It is strangely satisfying to observe President Trump slowly rising in the polls, like the astonishingly slow lift-off of a rocket or an aircraft. The poll of polls of the last week has him at 43 percent, hardly brilliant, but a little better than Obama eight years ago, who had the greatest political honeymoon in the United States since Dwight D. Eisenhower. The general ambiance is settling. The highbrow Right has ransacked the kitchen and has no more sinks to throw at Trump. It is unprecedented for a former CIA director who has so much hanging out for his sponsorship of partisan activity in a general election to be cyber-foaming at the mouth, as John Brennan is, but after 18 months of it, no one cares or notices. The senior justice and intelligence figures who tried to tamper with the election and then muddy the waters with the Russian-collusion nonsense will have ample time and need to explain themselves.
Of course the most rabid commentators are still there. But some of these are showing miraculous signs of reason. It was almost reassuring to hear the New York Times’ Tom Friedman last week addressing the Morning Joe drop-in center for those unable to cope with the Trump era, and advising us to prepare for the emergence of George W. Bush and Barack Obama as bipartisan leaders of a national salvation and restoration effort following the complete meltdown of the Trump presidency. It made me nostalgic for this amiable man’s earlier fixations, on laptops for all the world’s children and on the evils of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and his creation of the “Obama Doctrine” of the merits of appeasing all hostile governments, starting with the Myanmar colonels, the Castros, and the Iranian ayatollahs.