By Tom Cushing
The Great Divide, and What’s Next?Uploaded: May 21, 2017
The depths of our political schism were made personal to me recently in a phone conversation with my boyhood BFF in Florida, with whom I’ve stayed in-touch for nearly that long. I’d guessed he might have devolved into a trumpista (in the absence of my good influence), a suspicion that was confirmed when he asked what I thought about “all the riots.”
The what? As portrayed to him by his chosen media, the overwhelmingly peaceful, popular and passionate demonstrations since January had been reported as violent insurrections, rather than peaceful protests as American as baseball. They were not even intemperate – at all – I know because I was there, in downpour and sunshine. In my friend’s estimation, the prez has been ‘making good progress and getting a lot done.’
I have to admit to a flabbergasm at that one. To me and my media choices, this administration and its Congress have been an ongoing display of consistent, ad hoc incompetence and avarice. A few lowlights:
o crafting patently illegal Executive Orders that should shame a poli-sci undergrad,
o creating and passing, on the second try, a tax-cut for the uber-wealthy, disguised as a
health plan without a heart (and despised by fully 83% of the electorate),
o fascistically excoriating the critical free press as the Enemy of The People,
o delivering a promised tax ‘reform’ 'plan' so premature and ill-prepared that it fit on one
sheet (triple-spaced) - without a clue about its disastrous fiscal impact,
o firing the FBI chief to “take the pressure off” the agency’s investigation of likely
wrongdoing within the campaign and administration, and
o revealing state secrets of a staunch ally, to our mutual greatest adversary state (that
one’s gonna cost us).
Its leader, again in my accumulated understanding, is a man-child afflicted with severe ADHD – a slave to impulse, with an obsessive urge for approval and self-aggrandizement and a marked tendency toward bullying. He’s an ‘Artist of the Deal’ who’s had his bluff called repeatedly, yet who continues to bluff (great fun for poker, but not with unlimited table stakes, including the nuclear football). He is a menace to the American experiment in democracy.
What is remarkable to me is that Mr. 45 can retain the approval of even a current 1/3 of the electorate, especially after this recent fortnight’s shenanigans. My hopeful theory is that his reported loyalists are like the menfolk of a downriver town in “Huck Finn.” Having been duped into attending a wretched show that falsely promised manly pleasures (“no women or children allowed”), they decide to tout the show to others, lest they become a laughingstock. These voters would rather declare their continued allegiance (to pollsters, anyway), than admit they were duped.
Call me a cockeyed optimist.
So, who’s right, my friend or me? Well, since it’s my blog, we’re going with my take. To hear my pundits tell it, the scent of Impeachment is in the springtime air of the nation’s capital, as dolt 45 escapes to seek absolution in Jerusalem, and beatification in Rome. I don’t think that’ll happen (impeachment, that is), but neither will the family Trump celebrate the Holidays at the White House. Impeachment and removal are slow, arduous and legalistic. Here’s how I think it’ll play-out, and why.
As I’ve written here previously, the GOP is a duolith - the Masters of the Universe wing of the uber-rich, and the old, grumpy traditional Republicans whose calcified synapses won't allow them to keep up, or even change the channel. Many of the latter are TeaPers, and they are recently abetted by the generally frustrated, disaffected trumpistas.
The Masters have clearly won-out, policy-wise - they are the entire Cabinet, and their marks are on everything, including the $Trillion ‘health care’ tax cut, and the back-of-a-napkin tax ‘reform’ ‘plan.’ They care little for the deficit or the rest of us, and have claimed reliance on thoroughly discredited supply-side economic voodoo worthy of the Underpants Gnomes (Profit!). When they’re again proved wrong, they can retreat to their third yachts. The TeaPers and trumpistas have been sold way downriver, cheap and fast, with nary a straw to stay afloat.
The Masters have won because they control the all-important campaign purse strings; the others do not. That makes the Masters a very formidable force, based on unlimited Dark Money and the strong strategic sense that helped them amass those fortunes. Thus, they are who ultimately calls the tune that their elected GO-Pipers play, and they will determine the future of this dance.
When they conclude that their Useful Idiot* is simply incapable of sustained attention to anything, including carrying their water, they and their minions will ditch him for the retrograde but mentally competent Pence. Nixon resigned quickly after a contingent of leading Republicans visited the White House to report that he had thoroughly cooked his goose.
That day's a-comin'. When the Kochs and the other puppet-Masters pull the string, House and Senate leaders will retrace those earlier steps, and 45 will be gone. It may be quite soon, to give GOP incumbents maximum time to try to rehabilitate themselves before next year’s elections. We won’t get those tax returns, the prez may well avoid horizontal pinstripes as Nixon did, but at least the doomsday clock won’t chime.
* Not my term – I only wish I’d coined it. I understand it is of Russian origin. I Am proud of 'flabbergasm', however. I made it up, but haven't checked on whether I'm the first to do so.