I had the misfortune of hearing Rush Limbaugh try to spin the news about Paul Mannafort and Michael Cohen in President Trump’s favor this afternoon. His argument boiled down to something like: nothing to see here  because it doesn’t have anything to do with the  Russian collusion witch hunt.

Ok, with regard to Mannafort’s conviction you can probably make a decent argument for that being true. However, the claim made by Cohen, even if it doesn’t amount to an actual crime on the part of the President, is definitely something to see because it exposes Trump’s pathological lack of character.

It was a sad thing to listen to because I remember Rush faithfully skewering President Clinton’s low character based on a lot of things that were revealed in the course of the White Water investigation that really had nothing to do with the Clintons crooked land deals in Arkansas. Then it was the Democrats wailing about a witch hunt and accusing Special Prosecutor Ken Starr of digging into Slick Willy’s extra-marital sexcapades out of his own prurient curiosity and not because the President had perjured himself and encouraged others to lie for him. Many on the right who now refuse to accept negative stories about Donald Trump as anything but fake news were part of Rush’s crusade back then.

I won’t categorically say that Cohen’s testimony is truthful because I don’t know, but anyone who thinks Trump paying off porn stars and any other assorted bimbos to stay mum about his extra-marital affairs is improbable is suffering from politically motivated self delusion. It’s either that or just plain gullibility. Even Trump has moved on to the next step in his normal crisis management strategy. He has rounded the corner of “It’s totally untrue and fake news!” and is now on “So what if it’s true? It’s not a crime!” and his loyalists didn’t even notice. Trump’s first instinct is always to lie until he is forced to abandon the lie for something else.

I don’t think Rush is gullible. I think his flip flopping is a result of some combination of two other character flaws.

One, Limbaugh is completely partisan hack who only talks about morality when it makes for a good cudgel for thumping political opponents. His moral compass switches its magnetic polarity depending on whether he’s talking about Democrats or Republicans.

Two, Limbaugh is a self serving coward. Let’s face it, Rush likes having a big audience. How long would he keep it if he opened up on Trump’s sleazy character with both barrels? Not long. God forbid he draw fire from the man himself. A few classy tweets about Rush being a fat-ass, washed up disk jockey with a bad golf swing would probably spell the end of the EIB Network.

A while back I had a conversation with a Trump supporter who helped me understand some things. He wasn’t one of the online multitude who have taken to emulating Trump’s pseudo-alpha male schtick like little boys imitating their wise-ass teenaged brother. He wasn’t the kind of guy who denies that objectively, Donald Trump is a pretty lousy human being or uses sophistry to argue why Trump’s bad behavior isn’t as bad as other people’s bad behavior.

We disagreed primarily on to what  degree his lousiness was an issue for each of us. Ultimately, he reminded me that we’ve had crummy people as president before. That’s indisputable.  I think it’s not so much having a slimy president ostensibly representing the right that’s still sticking in my craw. What bothers me is watching so many people I once respected and admired happily wallowing in the slime while condemning those of us who would rather not.