The Puppet

If it wasn’t obvious before it surely must be by now. That is, the President of the United States is owned by a foreign power. I mean a part of me, the part that for which that statement is inconceivable, is wondering if maybe my tin foil hat isn’t fitting well. But as you take a step back and look at the behavior of Trump towards Putin and then you compare his “normal” behavior towards friends and foes alike, it’s clear that something isn’t quite right here. Certainly he is not shy about relentlessly directing his animus towards those he perceives as his enemy but also our allies, members of his own party, and even members of his own staff. But then in the next breath he talks about how great his relationship is with them. I think we’re all pretty familiar with how the guy works, right?

So what is it about Putin? As far as I’m aware he has never had an unkind word to say about the guy in any way. Before yesterday I still had some doubt about the nature that relationship. Some bizarre idolatry thing going on or something maybe? I don’t know. To be honest I’ve been trying to not focus as much on the day to day circus in Washington. It’s depressing. But since yesterday afternoon I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with an explanation and the only thing that makes sense logically is that Putin is holding something over him. Of course trying to apply logic to Trump’s behavior is a dicey proposition so maybe that’s my mistake. Maybe it could be that once the man has reached a particular conclusion about a thing that there’s no changing his mind? But no, there have been other things, most recently with separating kids from their parents who’ve entered the country illegally, where he initially claimed his hand were tied, nothing could be done, etc, etc only to reverse himself after a day or two. I don’t get the impression that we’re dealing with a particularly principled person here.

The news seems fixated on the fact that Trump chooses to believe the word of an adversary over his own intelligence agencies and that perhaps it is because his ego is so fragile that he cannot allow any notion that the election was in any way illegitimate to gain a foothold. I can totally see that but it misses the forest for the trees I think. He could have said what he did about Putin’s claim that Russia did not interfere and still remain critical of any number of other issues. The annexation of Crimea, the support of al-Assad, shooting down commercial airliners, the rate at which Putin’s enemies seem to meet an untimely demise. But, given a chance to call Russia out on any of these things, the President instead said there have been mistakes on both sides! Trump is not shy about getting down in the mud with anyone else, save perhaps his immediate family, so why the reluctance here? Not even a hint of reprobation.

This would all be bad enough if the government seemed to be functioning normally. At least then you could have faith that the checks and balances would kick in and somewhere along the way one of the other branches would step in and figure out exactly what’s going on here. Sadly, and really this is the worst part, that isn’t going to happen. Sure we’ll get a few of the supposedly principled members of Congress expressing their disapproval, but nothing substantial. This will go back and forth a bit until it dies down or the next outrageous thing comes along. I had for a time held onto to the notion that we let the wheels of justice, ie the Mueller investigation play out, and once all the facts were presented that Congress would do the right thing. I no longer have any confidence that will come to pass. Even if the investigation reveals that the President is undoubtedly compromised. The campaign to poison public opinion with regards to that investigation has been ongoing for some time now. The groundwork for eventually viewing any conclusions reached by the Special Counsel has been laid and will be viewed as a product of the “Deep State”.

Given the proclivity of some members of this administration and the government at large to project, it’s hard not to wonder which state we are referring to when hearing the phrase “Deep State”. It’s hard to try and maintain any kind of objectivity when trying to understand the reaction to these things. Why there isn’t more pushback against some of the policies that run counter to traditional Republican beliefs. I don’t get it. Few have any problem believing that those who crave wealth and power could be bought by corporations, should we be surprised if we learn that foreign powers have also purchased influence within our government? It’s pretty depressing to realize that the best case scenario here is that the reaction by most Republicans is because they have no core principles and it’s simply a matter of party before country.