There's Jason Willick's article at The American Interest that looks at what seems the most likely scenario: that the Mueller investigation won't turn up any impeachable offense, or even any egregious scandal.
I found Victor Davis Hanson's latest essay, appearing at American Greatness, compelling. And that kind of surprised me. Hanson, who is undeniably one of the most measured yet principled public intellectuals on the scene, had been disappointing me for a while, leaning incrementally toward supporting Trump without adequately articulating his reasons. Until today. He makes a case that looks pretty airtight to me - that is, it fully addresses my misgivings. In fact, he spells them out as well as I could have, and I have all four that he lists:
1) The character flaws of the inexperienced and uncouth Trump would eventually nullify any positive agenda that he might enact; not opposing such a boorish character undermines one’s reputation as an empirical and fair-minded conservative;
2) Trump is a liberal wolf in conservative sheep’s clothing; at any given moment he will break his campaign promises and revert to his 1980s New York Democratic self. Or, Trump has no ideology and is an empty vessel willing to embrace almost any ideology he finds efficacious to his ambitions of the moment. Either way, he will do the conservative cause real damage;
3) Trump’s base supporters, while not irredeemables and deplorables, are prone to nationalist extremism and embrace certain prejudices that are antithetical to conservative values;
4) Clinton’s progressive agendas would not do as much damage to the nation as would Trump’s uncouth character. Thus the defeat of the Republicans in 2016, or the failure of an ensuing Trump presidency, would be cathartic. Only a Trump implosion would teach Republicans never again to allow such an untried and dangerous populist nationalist without political experience to highjack their party, while cleansing the movement of some odious figures and unpalatable ideas that have no business in it—or both.
Hanson makes the irrefutable point that "the resumption of the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, a 70 percent drop in illegal immigration, and the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court" are all magnificent achievements. I still have my doubts about his assertion that neither Cruz nor Rubio would have been able to muster the swing votes necessary to defeat Hillary Clinton and achieve the same things.
And Charles Krauthammer's prescription, at NRO, for how to move forward seems pretty obvious:
Trump’s behavior is deeply disturbing but hardly surprising. His mercurial nature is not the product of a post-inaugural adder sting at Mar-a-Lago. It’s been there all along. And the American electorate chose him nonetheless.
What to do? Strengthen the guardrails. Redouble oversight of this errant president. Follow the facts, especially the Comey memos. And let the chips fall where they may.
But no tricks, constitutional or otherwise.But you folks know me; I'm always looking for the core cultural and collectively spiritual state that is driving what's going on at the political level.
That's why I think Mona Charen's Townhall column today is perhaps the most important of all the pieces I'm sharing with you here.
She nails it:
We're not healthy right now. We are in a state of perpetual partisan rage; a fever stoked by interests who are making money from the clown-show ratings. CNN and MSNBC do wall-to-wall outrage, 24/7, about each and every Trump misstep (and they come thick and fast) -- keeping the needle more or less permanently dialed to 11. They perpetually label Trump a "conservative" only because they despise Trump and they loathe conservatives and assume that the two must be coterminous.
Fox News has become, with a few rare exceptions, the Trump Ministry of Information -- minimizing every mistake, justifying every outrage as a legitimate response to the "media frenzy" against him, and highlighting every hot-button news story that can enrage/frighten viewers about campus authoritarians, illegal immigrants, terrorists and Democrats.
The Trump presidency could only be possible in a country that makes few distinctions between fame and notoriety, and that has been rubbed raw by ceaseless incitement. Throughout his career, Trump did one thing extraordinarily well -- keep himself the center of attention. His talent for controversy and "trolling" kept him successful and famous. "He fights," people noted admiringly. Yes, but only for himself. As we're seeing, now that serious blunders are becoming an almost daily affair, incessant belligerence is exhausting for everyone and self-sabotaging for Trump. It turns out that swinging a mace in all directions is not "just what Washington, D.C., needed," far less the country.
But the ratings are great.
There's a minuscule degree of comfort in the realization that one is still free to fulfill one's role as an engaged citizen - as a pundit, even - without succumbing to this fever.
Steady as she goes. The three pillars:
1.) Free-market economics, which begins with the premise that a good or service is worth what buyer and seller agree that it is worth - period. No other party has any business being involved in that agreement - certainly not government.
2.) An understanding that Western civilization has been a unique blessing to humankind. (Judeo-Christian morality, Greco-Roman model of representative democracy, the great scientific and artistic achievements.)
. . . and an insistence on high standards of conduct and thought - that is, on dignity, the accumulation of wisdom, refinement in the employment of humor, common sense, and, wherever it can be employed, kindness.
And then, as Krauthammer says, the chips shall fall where they may.