I didn’t get all the agita yesterday about Trump’s Oval Office speech. It lived up (down?) to my low expectations. He’s a terrible, and worse, boring speaker without an audience. To quote the man himself, it was low energy. Additionally, nobody except his hardcore 25-30% believes anything he says. The only people capable of being hoodwinked already wear pointy hoods in private.
Nothing Trump said last night matters. It was his greatest hits with a dull delivery. It’s hard to cry wolf when you look ready to nod off at a moment’s notice. He made absolutely no news, which made the speech an exercise in futility. It was also an exercise in distraction. The Trump regime is slowly but surely circling the bowl and they know it:
Trump’s aides fear he has given himself no way out. “The president put himself in a box,” the former official in touch with the White House told me. “The problem is there’s no endgame. Right now the White House is at a seven on the panic scale. If this thing goes on past the State of the Union they’re going to be at an 11.” Another prominent Republican close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described Trump’s handling of the shutdown as “total fucking chaos.”
That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.
The box in question is his political coffin. In the article quoted above, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman called the Mexican stand-off that is the shutdown, “Trump’s Alamo.” The president* is likely to identify with Davy Crockett, after all. Crockett was a peckerwood with a coon skin cap atop his head and Trump is an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.
I’m convinced that the main reason Trump gave that lame racist speech last night is jealousy. The Democratic House is the bright shiny object in town and they’ve gotten tons of favorable media coverage. Trump not only thrives on the spotlight, he needs it. He’s afraid he’ll disappear if he’s not the center of attention 24/7/365.
Chuck and Nancy have become a formidable duo but the staging of their response last night was downright weird. It was summed up neatly by Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand:
Nice touch getting Wes Anderson to direct the Democratic response. pic.twitter.com/yyBbjuthTU
— Michael Tisserand (@m_tisserand) January 9, 2019
Others have compared them to the immortal hicks in Grant Wood’s American Gothic. They *were* stiff, but Nancy from Balmer and Chuck from Brooklyn are way too urban to be immortal Iowa hayseeds.
It’s time for people to stop thinking Donald Trump has supernatural political powers. He’s an unpopular president* whose party lost the midterm popular vote in a landslide. Last night’s speech was a dulled down distillation of his 2018 stump rants. It didn’t work then. Why would it work now?
The Trump shutdown shows the perils of winging it. House Republican leaders are worried that dozens of their members will rebel and support Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to reopen the government. At least four GOP Senators are making noises about reopening the government; one of whom is Colorado’s Corey Gardner who is already atop the Senate Dems 2020 hit list.
Trump lies about everything. He should take Chuck and Nancy up on their offer to reopen the government and debate the stupid wall later. Then, he could lie about it and declare victory. It would be a small lie by his standards. I bet them dead presidents would approve.
Is this Trump’s Waterloo? I’m not sure about that but he’s certainly circling the loo.
This is what happens when you cry wolf without a plan or an endgame.
The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:
3 thoughts on “No Plan, No Endgame”
This is the hill Trump has chosen to politically die on. He could have funded the government and demanded a wall at the State of the Union address. But no. If this shutdown somehow goes past January 29….holy hell. By this coming Monday it will be the longest Federal shutdown ever.
Remember when Senate Republicans would box in some hapless Democrat, say, Joe Manchin or Claire McCaskill, and force one of them to vote in favor of some piece of Republican legislative dreck or lose support back home? Oh, the paroxysms of bipartisan glee in the media! A Democrat voted for a Republican bill! Bipartisanship! The Republic is saved.
Now here we are in 2019, and a Democratic proposal has sheered off not one or two, but at least four Republican Senators. The media? Couldn’t be quieter about it all. No joyful declaration of a sighting of the Great Bipartisan White Whale which will make the Bipartisan Ghost of David Broder come down the chimney at midnight and leave gifts and treats to all the good little boys and girls in the commentariat. Nothing from the media.
While I have no doubt that the four aisle-crossers among the Republican Senators have one eye on their re-election campaigns, they can also make a credible statement that they’re joining with the Democrats in the interests of good government. Maybe the media are worried about scaring off the Republican Senators if they make any sudden moves?
Mitch isn’t going to have a vote because he wants the precedent of building the wall by decree. This has always been the conservative dream. Caesarism. There is nothing, I repeat nothing that Trump could decree which would rouse the Senate.
The courts have no check on decrees by the way. We can only pray some Democratic Senator asks Barr about the absolute primacy of the Executive over the courts. When the challenges to the wall get to court the JD is going to have to defend them. It would be nice if the Conservatives were put onto record that the Executive has absolute power.
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