Our Worst Brand of Politics

Comparisons between the current scandal over purported ‘Russian collusion’ and the mother of all modern political scandals, Watergate, have become profligate, likening President Trump’s current situation to obstructions of justice that occurred over the Watergate break-in. Such analysis often overlooks a significant distinction. With Watergate, there was an actual crime, a break-in of the Democrat party’s campaign headquarters; with the Trump/Russia narrative, no evidence of underlying criminal activity has surfaced, giving strong indication that none exists.

A salient analogy, however, does exist between current events and those of the Watergate era. It concerns the madness and hysteria that take hold when reason and self-awareness wane in the pursuit of sheer partisan advantage. We see this in a sociopolitical climate generated by America’s political left, whose current Trump/Russia hysteria disregards truth, consistency and introspection.

Machinations of the so-called ‘deep state’ are ongoing and geared toward ending, abruptly, the Trump presidency; they are better calibrated and less conspicuous than the left’s more common methods and tendencies. Dishonesty, demagoguery, hypocrisy, ruthlessness, hatred, even violence, as we’ve seen recently, are tolerated when directed at President Trump and his supporters. To establishment liberals, it matters not how they get there, only that they succeed in achieving their goal — the personal and political destruction of the President.

I halt shy of the word ‘evil’ but there is something decidedly dark in all of this. A darkness manifest in the image of a blood-drenched, severed head of the President of the United States held up by a comedian, whose expression is determinedly deadpan, open to interpretation: Is this a joke? … a threat? … an incitement? … a directive? … all of the above?

Not long thereafter, a gunman, clearly mad, clearly emboldened by the cacophony of rage and hatred coursing through our media culture, targeted a group of lawmakers, specifically Republicans, for assassination. Miraculously, that madman’s effort was thwarted by Capital Hill police, else his swath of carnage would have been considerably more horrific. When the level of vitriol, hatred and violence increases and the resulting condemnation is less than universal, the stakes rise that much more. Vile and violent rhetoric morph increasingly into vile and violent acts.

Watergate was about politics, ultimately, and the liberal establishment, in all their rabid intensity, won the day, forcing Richard Nixon’s resignation of the presidency, securing a political windfall in the 1974 congressional elections and six subsequent years of largely unrestrained liberal dominance. If establishment liberals fail to win this time … if Mr. Trump survives his first term and wins re-election in 2020, the moment and the fallout will be transcendent … heaven help us.

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