The Emotional and Immature Defense

Ideas and Issues

Little Rock       Thank goodness for WAMF, WDSV, and KABF, so I had something to listen to on the radio as I drove from New Orleans to Little Rock on the day of the release of the Robert Mueller, Special Counsel report on Trump and his campaign, because that was all there was on the air everywhere else.  Same thing for the daily papers online and in print in the aftermath of Attorney General Barr’s mic drop.  I had to scour the news to keep up with the exciting climate protests of the Extinction Rebellion and their multi-day disruption of the City of London business district over the urgency to act on planetary destruction.  I’m not saying Mueller and the burning of Notre Dame are not important, but it’s a big world out there, and we have to focus, focus, focus on all of the moving balls in the air before they hit the ground.

The Mueller Report seems a classic case of middle-of-the-road, two-handed work, with something for everybody, and nothing that makes anyone truly happy.  Trump can celebrate “no collusion” with the Russians, and everyone else can be horrified at the countless absurdities of the whole White House gang from top to bottom.

Was their obstruction?  Well, does the sun rise in the east?  What prevented Mueller from making a clear call on the “balls and strikes” of an earlier claim: incompetence and ethical relapse, meaning that some of his staff and others couldn’t go where the president demanded.  In the words of the report:

 “The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

The takeaway:  Trump couldn’t help himself.  He had to obstruct, but he was essentially saved from himself by his team.

Attorney General Barr’s defense of the obstruction is a classic for the ages:

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

Every child needs to memorize this defense for all the times when their emotions and immaturity lead them to take a punch at a classmate, trip their sister, or whatever.  NBA players need to substitute the right words and make the case whenever accused of a foul by a referee on the hardwood.  It’s so much better than saying, “the devil made me do it,” although it’s really the same thing.

Barr’s defense is simple.  The President is a child.  He is easily provoked.  When agitated he has no rational boundaries, moral compass, or fixed beliefs but is raw emotion and grievance, justifying any and all actions that spring into his head.  With Barr’s rationale, when the bear is slapped, he’s simply a bear.  There is no accountability.  It’s a free ride on the high side.

You can’t impeach a child, and even punishment wouldn’t change him at this point.  Let it go!  Take all of the gifts the report offers in terms of craven ineptness and dangerous infantilism and go forward to the next election and beat him on the issues and on the exhaustively proven evidence of his unsuitability for high office or to have any of his ill-tempered fingers near the nuclear football or at the wheel of the ship of state.