Keith Olbermann Was Once Cable News’s Liberal Standard-Bearer. Now He’s Missing Its Boom Times.

These were the years during which Olbermann had a prime-time cable-news show, millions of loyal viewers and a salary to match. Things are obviously different now. During the last week of April, he appeared as a guest on the first episode of “The President Show,” a Comedy Central program hosted by a Trump impersonator. “Don’t you think,” the faux president asked, “there’s a love-hate relationship between the mainstream media and the Donald Trump administration in a way that’s actually enhanced my presidency?” Olbermann agreed: “Yes, I think 100 percent. You’re absolutely right. It’s a symbiotic relationship.” It was hard to know quite what to make of the interview — hard to tell how seriously the impersonator was taking Olbermann, and hard to tell how seriously to take Olbermann’s own self-mythologizing — but very easy to recall that “The Resistance” will lose its reason for being the instant Trump’s presidency ends.

Olbermann has a favorite historical figure, Cincinnatus, whose story he likes to tell. It goes like this: Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a Roman consul and military leader until 460 B.C., at which point he retired to a modest farm and planned to work happily for the rest of his days. He plowed his fields in peace for two years. Then, one day, he was interrupted by visiting Roman senators, who told him he’d been named dictator — and that a Roman army was being besieged by plebeians on nearby Mount Algidus. Cincinnatus raised an army and marched it to Mount Algidus, defeating the plebeians in a day. Rome was in his debt; he had control of the military and full dictatorial powers. He could have ruled Rome for life, but he didn’t. This is the part Olbermann loves: not that Cincinnatus saved Rome, but that afterward, he simply returned to his farm.

Olbermann is far from the only person to enjoy this legend. George Washington has often been called the American…

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