In may 1895 the Republican Governor of Ohio William McKinley (William McKinley), who wanted to take part in the upcoming presidential race, sent to new York, his faithful assistant Mark Hanna (Mark Hanna), so he enlisted the support of the big bosses of the Grand old party from the North-East. These people — Thomas Platt (Thomas Platt) from new York, Matthew quay (Matthew Quay) from Pennsylvania and figure a smaller caliber — had sufficient weight and power to influence party decisions taken. McKinley felt that if we can enlist their support, he will be able to achieve the nomination of a presidential candidate from the Republican party even before the campaign began.
Hannah went, and returning home, reported to McKinley about the trip for some after-dinner cigar in his elegant mansion in Cleveland. One participant of the meeting recalled that an excited Hannah was full of enthusiasm.
“So, major,’ said this political apparatchik, referring to the Governor in rank during the Civil war, that’s all, except for sensation. You will get new York and Pennsylvania, but there are certain conditions.” Hannah had no trouble about these conditions, but McKinley reacted to this cautiously.
“What conditions?” he asked. Hanna reported that the city wants to have the Federal patronage in Pennsylvania, and the rest wished to obtain important government posts in New England and in Maine. But Platt wanted the bigger trophy — the post of Finance Minister. And he wanted to get a written promise.
McKinley looked straight ahead, puffing on a cigar. He then got up from the chair, walked across the room and turned to Hannah.
“Mark — he said — in the world there are things that cost too much. If I accept these conditions for the nomination, this post will mean nothing to me, and especially for the people. In such conditions I do not agree”.
Hannah was amazed. “Take your time,” he protested, explaining that to win over influential tycoons will be “bloody hard”, as they are unlikely to have a positive attitude to failure McKinney. But then Hannah thought about it and said that to succeed is still possible and supported by the Governor abandoned the call. Gathered in the room assessed the situation and came up with the slogan “the people against the bosses”.
In the end, McKinley defeated these bosses, and a reporter for the Washington Post wrote about this: “the Big three of the Republican party…hoping that McKinley will be clay in their hands. They were wrong and promised to start a war against it”. But now, said the reporter, their war failed. “In Ohio city on the shores of a lake mark Hanna secretly laughing”.
This little incident of the obscure political past comes to mind in connection with the recent events in the ongoing Saga of alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential campaign, and a search for evidence of “collusion” President trump and the heads of his staff with the Russians to influence the outcome of the vote. It turns out that the President’s son Donald Jr. at the request of his Russian friend met a lawyer from Russia, knowing that the lawyer can give him “official documents and information implicating Hillary Clinton and her ties with Russia,” and that this information can be very useful to his father. On top of that Donald Jr., took to the meeting of his son and adviser to trump Jared Kushner, as well as the head of his father’s election headquarters Paul Manafort.
This is important, and this news will certainly muddies the water in ongoing investigations. And yet these events are messed up political scene and will greatly exacerbate the stalled crisis, in the grip of which was America. Officials from the White house and supporters of the trump protect Donald, Jr., stating that there is nothing unusual, as any campaign headquarters looking for dirt on their opponents not doing anything illegal, it’s time to end this political witch hunt, etc., etc.
Meanwhile, opponents of the trump see hidden trends, intentions vile, vile immorality, and possibly illegal actions. Both sides put lawyers and criminologists that, based on their political sympathies, claim that no laws were violated or that the laws were clearly violated. Cable channels are competing to live in the hypocrisy and sarcasm. Lou Dobbs (Lou Dobbs) and Sean Hannity (Sean Hannity) from the Fox protecting the President, and Rachel Maddow (Rachel Maddow) and Chris Matthews (Chris Matthews) at MSNBC attack him.
And the country, meanwhile, remain baffled, not knowing what can mean all this fuss and cries. What to think? Who to believe?
Let’s for the purposes of analysis, assume that we observed is a fact, and what we know is not a harbinger of the worst. How do we evaluate what we know today? What conclusions can be drawn from this meeting with a Russian lawyer?
From a moral point of view it was a manifestation of promiscuity. But even worse, it was incredible stupidity. Immediately recall the words incorrectly attributed to Talleyrand, which was made in response to a storm of scandal in the French court: “It was worse than a crime; it was a gross mistake.”
Consider the fact that despite months of investigation, despite numerous leaks of information from those who does it, no serious evidence of collusion between the headquarters of the trump and the Russians never discovered. The story of conspiracy began slowly to fade in the national consciousness, and even in the mind of Washington, and was then replaced by the question of collusion came the question of obstruction of justice, becoming a more important area of investigation. And now the question of collusion again hung in the air.
The fate of trump Jr. is by and large a small thing, but the situation in the country is a matter of great importance. Stupid young man will have (actually already has) a huge impact on the leadership of the President. During the campaign he promised to improve relations with Russia, thus implicitly recognizing that the West has equal with Moscow responsible for the increased tension between the two countries. In this he is right. And then there is evidence of Russian interference in American elections and allegations of collusion and attempts by trump to improve relations with Russia strangled in the cradle.
But he did not give up. Last week at the G20 summit in Hamburg trump held a long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the hope of reducing tensions tried to go beyond the problems of the Russian intervention in American politics and to address other serious issues of interest to both parties. It was a very important event in American foreign policy.
But now the President again went on the defensive, cornered. The opponents may tie trump’s hands and feet in his policy towards Russia.
But let’s for a moment put aside the previous assumption that the observable is the fact. Of course, it is possible that this unfortunate meeting really was part of a massive conspiracy, which, if full disclosure can drown administration in revelations are so serious that the President will sink along with it. It’s possible, but unlikely.
But in terms of features trump to build its policy towards Russia it has almost no value, because new revelations will limit his freedom of action regardless of what’s behind them. The forces that wanted to destroy the President, or at least to deprive him of the opportunity to go to a detente with Putin, was back in the saddle. Left to wonder and even marvel at how it all coincided.
Actions have consequences even more than ideas. It is this point ignored trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort when I agreed to meet with the Russian representative, with “official documents” are supposedly able to hurt the democratic candidate.
It meant William McKinley, when he said he will not enter into improper transactions with the Eastern bosses, even if he has to abandon his dream of becoming President. Of course, McKinley thought about my personal code of conduct — that it is unacceptable for the decision, breaking his unshakable morals. But it is worth noting that when it was with disgust that I thought about this deal, he thought the American people. He could not commit an act that is not consistent with his duty to the electorate.
It was a long time ago and as if on another planet. Today we have people like trump and the Clintons, for that matter, are a step ahead of almost all degree of his immorality and unethical in matters of public policy. So the three of entourage trump seemed totally normal idea to sit down with a representative of a foreign power and to discuss the question of how official documents of this country will help defeat their opponent. Did trump everything that’s going on? We don’t know, but it cannot be ruled out. In any case, perhaps it was not a crime, but it was damn unpleasant mistake.
Robert Murray is a journalist and publisher, working as an editor at The American Conservative. In November, released his new book “President McKinley: architect of the American century” (President McKinley: Architect of the American Century).