The Cult of Personality - Liberal Resistance

The Cult of Personality

William B. Turner

It’s as predictable as sunrise. Trumpsters are calling John McCain a traitor because he decided to prove that he is still sane by denouncing the newly released Nunes memo as the piece of partisan sewage sludge that it is.

Here is the meat of McCain’s statement:

There are at least three different perspectives we could take on this statement.

We could be loyal partisans of John McCain, point out his heroic service in Vietnam and his time as a prisoner of war, his long service in the Senate, admire him for having run for president and continue in public life even though he lost, and note that winning a major Party’s nomination for president is no small feat by itself. Go, John, go! John’s our man! He must be right.


We could take a long step back and a deep breath and look at the entire situation in its context. Then we would notice that Devin Nunes gives many indications of being not very bright and not understanding well how to handle important national security information, that his memo is a huge nothing burger that in no way lives up to his advance billing for it. Even Trey Gowdy, yes, THAT Trey Gowdy says that the Nunes memo in no way undermines the Mueller investigation. Swing and miss. End of discussion.


We could be loyal Trumpsters and scream and stomp our feet and insist that anyone who criticizes our Dear Leader is a TRAITOR! That, of course, is exactly what loyal Trumpsters are doing. Here is just a small sample of the tweets at #McCain:

The loyal Trumpster position, of course, is as crazy and stupid as the Donald himself. The hallelujah chorus around Trump is what we call a cult of personality, emphasis on “cult.” It requires total, unreflecting loyalty and blind faith that everything the Donald says is absolutely true, no matter how ridiculous or how much evidence piles up that it’s actually a complete fabrication. That’s how cults work. To join a cult, you have to surrender your will and your capacity for independent thought totally to the leader of the cult.

Intelligent people realize that this is a very bad idea and refuse to join. A majority of American voters chose not to go anywhere near the cult of Trump in the 2016 election. Even some significant percentage of the people who voted for him did not join the cult, or they are only members of the Republican Party cult, not the Trump subsidiary.

From the build up, anyone outside the cult of Trump knew perfectly well that the Nunes memo was going to be a complete dud. One has to buy into the conspiracy theory mindset – go look at Trump cultists’ tweets on the Nunes memo – to believe that the FBI and the FISA court process were that badly corrupted and that the first person to notice the fact was a nebbish like Devin Nunes. Nothing could be more wildly implausible.

Has the FBI engaged in unlawful activity in the past? Undoubtedly. Is it a benign organization? By no means. Like all law enforcement agencies, it bears close watching. But the whole point of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court system is precisely to allow it to keep an eye on foreign activity that might impinge importantly on the United States, but do so in a way that is consistent with the rights that our Constitution guarantees. It is a human creation, so it is imperfect, but what the Nunes memo seems to show is only that, in this instance, it worked exactly as it should have.

Over the past several years, John McCain has apparently wavered in and out of sanity. Ever since he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, his sanity has been under challenge. But his response to the Nunes memo suggests that he wants to exit with his dignity and some reputation for sanity intact.

McCain is a traitor only to the cult of Trump, which he apparently never joined.