For almost three years now, much of the American political media -- what I've been calling the Democratic Media Complex -- has been clinging to a fantasy about President Donald Trump and Russia.
You might call them bitter clingers.
They cling to the fantasy that Trump won the 2016 election only because he was the servant of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
And they believed, really believed, as a matter of faith, that their saint, special counsel Robert Mueller, would clap Trump in irons for his sins, or at least drag him out of the White House, and their long nightmare would be over.
But when presented with the Mueller report, which showed there wasn't enough evidence for criminal charges against the president, what did they do?
They babbled and floated, stubbornly, willingly, deeper into the whirlpool, like Blanche DuBois.
For years now, Blanche has been insisting that Shep Huntleigh (Robert Mueller) would be coming any day, to save her from the barbarian Stanley Kowalski (Trump).
When the report was released, if you walked past a news screen, you would have heard them babbling. CNN had several panels of experts channeling Blanche DuBois, and none of them said anything about depending on the kindness of strangers.
Instead they damned Attorney General William Barr, a longtime friend of Mueller's, as a creature of evil.
Some of the more tribal residents of the left might want to condemn me for conservative thinking. But it's not about left or right. It's about reality. And the journalist Glenn Greenwald is not a conservative by any measure. He is a man of the left, a founder of The Intercept and no fan of Donald Trump.
The other day, Greenwald noted that years ago, journalists who supported the Bush administration's war on Iraq on false premises had reason to search their souls and spend time in self-reflection.
Some of us apologized, publicly, for groupthink, and vowed never to be herded again. I apologized, publicly and repeatedly.
"But here I don't see any of that," Greenwald told Tucker Carlson on Fox. "They've just put collusion and conspiracy and all those conspiracy theories they've spent the last three years endorsing, just flushed it down the toilet like they don't exist and seamlessly shifted to obstruction. And then conflating them to claim, essentially, that they were right all along. And that is really the alarming thing."
They're doubling down, moving quickly from the Trump collusion narrative. And since they can't sell that one, they'll sell the obstruction narrative instead.
But if there isn't enough evidence to charge a crime of conspiracy to collude with Russia, how do you make a credible case of obstruction for a crime that didn't happen?
No crime means that dog won't hunt.
Democrats like Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and even Mr. Collusion himself, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, say there is no chance for impeachment now.
Everything else, then, is political noise.
Ever since Trump and his basket of deplorables defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats and their journalistic handmaidens have been unwilling and unable to deal with it.
They worked together to undercut his presidency.
Whether Trump is a good man is irrelevant.
What is relevant is the republic.
And if we bend the rules to subvert election outcomes -- and if media groupthink prevents us from understanding this -- the republic is in serious jeopardy.
America can withstand Trump as we withstood Obama. What we can't withstand is willfully shutting our eyes to how this started.
And what's relevant is what is not in the Mueller report: an explanation of the so-called Steele dossier, a political opposition research hit on Trump, funded in part by Hillary Clinton, that was provided to American intelligence and law enforcement, and formed the basis for the investigation.
Before the release of the Mueller report, I spoke to Tom Bevan, publisher of Real Clear Politics, on my podcast "The Chicago Way."
"One possibility is that Donald Trump and members of his campaign colluded with Russia to basically fix an American election and manipulate it and win it," Bevan said. "That's a huge, huge scandal worthy of investigation, worthy of a Pulitzer Prize."
But the other scenario?
"The top echelon of the U.S. government intelligence agencies conducting investigations on a political opponent of one party, and using the powers of government surveillance and overseas assets to try and trap this person, and basically undermine not only the election results itself but also his legitimacy," Bevan said.
"And then cover it up. That is also a huge, huge story worthy of any reporter's time, worthy of a Pulitzer Prize if it were true.
"So, which of those two stories has gotten the lion's share of coverage?"
The one that Blanche DuBois likes the best, the one that sings to her, the one that reinforces her fantasy.
The one that makes her feel like she's going home again, on the arm of Robert Mueller, and where she's safe from Stanley Kowalski.
Let's hope the media complex stops the "A Streetcar Named Desire" rewatch and tries another old film about an addiction to destructive fantasy.
"The Bridge on the River Kwai" is about a British colonel and prisoner of war (played by the late Sir Alec Guinness) who helps the Japanese build a railway through the jungle that will cost Allied lives.
But he escapes fantasy, enters reality and redeems himself, at the end, with this iconic line:
"What have I done?"