A Passing Thought About Putin’s American Team

Tucker Carlson, Candace Owens, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and dozens of other so-called Republicans are now, with increasingly obvious desperation, expressing open hatred and spreading obvious Russian propaganda about Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine, while deliberately ignoring the fact that they would never have heard Zelensky’s name, or have been able to locate Ukraine on a map, had Russia not invaded that country without just cause or any provocation, or were Russia not carrying out war crimes on a mass scale and directly threatening the U.S. and its allies on a daily basis for their audacity in helping Ukraine defend its sovereign territory against Vladimir Putin’s Soviet dreaming.

In short, as I have said before, these “populist” Republicans (take those scare quotes seriously, and substitute the proper word if you have the guts to be honest with yourself) are now, with a brazen desperation that rises in proportion with Ukraine’s success in decimating the Russian military, explicitly cheering for Putin to destroy Ukraine. They are not, repeat not, taking the libertarian or isolationist view that America should stay out of other people’s wars. They are hoping for Putin’s victory, willing him to slaughter Ukrainians, praying for the murder of the Ukrainian president. They want an infamously brutal and self-aggrandizing dictator to win wars, kill innocents, and annex his neighbors’ territory.

Why? Well, one could speculate all day long on why the slavering toadies of authoritarianism long for the hell they long for. But I would like to offer a simpler, less psychological hypothesis, peculiar to this particular rabble.

Apart from being stupid and hating freedom and America, what do all these drooling enemies of Ukrainian independence — Candace Owens, in response to images of Zelensky speaking in the U.S. Congress, said that she wanted “to punch him” — have in common? That’s obvious: They are all Trump sycophants, every one of them a person who jumped on the Trump train early, and profited greatly from being a loyal agent of the Trump presidency, the Trump “stolen election” fraud, and all the rest of the “populist” hocus pocus.

So what? So this: One of the big questions around Trump’s primary campaign in 2016 was the extent of Russian support for his candidacy. Why were pro-Putin operatives on Trump’s campaign staff? Why were Russian troll-bots taking over the conservative websites spreading invective and divisiveness about every candidate but Trump, while extolling Trump as the second coming? 

My question, then, is this: What do those Trump sycophants in the U.S. government and the fake conservative media believe Putin has in his filing cabinets that might be embarrassing to their “populist” cause? How else to explain their rabid defense of Russia’s right to destroy Ukraine and kill millions of Ukrainians? How else to explain their increasing lack of nuance or subtlety in begging for U.S. disengagement, in pleading with the gods to allow Russia to snatch victory from the jaws of inevitable defeat, when everyone knows Putin would take such an outcome as license to move on to wider targets? How else to explain the Trump world’s obvious terror at the thought of Putin being resisted and unseated? What are they so afraid of? 

I’ll guess it’s the filing cabinets. The other alternatives are far worse.

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