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Everybody knows that your average cockroach is as difficult to eradicate as he is ugly. It’s hard to starve them out; they can go a month without any food at all, and live happily on what seems to be nothing to speak of, like bits of glue from book bindings. They can hang on for up to 45 minutes without oxygen, and survive cold temperatures, even persisting in sub-zero conditions for a few hours. They can carry on for a while, responsive to their environment, with their frigging heads cut off – that’s not urban myth, they really can – and are something like fifteen times as resistant to radiation as complex mammals like thee and me, which, while not extraordinary for insects, is one facet of the popular belief that come the nuclear apocalypse, cockroaches will inherit the Earth. Most important, from the standpoint of anybody afflicted with the little bastards, is that the modern cockroach, honed by decades of Darwinian struggle against an onslaught of deadly chemicals, is now resistant to just about every pesticide at the disposal of your friendly neighbourhood Orkin man. The latest research shows them to be almost unkillable. You can bathe them in stuff that’d knock over a hippo, and they just laugh it off. Think about it – a critter impervious to the most devastating poisons our science can devise.

The comparison to Donald is obvious and irresistible, right?

Nothing kills him. Not illegal hush money payments to porn stars, not attacking Gold Star families, not Access Hollywood, not 22,000 lies (and counting), not “very good people on both sides”, not multiple, credible accusations of sexual assault, not all the corruption, venality, nepotism, and obvious incompetence, not myriad statutory and constitutional violations, not looking and sounding like he needs a neurological work-up, stat, not over 180,000 deaths (and counting) in a badly mishandled pandemic, not economic collapse, not even impeachment, the American political equivalent of being nuked. You can dose him with as much political pesticide as you want, and at the end of the day he’s still scurrying around the Oval Office while the Orkin Man wails why aren’t you dead?!?

And I’m supposed to believe that this latest reporting in The Atlantic is going to drop him in his tracks?

Oh, it ought to, I agree. Credible accounts of Trump repeatedly referring to America’s war dead as “losers” and “suckers”, while refusing to visit their graves on those solemn occasions when Presidents are supposed to go and pay their respects, should be enough to alienate every patriotic American. It’s almost inconceivably toxic. It’d render any other politician just as dead as a nit. But this is Donald. Nothing kills him.

Certainly not a story attributed only to anonymous sources, and one vehemently denied, on the record, by all sorts of people who were there, and not just the Liar-in-Chief. Trump’s base, which has stayed with him through thick and thin – well, through thin and thin – isn’t about to jump ship just because of one more attack from his arch-enemies in the Fake News mafia. By now, we should all know that those folks are almost impossible to sway. Look at the latest polls – many pundits have noted, with palpable incredulity, that Donald’s approval figures are the same today as they were before the pandemic hit, as if the horrors of the past few months meant nothing at all to Trump Nation, which, in a way, they didn’t. It’s not that nobody sporting a MAGA hat understands that times have been awfully tough lately. It’s just that it isn’t Donald’s fault. In fact, if it wasn’t for Trump, things would be a lot worse. From where they sit in East Trumpistan, all that media noise about the appalling hash made of the response to the pandemic is just that: noise, all lies, and all of it fake, partisan, biased, and downright deranged, really, nothing more than proof piled upon proof that the socialist libs in the AOC cheering section have it in for their hero. You don’t hear any of that stuff being reported on reliable outlets like Fox and OANN, do you? You can’t believe anything spewing out of the Lamestream Media, especially, as Donald has admonished them repeatedly, anything attributed only to anonymous sources. “Anonymous” equals “fabricated”. Dear Leader says so, and you know what, Dear Leader has a point.

There’s a scene in All The President’s Men when Jason Robards, playing legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, frustratedly yells When is somebody going on the goddam record with this story? That’s not just the imaginings of the script writer. A careful old school journalist, Bradlee was initially disinclined to trust a story that nobody would tell out in the open, but only on a “deep background”, no names basis, as communicated in secret in the depths of a dimly lit parking garage. It didn’t feel reliable. The same issue afflicts nearly all of the most damaging reporting over the past three and a half years. The stories are plentiful because the White House leaks like a sieve, as does the Pentagon, and most of the rest of the Trump administration. The ink slingers at the Post and the Times have never had it so good. Nobody, though, is willing to stand up in the daylight and say it for attribution. Either they’re terrified of Donald, concerned for their own safety and the safety of loved ones (Trump does have a legion of whack-job followers), or addicted to working in the halls of power, but they won’t put their names to it. Hell, the Times even ran a whole column written by “Anonymous”, warning the public of the dangers of what its author assured us was surely history’s dumbest, most corrupt, and most lawless President, but so what? If things are all that bad, why wouldn’t Mr./Ms. Anonymous quit and say so on the record? Instead, we eventually get an entire book written by this nebulous “Anonymous”. Or books that quote anonymous sources. Or what would otherwise be extremely damaging stories, like the most recent one in The Atlantic, citing only those who won’t let their names be used.

Why would Trump’s base be swayed by anything like that? Even I’m inclined to be suspicious, and we all know where I stand. It’s not that the reports aren’t credible; they are. Yet, whispered only in the shadows by those unwilling to be identified, they’re also inherently weak, especially to those who, unlike me, don’t want to believe them. I’m with Bradlee: when are any of these people going to go on the goddam record? It’s time. It’s past time. It’s almost too late. It might not even work. But those who’ve been on the inside, know whereof they speak, and feel sick and appalled at the prospect of a second Trump term, had better stand up now and be counted or dammit, they’re complicit. That’s perhaps harsh, but these are dire circumstances, and national emergencies – and this is a national emergency – call for courage. You want to save the Republic, do you? For real? Then act like it.

Anonymous? You don’t kill the world’s biggest cockroach with weak-assed shit like that.

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