We’re in the worst national catastrophe of our lifetimes — death toll nearing 100,000, millions losing jobs, normal living suspended. Worsened by Trump’s feckless response. So what does he now come out with?
Obamagate! Biggest political scandal ever! Pile on the hyperbole. And of course drag in Biden.
Asked at a press conference to explain just what, exactly, is the crime he’s talking about, his truculent answers ranged from “You know!” to “Very obvious!” to “everybody knows!” But whatever this crime might be, Trump says it’s horrible and people should be jailed — for fifty years!
Duly, Fox News rocketed into full hysteria mode — Hannity, Ingraham, Pirro — shrill with fake indignation over bombshell revelations sure to come.
Trump’s Obama obsession has long been deeply psychotic. On his deathbed he’ll probably be muttering, “Obama, Obama . . . . ”
If Trump himself can’t quite explain “Obamagate,” let me help. It’s a rehash of “spygate” (whose promised bombshells fizzled) — the idea that “deep state” villains in the FBI and intelligence agencies, and now Obama and his whole administration, somehow nefariously conspired from the get-go to bring Trump down. A “coup” he calls it.
The Mueller investigation part of it — a “witch hunt” based on the Russian election meddling “hoax.” So too, somehow, the prosecution of Flynn.
Whew. Now for some reality.
Russia’s pro-Trump subversion of our 2016 election, with his campaign’s encouragement if not collusion, is indisputable fact. The FBI’s investigation of it proceeded from ample proper cause. Trump obstructed it.
It’s been documented that the Obama administration, knowing of the Russian attack, was in a quandary about responding. Obama didn’t want it to seem partisan. He shared the intelligence with top Republicans, to organize a bipartisan response. Mitch McConnell nixed that.*
But one simple fact refutes the conspiracy theory of a “coup” against Trump:
During the 2016 campaign, the FBI made public its investigation of Clinton’s e-mails. And its reopening just days before the election. That likely sank her. But the investigation of Russia’s pro-Trump subversion was never revealed before the election. It would have sunk him.
So if there was a conspiracy, it was against Clinton, not Trump. If there was a scandal, it was the FBI shielding Trump.
And most of the supposed “Obamagate” story actually unfolded not during Obama’s presidency, but Trump’s. That’s when Flynn’s crimes were prosecuted. The Mueller investigation was initiated by Trump appointees in Trump’s Department of Justice.
But don’t let reality spoil your fantasy. Trump, knowing how dirty he is, still desperately craves whitewash. His base is full of people prone to conspiracy theories and racist Obamaphobia. Thus “Obamagate.” Talk about witch hunts, hoaxes, and fake news!
Farcical as all this sounds, it’s no laughing matter. It’s unbefitting for a great nation, descending into a squalid pit of derangement. And an immunity to facts and reality is literally deadly, as the pandemic shows. (Refusal to wear protective masks is now a badge of Republicanism.)
“Obamagate” takes lying to a whole new level. Not just lying about a story’s facts, but making up the entire story. Trump says the things he says simply because he can. Reality irrelevant. He’s long since learned he can indeed say literally anything, however absurd, and his cult devotees will swallow it, parrot it, even embellish upon it. If mainstream media squeals, all the better.
For all the stones thrown at mainstream news media, they are not in fact partisan, work hard to report the truth, and correct the record when they err. If their coverage of Trump seems mostly negative, it’s because his character, behavior, and record stink. I think they’ve actually gone too easy on him, even empowered him, indulging the pretense that his crazy flailings have some rationale, that his outlandish utterances must be treated as if serious.
Then there’s Fox, a propaganda broadcaster masquerading as a news network. In the Fox universe, politics no longer entails actual debate about actual issues, it’s just propaganda. And even if it were true that CNN and the others are partisan, at least they are independent voices; whereas Fox being a regime mouthpiece is a much scarier thing. That’s what they had in Nazi Germany, and have in countries like Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, etc. Something we’ve never had in America, until now. Trump tries to tear down legitimate news sources to clear the field for his flacks on Fox to spread his poisonous lies. Fox’s totally dishonest “Obamagate” jihad shows just how pernicious this is. Colluding with a war on truth by the president himself, this profoundly corrodes the foundations of our democratic civil society.
That’s why the “Obamagate” story may indeed be the most scandalous in U.S. political history.
* See the book Russian Roulette by Isikoff and Korn.