The “I” Word



Illegitimate claims to the throne rarely turn out well for the usurper. From Claudius to Richard III, history is replete with examples of usurpers who discovered too late that political power depends greatly on perception, that is to say, on the perceived legitimacy of the person wielding that power.

Closer to home, the disputed 2000 election forever tainted the presidency of George W. Bush. Ironically, the perception of him improved after the tragedy of 9-11; but even then, he barely won re-election. Despite his narrow victory in 2004, he foolishly claimed a mandate to privatize Social Security – public opinion said otherwise.

Many Americans, if not most, regard Donald Trump’s presidency as even more Illegitimate, in part because he actually lost by nearly three-million votes. There’s also the still unresolved matter of possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. It’s still early, but the signs point clearly toward this being a short and unsuccessful reign.


An ideologue is defined as “an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic”. The term is often used as a pejorative, but ideologues consider it a badge of honor. Indeed, they consider someone who compromises as unprincipled. That’s certainly the case with most members of the so-called Freedom Caucus, whose idea of governing seems to be “my way or the highway”.

This White House offers a glaring example of a “my way or the highway” ideologue – Steven Bannon. His fascistic ideology leads him to openly call for the “deconstruction of the administrative state”. It’s difficult to discern exactly what he means by that bloated and loaded phrase, but we’ve seen something like that put in practice before – in Germany in the Thirties.

This White House also offers a glaring example of an unprincipled opportunist – short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump. He has no discernible principles, and his only discernible motivation seems to be the profit motive.


An investigation used to be something of a rarity in Washington, but Darrel Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, once threatened to hold “seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks.” Fellow Republican Trey Gowdy outdid even Issa with his pointless and interminable Benghazi probe.

But the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives may prove to be the biggest of them all. Only the Watergate investigation can compare for scrutiny and intensity, as well as for possible consequences. Indeed, the ultimate consequence in this case may be prison time for the president. There’s no harm in hoping for the best.


Even at this preliminary stage in the Trumputingate investigation, immunity has already come up. Mike Flynn, crackpot conspiracy theorist and former National Security Adviser to Trump, says he’ll tell all to escape being convicted of perjury, bribery (and the usually attendant charge of income tax evasion), failure to register as a foreign agent, conspiracy to kidnap a political refugee, and possibly treason. Those are very serious crimes, and he likely won’t be granted immunity unless he has the goods on someone above him – and that could only be one person – Donald Trump.

Flynn may be the first, but he won’t be the last Trump crony looking for immunity. That list includes former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Carter Page, Rudy Giuliani and possibly even Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Stay tuned.


If Flynn or any of the others do have the goods on Trump and decide to use what they know to save their own skins, the biggest “I” word of them all will come into play – impeachment. And if that begins to appear likely, we may witness a historical first – the first president to ever grant himself a presidential pardon. Welcome to Wonderland.

©2017 Tom Cordle

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4 Responses to The “I” Word

  1. TJ Chaos says:

    Here’s hoping it goes far enough to reverse the precedent set by Nixon/Ford.


  2. As a person living in a different country, I can only look on in wonder at the shambolic times that have come, on the election of the man who appears to be a buffoon to us, as we see him on our TV screens. But buffoons aren’t usually as dangerous as this one could be. Impeachment sounds interesting …
    I watch Trevor Noah on my TV screen, and he keeps us up to date on things Trumpian.


    • Tom Cordle says:

      Trust me, the majority of Americans also view Trump as a crude buffoon – and worse, though admittedly there are too many among us who support this degenerate. In fact, he won despite losing by nearly three million votes, thanks to the “vision” of our sainted Founders, who “blessed” us with the Electoral College.

      But what troubles me even more than Trump – who will be gone sooner or later (and I suspect it will be sooner) is the large contingent of Americans, who voted for a man so clearly unfit for the highest office in the land will still remain. I’m also ashamed of the 92 million Americans who were eligible to vote and couldn’t be bothered.


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