Look around at all the politicians sniffing the wind.
Yes, it's true that all politicians test the wind, early and often, to see which way it's blowing. But never, it seems, so much as now.
Impeachment is in the wings. Georgia is increasingly turning from red to bluish-purple as backbones have grown stronger in the age of the MeToo movement and a war on Roe v. Wade. Gen Y kids are growing tired of active-shooter drills and ever-bleaker climate change reports.
And it seems that much of the wind's scent is emanating directly from President Donald Trump.
In the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearings last week, we heard again the tired argument advanced in September by Trump's Justice Department — that Trump's seeking of "a favor" from Ukraine's new president was not a quid pro quo with a foreign power because the quo for the quid (U.S. aid and a formal head-of-state meeting in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden and son) was not "a thing of value."
That was the same argument put forth when DOJ declined a request from the director of national intelligence and the inspector general of the intelligence community for an investigation following a whistleblower's complaint that Trump abused the power of his office in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
It's a ridiculous argument, of course. If political dirt has no monetary value, why isn't political opposition research free? It's not.
Thus with impeachment dominating the news, along with Trump's NATO snubs, even Red State Republicans have their noses in the air.
That's maybe why Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp expressly went against Trump's bidding and appointed Kelly Loeffler, a politically untested businesswoman, to replace retiring Peach State Sen. Johnny Isakson. Trump had lobbied for Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee — the one now holding impeachment hearings — and a reliable ally of the president. Collins would undoubtedly continue to support Trump if appointed to the Senate, which will vote on whether to remove the president from office if he is impeached by the House.
The president's allies were not happy, but pundits saw it as an attempt by Kemp to shore up support among suburban Republican women in a state that is increasingly turning blue. Kemp, a first-term governor sure to face tough Democratic opposition, has a good nose.
Then there were the NATO snubs, where the should-be leader of the free world was finding himself not only left out of the joke, but actually the butt of the joke.
According to news reports, Trump had hoped the 70th anniversary celebration of NATO might be a flattering stage and create a winning narrative of a campaign promise fulfilled as he hoped to secure commitments from other NATO countries to "pay their way" — even as legal scholars testified in impeachment hearings about the damage he has done to our Constitution.
But the president's fantasy didn't play out.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear he had no interest in any show of support from Trump, seen by many Brits as radioactive. Johnson even warned Trump to stay out of Britain's Dec. 12 election.
President Emmanuel Macron of France also put Trump on the defensive about his vision for NATO and his handling of a military conflict involving Turkey. Macron swatted away Trump's joke about sending Islamic State fighters from Syria to France. "Let's be serious," Macron snapped. The two exchanged what The New York Times dubbed "dueling" visions for NATO. Trump called Macron's statement that Europe could no longer assume American support "a very dangerous statement." Macron said he stood by it. Talk about radioactive.
Then there was the party video. Taken Tuesday night without the leaders' apparent knowledge, it shows Macron, Johnson, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Princess Anne — all yukking it up about Trump's lengthy news conferences with other NATO leaders earlier that day.
"You just watch his team's jaws drop to the floor," Trudeau said, expressing astonishment at Trump's behavior.
Trump later called Trudeau "two-faced."
You may recall Trump's derogatory campaign remarks about the world laughing at the Obama administration. It seems that shoe doesn't fit well when it's the world laughing at — and running from — the Trump show.
Our president left London early and in a huff. He left without a newspaper interview, a TV sit-down or a final news conference. The winds are changing. His reach is seen as not a thing of value.
But you may not know it if you only watch Fox News. Fox took Trump snugly back into their welcoming arms and promptly released the same flattering slide show the White House posted on Twitter.