I interviewed Andrew McCarthy about his new book, "Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency," because it is a critically important read for thoughtful people.
"This is a story about hubris," is how it begins.
Thoughtful people know that for all our grand monuments carved of granite and marble, a republic is an extremely fragile thing. Especially now, as a cynical establishment seeks restoration, as establishment Kemalist bureaucrats run for cover, and as the divisions in our nation widen and public discourse sounds like rival packs of angry barking dogs.
And in a few weeks, sooner perhaps, the dogs will begin barking even louder upon release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on his investigation of possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI as they looked into Donald Trump and Russia.
It all starts with hubris.
"This is why people who start out with the best of intentions to protect the country get to the point where they forget what the country is about," McCarthy said on my podcast, "The Chicago Way."
And what America is about, in part, he said, is this: "A self-determining people that has a government that is supposed to serve the people."
He added: "The turnaround here is that high officials think they are a government that happens to have people associated with it, but they are the ones who know what's best for the country."
Certainly, Citizen Barack Obama understood how federal power could be abused as he lectured on the Constitution at the University of Chicago, not too far from where Chicago plans to build him a great temple.
But did President Obama worry about this when he convened that secret White House meeting on Jan. 5, 2017, just as Trump was about to take control?
John Brennan of Obama's CIA was at that meeting. And Vice President Joe Biden. James Comey, then of the FBI, was there, as were national security adviser Susan Rice (who lied for the Obama White House about the Benghazi disaster) and other intelligence bosses.
Weeks later, on Jan. 20, some 20 minutes after Trump was sworn in as president, Rice was still in the White House, about to leave. But first she wrote a curious email memorializing that Jan. 5 meeting.
She said Obama insisted that everything they were doing was done "by the book."
Who talks like that, unless it's someone covering their behinds?
You certainly don't need to say that someone reminded us all that we have to do everything by the book if you've been doing things by the book for the past eight years," McCarthy told me. "You don't have to tell people who are 'by the book' people to do things by the book."
The real collusion was that the Obama administration put the awesome powers of the federal government -- law enforcement and intelligence -- at the service of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
The scheme to get Clinton elected had two parts, McCarthy argues. The first was to shield former Secretary of State Clinton from disqualifying and potentially criminal allegations that she violated federal law by having a private unsecured email server and later destroyed the evidence.
And, as an insurance policy, the other part of the scheme was to portray Trump as an agent of Russia's Vladimir Putin.
"Ball of Collusion" is a detailed, connect-the-dots read. McCarthy, a former top federal prosecutor in New York, knows the workings of the CIA and the Department of Justice.
It looks to me like a Chicago Way takedown. In the old days, boss mayors would call in trusted detectives -- even those on the payroll of the Chicago mob -- and ask for dirt on opponents, which would be leaked to friendly local scribes.
Just as the Steele dossier, paid for by Clinton, was leaked to CNN and BuzzFeed.
"They (FBI, DOJ, CIA bosses) did not believe that Donald Trump was fit to be president," McCarthy told me. "Now there are a lot of things you can say about Donald Trump, good and bad. But ultimately, the way this system works, is that we have elections. We don't have the FBI and CIA as a check on the public.
"What happened here is that they decided their judgment about who was fit to be president was superior to the public's, and they weren't going to take the public's determination for an answer," McCarthy said.
And when Trump won, and they were going to be found out, they panicked.
Some readers, who'd like nothing better than to jeer at my sightless head on a pike, keep making a mistake in thinking that I'm a Trump guy because I'm not of the left.
But I was for Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in 2016. Why? I loathed the Clintons. And I thought Paul, unlike Trump, had the temperament to be president. And Paul talked constantly and in glowing terms about the Constitution.
The republic is what I care about. And the only way to keep it is through the Constitution.
The framers truly understood human nature, the temptations that come with holding awesome federal power, and the problems with factions and blind partisanship.
They understood what would happen if a people lost faith in their institutions, if those institutions were shaped, in grotesque partisan fashion, to serve only the elite, now often called the best and the brightest.
Benjamin Franklin was walking outside the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when he was asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got -- a republic or a monarchy?"
"A republic," replied Franklin, "if you can keep it."