America suffers from not one but two opiate crises. The first afflicts some 11 million of our fellow citizens: people who turn to powerful painkillers to cope with suffering and end up addicted. The second involves a narrow but more prominent slice of the population — the liberal media and pundit class.
“Collusion” is the opiate of choice for this elite. Popping the Collusion pill gives them the rush from a vivid dream of undoing the outcome of the 2016 election.
On Friday, the Justice Department dealt a brutal blow to this crowd with word that no further indictments would be coming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. On Sunday Attorney General William Barr sent Congress a summary of the Mueller report, which found no evidence of collusion. Mueller has effectively cut off the supply of liberals’ favorite drug. Collusion is no more.
Quitting cold turkey is painful, and you could hear the Trump haters crying and groaning on cable news through the weekend.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went apoplectic. “How can the president be pointed to as leading collusion with Russia, of aiding a Russian conspiracy to interfere with our elections, if none of his henchmen, none of his children, none of his associates have been aided?” he raged in his show’s opening.
He asked all this in lament, mind you: The fact that the president of the United States isn’t a traitorous Manchurian candidate enraged rather than comforted Matthews.
Joy Reid, another MSNBC host, had a worse evening still. “It feels like the seeds of a cover-up” was her assessment of the Mueller probe — an assessment based-on her, well, feelings.
Twitter, meanwhile, offered a more haunting spectacle of addicts in withdrawal. “Mueller was always a side show,” Esquire’s Ryan Lizza tweeted. “The real action is in NY,” a reference to investigations into . . . well, who knows what anymore, supposedly underway in the Southern District of New York.
Mueller a mere side show, eh? Then why did Lizza speculate breathlessly in the pages of The New Yorker in 2017 about Mueller forcing Trump’s children to testify against him and about the probe eventually ensnaring the president himself? And why did he append not one but nine red-siren “emojis” to a tweet about Mueller’s impaneling of a grand jury, also in 2017?
Was Mueller the main show in 2017 but subsequently became a side show? How so?
Special mention should be made of the pushers, those who spent every waking hour of the past two years peddling hyped-up Collusion speculation that then filtered its way into the cultural bloodstream.
Take Benjamin Wittes, the Brookings Institution fellow who became famous for tweeting “Boom!” in response to various Collusion stories, as if to say: This latest revelation will surely devastate Trump!
“Boom!” Wittes tweeted when Buzzfeed reported in January that “President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie to Congress About Moscow Tower Project.” Except Mueller then took the unusual step of calling out the Buzzfeed story as false.
Wittes’ boom fizzled.
“Boom!” an undeterred Wittes tweeted the following month, when text of Cohen’s written testimony before the House appeared online. Cohen’s anti-Trump tirade was instantly discredited when it was revealed he had lied about asking his ex-boss for a pardon.
Another fizzle. And so and on.
Seth Abramson, a University of New Hampshire law professor catapulted to online fame for his fervid Collusion dreams, has a forthcoming book titled “Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump’s International Collusion is Threatening American Democracy.”
It claims the Russians helped Trump get elected as part of an elaborate conspiracy involving the Arab Gulf regimes and aimed at “marginalizing Iran, Syria, and Turkey.”
I wonder if his publisher, St. Martin’s, will ask for revisions to the manuscript before the April publication date, now that these allegations appear even more ludicrous than they did before the weekend’s developments.
“Don’t get high on your supply,” runs the dealer’s rule from “Scarface.” I doubt the Collusion peddlers will heed it. Nor will their clients kick the habit anytime soon.
Sohrab Ahmari is The Post’s op-ed editor.
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