Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lame Duck? Twain Redux

Folks are already writing epitaphs and lame duck columns for Trump in the aftermath of the failure to pass health care.  Puh-lease.  Yes, these folks have a point or two, but we are far closer to the beginning than the end.  Sure, the Democrats can block some stuff, but have they blocked a major appointment yet? No.  Sure, Flake of Arizona is writing nice columns about the decline of conservativism to flog his book, but his voting record is still very, very pro-Trump (95%!).

First, to be clear, health care was McConnell's failure, not Trump's.  Trump put in no effort (he is lazy) and knew nothing about it (because he is lazy and ignorant).  He just wanted a win, any win.  Which makes this argument about Trump being lame or whatever remind me of the post-game punditry in the middle of a playoff series where everybody generalizes from the most recent game to forecast the series--overreacting nearly all of the time.  Oh, team x won game 1, so they will definitely win the series, oh but after game 2, team y won, so expect them to take it, and then ....

Second, some other legislation might be easier--that the Democrats may break unity or the GOP Senators may remain united on stuff that is not so wildly unpopular as gutting health care.  Perhaps tax reform seems hard now, but there might be a package that unifies the hard right with regular right wing and might get a Manchin or two.

Third, Trump's biggest legacies that will keep creating and implementing awful policies are already in place.  His team of arsonists are already burning down much of the US government--Sessions is pursuing voter suppression (#voterfraudfraud), pushing against affirmative action and empowering white supremacy; Tillerson is gutting State; DeVos is doing her best to destroy not just the Dept of Education but educational opportunities across the US; Zinke is burning down the parks and all stuff Interior; Pruitt is determined to break the EPA and much environmental regulation.  Not to mention Gosuck (spelling error is intentional) who will be with us long after Trump is gone.  These administrators are doing two things at once: undermining the capacity of the US to govern itself AND hurting the lives of ordinary Americans.  Even if Trump just played golf for the rest of his administration (and that would be an expensive relief as he tends not to tweet stuff that might prompt a war), these folks are doing damage every single day.  If Trump were somehow leave the scene (resign, get sick, be diagnosed, etc), Pence would keep most of the folks around, and they would continue to commit arson.

Fourth, as some have noted, Trump is still doing foreign policy stuff--with apparently an aim to "fix" the Iran and North Korea problems ASAP.  Which may very well mean a couple more wars with little clue about their endgames and, yes, more nails in the coffin of US-led multilateral liberal international order.

As folks (we call him Spew Brother) warned me about complacency last summer and fall, we need to continue to stay alert.  Trump is not going to be impeached anytime soon no matter what smoking guns Mueller comes up with.  Or, or that matter, the smoking gun we already have--the Don Jr/Jared/Manafort meeting with Russians in Trump Tower!  25th Amendment?  Nope.  

Alastair Moody said it best:

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