Stand by your monster

“Check it out,” Victor Cortez said, changing channels on the old Zenith I’d pulled out of a trash dump for Swamp Rabbit. The subject on MSNBC was the impeachment hearings. Same thing on CNN. But the big story on Fox News was “Kanye West spreading his message of faith” and — this may have been fake news — selling $55 pancakes at a breakfast event.

Victor’s point was that Fox would rather show anything but a bad-news story about Trump. And when there are bad-news stories they have to cover — the actual hearings, for example, which started Wednesday — they will ignore the facts and pretend they’re good-news stories.

“But even Fox has shown a few cracks,” Victor said later in the week, after acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor testified on the first day of the hearings and Fox News host Chris Wallace called Taylor “a very impressive witness and… very damaging to the president.”

Hardcore suck-ups — Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, and so on — will follow Trump all the way to the Führerbunker, Victor explained, but actual reporters at Fox News with a shred of credibility are hedging their bets regarding Trump’s long-term political health.

“Not so with them Republicans in Congress,” said Swamp Rabbit, who had just arrived at my shack for his weekly appointment with Victor, his parole officer. “Trump got on the phone with Zelensky and said sure, you’ll get that military aid, but I want you to do something for me, meaning get dirt on Biden. That’s an impeachable offense, plain as day, unless you’re a Republican.”

“But Republicans are saying there was no explicit quid pro quo,” I said. “Trump didn’t explicitly say ‘You won’t get the aid unless you deliver dirt on Biden.'”

“It don’t matter,” Swamp Rabbit replied. “You don’t have to spell out the quid pro quo. All you gotta do is conduct it. If I’m holding your swamp cat and say ‘I’ll give your cat back to you but I want you to do me a favor,’ then I’m abusing my power and breaking the law.”

I reminded Swamp Rabbit that Trump’s toadies — people like Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley — know he’s the lowest of the low, a guy who has cheated big banks and small business owners, robbed his own charities, betrayed foreign allies, taken kids from their parents and jailed them, and worse. They don’t care; they’re afraid he will denounce them to his base, that vast horde of lost souls who’d be happy if he made himself president for life.

“But that don’t make no sense,” the rabbit said. “They’re propping up a monster. Don’t they care what history is gonna think of them?”

All three of us laughed at that one. “Does Trump care about history?” I said. “Does his brother, Kanye West?”

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