Don't Call Him, He'll Call You: Access Denied
In politics it’s the coin of the realm, the currency that keeps the wheels of the state spinning. The lubricant that allows journalism to function smoothly.
It’s access. The ability to pick up the phone or go on MSM Messenger to get someone in the power grid to take your call. To feed you a story or a rumour that makes your deadline that day. Access tells you where the meeting will be, who’s sleeping with whom and dirt on your worst enemy.
For politicians, access gets you the next job, the lucrative sinecure, the open invite to cocktail parties where the power brokers hang out. It’s also the access pipe for a business figure who wants to curry favour with the resident administration.
And it’s why Donald Trump is alternately loathed and feared by the permanent residents of the political class, both Democrat and Republican. There was no Trump culture in Washington before November 2016. So they have no access to him. He’s cast them adrift. He doesn’t answer their calls for jobs. He has no need of the DC schemers. So they whine in the media about the man who destroyed their dreams.
Outfits like the Podesta Group or Fusion GPS were typical of the palsy-walsy Washington climate that peddled influence prior to Trump’s stunning triumph. Look at how Russian and Ukranian clients paid richly for access to senators and the members of Congress to witness the game in action.
But with no ins on the Trump team these merchants of access have disappeared into the rabbit hole of irrelevance. They haven’t taken it well. The access they’ve lost is a disaster for them. The deposits they put down on homes and apartments in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton presidency mock them. The GOP Never Trumpers who backed the wrong candidate in the primaries (hello David Frum, Bill Kristol, the National Review) and are now political refugees.
Hence the past year’s media hysterics over Russia, the third world, porn stars and anything else they can lay their hands on. The endless leaks of classified and other information meant to wound a president who seems only to willing to wound himself. Sometimes true, sometimes fabrications to spin the chatter for a day— they use it all. .
They’ll tell you their opposition is about policy differences or their sensitivity to immigrants and women and trannies. But it’s not. It’s about the loss of the power they flaunted under Barack Obama, the platform to lecture Americans about a great new society of their fevered imaginations. The Democrats impassive, brooding sulk during the State of the Union was testament to people who were princes under Obama and now can’t get used to being just plain citizens again.
The Grammys were another bitter slice of their angst. It’s bracing how a movement that makes great public show of its sensitivity to sexual assault can then enlist— without blinking— Bill Clinton’s enabler, his twice-unsuccessful presidential candidate wife Hillary, who was only hours before shown to have protected a sexual predator on her 2008 staff.
These lovers of women also fancied a scurrilous author who alleges that Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley slept her way to the top to score points is contortion deluxe. But he’s fatal for business, and any weapon will do
Or how about the desperate Dems, the alleged party of immigrants, people of colour, the poor, choosing a Kennedy to deliver their rebuttal to the State of the Union on Tuesday? In front of a car with its hood up? Kennedy? Car? How tone deaf are they? But power withdrawal will do that to you.
The access game is perfectly captured in Veep, Julia Louis Dreyfuss’ brilliant HBO satire of modern politics. People measure their prospects by the minute, always calibrating whether they’re close to the right people. It’s a profane abattoir of despair and ambition
(This same sort of cold-blooded calculation led the people closest to Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown to shiv him instantly when sexual misconduct claims were made by anonymous women.)
Perhaps nothing speaks to the excesses of access better than the Clinton Foundation, operated as a shakedown joint for people wanting access to the powerful. The minute Clinton lost— and the promise of paying to get a direct pipeline to power dried up— the Clinton Foundation became yesterday’s news, a chalice holding nothing but the crushed dreams of the Clintons at keeping their racket alive.
One of the last to understand the Clinton Foundation’s true purpose was Canada’s feckless prime minister. While the sultans, sheiks and kleptocrats who funded the Clinton scam headed for the hills, the gullible Justin Trudeau was still pouring money into their coffers.
Access is also why Trudeau is still beloved by so many in the Canadian political gears. Far from a new path forward, Trudeau is a known quantity. The media have his playbook and the numbers to call. The old Liberal machine, thought broken by its Quebec payola, has been resurrected with all bells and whistles intact.
Trudeau’s ethics breaches speak to how easily he and his supplicants slide back and forth across the divide created by access. Unlike the mercurial Trump, Trudeau is a known quantity. His access-for-cash approach is reminiscent of the worst Mulroney days. Everyone in the Canadian establishment sleeps well at night knowing that, unlike Trump, Trudeau is just a call away.
Access. In politics you don’t leave home without it.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)