While Democrats and the familiar clique of the centrist media types quibble like bickering patent lawyers about the fine print, the verdict is in: Donald Trump has indeed been vindicated, exonerated, exculpated – take your disheartening pick.
The same band of centrists whining about the need for American “taxpayers” to see all of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is missing the neon-bright, marquee-sized point: Trump and his 43 million rebar-sturdy supporters have never been preoccupied with the “fine print.”
They’re much more interested in big, fat, easy-to-understand slogans like: “Build that wall!” Oh, and Mueller gave them another big, fat slogan, to chant, no doubt, in unison at rallies like the cultists they’ve become: “No collusion!”
It’s not hard to imagine the euphoric scenes at the Republican National Convention next year, repeatedly punctured by a deafening chorus of: No collusion! Four more years! No obstruction! Four more years! Lock her/him up! Four more years!
But Democrats and centrist pundits were – where they always are – on the 24/7 news networks claiming, limply and unconvincingly, that it isn’t over.
Hold on, they said, Mueller hadn’t “exonerated” Trump. He “punted” on the obstruction of justice charge and let two Republican Justice Department appointees make the critical call. That’s a foul ball, they wailed.
My goodness, they still don’t get it. If, by some celestial miracle, Trump was ultimately charged with obstruction of justice, does anyone with functioning synapses believe that the slim to vanishing prospect of impeachment will save the “rule of law” day?
Even Democrat House leader, Nancy Pelosi – who was almost sanctified a few months ago because she put Trump “in his place” over funding for his wall – has capitulated on impeachment – saying, unless there was “bi-partisan” support to have Congress remove Trump from office, she wasn’t even going to give it a try.
“Bi-partisan” support in Congress? That would also require a celestial miracle after the former FBI director, Mueller – who was deified by centrist media personalities – delivered the verdict that Trump was always confident he would deliver: No collusion.
I was never persuaded that Mueller and his pin-striped suited posse of G-men would turn white-knight saviours, as so many deluded centrists were. I wrote as much in this December 2017 column.
But I’m not crowing like the stuttering peacock Trump. I’m simply pointing out that, from my distant perch, the tenuous, cobweb-like connections that many Democrats and centrist scribes seized upon as proof that Trump and his crew colluded with Vladimir Putin and his crew to pilfer the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton were far from compelling.
With few exceptions, America’s liberal intelligentsia – in and outside the corporate media – always preferred to believe that one Russian was responsible for the election of a fascist, rather than 43 million Americans.
That was simple to digest. That was simple to explain. That was simple to understand. That was simple to accept and, perhaps most importantly, that was simple to sell on TV and Twitter.
So, just as they sold the bogus story that Saddam Hussein was ready to deploy a hidden cache of weapons of destruction in minutes, CNN, MSNBC and company took snippets of often vague, contradictory information, and conflated it to push an unmistakable and irrefutable narrative: Donald Trump was guilty of “colluding” with America’s most devious, KGB-trained adversary to undermine the integrity of a presidential election. Anyone who challenged this simplistic apologue was dismissed as a dupe or worse, a quisling.
Still, there was resistance to the unrelenting, hyperbolic storyline that Trump was a traitor.
To their credit, there were responsible, discerning and mostly independent journalists who warned that the same discredited cavalcade of former intelligence officials and think-tank academics – who once assured the world that Iraq needed invading to prevent a nuclear holocaust – were, once again, being granted unfettered license on corporate media to whip up 1950s-like anti-communist hysteria while overtly suggesting that Trump was a real-life Manchurian candidate.
Of course, the centrists will deny having promoted what Mueller has now emphatically exposed as untrue. They will likely avoid – just as they did with the deluge of fraudulent reporting around Hussein’s phantom WMDs – any serious measure of introspection, let alone culpability, in recycling their unproven judgment that this abominable president was not only illegitimate, but guilty of treason.
What are the likely consequences of this latest episode of grievous journalistic malfeasance?
Trump will shout “fake news” with some measure of legitimacy. He will do it with tinnitus-inducing volume and, despite his pathological impulse to lie and lie again, on this score, at least, he will be preaching the truth to his legion of disciples and the sliver of “independents” he needs to be re-elected.
As a powerful corollary to this, Trump has already claimed – as if this were remotely conceivable a week ago – the moral high ground by insisting that he and, by extension, his supporters were the victims of an attempted coup d’etat by the “deep state”.
Taken together, it may turn out that Trump was re-elected by a report that was supposed to, in centrist dreams, put the orange-haired demagogue in a matching-coloured prison jumpsuit.
Sadly, but frankly, it’s not going to happen. Americans need to begin to address and decipher why so many other Americans are poised to vote again for a foul man with a foul mouth and a foul mind whose only instinct is to protect his brand at the expense of decency, humanity and the public good.
Finally, it’s time for Americans to consider what Donald Trump embodies about America and Americans.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.