OK, whew, perhaps the republic won’t fall after all with the appointment of Bob Mueller to antagonize and ultimately bring down Trump.
Because what I don’t think will happen is what really, really needs to happen. What needs to happen? you might ask. Well, let me tell you.
What needs to happen is what ought to have happened when Richard Milhous Nixon got himself a sweet ol’ pardon instead of a criminal trial resulting in jail time along with the pain of airing of his crimes in open court for all the world to hear and the permanent black mark affixed to every single sleazy shitbag who so much as phone-banked for that thug, so that no one remotely connected in any positive way with Nixon at any juncture in his career would ever get hired anywhere in government ever again, branding the lot of them with a searing mark so inescapable that their permanent underclass status followed them into private life where they were never able to get hired for any job ever again above the level of dog-poop sweeper.
But that isn’t what happened. Instead, Gerry Ford made sure that Tricky Dick skated, as did a sufficient number of his cronies to disperse into the body politic like a virus, whereby we got ourselves four decades of Dick Cheney’s “unitary executive” and College Republican rat-fucking and the whole Iran-Contra debacle and Karl Rove body of work and Roger Ailes’ (long may he remain dead) even sleazier and further-reaching body of work and also that of Pat Buchanan and of course Roger Fucking Stone who, besides being an early and loyal advisor to the Great Orange Menace, also happens to have a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. When Ford said our long national nightmare was over, what he meant to say was it was just getting warmed up. Our politics have eroded and curdled and become uglier and angrier and I can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with the fact that the nakedly unfair corruption of our system was laid bare and while some schmoe from Milwaukee might get 10-15 for armed robbery, the finer folks decided that an unapologetic goon like Nixon had suffered enough.
Trump, in a very real way, is the price we’re paying now for not doing the hard work then. Our government, indeed our public life everywhere, should have been aggressively de-Nixoned because the failure to do so has sprinkled his seething criminality across our intervening history and we are not merely the lesser for it, what with Bubba Clinton giving that asshole a state funeral instead of a quiet service at the edge of muddy grave in the prison yard, but now very nation stands on the brink as Trump (aided by a healthy dose of unreconstructed Nixonites both in and out of government) smashes angrily at the very foundations of our form of government, to say nothing of the sad fact that our planet’s ability to even support human life is imperilled by the agenda of the rapacious and apparently utterly conscience-free GOP Nixon left behind.
Which makes me pessimistic about the aftermath of Trump should Mueller succeed in driving him from office. Reagan just picked up the still-functional subassemblies left in Nixon’s wake and built an empire. What will an ambitious striver who is not-as-crude and much more politically-savvy than Trump do with the lessons he’s inadvertently teaching about how to go about getting what you want?
Unless we as a nation set ourselves to the task of de-Trumping the whole government, exiling every #NeverTrump sellout shitbird who quietly back-tracked their “pledge” in order to keep their office, and then set about de-Trumping the whole country, sternly but with love and understanding, then the whole sorry spectacle will simply rinse and repeat with depressing regularity.
Don’t wait for the Democrats to lead this de-Trumping, either. They are not as flat-out as reflexively & categorically dangerous to children and animals as Republicans, but they are craven and generally way too in love with the innate, axiomatic value of their inherent technocratic merit to ever wake up and realize that not every election is still, 45 years later, McGovern versus Nixon, and that, failing to realize that, they actually don’t have the rear guard of labor and “affected groups” they once did. Exhibit A is the recent election result, vis a vis Wisconsin & Michigan (& Pennsylvania & North Carolin… but yeah, Comey and the emails, right?). They aren’t just fighting the last war with old ideas, in the age of Trump and his absolutely masterful manipulation of our celebrity culture and social media, they’re using a Napoleonic cavalry charge to fight satellite-guided drones. They won’t lead the de-Trumping because the same geniuses who thought Hillary could make a play for Republican votes in Arizona and Georgia on the eve of her defeat in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, as they have since the days of McGovern, will conflate tactics and strategy. They’ll continue be a bunch of student government nerds with fancy degrees attempting to find another regular tough-guy to appeal to the blue-collar mooks, the Bill Clinton was able to give ’em that southern drawl. And the centrist triangulating ever rightward will continue, ad nauseum, until the Democratic Party ceases to exist in name as fully as it does not exist in guiding purpose now.
But at least Robert Mueller will get that bad ol’ Trump, yessiree. Unless Trump fires him, too.