunity. If Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee were still around, he’d be saying, “We haven’t had this much fun since Watergate.”
A key narrative of the Resistance has been the tale that individuals from Donald Trump’s campaign – possibly including the president himself – actively “colluded” with Russian agents to throw the election his way. That story got traction via endless repetition by the Democrat-aligned media. Politicians spoke confidently about Russian collusion, as though it had definitely happened, although no evidence has emerged to support the claim.
Finally, the din became so loud and disruptive that Mr. Trump directed his Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether collusion had actually happened, and to prosecute any illegality. The Never-Trump gang were near-orgasmic in their expectation that this would put the final nail in Mr. Trump’s coffin. Hallelujah! Impeachment was just around the corner. Trump-foes grasped at the special prosecutor like a drowning man clutching a straw.
But alas, that straw had no substance. Fond impeachment hopes were quickly dashed when it became obvious that not only was there no smoking gun, but there was no gun at all. Special Prosecutor Mueller announced that he would treat his task as a “criminal investigation” – a much higher bar than a politically flavored inquiry into nebulous “collusion,” which could mean almost anything. (In Jersey-speak, if there’s no crime, we can “fahgeddaboutit!”)
Almost immediately the media-narrative shifted from “collusion” to a new claim that “the Russians” actually changed the election results to give Mr. Trump the win. How this was done is nowhere divulged or even theorized, so far as this reporter can determine. Election officials stoutly maintain that corruption of the vote was impossible because local election systems are not connected to the internet, and the sheer number of county and municipal systems absolutely precludes any outside interference. (There are 3,142 counties, nationwide.)
Diehard conspiracy-theorists continue to beat the Russia-did-it drum, but even technically unsophisticated voters understand that the claim is absurd. This stark reality has prompted another desperate Resistance-grasp at a new “reed.” This time their great hope was James Comey (again). The guy who wrecked Hillary Clinton’s candidacy would redeem himself by delivering the bombshell that would finally bring down the hated Donald.
In his eagerly anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Comey charged that Mr. Trump had “lied” about detail of their meetings. The former director claimed that the president “ordered” him to drop the probe of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn from the overall Russian investigation. Mr. Trump admitted that he had described General Flynn as a good man who had done nothing wrong, and he had hoped the FBI could “let it go.”
Despite all the frantic media-hype, Mr. Comey merely furnished half of a “He said, he said” exchange. He gave his version of what went down in his meetings with the president; Mr. Trump had given his version; and never did the twain meet, as a child could have predicted. There was no corroboration by tapes, witnesses, e-mails, or nosy White House staffers. In an earlier time Mr. Comey’s flimsy charge might have been enough to undo a president, but not today.
More fulsome reports on Mr. Comey’s testimony are available, but we won’t dwell on them here. The long and short is that the former FBI Director went down swinging again – maybe for the last time. His latest testimony disappointed the Get Trump faction, just as his interventions during the campaign disappointed both Republicans and Democrats. One news report said Mr. Comey looked like a disgruntled ex-employee trying to get back at the guy who fired him. Another article called him “a laughingstock.” One doubts that he will go to bat again.
The question that still hangs in the air is: How long will this mad attempt to unseat President Trump go on? Each time an “aha” narrative is refuted or debunked, another springs up to take its place. There is even wild talk of “assassination.” Try to imagine media-reactions, had this been even whispered during Mr. Obama’s term. (No gallows would have been high enough for the perp.) There seems to be no end to it. When will the resisters recognize that Donald Trump is the president, and that short of a criminal act there’s nothing they can do about it?
My gut tells me that the Resistance will continue as long as Mr. Trump’s opponents – primarily Democrats, but also some Republicans in Name Only – see some advantage in it. This isn’t rocket-science. While pols enjoy media-support – with many opportunities for TV-appearances and fawning op-ed articles in the papers – they’ll keep up fighting. But once Democrat capos and assorted RINOs begin to sense that the attacks on Mr. Trump are hurting them, the Resistance will fold its tents and retire from the field. The game will no longer be worth the candle.
When might that occur? I believe the war could go on until the 2018 mid-term elections. Those elections are the final straw that Democrats and Establishment Republicans are grasping at. They hope (and believe) that a giant, anti-Trump “wave election” will sweep them back into control of Congress. If that occurs, their strategy will have been vindicated, and Mr. Trump’s presidency will suffer a crippling wound.
Are the Dems right? My crystal ball is busted, so I can’t say for sure. But I think not. The Never Trump faction has been operating under a pleasing delusion, which their media-pals have supported and encouraged. They believe Donald Trump is not a “legitimate” president because they think Mrs. Clinton could not have lost without outside agents queering the vote. In an honest election voters would never have rejected her caring message, her personal charisma, her noble name, and her soaring vision for the country. (Did I mention “delusion?”)
I claim no special insight into the mind of the ordinary voter, except what I gained from my career as a working stiff, from my life in communities of similar people, and from having the courage to invest in the country’s future. My children and grandchildren are following that same path. I’m nobody special, but I’m neither blind nor deaf. My un-scientific, common-folk sample tells me that ordinary folks are fed up with the Resistance. They want the losers to shut up, go home, and knock back a few kegs of Wild Turkey. And they want Mr. Trump and his party to accomplish what they elected him to do. I sense that a significant faction of Democrats also would like the Resistance to put a sock in it. I daresay a little tranquility and normalcy would be welcomed by all. In the Lord’s Providence, perhaps we can soon have it.
As Bobby Lee famously said, “The war is over!”