FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
So it doesn't matter, you see, according to realdonaldtrump (aka the president of the United States), that his son, son-in-law and campaign manager were looking for Russian help to turn the election, specifically for trash the Kremlin might contribute about Hillary Clinton; it doesn't matter that Vladimir Putin himself might have been in the room, given the connections of those who were.
"That's politics," Donald Trump tweeted, echoing the sarcasm of his love-lost son, Donald Trump Jr.
That is not politics. That is absolutely not politics. These people have no idea what politics is, and no respect for it — which is to say, they have no respect for the Constitution.
I know most of the people, on both sides of the aisle, who have done politics for the last few decades. There are some bad apples, but no traitors that I am aware of. Not a soul, not a one, who would "take a meeting," as Hollywood Don Jr. likes to call it, with Russian operatives representing the Russian government seeking to help his father by influencing the U.S. election.
No, President Trump, I don't know anyone in politics with as little respect for all the values that brought us to politics in the first place. I don't mean love of power (though that seems to be what brought you). I mean love of country, love of democracy, love of the idea that the children and grandchildren of immigrants and a new generation of Americans could come together and build the greatest country on earth.
It's noisy business. It's messy business. We push the envelope. We really want to win.
But we don't go to the Kremlin for help.
I lost another friend from politics last month, the late, great Carl Wagner, who is mainly known these days as the father of Alex, but in my day he was known as one of the most talented, charismatic, actually inspirational guys working in politics. Not to mention a strategic wizard. He was the first person who told me Bill Clinton would be president someday, back in 1979. He helped him get there. And he taught me how to "do" politics — not just how to run a field organization in New Jersey, though there was that, or organize rabbis, or target primaries, though there was all of that — but to love what I was doing, and to believe in it, no matter what it happened to be. We were there because we were kids from Iowa and Levittown and Lynn, and politics was what we did to make sure that the American dream really was there for everyone. Tell me about "doing" politics and I'll tell you about Carl Wagner and Paul Tully, Ron Brown and Mike Ford, the guys who taught me; about John Reilly and Jack English, the legends I rubbed shoulders with; about Geraldine Ferraro traipsing around the country as platform chair; about people who cared.
And not a one of them would answer a message from a Kremlin-linked Russian offering a secret meeting, holding out trash on the opponent as the bait, and say, "I love it."
Don't insult us, President Trump.
You came to Washington calling it a swamp. And there is much wrong with a system in which those who want to serve spend most of their time asking rich people and special interests for money — yes, there is much that is wrong with that — but most of the people who are in Washington, even the ones asking the most, came because they cared and stayed because it mattered. And if they got a call from Russian spies offering trash on their competition, they would not say: "I love it."
This is not politics, Mr. Trump, and it's not right. It's not how Washington works, and it's certainly not how a president should work. It is an insult to all who have gone before you that you would think otherwise. Forget about my friends. Imagine Ronald Reagan.
To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.