Since Newt Gingrich's tenure, the GOP has steadily and resolutely moved away from bipartisanship and towards 'win-at-any-costs' levels of cheating, gamesmanship and demonization which has moved to the point where current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has effectively broken Congress, broken representative democracy and broken America.
So it's no surprise that despite widespread concern pre-election by seventeen separate intelligence agencies that Russia was actively interfering in our election, the Republicans did nothing. Screw free and fair elections if there's a partisan advantage to be had. And after the election, with its odds-defying result, the Republicans didn't care, because they won. The same party that was so concerned with the "appearance" of conflict of interest on the party of Hillary Clinton just shrugged their shoulders at huge, blatant, flashing red flags of not only conflict of interest but flat out collusion with not only a hostile foreign entity, but also organized crime. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" appeared to be the operating theory.
But man-oh-man is that a stupid and short-sighted way to govern the country.
Because--and this should be so painfully obvious that even the mindlessly partisan like the congressional Republicans should be able to see it--PUTIN IS NOT TRUMP'S FRIEND. He never was. He never will be. His goal was NOT ever to see his buddy in the White House. His goal was to sow as much chaos into our democratic process. It was to instill distrust in our institutions. It was to ensure that the person smart enough to see his machinations for what they were would never be in the Oval Office.
It was to compromise enough advisers to advantage Russia, not to advantage the GOP.
So now I have a query for the GOP: what now? What happens when Putin's useful tool is no longer useful to him?
“As much as the Russians want to have a relationship with the United States, they are clearly understanding that the longer that [the refused meeting with Rex Tillerson] doesn’t happen, the more Putin would actually return to his own devices,” [Nina] Khrushcheva [director of the Russia Project at the World Policy Institute] explained. “And that is a big, big danger.”
“Very quickly,” Reid interrupted. “The fear that a lot of Americans have is the sort of underlying undercurrent, that there is some retaliation that regime might use because it might have something on Donald Trump.”
And will that "something on Donald Trump" be enough to take down the presidency? It's a good bet, given Trump's own lack of transparency with his taxes, his business interests and the conflicts within his adviser circle. And that potentially means taking down his party with him, which will absolutely instill the chaos and distrust that Putin has always had as his means to the end of promoting Russia's interest.
For now, we still have the man-child in office, a man more bound to self-glorification than to any party loyalty. A man whose impulsiveness will have him acting for the sake of 'ratings' than partisan advantage. A man who would rather play golf than pressure wobbly Republicans to support legislation. A man given to nasty vendettas instead of political negotiations.
Colin Powell famously invoked the "Pottery Barn Rule" when it came to Iraq: you broke it, you bought it.
Mitch McConnell and the rest of the enabling Republicans: YOU BOUGHT THIS. Putin may have broke it, but this lies with you. And it will stay with you for elections.
And frankly, it couldn't happen to a more deserving party.