Where the hell are all the Republicans on Capitol Hill?
Have you ever seen — or not seen — such a bunch of cowardly, spineless front-running, back-pedaling political curs?
The sniveling Beltway GOP is doing their best to MAGA — Make America Gutless Again.
You could at least understand their terror if there was even a scintilla, an iota, a shred of evidence that Donald Trump had “colluded” with the Russians, whatever that means. But there isn’t, so why are they cowering in abject fear of the pajama boys in the fake-news media and their Democrat fellow travelers?
The Republicans are all wringing their hands and whimpering how “troubled” and “disturbed” and “concerned” they are by these allegations of … what exactly? The solons claim to be hearing “echoes” of Watergate. It’s all the usual suspects — John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and now Kelly Ayotte’s replacement in the RINO chorus line, Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Most of these people have always hated Trump. They were hoping the summer White House would be reopening next weekend at Walker Point in Kennebunkport. Think Gov. Charlie Baker, that RINO’s RINO. Now they’re saying, “I told you so.” They’re being quoted (anonymously) in stories with headlines like “President Mike Pence,” as if the lynch mob would be satisfied with just Trump’s scalp.
The few Republicans in Congress who even dare to go in front of a camera call for “immediate classified briefings,” or they try to issue mealy-mouthed on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand statements while quivering in fear.
“It may be something very serious,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), “or it may be nothing.”

Like Inspector Clouseau, he suspects everyone, he suspects no one.

But most of the Republicans are totally MIA, just like they were in October after the “Access Hollywood” tapes came out. The difference is, back then there was actually something to run from, plus it looked like Trump was going down in a landslide.

But now he’s the president. And this “scandal” is like a political version of the old book, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” If you ever wondered what it was like during the Salem witch trials back in 1692, just turn on CNN or MSNBC.

These Republicans are now declaiming that this special prosecutor will be “bipartisan,” and that his probe will be over in a matter of months. Are they serious? Look at this guy Robert Mueller. He went to prep school with John Kerry, he was brought to Boston by Bill Weld, he was appointed by a Bush and worked for an Obama.

Totally on the level, in other words.

Let me be the first to say, if you want to hide something real good, just stick it in one of Robert Mueller’s law books.

The jackals have no evidence — even Maxine Waters and Dianne Feinstein have conceded that. James Comey said under oath earlier this month that there had been no interference from the White House. The Democrats just can’t accept the fact that they lost the election. Period. They refuse to realize that sometimes, as Shakespeare wrote, the fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves.

Instead, they spin their fantasies. Impeachment, they say, is in the air. Not to mention a whiff of fascism, according to Comrade Chris Matthews.

Yep, there’s a whiff of something in the air all right, but it isn’t fascism. Just hope I don’t get any on my shoe.

Buy Howie’s new book, “Kennedy Babylon: A Century of Scandal and Depravity,” at howiecarrshow.com.

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The New York Times
Welcome to the Interpreter newsletter, by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, who write a column by the same name.
On our minds: The Trump administration has had a rough week, and a few legislators have started dropping the I word — impeachment — in public statements. But political science can help us understand what might be going on behind the scenes.
What President Trump Can Learn from Venezuela
We’ve been writing about Venezuela lately, where the embattled president, Nicol├ís Maduro, is struggling to contain huge public protests against his regime. That means we’ve been thinking a lot about “elite fracture” — a political science theory that says that while protests matter, the real trigger for regime change is usually when an authoritarian leader loses the support of important elites. That may be happening in Venezuela right now, but it also could apply to our country.
In a blog post that was the talk of political science Twitter this week, Tom Pepinsky, a political science professor at Cornell University, suggested that elite fracture is a good way to understand the dilemmas that Democrats and Republicans in Congress are facing over the latest round of scandals relating to the Russia investigation and President Donald J. Trump’s firing of the F.B.I director, James B. Comey.
Loyalty, it turns out, is basically a collective-action game played by self-interested politicians. While it’s always nice to hope that politicians will put their country’s interests over their own, research suggests it would not be smart to count on that. Rather, elites will most likely abandon a leader if they think that it will leave them better off, and will stay loyal, even in the face of public unrest, if they think that is the best option for them personally.
So in many ways Republican members of the House and Senate are facing a decision similar to the one that Mr. Maduro’s allies in Venezuela are most likely debating right now. Is it wiser to stay loyal to the president, who is broadly unpopular but still commands the loyalty of the Republican base? Or is it time to cut their losses and start separating from him?
Research on elite fractures is usually used to explain seismic events like coups or impeachments, but it’s also relevant to the smaller steps that lead to those outcomes. The same collective-action game is how, say, Republicans decide whether to defend Mr. Trump publicly each time news breaks of some development in the Russia situation, or how the congressional committees they lead decide on how actively to investigate his campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia.
But, Pepinsky points out, elite fracture research suggests that there’s another big issue here that the public debate has largely overlooked: whether Democrats will be willing to compromise with Republicans to encourage them to abandon Trump.
In other countries where elite fractures have led to regime change, there’s usually some kind of bargain between the opposition and the faction of elites who split from the regime. The specifics vary — maybe the rebel faction gets immunity from prosecution, or promises of cabinet posts, or valuable contracts — but the big takeaway is that there’s pretty much always some kind of tit-for-tat.
Right now, Pepinsky writes, Democrats are so deep in the partisan trenches that they would probably reject any compromise with moderate Republicans. And partisan polarization is so strong that Democrats have a strong incentive to go on the attack against all Republicans; it’s what the voters demand and reward. But if Democrats don’t compromise with moderate Republicans, the Republicans will be more likely to stick together -- making elite fracture less likely, at least for now.
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