On the Search for a Republican Spine

Since the inauguration I’ve wanted to come back to this blog quite a few times to respond to one event or another but have been completely side tracked because of the sheer number of scandals surrounding 45. Do I write about the ridiculous Bowling Green Massacre or the terrorist attacks in Atlanta that never happened?0 Or do I write about the slap in the face to educators that was the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, a woman who’s only qualification is that she’s a white billionaire with opinions?1 How about the blatant Islamophobia in the travel ban, which the administration keeps trying to paint as anything other than a Muslim ban even when 45 started off last year unequivocally saying that “[he] is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, then signed an executive order that accomplished some of that goal, then Rudy Giuliani got on TV and said he was asked how this could be done “legally” and they drafted up this executive order together?2 Or what about my personal favorite, a top presedential advisor and known racist 3 going on TV and saying “that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”4 in defense of the Islamophobic travel ban that would not have prevented a single terrorist attack in America since, and including, 9/11, in blatant disregard for the general concept of checks and balances on which our entire government was founded?

The question I am grappling with is whether this is what it seems to be at face value, a hopeless administration clearly unprepared for the realities of running a country of any size5, much less a global superpower, struggling with the public outcry of the various scandals they hoped they had left behind, or if this is a more sinister campaign of distraction, orchestrating various scandals of various sizes with various implications to capture public outrage and media interest while 45 continues dismantling the American government (latest example, during the flurry of media coverage of Flynn’s ouster as National Security Advisor yesterday Republicans in the House voted against forcing the release of 45’s tax returns6).

I’m starting to think that the answer is somewhere in the middle. 45 is unquestionable good at manipulating the media to sway attention where he pleases, which explains how the campaign got anywhere near as far as it did despite his utter lack of qualifications as a public servant and apparent lack of desire to serve as such. But it really seems like it might be time for the tides to start turning against him, where the stories are getting so big that they threaten to derail his disaster of a presidency.

Which begs the question, how long will the Republicans refuse to acknowledge that they made a horrific mistake. Flynn is out7, news broke this morning that the campaign has been in constant contact with Russian officials throughout the campaign8, and the White House is denying this9 in the face of objective facts. 45 disrespected the arm of his administration most closely connected with mainstream Republicans, VP Pence (potentially known henceforth as 46 🙄), by neglecting to tell him about Flynn’s discussions with Russia which he lied to Pence about for two weeks10, leaving Pence to find out once the news broke publicly Friday, soon after 45 claimed not to know anything about the situation11, and only firing Flynn (or did he resign of his own accord? Conflicting reports from the White House on this point.) once the news was too big to keep from ignoring any longer. Trump clearly has no respect for the Republican party, clearly has motivations that he will not share (why did he know about Flynn for weeks and not inform the Vice President or take any action?), and it is becoming more and more clear that he has some sort of ties to Russia whether personal or financial. This is an absurd situation that the Republican party finds itself in. They decided to take 45 in begrudgingly at the national convention last year despite a brutal primary campaign featuring very public conflicts between top Republican party members, and now they find themselves having to defend him during crisis after crisis. Why would they do this? Why would McCain or McConnell continue to grovel to this disgusting man when they could easily force him out and still have their dream boy Pence in the White House to rubber stamp any oppressive regulations they put on his desk?

And all of this is further exacerbated by the blatant double standard the Republicans are holding themselves to. Does anyone remember Mitch McConnell, while orchestrating the criminal refusal to consider Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court seat that was Obama’s duty to fill, publicly say that the Republicans would do everything in their power, if Clinton won the election, to reject any pick for that same seat?12 And here we are, just a few long, long months later with McConnell seemingly forgetting his promise declaring Democrat’s obstructionism unprecedented and disgraceful.13

The latest news which is still making it’s rounds through D.C. is 45’s apparent disregard for security protocols while at Mar-a-Largo with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, seemingly reading classified materials while directing aides to literally point unsecured cell phone cameras at the documents concerning North Korean nuclear missile tests while in full view of dining patrons who literally pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars to eat near him on weekends. Oh, and one of them posted pictures on Facebook identifying the individual in charge of carrying nuclear launch codes with the quote “Rick is the Man.”14 This is insane, and this is not normal. Can you imagine the shitstorm Hillary ‘But-Her-Emails!’ Clinton would have been in at this point? Can you imagine how fucking fast she would have had her ass impeached, how many Republicans would be breathing down her neck to resign in disgrace. It is possible to have a shit-head Republican president who doesn’t have the complete and utter lack of respect for the Constitution, for the separation of powers, and for the protocols of operational security. They have an opportunity to avoid this shitstorm, get rid of 45 and attempt to move on from this scandal while the country debates how many charges of treason to put on him. I cannot imagine why they are not moving forward with this, and I con only hope that it’s finally getting to be too much for the mainstream Republicans like McCain. The investigation that was just opened into 45’s behavior at Mar-a-Largo this weekend gives me hope, but I need to see a lot more before I’m convinced.

The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman published an opinion yesterday going over the facts of the matter and questioning how long this is going to last. Its a very good piece and I would encourage everyone to read it if you haven’t already.