John Derbyshire On WhateverGate—The Crazed Quest To Find Some Reason (Any Reason!) To Dump Trump
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

One of Steve Sailer’s many clever commenters has brilliantly named it WhateverGate—the frantic legalistic churning about who said what to whom in President Trump's circle, and whether the thing that was or was not said warrants impeachment. Or whatever. But impeachment. Every week, I think things can't get any crazier—the hysteria has to burn itself out, the temperature can't get any higher, the fever has to break—and every week it's worse. Boy, they really want to get this guy. That just gives us more reasons to defend him.

I don't even bother much any more to focus on the actual thing that President Trump or one of his colleagues is supposed to have said or done. Every time, when you look closely, it's basically nothing.

I've been reading news and memoirs about American presidents since the Kennedy administration. I swear that every single damn thing Trump is accused of, warranting special counsels, congressional enquiries, impeachment—every single thing has been done by other recent presidents, often to a much greater degree, with little or no comment.

"This is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility," Obama said, expressing confidence that he would win a second term. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir," said Medvedev, Putin's protégé and long considered number two in Moscow's power structure.Remember Barack Obama's hot-mike blooper in the 2012 campaign, telling the Russian President that, quote, "After my election I have more flexibility"? [Obama tells Russia's Medvedev more flexibility after election, Reuters, March 26, 2012] Can you imagine how today's media would react if footage showed up of Trump doing that in last year's campaign? Can you imagine? I can't.

We are a big, important country with big, important things that need doing—most important of all, halting the demographic transformation that's tugging us out of the Anglosphere into the Latino-sphere and filling our country with low-skill workers just as robots are arriving to take their jobs.

Those big, important things aren't getting done. Instead, our news outlets are shrieking about high crimes and misdemeanors in the new administration—things that, when you read about the actual details, look awful picayune.

Sample, from today's press, concerning Michael Flynn, the national security advisor President Trump fired for supposedly lying to the Vice President about a phone conversation he'd had with the Russian Ambassador last December. To the best of my understanding, the root issue was just a difference of opinion over the parsing of what Flynn remembered having said, and the precise definition of the word "substantive," but Trump fired him anyway.

Well, here's Eli Lake at Bloomberg News on the latest tranche of investigations into Flynn's activities:

Flynn's legal troubles … come from his failure to properly report foreign income. One source close to Flynn told me that the Justice Department had opened an investigation into Flynn after the election in November for failing to register his work on behalf of a Turkish businessman, pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Flynn had instead reported this income through the more lax Lobbying Disclosure Act. After his resignation, Flynn registered as a foreign agent for Turkey.

The Special Counsel Who Just Might Save Trump's Presidency, by Eli Lake, May 18, 2017

Did you get that? Instead of registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Flynn reported his income through the Lobbying Disclosure Act!

High crimes! Treason! Special Prosecutor! Congressional inquiry! The Republic is in danger! Suspend habeas corpus! This must not stand!

And then, the whole silly Russia business. The Bloomberg guy has words about that, too:

Flynn also failed to report with the Pentagon his payment in 2015 from Russia's propaganda network, RT, for a speech in Moscow at the network's annual gala. As I reported last month, Flynn did brief the Defense Intelligence Agency about that trip before and after he attended the RT gala. The Pentagon also renewed his top-secret security clearance after that trip.
So obviously the rot goes deep into the Pentagon. They're covering for him! Let's have a purge of the military! Special prosecutor!

Oh, we have a special prosecutor? Let's have another one!

Russia, Russia, Russia. For crying out loud, Russia's just a country. We have no great differences of interest with them. What, are they trying to reclaim Alaska? First I've heard of it.

You could make an argument, I suppose—I don't myself think it's much of an argument, but you could make it—that Russia's a military threat to Europe.

Once again, with feeling: Europe has a population three and a half times greater than Russia's and a GDP ten times greater. Europe's two nuclear powers, Britain and France, have more than five hundred nuclear weapons between them. If the Euros can't defend themselves against Russia, there's something very badly wrong over there, beyond any ability of ours to fix—even if you could show me it's in our national interest to fix it, which you can't.

At this point, in fact, reading the news from Europe, I think a Russian invasion and occupation of the continent would be an improvement. A Russian hegemony might at least put up some resistance to the ongoing invasion of Europe from Africa and the Middle East. It doesn't look as though the Euros themselves are up to the job.

That aside, American citizens are free to visit Russia and talk to Russians, including Russian government employees, just as free as we are to talk to Australians, Brazilians, or Cambodians. As the Lion said on his blog:

Do liberals who are making a big deal about the Trump-Russia thing really believe that no one involved in a presidential campaign should have ever talked to anyone from another country? How would an administration ever conduct any foreign policy if no one in the administration has ever left the United States or ever talked to a foreigner?
And again, these standards have never been applied to other Presidents. Bill Clinton took campaign donations from the Chinese army. [Chinagate and the Clintons, By Robert Zapesochny, American Spectator, October 6, 2016] Barack Obama groveled to the Saudis. Where were the calls for special prosecutors?

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, with whom Flynn had that December phone conversation, is, says the New York Post, "a suspected Kremlin spy." [Michael Flynn won’t honor subpoena to provide documents, By Bob Fredericks, May 18, 2017]  Is he? Why should I care?

I bet ol' Sergey does all the spying he can. So, I'm sure, do the ambassadors of China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Botswana. That's what ambassadors do. That's what we do in their countries. Does anyone not know this?

"A Kremlin spy"? What is this, 1957? Russia's just a country. And as our own James Kirkpatrick has pointed out here at, it's a country run by people who hate us—the American people—less than our own elites do.

As James also points out, if it's interference in our elections that bothers you, consider what Mexico's been doing for the last forty years: encouraging mass immigration of its own underclass into the U.S.A., lobbying through its consulates and Spanish-language TV channels for voter registration, using Mexican-owned outlets like the New York Times to demonize and discredit national conservatives.

The founder of Christianity scoffed at those who strain at a gnat but swallow a camel. In the matter of foreign interference in our elections, the gnat here is Russia; the camel is Mexico. Our media and opinion elites have swallowed the camel.

Unless, of course, just down the road a few months, there's going to be a hysteria-storm about Mexican interference in our elections. My advice would be: Don't hold your breath.

All the shouting and swooning is just the rage of a dispossessed class—our political class.

Our political and government class, I think I should say. There are tens of thousands of federal functionaries who have never stood for election to anything, but whose loyalty is to the political Establishment. Great numbers of these people settled in to their comfortable seats during the eight years of Barack Obama's administration; so to the degree that they care about party affiliation, they prefer the Democratic Party. Washington, D.C. voted 91 percent for Mrs. Clinton last November.

Real Watergate ScandalThis is the famous swamp that candidate Trump promised to drain. This is where the leaks come from. [Obama Holdovers, Vacant Posts Still Plague TrumpAdministration housecleaning is long overdue to get agenda in motion, end damaging leaks, by Thomas Richard,, May  18, 2017] Draining the swamp means getting rid of those people. They should be fired—en masse, in their hundreds and thousands, and marched out the office door by security guards before they can trash files.

Still, a big majority of federal politicians are helping to drive the hysteria; and their rage against Trump is, as they say in D.C., bipartisan. Senator John McCain told CNN on Tuesday that President Trump's troubles are, quote, "of Watergate size and scale."

There's a grain of truth in that. The Watergate affair was a media witch-hunt against a president the Establishment elites disliked. Nixon's offenses were of a kind the Main Stream Media had never bothered about, nor even reported, when done by Democrat presidents—like Lyndon Johnson's bugging of Barry Goldwater in 1964.

So yes: When the political and media establishment try to drive from office a president they dislike, it is kinda like Watergate.

It's pretty plain by now that the Republican Party Establishment is not going to forgive Donald Trump for humiliating them last year. They'll be just as happy as Democrats to see him go, if they can somehow help the Democrats force him out without showing too much outward enthusiasm.

Last August, after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination, I reproduced a remark Peggy Noonan made in one of her columns. Here's the remark again, quote:

From what I've seen there has been zero reflection on the part of Republican leaders on how much the base's views differ from theirs and what to do about it. The GOP is not at all refiguring its stands.
Has there been any reflection among GOP leaders in the nine months since, about the meaning of Trump's victory? Not much that I can see.

Sixty-three million Americans rejected establishment politics last November. They took a chance on an outsider. From a field of sixteen seasoned Republican politicians and one upstart, GOP primary voters selected the upstart. Then sixty-three million of us voted for him in the general.

Does the GOP get this? Have they learned anything from it? Not that I can see.

With some exceptions, of course. GOP elder statesman Pat Buchanan spelled it out in an interview with the Daily Caller this week:

We tried the wars, we tried the free trade globalism, and we tried the open borders and people don't like the results. And they're not going to like it better if we go back to the same approach.

Pat Buchanan: It Isn’t Watergate Yet, But How Long Can This Sustain? by Alex Pfeiffer, May 17, 2017

The GOP leadership would like to go back anyway. They think if they can get rid of Trump, that will get rid of Trumpism. They yearn to get back to the futile wars, the free trade sucker economy, the open borders and multiculturalism.

If they can just pull off an impeachment, the Republican party bosses believe, and install some donor-compliant drone in the White House, then we sixty-three million Trump voters will smack our foreheads with our palms and say: "Jeez, we are so dumb! Why did we let ourselves get led astray like that? Why didn't we vote for Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush in the primaries, as you wise elders wanted us to? We're sorry! We promise to follow your advice in future!"

They really think that, the McCains and Grahams and McConnells and Ryans. Get rid of Trump, you get rid of Trumpism, they believe. Then we can all go back to what Orwell called "the dear old game of scratch-my-neighbor."

Yep, this is the Stupid Party.

But whether Donald Trump is actually the right person to give us Trumpism is more and more in doubt.

I am of course grateful for the small mercies. Thank you for Jeff Sessions; thank you for the work you're doing on trade; thank you somewhat for Neil Gorsuch, who may yet turn and cuck on us.

Those are small mercies, though. Where's the really big, bold swamp-draining exercise, like the one I just described? Why are we still issuing work permits to illegal aliens? Why no federal legislation to slam a mandatory ten-year sentence on any illegal who, after being deported, comes back in? Why no request to Congress on funding for the border Wall? For an end to the visa lottery and restrictions on chain migration? When do we start testing the constitutionality of birthright citizenship? Why are we still in NATO? Why are we still at war with North Korea (which technically we are, since there hasn't been a peace treaty, only an armistice)?

I like Ann Coulter's analogy: It's as if we're in Chicago, and Trump says he can get us to L.A. in six days; and then for the first three days we're driving towards New York. He can still turn around and get us to L.A. in three days. But, says Ann, she's getting nervous.

Me too.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at


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