Washington I count myself lucky, when I’m not in DC. That’s not a new thing, but a lifelong habit. It’s a company town, and I don’t much care for the company.
Sitting in Georgetown for a minute on my way to the University this evening, it’s a gray, early spring day. I can tell it is early spring, because there are fewer winter jackets, more shirtsleeves, and sweaters. Mainly it’s just overcast and depressing, so welcome to Washington! Georgetown seems the same as always. No parking. Wine shops and fancy clothing stores like Ralph Lauren and others. The one treat when I came into town every now and again decades ago was a burger at Five Guys, but now they are everywhere from airports to Missoula. I’m sitting in something that looked like it might work called Wawa’s, a combo sandwich shop, coffee thing, and convenience store with a few tables and a Wi-fi that doesn’t work. Different verse, same song.
The headlines this morning screamed about the Mueller report and no finding of collusion with the Russians. The president predictably said he was exonerated, and everyone else from the columnists, editorialists, and talking heads blaring on the news and TV cautioned equally predictably – without seeing the report – that he was certainly not exonerated. This viewpoint included his newly appointed Attorney General Barr and his old punching bag, Ron Rothstein, the beleaguered deputy attorney general. They were clear that the report – that none of us has seen – was a minefield and a mess, but they didn’t feel the evidence was conclusive enough to warrant further indictments or charges against the President. As everyone but the smallest children know this gives the President a break, but it doesn’t end his troubles since there are ongoing investigations in New York and of course now in the House of Representatives in numerous committees. The harpy chorus on the editorial op ed pages of the Wall Street Journal wanted to question the time and expense, but whatever, the President has to be a happy man, and the rest of the campaigners need to re-calibrate.
It has been clear for quite a while that the campaign and its staffers were too incompetent and chaotic to collude with anyone effectively, much less the Russians. This was the gang that couldn’t shoot straight and couldn’t believe that they would win this thing. This was a campaign from top to bottom of grifters looking for the main chance to make a buck and position themselves for something in the future. They were trying to build a brand, not lead the band.
There are a ton of good solid grounds, both personal and political, available to beat Trump. We ought to express real joy that the Russians didn’t manage the Trump campaign, thank Mueller and the Department of Justice, and go after Trump on the issues for 2020 and stop pushing rewind on 2016. That’s a loser. His amorality, inattention, incompetence, and policy decisions need to be front and center. He can continue to rant about Hillary and McCain, lost in the past. We need to move to the future where victory lies waiting.