Fans of 1950s horror movies have to like what they’re seeing in Washington.
The nation’s capital, which started out as a swamp, has produced a throwback monster from one of Hollywood’s creepiest classics, a bottom-dwelling menace that’s had the city on the edge of its seat for a full year and counting.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller: Creature from the Black Lagoon!
It’s hard to believe no one has ever made a sequel. Maybe the right lead actor could never be found. Until now.
Half-man, half-freak of government, Mueller has shown he will stop at nothing to get what he’s after. At least that’s been the storyline so far.
His style is to scare victims into submission, particularly when he starts squeezing them for information about someone higher up the Washington food chain. That would be President Donald Trump, who promised to “drain the swamp” only to be pursued by one of its most territorial defenders.
Earlier this month a federal judge unloaded on Mueller for going after Paul Manafort, briefly Trump’s campaign manager, to get to the president. That’s clearly the plan, but it will take more than a courtroom lecture to end Mueller’s free-range Russia probe.
When it premiered in 1954, at the height of the McCarthy era, “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” started a nationwide fear of swamp monsters. Even though the one in the film lived in the Amazon, kids everywhere were afraid it was under their beds.
The movie tells the story of a scientific expedition to South America that encounters an amphibious humanoid. And this should sound familiar: The “gill-man” gets angry when outsiders intrude on its turf. This is exactly what happened in 2016, when Trump was elected and the largely Democratic and tactically ruthless Washington deep state set out to get rid of him.
During the fifties, with mutually assured destruction on everyone’s mind, Hollywood responded with a flood of “B” movies that dramatized doomsday in every conceivable form, from space aliens occupying small towns to prehistoric reptiles terrorizing entire countries.
But there was something else happening that audiences may not have noticed. Given Cold War politics at the time, many pictures had a not so subtle Russian subtext. Whether intended or not, another masterpiece of horror “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) has long been seen as a movie about what happens when commies take over people’s minds.
It would be hard to find better all-purpose bad guys. Of course, it helped that Russians (aka “Soviets”) were good at causing trouble. They were also hard to catch and bring to justice. Which made it easy to blame them for anything.
Obviously, it still is. And that’s where Robert Mueller enters the picture.
Following in the muddy footsteps of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, he and his assistants, most of them donors to the losing side, have been trying for a year to prove that candidate Trump was helped by Russians, with nothing to show for the effort but swamp gas.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence that the Obama administration used corrupted federal intelligence agencies to spy on Trump during the campaign, then to undermine his presidency after he won.
Now one of the Russian companies indicted by Mueller for interfering with the 2016 election has spoiled everything by actually appearing in court, where the prosecution will have to present proof it’s never had of a crime that never happened.
Mueller’s whole case, along with his reputation for upright competence, is falling apart the way things often do at the end of monster movies. Like the defeated creature in the film who vanishes into the Black Lagoon never to be heard from again, Mueller, who’s compromised up to his neck in dirty politics and conflicted interests, is sinking fast in the same swamp he came from.
Bill Thomas, author of Lawyers and Thieves and other books, is the co-author of Red Tape: Adventure Capitalism is the New Russia. He lives in Washington. D.C.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.