Donald Trump is very strong. He tells it like it is. The world is very dangerous, but Mr. Trump is the one, the only one, who can keep us safe.
That was before yesterday. Now what? Many Republicans are now in hiding. A few (many of whom are retiring) have made critical statements referencing “Russia” as a problem, but not “Trump,” as if “Trump” had little or nothing to do with “Russia.” Funny, my lying eyes just witnessed President Trump bowing down low, sucking up, accepting a large ball as a gift, and disrespecting American law enforcement and intelligence agencies while standing right next to the former KGB agent who has been the dictator of Russia since before Trump even made it onto reality TV. Maybe I’ll forget all about that quickly.
As far as I can tell, the Republican appeasement-of-the-appeaser strategy is going as follows: yeah, it wasn’t a good moment, but her emails, but dangerous gangs of Central American brown people, but it’s really all under control, but your tax cuts and Supreme Court. Maybe it’ll work. But the “Democrats are talking crazy talk about Russia” thing is not going to fly so well anymore. The “witch hunt” thing isn’t looking so good anymore (Ryan even said explicitly today that Mueller’s investigation should continue). Most of all, the “Republican presidents are strong and tough” thing has been pretty well punctured. Some people on Fox will say Trump can “correct his mistake.” It’s not so easy, we saw what we saw, the nonverbal messages are not so easy to erase with a tweet or with blathering words.
The learned Republican helplessness won’t help them much either–at least if Democrats continue to pound them every day with the things that Congress actually can and should do: pass a law to protect Mueller. The Senate Judiciary Committee already passed such a bill 14-7 out of committee, but McConnell refuses to put it on the Senate floor, because of course it would pass. It would not be law unless the House passed it, which is unlikely, but it would be some deterrent to Trump. Congress could subpoena Trump’s tax returns and business records as part of an investigation into what he owes to Russia. The House Intelligence Committee could reopen its investigation into Russia-Trump ties, without Devin Nunes on the committee. All of this might or might not result in impeachment–which is fine, because what is most urgently needed right now is not immediate impeachment, but actual oversight. The media should not excuse Republicans for their learned helplessness–that would be the soft bigotry of low expectations, wouldn’t it?