It’s Worm Time! (Told Ya So)
When Donald Trump plunked his net into the Fox News mire for the umpteenth time and hauled up John Bolton, so many self-proclaimed conservatives were over the moon with optimism. “Now,” they gushed, “the administration’s foreign policy will really get coherent and tough. Bolton is a straight-talking genius, a real man’s man.”
I took flak from many such “conservatives” when I pointed out, repeatedly, that Bolton is nothing but a paper tiger, all moustache and no teeth, and that when push comes to shove, he just wants a prestigious administration job, and will sell out anything and everything to get (and keep) it, à la Larry Kudlow and the rest of the phony Fox “expert commentators.”
Today, Associated Press is reporting that Donald Trump’s surprise withdrawal of American troops from Syria, against the after-the-fact “advice” of everyone in his administration and his party, was a snap decision made — another big non-surprise — as an unsolicited act of telephone appeasement to Turkey’s Islamist despot Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In other words, Trump doesn’t even wait for dictators to make demands. Instead, he jumps in and says, “May I shine your shoes, sir?” — and then invites the media to film him shining the dictator’s shoes while declaring this a great victory, because America has never had a president who shined shoes so beautifully.
John Bolton — a career neoconservative (when that was a fashionable thing to be in Washington) who for two years has twisted himself into a pretzel to seem to be promoting whatever position Trump was taking in any given week — was apparently in the middle of this shameful phone conversation between his boss and the Turkish dictator. So what will he do now?
Bolton is one of the biggest frauds in Washington. He has cultivated a tough, take no prisoners, militaristic image, while in reality being a lifelong pencil-pushing bureaucratic climber, with a Vietnam history slightly less noble than Donald Trump’s, and principles for sale to the highest bidder. He’s certainly proved that last part over the past year, using Fox News as a platform to beg for an administration position, and now kissing the ring for a whim-and-panic-directed demagogue in order to keep that prestigious position.
Will Bolton join the rest of Trump’s establishment protectors — General Mattis being the latest — in running for the hills before his boss goes completely off a cliff, taking America’s future with him? Is John boltin’? I will simply venture this prediction: He will do exactly what seems to advance the practical fortunes of John Bolton this month, principles and consistency be damned.
In other words, he will do what everyone in the Washington establishment — elected, bureaucratic, and media branches — always does. That is one thing this Trump era has exposed, and the strongest argument for the ultimate value of the Trump presidency. The quasi-conservative and Republican establishmentarians and establishment apologists who embraced him, or half-embraced him, for their own perceived material benefit, at the obvious expense of their nation’s true and urgent interests, have nowhere left to hide. Their cynicism and amoral self-interest are on display for all to see, and there is no way to get those worms back into the can.
Worms, worms, all around.