Good luck selling massive ‘losing’ as ‘winning’
It turns out that intact, protective, system-saving “walls” are holding, for now – and none requires Mexico to pay a peso (or a dime). Despite outrageous Trump braggadocio – that we’d all get tired of so “much winning”– all Republicans must now own the doomed, impossible task of selling chronic “losing” as fantasy “winning.” Political reality is dramatically turned on its head – and the Trump/GOP forces face a parallel double whammy. First, mortifying governance failures accumulate, yet instead of shifting tactics they irrationally turn (again) to magical thinking that pitches “losing” as “winning” – say, “at least we forced a vote on saving health care from a fate worse than death.” Or from the moronically-defensive Trump this week on the encroaching Russia hacking investigation, “Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania”?
Such over-the-top fallacies, obscuring a presidency-damning threat, are boomeranging, inciting a surge of heavy-duty STOP signs. “No,” says the Senate to Trump, “fire Mueller and all hell breaks loose. Your Russian loyalties make no sense, thus our forced sanction bill. Plus, your bad immigration ‘proposal’ is dead on arrival.” And more: “No,” declares every Democratic senator, “we reject shredding the ACA and (with McCain) the one-sided, corrupt, autocratic process. Plus, we think Trump is the big, fat, fake Liar-in-Chief.”
And the prescient, increasingly disgusted public, constant for six months of unshakeable polling, understands this ugly truth: “No, no, no, Trumpism is wholly about losing (and lying about it), simply rehashing bad rightwing extremism.” The majority now fears both what the Trump/GOP forces might do – going from bad to worse – and/or what they won’t do (on jobs, infrastructure, climate change). Thus the significance of Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s new book, eviscerating the entire Trump perversion, putting forth this bold, intra-party, verbal “wall.” Flake won’t be alone when the mid-term looms.
GOP looks in the mirror
When Trump first demonized the legitimate (Comey) inquiry into Russian collusion (a “witch-hunt”), what top Republicans indicted this epic distortion, let alone railed against his self-confessed obstruction of justice? But fallout from firing-Mueller noise is fostering bi-partisan defiance that restrains Trump from telling the Special Counsel, “you’re fired.” Just this week four assorted senators proposed Stop signs so this terrified, pretend president won’t exile Sessions, then Mueller. Further, the harsh Congressional Russian sanction bill (read: hardline financial walls) slapped down Trump hard along with mysterious Russia ties – with this permanent Stop sign.
When courts force changes to discriminatory Muslim travel bans, that represents a structural legal wall. When Congress budgets less than one-twentieth of real Mexican wall costs (if ever approved), that speaks to high skepticism about its overall feasibility (as most undocumented simply overstay visas). When the Pentagon ignores tweets that shun transgender soldiers, demanding formal orders, that’s a solid line in the sand, reminding Trump he’s no twitter tyrant. When more polled Republicans (especially white, non-college types) reject lies, distortions and slanders, that establishes a public “truth boundary” against his ceaseless (often stupid) mendacity. The surging, national resistance movement, lead by outraged progressives, conservatives (like Flake), Indivisible, moveon.org and many others, is building moral and political walls against dangerous, even criminal or treasonous perfidy.
When the GOP Senate abandons its own “skinny” health care disruption, that’s an earthquake worth celebrating. If the Senate, after its seven-year, ACA-destruct obsession, can’t even get close here (namely, House reconciliation), how does it confront far more complicated, more urgent dilemmas: infrastructure, taxation, budgets, tariffs or foreign policy? Congress, for four years masters of doing-nothing, now has a buffoonish overlord even worse at transforming sound-bite verbiage into passed bills.
The center IS holding, for now
In short, legal, political and public opinion walls are standing firm, so far deterring shameless hustles about the folly of border walls. Or noxious Muslim bans. The world of real facts, bolstered by rational analysis (like losing GOP seats), now stamp Trump’s crippled tenure as monumentally counterproductive, self-destructive snafus, in domestic and foreign affairs. What the last months prove is the whole, bankrupt rightwing schtick suffers from a fixated, negative learning curve. Dumb gets dumber, and the force of too much cognitive dissonance blow apart the delusion losing is winning.
The potential good news, after normally suffering shocking failures, are the positive lessons we can learn. When sane adults hit unshakeable walls, they reconsider their options and seek less damaging alternatives. When Trumpian buffoonery smashes into whatever stops its forward motion, the result is simply another brain-shaking concussion, triggering cosmic whining. First, Trumpers angrily deny neither the crash nor the wall is real (hoaxes, fake news, alternative facts, phantom enemies). When that bombs, they blame everyone else for unfairly oppressing their god-given rights, sounding the crazed scream of the ever-victimized.
When Trump demands one more Senate vote (same reactionary health care bill), he fulfills Einstein’s famous notion of insanity: repeating the same thing, banking on different outcomes. Not unlike the drunk driver who survives hitting a tree, then bashes the trunk for growing in a dangerous place. Trump is the world-class icon of not just failing to learn from experience – but getting only wrong lessons. Why else would Trump, staff and allies, facing humiliating losses, double-down, inventing more elaborate, disprovable lies to justify never-never land?
The arc of mutual self-destruction
What the last six months show us, both about Trump and Senate leadership, is they remain their own worst enemies. And that invites corrective reactions. Other than crass entertainment, more pollution, and inexcusable job promises (right, a new coal boom), what has Trump or the GOP done for the actual lives of the fawning audiences that cheer his verbal mush? By what measure (one Supreme Court justice aside) is this unholy rightwing alliance not shooting itself in the head, sabotaging whatever credibility and leverage from November’s election? Never in modern history has a dominant national party conspicuously not dominated politics, instead running a perpetual demolition derby. Bring on shameless tax welfare for the rich schemes! “Debate” whether to raise the debt-ceiling – surely more winners! Polling confirms serious national alienation from the White House and GOP proposals, with tens of millions cringing at this distrusted, embarrassing, pretend president.
Overall, the Trump/GOP crowd is morphing into the perfect manifestation of Murphy’s Law forced to marry the Peter Principle. The first declares, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” – perfect for the Trump gang that can’t shoot straight (except at each other). Who could invent Scaramucci until he showed up? The second explains what results when high success produces promotion far above competence, resulting in calamity because you can do more damage. Trump, if you believe his dubious wealth boasts, deserved the highest office in the land – and bingo, everyone else suffers from an empty suit without barely a clue what he’s doing – even the know-how after months to find the means and pathways that could reverse a failed presidency. Trump, having commandeered the blinkered billionaire GOP club, together personify the law of unintended (worsening) consequences. We can only trust more intact, historic “walls” (like Mueller, the rule of law or the Senate filibuster) save us from scarier, systemic, greater Humpty-Dumpty falls.