There Must Be an End to Understanding

One may be credulous, but when the facts are bad enough, there will come an end to credulity. (The song makes the point nicely, but I wish I could have shared Patsy Cline’s rendition. I couldn’t find it, so I had to settle for Willie Nelson.)

In a way, I hate to keep referencing Jennifer Rubin. Back in the day, the mere thought of Mitt Romney was enough send her into an orgasmic swoon. It was a sentiment to which Aardvark could not relate. But lately she has come to her senses.

This afternoon, she writes, Americans have had enough:

What in the past worked to delight [Trump’s] audience and throw mainstream media off balance (e.g., a new scandal to replace an old one, vicious personal attacks on opponents and the press, new stock market highs) no longer works to keep his leaky ship of state afloat. Shutting down the government, rewarding Russia and Iran in the Middle East, losing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and sending the markets reeling may have moved us to a tipping point, the moment when lawmakers and voters decide Trump is far more trouble than he’s worth.

Well said—except that that last sentence has a highly salient omission. The important thing is not that “lawmakers” are fed up. It’s not that voters are fed up. It’s that the plutocrats are fed up.

But I digress.

Ms. Rubin goes on to put two and two together:

Let me suggest the American public is moving toward two disturbing conclusions: The president is a menace, and the president likely broke the law. What’s the implication of all that? First, his chances of reelection are sinking fast. It’s one thing to resist impeachment; it’s another to sign up for four more years of turmoil with a liar and miscreant. Republicans had better start looking for options for 2020. Second, the public, I’d suggest, is far more likely to accept at face value special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report findings. If they already suspect Trump ordered illegal payments or obstructed justice, Mueller’s report will likely solidify that view beyond the confines of the Trump cult (which shrinks as his performance worsens). Third, impeachment becomes less akin to a risky option and more like a constitutional obligation compelled by events. Fourth, watching the turn in public opinion and the meltdown in the executive branch (especially the loss of the only trustworthy national security adviser), more senators will begin to consider seriously removing Trump from office. And finally, as we have previously discussed, the option of indicting him and/or his business organization becomes only a question of timing (now or after he leaves office).

In sum, the ground shifted substantially over the last week or so. The cracks in his Republican wall of support are widening as actual fear grips Republican officeholders; the public becomes far more willing — anxious even — to see him go. Whether all that will result in his departure from office before 2020 is unknown, but it no longer seems like a pipe dream.

It’s sort of like how most of us die. One organ fails, that leads to another failure, that leads to another, and the whole thing just shuts down.