On April 3, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi made the case that “whatever the truth about Trump and Russia, the speculation surrounding it has become a dangerous case of mass hysteria.”
I have now read the article three times, and the estimable Mr. Taibbi, made my head hurt with this one. He seems to say we shouldn’t speculate on what might have happened until all the investigating has been done and we know what it is that we don’t know right now.
That’s fine with me, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about supposed investigations being led by people who have a stake in the outcome, such as a member of the transition team that helped The Current President (TCP) come into the White House.
But the headline tickled my brain, because it reminded me of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which has been a thing since before Bill Clinton ever ascended to national politics. And then there was Obama Derangement Syndrome, which was in existence since the racist GOP (yeah, I said it) tried mightily to bring down the nation’s first black president, and continues to this day as they try to rip out everything Obama did in eight years.
And, of course Clinton Derangement Syndrome was in hibernation until Hillary Clinton became a candidate for the presidency. As secretary of state, she was lauded, but then Benghazi happened, and after millions were spent on investigations by a Republican Congress, the GOP promised one thing: If she was elected president, then Congress would ignore the nation’s business and chase her for the duration of her presidency.
Talk about deranged.
It reminded me of an old story about Bill Clinton, who as a Rhodes Scholar in 1969 — hey, that’s the year I became a Marine! — went on a trip to Moscow. And then, in 1992, President George H.W. Bush whipped out an actual October Surprise the month before the election. Mr. Bush began to speculate darkly about what his opponent might have done in Moscow all those years ago.
As it happened, the voters didn’t bite on the allegation, but the media reported just as darkly and whipped up the feelings of derangement. The GOP didn’t find anything there, and how do you know this? They didn’t chase the new president for the crimes he had committed in their fevered imaginations. If they had found something, you’d have known it 25 years ago.
And Bill Clinton was a lone target.
Now comes The Current President, and his — for a deliciously ironic word — COMRADES. On March 3, TCP said that no one from his campaign met with Russia. The story noted that that isn’t true. At least four people did: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former foreign policy adviser Carter Page and former National Security policy aide J.D. Gordon.
Speculation has landed on several other insiders in the current administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
And pardon me, but the lukewarm way that the GOP Congress seems to want to investigate all these contacts is something we all ought to be worried about. I grew up a Democrat, and I listened to the election-year allegations that we Democrats were planning to the sell the U.S. down the river to the Soviets.
And I get a little deranged right now when I think that the Republicans might have done the deed. I want to freakin’ know what they did. I want what appears to be a Russian-backed coup to be investigated, and lanced if that is what is required.
Because even if we are deranged, that doesn’t mean that the Republicans and the Russians didn’t team up to take down what was, until November 8, the world’s greatest democracy.