By Leo Cohen
“How did Trump ever happen to America?” I hear this question over and over, and it is clearly implied in the hundreds of thousands of daily protest voices across the country. But this is the wrong question, because it is a response to specific outrages – DeVos, Muslim ban, Obamacare, Trump self-dealing, on and on. Each one of these, indeed, virtually all of Trump’s proclamations in the first weeks of his reign, deserve this question and a respondent protest. But each of these, however egregious, is no more than a rabbit to be noisily chased until the next rabbit appears.
However, this rabbit chasing is fruitless and pointless because the real question is “How did the Republican party ever happen to America?”
It started with Nixon and his Southern Strategy. That got us to the Republicans of Bush 2 and 9/11, the Iraq war and the Great Recession. It provided the basis for the “birther movement,” a platform for McConnell to announce and carry out the Republican intentions for the Obama presidency and the infamous treatment of the Garland nomination.
All of it successful, all of it sweeping Trump into the White House. But the reality is, Trump is no more than the hood ornament on the Republican bulldozer, his only capability, wielding the pen to sign whatever is put in front of him.
Think of the word “arrogant.” It means proudly contemptuous; feeling or showing self-importance and contempt or disregard for others. Certainly it describes Trump, but more importantly, doesn’t it perfectly caption the reptilian McConnell, the vapidly smug Ryan?
What does it mean that the Republicans have banned Muslims but OK’d Christians? Surreptitiously muzzled agriculture, the EPA, the forest service? How about their picks for justice, education, environment, labor, HUD (this one’s got to be a joke, right?), Treasury? Maybe there is an exception for state, although Tillerson could be in it for the Exxon payoff on his stock options. And how come the Republicans are so laid back about the Russians sticking their thumb in America’s eye? Even before they were sworn in, the Republican House tried to do away with independent ethics oversight, and now Republican states are trying to do the same. Look at what just went on with Elizabeth Warren attempting to read Coretta King’s letter to the Senate; that rule has not been invoked since the Civil War era. And then four male Democrats got up and read the letter, but that was OK.
It’s fairly obvious that the Republicans don’t care what the Muslims in America, let alone around the world, think. They clearly have no concerns about the African-American reaction to Sessions or he would have gotten the same vote when he was up for a judgeship. How about Latinos and paying for that stupid wall and women with Planned Parenthood and about 30 million of us and our medical insurance?
Not an issue for these Republicans.
Really? How come? Don’t they have to worry about votes in two years, four years, six years? What could possibly justify such arrogance?
The real snake in the Oval Office grass is Bannon. He obviously has Trump’s ear and maybe even his soul. It definitely looks as if Bannon, Priebus, McConnell and Ryan have created a cahoots that has put Bannon at the top of national security and injected politics into its deliberations. So I have to wonder:
A summary history of von Hindenburg’s political life after the First World War has an eerie resemblance to the qualities we perceive in Trump; is he Bannon’s von Hindenburg?
There is much in Bannon’s brief political history but extensive social thought that is reminiscent of Hitler; can we expect a mysterious fire at the congressional office building, brown shirts and streets of broken glass?
Perhaps it won’t happen so precipitously but rather via faux governance; a little gerrymandering here, some voter suppression there, a few changes in laws to do with term in office, drilling out the ethics loopholes and so on.
And no one to stop them.
Can you think of any other reason why these Republicans are so incredibly arrogant?
Cohen lives in Fayston.