On Losing Friends Over Politics

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Once upon a time, I used to enjoy debating politics with my conservative friends. I found it enjoyable, invigorating, and educational.

We don’t do that any more.

In some cases we remain polite, but now only talk in superficial and anodyne ways—about our kids, sports—and much less frequently than we used to. There are a couple of friends with whom, for years, I carried on a daily, running dialogue about current events. It turned heated and ugly in the summer of 2016 and we all backed off. Now all we do is exchange pleasantries every few months.

With other friends, we have ceased talking completely. I haven’t had any soap operatic “I’ll never speak to you again!” moments, but I haven’t had to, because both of us are disgusted with the other, and neither is up for a veneer of niceties.

I do occasionally argue with one old, archconservative friend (for arbitrary reasons that don’t bear going into), but even that is fraught. Every time we unaccountably get into it, it gets nasty quick, insults are exchanged, and we retreat to neutral corners for months.

Then there are friends with whom I never talked politics in the first place, and with whom I am now afraid to do so. I don’t know for sure how they feel, or how they voted in 2016, but I really don’t want to know, because we have long histories together, and I simply don’t want the peace—or my illusions— destroyed, even if that peace is a mutually agreed upon charade.

What doesn’t exist at all anymore in my world is vigorous, intelligent, civilized debate with right-of-center friends whose opinions I respect even if I don’t agree with them. Now I have that only with strangers, and even that is pretty rare if we’re going to keep the qualifiers “intelligent,” “civilized,” and “respect” in there. And I know I am not alone; I know that many people are dealing with a similar dilemma not just with friends but also within their families.

All of which has forced me to think about the balancing act between friendship and principle. Where is the line? How bad would things have to get in our cold civil war before I could no longer be (ahem) civil to old friends on the other side of the barricades, or them to me? Would it be petulant and self-righteous to throw away (in some cases) decades of friendship just because of partisan differences? Some of these people were like brothers and sisters to me at one time. Do I want to be so churlish and petty, so sanctimonious, as to cut them out of my life over a non-entity as ephemeral as Donald Effing Trump, no matter his accidental starring role in this revival of It Can’t Happen Here?

Or is it the opposite? Is it selfish and unprincipled to maintain a friendship with someone who is complicit in such a monstrous regime, to place those personal relationships ahead of serious moral disagreements about bedrock principles? What even constitutes a bedrock principle that rises to that level and demands that kind of decision?

Do gradations matter? Maybe it would be too hard to be friends with an ICE agent on the Mexican border, no matter how far you go back, but is merely voting for Trump a sufficient dealbreaker?

The questions are complicated and sometimes painful.

And of course, these folks have to answer the same questions about me.

YOUR RACIST FRIEND

Not long ago—like, less than three years—none of this was an issue. Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals: there were stark differences and strong disagreements, but outside of the fanatical extremes, all players were within the realm of normal, reasonable politics, bound by our common loyalty to country and allegiance to the fundamental, communally agreed upon principles of American democracy. Ideological and policy differences rarely rose to the level of a moral quandary that caused people to stop speaking at parties.

No more.

You’ll forgive me if I don’t bother with a tedious recap of how one of our two major political parties lost its fucking mind.

But now that these differences have become so polarized and so extreme that they have turned into a kind of battle for the nation’s soul, making nice with the other side can feel less like civility and more like consorting with the enemy.

So where to draw the line?

Clearly there is a level of political turpitude that outweighs any personal connection.

I would not be friends with a Nazi, to take the most extreme example. Support for Trump does not (yet) rise to that level; much as I despise this administration, things would have to get a fair degree worse before I’d make that equivalence. But before any right-leaning folks who might read this leap up and accuse me of hyperbole and so-called Trump Derangement Syndrome, let’s just pause for a moment and take in the fact that we are even discussing the comparison at all.

That’s right: it is necessary for defenders of this president to mount a serious argument about why their hero is not in fact as bad as Adolf Hitler, because the comparison is raised frequently enough by thoughtful observers, and his tendency toward proto-fascist behavior is sufficiently apparent, that it demands addressing.

And it’s true: he hasn’t yet orchestrated the industrialized mass murder of twelve million men, women, and children. Don’t ever say I didn’t concede to Trump supporters when they’re right. (Although he has, arguably, built concentration camps along our southern border. So there’s still time.)

But let’s leave Nazis out of it. I wouldn’t be friends with a Klansman either, and Trump’s racism earns him an honorary Grand Wizardhood at the very least. (Central Park Five anyone?) Is that transferable to his supporters? We’re often told it’s not helpful to demonize the other side, by—say—calling them names, especially “racist,” since weirdly enough, even racists get offended when you call them racists. (Looking at you, Mark Meadows.) It’s one of the most incendiary allegations you can call someone in contemporary American life, even when there is ample evidence to justify it.

But if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably Pepe the Frog.

So short of the open display of swastika armbands and white hoods, how much support for Trump (if any) is tolerable before a friendship has to end?

Supporting him because the tax scam benefits you but opposing the family separation policy at the border? Is that OK, or not? I suppose it’s better than actively cheering the kidnapping of children from their parents, but in other ways it’s even more contemptible, as it bespeaks a unwillingness to break with the administration even over an unconscionably cruel and inhumane policy, so long as you are personally benefiting from other policies.

Obviously, the more tepid and qualified someone’s support for Trump the more readily I could see maintaining some kind of relationship. But even some people I long counted as menschen have defended to me ideas that are absolutely anathema. Is that cause for termination?

I don’t have the answer. If I did, this column would be a lot shorter.

A few conservatives I know have turned against Trump, or never supported him in the first place, so they’re not really germane to this discussion. I welcome them into the resistance with open arms and admire their integrity and courage. (Not quite ready to teach them the secret handshake, though.) Of course, the very term “conservative” is wildly inaccurate. The modern GOP is anything but conservative by the textbook definition; on the contrary, it is a radical reactionary insurgency. I’m using the word only as a convenient if imprecise shorthand for people right of center, which includes not just card-carrying Republicans, but lots of folks who obstinately refuse to identify that way but might as well go to the same tattoo parlor as Roger Stone.

The people I am talking about are more precisely described not as “conservatives” at all but as “Trump supporters,” and even that is fungible. Some voted for the man, with or without reservations, and some have had misgivings to a greater or lesser degree since. (Others have not.) A lot of them want to have their proverbial sheet cake and eat it too, professing dislike for Trump because it’s socially and intellectually uncomfortable to admit otherwise, but defend him at every turn—or at least make excuses—while relentlessly attacking the Democrats, the Mueller probe, the “myth” of Russiagate, etc. (And you won’t believe this, but a lot of them are still pretty incensed over Hillary Clinton.)

Fox Nation likes to talk about RINOs but the opposite, this breed I’ve just described, is just as common: ReTChTOIs, Republicans Too Chicken To Own It. These slippery right wingers are especially maddening as they won’t cop to their allegiance to the party,  claiming to be “neutral” and “independent,” but mysteriously never have a good thing to say about the Democrats, and never a discouraging word about Benito.

I can’t say I prefer full-throated MAGA types, but at least they are honest about who they are.

THE WEEK THAT WAS

So a brief reminder then of what our friends on the other side are OK with:

The past week saw Trump’s ill-advised engagement with North Korea end in abject failure—long ago predicted in these pages, not that it required a lot of clairvoyance—capped by the humiliating revelation that Pyongyang has begun rebuilding its Sohae missile site, reportedly ahead of a satellite launch.

We saw the New York Times display six canceled checks from Trump (five with his own seismograph-like psycho killer signature, the other with Don Jr.’s) reimbursing Michael Cohen for hush money payments he made to Trump’s porn star paramour Stormy Daniels, all written while Trump was in office.

We learned—via Jane Mayer’s towering New Yorker article about Fox—that Trump had, out of sheer vindictiveness (and presumably as a favor to Rupert Murdoch), personally intervened to order the DOJ to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, an act which the conservative columnist Bret Stephens argued was an impeachable offense in and of itself, one that ought to have outraged Republican free marketers more than anyone else.

We also learned that Trump—despite bald-faced public lies to the contrary—personally ordered Top Secret clearances given to his son-in-law and daughter over the objections of US intelligence professionals, a move so alarming that both White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn wrote memoranda for the record registering their opposition. (But her emails!)

Hot on the heels of that revelation, it was also reported that when Kushner traveled to the KSA last month he met with MbS behind closed doors, with no US government personnel present or briefed on what was discussed. The Saudis even provided Jared’s security, shutting the US State Department out entirely. No wonder this guy can’t get a clearance.

We learned that at the very same time in 2011 that Trump was demanding to see Barack Obama’s school transcripts— like a redneck at a polling place insisting on a literacy test—and suggesting that Barack wasn’t smart enough to get into Columbia and Harvard, he had his goons strongarming his own high school and college alma maters to deep six any evidence of his own grades and SAT scores. Wild guess: it’s not because he was so modest and they were too high.

This kind of hypocrisy has come to be so old hat in the Age of Drumpf that we usually don’t even bother to note it, but for some reason this really struck a chord with the public. Maybe it’s that Trump himself usually doesn’t even both to hide his hypocrisy—see golf—and this time he did, signaling that even he knew it was super fucked up.

Most memorable of all, this past week saw a sweat-soaked Trump give an unhinged, free association, Fidel-length rant at CPAC that the mainstream press, having apparently learned nothing from 2016, covered like business as usual with headlines on the order of “Trump Lashes out at Mueller in Lengthy Speech”…..not “Man with Nuclear Codes Is Dangerously Crazy.” As many noted, if your elderly uncle went on a two-hour tear like that, you’d call Bellevue. But, hey, this is just the leader of the free world. No biggie.

(To their credit, several observers noted this disconnect, including Amanda Marcotte and Bob Cesca, both writing in Salon. But the closest most pundits came to critical analysis of the speech was the widespread argument that Trump wasn’t so much crazy as crazy like a fox in playing to his base. As always, a lot of the professional political class gave him the benefit of the doubt as a demagogue genius, rather than seriously considering the ramifications of having someone who is potentially cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs in the Oval Office. This treatment of politics as mere gamesmanship is truly poisonous. As Cesca sagely pointed out, even if Trump was engaging in deliberate theater to keep his red meat-loving fans frothing at the collective mouth, it still raises disturbing questions about the judgment of the President of the United States.)

And it’s not just Trump and his early onset dementia displaying this kind of deeply worrying behavior. Also at CPAC, fake PhD but real neo-Nazi Sebastian Gorka compared AOC to Stalin and suggested she wants to take your hamburgers and pickup trucks. But believe it or not, he was outdone by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responding to increased Congressional oversight and investigation into Trump with a statement accusing the Democratic Party of being “socialists” who want to “kill babies after they’re born.” (Quipped Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine: “As one does when one is innocent and facing an investigation that will definitely not uncover any crimes or wrongdoing.”)

And by Trump standards, this was not even a busy news week.

THE AGE OF HUMPTY DUMPTY

So how do we deal with people for whom none of that merits the batting of an eyelash, particularly when they are not red-hatted abstractions on TV but real, flesh-and-blood people in our own lives? And why is any of it germane, beyond the awkwardness of our own personal relationships?

Because someday we as a country are going to have to pick up the pieces. Are we going to be able to come back together after this period of epic divisiveness?

Now, you might say that, divisiveness-wise, our current moment is nothing compared to, say, the Civil War, but the truth is that we are still dealing with wounds of that war—indeed, those very wounds inform the struggle in which we are now engaged. (See Charlottesville.) We are still dealing with the legacy of slavery, the original sin of these United States, the cancer with which we as a country we born. Related but of more recent vintage, we are still dealing with the backlash to the New Deal—and the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s—which gave us the Reagan Revolution and the United States’ hard swing to the right over the past forty years.

And we will be dealing with the fallout from the con man from Queens for generations to come.

There are major questions about what the long term damage to the republic will look like when the proverbial dust settles, and whether the United States as we once knew it will re-emerge in recognizable form. In that context, asking whether personal friendships now in abeyance will eventually return in something resembling their old forms seems very trivial indeed, except that it is central to the whole issue of healing and reconciliation. Will we as Americans be able to come together to repair the damage, rebuild our democracy, and institute new protections and safeguards to strengthen and defend it going forward?

Naturally, a lot of it will depend on how things play out and just how raw and bitter the wounds wind up being, on both sides.

In the worst case scenario—Don and Kim fall out of love and humanity is incinerated in a global thermonuclear war—it won’t matter.

Short of that but still pretty goddam bad, if the GOP manages to bury the findings of the special counsel and deflect any meaningful Congressional or legal action to address Trump’s crimes and unfitness for office….if Trump manages to win in 2020 and the Republicans retake the House….if the Supreme Court acts as a right wing rubber stamp and gives this cretin something close to unfettered power….if we descend into an authoritarian police state where the administration is unchecked by a self-neutered legislative branch and protected by a toadying judiciary and no longer feels the need to pay even lip service to the rule of law…..if that happens it’s hard to imagine feeling very kindly to erstwhile friends who abetted that descent into dystopia. But our feelings won’t matter much, as we’ll all be in re-education camps watching endless loops of Hannity.

Hysteria? Alarmism? OK—if you say so. Even the reliably progressive Nick Kristof recently published a column praising the tensile strength of American democracy in resisting Trump and downplaying fears of incipient fascism. I hope he is right. I’ll happily look a fool if he is. That is far preferable to a future in which we look back bitterly on that column as hopelessly naïve.

If Kristof is proven correct and justice prevails, if Trump is fairly adjudicated for his crimes and held to account for his manifest betrayal of his oath of office, either by Congressional action or at the ballot box, maybe we will look back on this harrowing period of American history as a valuable test from which we emerged chastened and wiser and maybe even stronger.

But even in that happy scenario, how will we approach our fellow Americans who took Trump’s side and stood by him, and may even continue to defend him after he’s gone? As I wrote last week, even today there remain Nixon loyalists, McCarthy loyalists, Confederate loyalists—tiny pockets to be sure, but there they are. How will we proceed, having had these massive fissures in our nation exposed, revealing deeply disturbing proof of the kind of horrific things many of our fellow citizens believe, and would support, and the lengths to which they would go, and the depths of their contempt for democracy, all tendencies that are not likely to disappear even when Trump does?

Asking for a friend.

 

 

 

 

21 thoughts on “On Losing Friends Over Politics

  1. I have a similar yet opposite problem as you. Read my blog: “Most of my friends are Democrat” or “Gullible or Hatred…” You can see how the opposite side feels and how one much like yourself changed drastically in Gullible or Hatred.

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    1. Thanks again for your comment, I read several of your blog posts, including the “Gullible or Hatred” one you suggested. I must say I couldn’t possibly disagree more, and I didn’t see anything to convince me otherwise. But I suspect you might say the same if you read a bunch of my posts.

      I doubt we are ever going to agree on anything, so rather than engaging in a rambling debate, I’d like to limit myself to one specific area—your contention that the Mueller probe is “phony” and a “left wing witchhunt”—and ask one simple (albeit multipart) question. And I ask it with all sincerity, and in hopes of a genuine and honest answer:

      If Hillary Clinton were president and had sworn up and down that she had no business connections in Russia whatsoever, and then was found to have been in the middle of a massive multimillion dollar deal with Russia even as she was denying it….

      If she had claimed that not a soul on her campaign had ever talked to any Russians, and then it was shown that there had been dozens of contacts by her team, including her top advisors and even family members….

      If she had personally dictated a false statement for her adult child to give to the press to cover up one of those meetings….

      If she had fired the very man who was leading an investigation into these things in order to stop it (and specifically told Lester Holt that was why she fired him, on national television, and then told the Russian ambassador and foreign minister the same thing)….

      If there were cancelled checks with her signature proving that she had paid hush money to cover up embarrassing personal information on the eve of the election—a felony—and had baldly lied about it….

      If she refused to release her tax returns or divest from businesses that created conflicts of interest with her role as president, or even reveal what they were, and instead continued to profit from them while in office….

      If she had done any or all the things, would you consider that worth investigating at the very least? Or would you say that was a “phony” investigation and a witchhunt?

      Please don’t tell me all the bad things Hillary did; I am asking if you think that a president who did those things—or was even suspected of them—ought to be investigated.
      Thanks.

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      1. I could address each alleged item that you are saying Trump has done but we will just get into a tit for tat which I never go there anymore. All I can say is: When a fish swims in water, all he knows is water. But we do have our friends in common that we want to stay friends with. Best not to talk politics with friends of opposite parties. It’s not worth the effort to change their minds. It does bug us though. Makes me call them less often for sure. I need to find new friends.

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      2. You don’t need to address each alleged item. Simply tell me this: Are you saying not only that none of these allegations are true, but that there isn’t even enough evidence or probable cause to justify investigating them?

        I’ll confess that your statement “When a fish swims in water, all he knows is water” mystifies me. Are you saying that partisans like you and I are so steeped in our own tribal worlds that we can’t see beyond our biases to objective facts? I give us both more credit than that.

        It’s true that if you want to remain friends with someone of a different political bent, it’s safest to keep politics out of it. But my piece bemoaned the loss of exactly that kind of cross-partisan dialogue, which I found healthy and educational for all involved. These days, sadly, it frequently becomes too heated and irrational to be of any use to anyone. My real question is, even if you don’t talk politics with them, at what point do a friend’s political beliefs become not merely an honest difference of opinion but so morally reprehensible that a friendship can no longer be justified?

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  2. Touché! Having some of the same problems with long term friends. I thought one was a reasonable guy but his wife was a racist. After telling him , innocently, that it was good to take a trip out of the country to avoid all the terrible Trump news, he countered with Ted Kennedy and Chappaquidic. For every negative action of the present president I presented, he dug out old stories about democratic ones until I felt like I was playing pinochle with my grandfather and I was 8. My friend had all the winning cards. I had to wait 6 months before I tried to repair my relationship.

    Thanks again for a great blog.

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    1. Thanks Steve! Someone who brings up Chappaquiddick is really grasping at straws. It’s also telling that he needed the entire history of bad behavior by every Democrats who every lived just to stack against this one man. Of course, none of that is really the point anyway, but it speaks to their desperation and level of irrationality. Thank you again….B

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  3. It does get close to not being justified.

    I think a sitting president deserves the benefit of the doubt like I gave Obama. I never discussed Obama or went online about him in eight years. I held my tongue. And maybe that’s why you were able to have decent debates in the past, because your friends respected the office of president. But we don’t get the same respect in return from most of the left.

    And the fish comment is probably not for you, but for those who gets all news from facebook and late night comedy shows. Carly Ferino said it during her debate.

    Ask yourself how is it that all the news on Trump is 90% negative coming from MSM? Doesn’t that seem like they are in the tank for the Dems? That alone, makes most people with discerning minds skeptical of what they are reporting.

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    1. First of all, let’s congratulate ourselves on having a civilized dialogue, even though we disagree. That in itself is an accomplishment that gives me hope!

      That said….

      With all due respect, you don’t think that these allegations should even be investigated? It is the height of hypocrisy for the GOP to make that argument after the years of scrutiny and millions of dollars spent on Benghazi, which Rep. Kevin McCarthy baldly admitted was all a partisan effort aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton, yet turned up nothing. It beggars the imagination to think that if Clinton—or any Democratic politician—was accused of the sins that Trump is, the Republican Party would not be screaming for blood. The sheer number of indictments, plea bargains, and convictions that Mueller has already chalked up speaks to the legitimacy of the probe, while Trump’s constant hysterical howls of persecution hardly look like the reaction of an innocent man confident that he has nothing to hide. That alone ought to give you pause.

      I also take issue with your suggestion that discourse was more civil and respectful in the Obama years because the right was more respectful of him than the left is of Trump. I refer you to the vile lie of birtherism, the vicious personal attacks of the Tea Party, the lynchings in effigy, the depictions of Obama as a monkey, etc.

      In our present moment, it is convenient to think that the MSM is critical of Trump b/c of left wing bias; I respectfully submit that the media is critical of Trump b/c he daily does things that deserve criticism. In fact, I don’t cotton to the whole notion that the media is too hard on Trump. If anything, I think they treat him far too kindly, according him the kind of routine treatment that they would give a garden variety politician when in reality he is operating well outside the bounds of honesty and the rule of law. We saw this in the 2016 election and it continues today. (Look at the amount of negative coverage given to Hillary’s health, her email, her personal life, and history, compared to almost non-existent coverage of far greater scandals swirling around Trump…..some of which were actively quashed by Fox, the National Enquirer, and even Mitch McConnell himself.)

      In short, I would respectfully ask you to consider who is really perpetrating the big con here: the legitimate media and the Democratic opposition, or Mr. Trump himself and his Republican enablers.

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  4. I disagree that Benghazi turned up nothing. Hillary told Chelshi it was a terror attack and told the public it was a video. She lied about the embassy asking for additional security over four hundred requests. She said she never got one. It’s not over. It is the beginning of everything going on now with Mueller Investigation (insurance Plan). Wait and see. Things are going down behind the scenes.

    Bush had same comparisons with monkeys and Trump has had much worse with beheadings and death threats. And the birther incident was instigated by Hillary showing Obama in Muslim garb and then Trump helped her get the birth certificate. I could address all your items but I have addressed them before in my blogs. Read my one addressed to De Niro asking “Wonder If?” Also read my one entitled “Cohen Hearing: What did we learn?” Trump isn’t an angel. We never thought he was.

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    1. The Benghazi investigation resulted in exactly zero indictments, censure, or anything else, despite aggressive Republican pursuit over more than two years at a cost of $7 million. (Compare that with the number of indictments, plea deals, and convictions that the Mueller probe has already turned in.) In fact, that inquiry was longer than the Congressional probes into 9/11, Watergate, the JFK assassination, and Pearl Harbor. If you are telling me that you still think bombshells are yet to drop in the Clinton investigation, I’ll duly note your prediction and give you credit if that indeed happens. I am frankly very skeptical, however.

      Regardless of what the Benghazi investigation turned up or didn’t, that incident prompted a very thorough inquiry. Are you saying that you don’t think the allegations against Trump—infinitely greater in scope and severity—merit similar investigation? Instead they daily denounced as a “witchhunt” or “fishing expedition,” betraying the hypocrisy at the core of the entire GOP position on both counts.

      You are bluntly wrong in suggesting that Hillary started birtherism; that claim has been thoroughly debunked. But even if that outlandish lie were true, does that justify Trump (and the Tea Party before him) actively spreading it? I’m not saying that the vitriol against Trump isn’t high, or wasn’t high against Bush: I was merely rejecting your claim that our national discourse was more civil when Obama was president, as you seemed to be implying that the right was kinder to him than the left has been to Trump. (I also never saw any “monkey” memes regarding any previous president: that is a specific racist reference lobbed at Obama alone.)

      To say “Trump helped her get the birth certificate” is risible. Hillary never asked for any birth certificate, and he was certainly not doing her or the country some great favor. He lied about the whole question of Obama’s birthplace, lied about having PIs at work, lied about what these mythical PIs “found,” and then, like a coward, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the birth certificate when it was in fact produced. (Shall we now talk about his school transcripts and SAT scores, after he questioned Obama’s while threatening his alma maters to bury his?)

      I read your posts that you recommended, and several more in fact. I must say I found them rife with right wing nonsense unsupported by any research. In the Cohen one alone you blithely make a number of sweeping and unsupported conclusions on which the jury is actually still out: that Trump didn’t know about Wikileaks, that he hasn’t done anything illegal since taking office, that he didn’t tell Cohen to lie to Congress, that he hasn’t conspired with foreign powers. (Actually, that last one is settled: he did. But never mind.) But I guess the one that boggles my mind the most is your confident assertion that Trump is not a racist, con man, and cheat. My dear, I have given you the benefit of the doubt in our conversation thus far, but if ANYTHING is self-evident about Donald Trump, it’s those three things.

      The Cohen hearing did in fact tell us some new things, some of which pointedly contradict your claims above. You may disagree with them, but you can’t say they aren’t new (e.g., that Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow, that he knew of Roger Stone’s coordination with WikiLeaks, and that he engaged in insurance fraud). Cohen also presented hard evidence of Trump’s active participation in the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, in the form of cancelled checks. If you’re saying you knew all that about Trump, is it that you just don’t care? You may not, but these are still crimes and/or acts that arguably meet the standard of impeachable offenses. And we don’t even know what he told two other Congressional committees behind closed doors.

      To say “Trump isn’t an angel; we never thought he was” is an absurd defense. He stands accused of committing federal felonies. Would you let Hillary slide for the transgressions of which you accuse her on the grounds that “we know she’s no angel”? Would you excuse Nixon that way, or Capone, or your own child if they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar? Of course not.

      I fear we are at an impasse and any further debate is pointless. Let’s sum this up: you are wont to defend and excuse Trump at every turn. I am wont to do the opposite. Let’s let history judge which of us had the better instincts.

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      1. “the jury is actually still out: that Trump didn’t know about Wikileaks, that he hasn’t done anything illegal since taking office, that he didn’t tell Cohen to lie to Congress, that he hasn’t conspired with foreign powers”

        Jury is in: No Russian Collusion. No collusion with wikileaks. Two years, 30 M, and abuse of power to find out what I already knew. You can talk to your old friends again.

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      2. Pardon the delay; I’m on vacation with my family, but I can see you are eager to chat.

        Sigh. Right wing hypocrisy knows no bounds, does it? You decried the Mueller probe as “phony” and a “witchhunt;” now you celebrate it as vindication? You can’t have it both ways. If it was a witchhunt, why didn’t Mueller just make evidence to implicate Trump? I’ll tell you why: because his inquiry was—the whole time—a legitimate investigation by reputable prosecutors who followed the rule of law….something the right wing accepts only when it benefits them. How can Trump now claim there is a “deep state” conspiracy against him when the very people he viciously attacked and slandered STILL did their job honorably, even when it meant bringing no charges against him?

        Like Trump’s tweet that he is “totally exonerated” (100% false: the Mueller report explicitly said it did NOT exonerate him), your “refuting” of my quotes are dead wrong. The report in no way cleared him of Wikileaks, telling Cohen to lie, or other illegal activities; all that was beyond its purview. I know you want to gloat, but you still need to obey the facts. Except the facts interfere with that.

        You may also recall that there were two parts to the Mueller probe: one criminal and one counterintelligence. On the latter, it uncovered dozens of contacts b/w Trump, his associates, family members, and Russian assets, despite their denials to high heaven that there were any contacts whatsoever. Any why did they lie about that? Mueller answered that, too, along with the secret of why Trump is so subservient to Putin: because he is in massive debt to Russian money and was trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, even offering Putin himself a $50M bribe, leaving him vulnerable to Russian blackmail. That the POTUS is in thrall to a foreign power is far more damning than even electoral conspiracy. Somehow that doesn’t bother you, and Mr. Barr conveniently ignored it all as well.

        In short, the Mueller probe worked the way the rule of law is supposed to, even for people who themselves try to insult and undermine it. I doubt Trump has learned that lesson…..but he’ll have plenty of opportunities in the dozens of other investigations he still faces. You go ahead and stick by your man; his troubles have only begun.

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      3. You’ve got it all wrong. I read your recent blog. First of all if you spread disinformation about facts then the rest of your information can’t be believed. I saw the Trump rally after wikileaks printed Podesta’s emails that were hacked from his computer. Trump said, “You gotta love wikileaks. Hey If you HAVE the missing 33,000 emails (which Hillary deleted) turn them in to a reporter and make someone really happy.” It was tongue and cheek. He didn’t ask Russia to HACK her computer. In fact, her computer was already shut down, bleach bit by her. Not in service. So the media has been spinning that story for two years.

        Your OJ comparison is weak. OJ reminded me more of Smollett getting off cuz he has connections and is celebrity. Trump was investigated by a team of Hillary lovers. They hated him. No favors would be granted.

        The “witch hunt” was starting the investigation in the first place. Trump knew he didn’t collude or obstruct and has been attacked for two years by the confirmed fake news networks. Only watch FOX or listen to Limbaugh for the truth from now on. Things are going to be happening fast now that this veil of uncertainty has been lifted.
        Trust me. I know what’s going on. Good luck.

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      4. Wow, BetterOff, not sure which of your statements is most absurd:

        “You’ve got it all wrong.” (Convincing!)

        “Only watch Fox News or listen to Limbaugh for the truth from now on.”

        “Trust me. I know what’s going on.”

        You accuse me of disinformation and having my facts wrong. Please give examples. Meanwhile you claim to have watched Trump’s infamous Wikileaks presser but then atrociously misquote it. (Here’s what he actually said, word for word: “I will tell you this: Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”) And what makes you assume it was tongue in cheek? Russia sure didn’t think so, b/c they hacked the DNC the next day.

        Lastly, your characterization of the special counsel as “Hilary lovers” is ridiculous. So why didn’t these “Hillary lovers” charge Trump? Guess they just don’t love her enough.

        As we’ve seen over the past two weeks, Bill Barr’s clumsy attempt to spin the Mueller report and hide the actual document is already coming apart at the seams….and the ball is just getting rolling. Riddle me this: if the report really exonerates Trump, why won’t they release it, unredacted?

        And if your mind is open enough, read this:

        https://www.salon.com/2019/04/03/what-the-mueller-report-wont-tell-us-when-barr-is-finished-with-it/

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  5. Whenever we resort to Nixon or Ted Kennedy references, we are done with the debate. Obviously I see things the opposite of you and I already told you why. Hillary’s Benghazi investigation was told to stand down by Obama so, therefore, no indictments. BUT some are coming down the pike. Wait and see and then get back to me. Good luck.

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  6. It’s nice to hold on to a glimmer of hope like you’re doing.

    [So why didn’t these “Hillary lovers” charge Trump? ]

    Even biased lawyers can’t invent charges (but not for their lack of trying for two years and earning millions.) Why do you think they slunk out one by one with their tails between their legs? “There’s no there, there.” Just like Strzok said. They must feel defeated…again. :/

    Russia never hacked the DNC. Another lie spread by fake news and Mueller to save face. Pedosta’s emails were hacked most likely by a Bernie supporter and fed to wikileaks to embarrass Hillary. They were released before Trump’s rally where he was joking. (Trump’s part comedian.) Hillary’s emails were already missing (deleted), so how can you hack her computer which is shut down and scrubbed? Another illogical excuse for the left to go after Trump and fake news spread it. I never for a second thought Trump was in collusion with Russia or that he obstructed justice by firing Comey. Comey was a dirty cop who’s running scared right now–even agreeing to wait for redacted report.

    Rush’s research and conclusions have been proven 99.6% correct compared to main stream media’s 0% correct. Not absurd at all. I think I’ll stick with him. He’s never once said that Hillary will be indicted like the left says about Trump daily. He’s a realist and knows there’s a two tiered justice system right now. One for the Democrats and one for the conservatives…i.e. Manafort vs. Smollett.

    House of cards is falling soon now that the veil of suspicion of the Mueller report has lifted. Get your Jiffy pop out and just watch.

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    1. So you say that even though the Mueller probe was a withchunt they couldn’t frame Trump, so that makes him innocent. But when the Benghazi probe didn’t charge Hillary, somehow she’s still guilty? OK.

      If the Mueller report really exonerates your boy, why did Trump—typically—do a 180 on releasing it? Why is Barr hiding it? (Same goes for Trump’s taxes.) What are you afraid of?

      Never mind—we all know.

      And who do you think is earning millions off the Mueller probe? An ironic allegation as your hero illegally profits off his own presidency and thumbs his nose both at the law and you suckers who cheer him on. You may not be aware, but the Mueller inquiry actually more than paid for itself just in the assets the US government seized from Paul Manafort (whom you somehow think got a raw deal). But why bother with the facts, right?

      With all due respect, ma’am, your own comments display the level to which you are drunk on the Kool-Aid. Russia never hacked the DNC? Mueller had to save face? Bernie hacked Podesta? Comey is running scared? Limbaugh is correct 99.6% of the time and the MSM 0%? And again you excuse a blatant call by Trump for Russian help by saying “He was just joking!” Yeah, it’s a joke all right.

      And here’s my favorite: “Trump is a realist.” LOL.

      So shall we stop this pointless back and forth? I bear you no ill will, ma’am, but you and I simply don’t see eye to eye on even the most basic of facts and no amount of argument is likely to change that. I am content to let history be the judge. Are you?

      Like

      1. For once we agree on something: “Facts are facts and you can’t argue with them.” Of course, your team is proudly the team of “alternative facts.” Such as: “Trump was framed from the get go.”

        Like

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