Disgraced Republicans are damned if they do – and damned if they don’t
What can Trump, GOP leaders, and the hard Congressional right do that won’t blow up in their faces? Or for that matter, fail to do, with equal party debacle? Where’s any plausible agenda that buoys up strength? Indeed, Trump’s fatuous election propaganda has created a party-wide minefield, failing to produce one “populist” advance. Unresolved contradictions spawn blatant double-binds poised to boomerang.
“Drain the Swamp” folly is the most conspicuous lose-lose boomerang, as only benighted Trumpers still think fewer swamp-dwellers now run federal bureaus. Entrenched, elitist CEOs, Wall Street operatives and military mindsets rule the roost like never before. But scanning ahead, I find almost no major talking points or legislative agendas that won’t end badly for Republicans, whether passed or not. Doubling-down, the reflexive GOP way, now invites double-jeopardy.
How about abysmal support for Trump’s over-the-top, nuclear saber-rattling – a stance most Republicans passively accept. Even if North Korea backs off, won’t reckless, all-in threats, in fact, spur its nuke development out of simple self-defense? Plus, when Trump’s menacing overstatements evaporate like dew (a Korean war looks insane), the U.S. paper tiger sags. Ditto, wholly irresponsible threats to invade Venezuela because democracy is endangered there (hell, so is ours). Empty militancy won’t scare foes or reassure U.S. residents – and leave anxious allies wondering what (or who) drives the deranged twitterer.
If ho-hum North Korean noise warrants Trump grabbing our biggest stick, what happens when a well-armed army simply invades its neighbor, say South Korea, Syria or Ukraine? Trump’s loudmouth impulses are as nuanced as race-baiting yahoos carrying automatic rifles against unarmed street protesters (insurrection anyone?). After all, this candidate asked, “since we have nukes, why never use them”?
The Senate health care vote fiasco captures the party’s doomed agenda. NOT getting anything passed, even a terrible reform package, exposed appalling GOP incompetence, betraying its six years of virulent pledges against Obamacare. Crazed, tin-ear Trump (and allied radicals) then went further with “Repeal without Replace” – the only worst prospect than doing nothing, lose-lose in spades. The needlessly sick, dropping dead in the streets, would make for bad pre-mid-term coverage. Overall, drastic unforced errors promise no benefits to the country, other than confirming the new Trump status quo, full of destabilizing, wheel-spinning paralysis, is worse than the old.
Fire and fury – batter your own?
As if the Senate Obamacare disgrace was not bad enough, the nasty circular party firing squad exploded. Up front and personal, almost a dozen senators skew a president who dumps on his own leaders. Are not Trump’s Twitter assaults against prominent GOPers, especially Sen. McConnell, the most blatant lose-lose political craziness? How can assailing your own “succeed” – except to eviscerate legislative support and cause more infamy? What sane “deal maker” indicts his own cohorts AFTER the fact, proposing they should resign or be exiled? Is Trump so dense never to reckon how many senators would rush to defend McConnell? The finale for me came when the respected conservative, Sen. Corker, questioned both DT’s core competence AND stability, citing cluelessness about what “made this nation great.” Ouch.
Next up, won’t the looming debt ceiling and/or budget wrangling replicate party double binds? If the obstinate Freedom Caucus induces a credit-slamming debt debacle, rest assured Republicans get badly dinged next year. Yet, if right ideologues betray their knee-jerk, ill-timed war against government, won’t the shrinking Trump base be aghast? Imagine the schism when zealous pandering to the base infuriates big business reliant on U.S. credit worthiness.
Then tax reform enters (as in welfare for the rich) and/or intense partisanship on infrastructure (unless do-nothing gridlock rules). Who thinks these two inter-related, money mazes are less complex than health care? If Trump, Ryan and McConnell get their way, the GOP owns big tax breaks for the least deserving – and pittance for everyone else. Welcome even more income inequality, stabbing specious populism in the back. And then, how do we pay for even minimal infrastructure restoration or any workable economic and jobs stimulus? Anyone want to bet we get cosmetic tax changes and far less infrastructure needed? Anyone think the scatter-brain Trump clique knows how to pilot such treacherous, legislative waters packed with irreconcilable contradictions?
If the all-controlling GOP does nothing significant on better-paying jobs, punts on tax reform or politicizes, then eviscerates infrastructure, the 2018 election could split conservatives down the middle. If Republicans have no bragging rights next year, they shoot themselves in both feet. If they force through highly regressive bills that injure the majority, they shoot themselves in both heads. Trump’s current penchant for self-destruction may “lead” the party after all, widening divisions that shred the fragile Republican coalition.
Ditto, the wall and the ban
Wait, there’s more. Don’t Trump’s bait-and-switch campaign delusions amplify double-bind party misery? Mexican Wall flummery has already crushed our global prestige as the most diverse, compassionate and tolerant melting pot. So far, Congress budgeted one-twentieth of the $25 billion needed, thus undermining Trump’s most popular sound bite. Yet what happens if the wall is built and emphatic evidence a year afterward shows no fewer undocumented, maybe more? And no impact on low-skilled pay scales (per nativist fears)? What’s the real-world penalty for not solving immigration dilemmas AND squandering tens of billions desperately needed for infrastructure?
Who does Trump blame for this unspeakable failure, other than swampy fellow Republicans? What even more autocratic, racist dog whistles displace this irrational, anti-immigrant nothing-burger? We’re talking one of two signature proposals – who’ll be left to blame when Trump is unmasked as the great Betrayer-in-Chief?
The other signature boast, the Muslim Ban, has equally offended the real, non-Trump world, if not a major world religion. Where’s any proof this discriminatory travel veto would impact domestic terrorism? How many “foreign, Muslim” bombers in a decade strolled in, having booked commercial jets? Terrorism from violent, home-grown fanatics dwarfs whatever the few sneaky foreigners have pulled off. Like the Wall, the Ban is vacuous, counterproductive campaign blather which, if enacted, becomes another great Trump-driven, ISIS recruiting tool. Now is that the ultimate lose-lose nightmare-terrorism boomerang – or what?
Zero GOP learning curve
Ditto, Trump’s politically suicidal blather claiming minority-hating, KKK, neo-Nazi marchers are “very fine people.” The “unpredictable” Trump went whole hog when his badly-mangled apology for white nationalism backfired. Like the Wall or the Ban, this revealing Trump hustle exposes hatred, anger and racist immorality– all in one press conference. Not even Trump-haters figured he’d ever excuse shrill defenders of Hitler’s Germany. Who imagined he’d ever consider pardoning Joe Arpaio, the racist AZ ex-sheriff? No, pretend president ever so fully locked and loaded his own suicidal minefield.
Finally, six months of no major legislative achievements not only displays Republican Party as inept, tin-ear boobs but, even worse, with a zero learning curve – whether Trump, House or Senate big wigs. No doubt fate or chance or luck will deliver some shiny object that allows the GOP to churn out more inexcusable propaganda. But the nation’s worst fear – the Trump/GOP can’t do governance – is getting set in stone – and stonewalling.
Even gullible Trump voters are getting message as permanent disapproval numbers swell: the only way to repair the most grievous leadership debacle in American history is either expel Trump and Trumpism – and/or install a new Congress that will stop the bleeding. Otherwise, even today’s unjust, discredited status quo, the icon of economic and voting rights inequality, will look good after another year of rightwing political malpractice.