Monday, October 21, 2019

Your President is in the Weeds: An Open Letter to the Republican Senate

     I get it. I really do.
     The party that gave us, just in the 20th and early 21st centuries (when the Grand Old Party switched sides with the Democrats and completely gave itself over to the Dark Side), Teapot Dome, the Great Depression, the Bay of Pigs, countless recessions, Joe McCarthy, the escalation of the illegal war in Vietnam, Watergate, Iraq, 9/11, the quagmire in Afghanistan, the hideous response to Katrina, the financial meltdown of 2008, a crumbling infrastructure and, lastly, Donald fucking Trump, has to stick with its president when one of your own is in the Oval Office.
     So, I understand. And this open letter to our finest conservative statesmen and stateswomen isn't intended in the slightest to attempt to dissuade you from engaging in self-destructive partisanship. Because, #1, I don't delude myself into thinking I have more influence than I do, which is to say none. And, #2, political partisanship has infected and infested our government since the earliest Continental Congresses of the 18th century, before there were political parties. So, that won't change.
     But as I am but a humble citizen political journalist with some middling powers of literary ability, a discerning intellect and an outrage that never seems to be exhausted, all I can offer you are my poor powers of observation that are, I would venture, shared by countless tens of millions of Americans. These are observations inevitably coupled with a growing sense of alarm, sort of the smell of smoke that usually heralds the breakout of a fire that threatens to burn down our house.
     And your president is in the weeds. I say he's your president because, as with Bush, I do not recognize him as my or our president. Indeed, we have not had a duly-elected president since January 20, 2017. I freely say that because I would prefer to think that some of you in the Republican Party are informed and intelligent enough to realize that Donald Trump was not legitimately elected in 2016 and that the vote that shoehorned him into the Oval Office, the one vote that counted, was cast by a balding little dictator in the Kremlin who likes to spend time with horses while half naked.
     Let's talk facts and numbers for a moment: 23 Republican Senate seats are up for grabs next year while Democrats need to defend but a mere dozen. One of them belongs to your Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, a man who made it his mission in life to make Barack Obama a one term president (a failure), refused to give a hearing to a perfectly qualified Supreme Court nominee (Merrick Garland) or one to Elizabeth Warren (who, in the ultimate blowback, later became a United States Senator and is now a leading Democratic candidate for president, which I think we can construe as another grand failure on the part of the Grand Old Party and for your blatantly racist Majority Leader). He had bragged to GOP donors that any Democrat-sponsored legislation would never come up for a vote and even called himself the Grim Reaper to that effect. In other words, far from the Democrats being the "Do-Nothing" Party, it turns out it's the Republican Party that isn't earning out its bloated salaries and perks.
     But this is not about Mitch McConnell, a man who doesn't have a single major piece of legislation in his name and will surely go down in history as a human sawhorse who stubbornly put himself in the way of any progressive legislation that came his way. He will also be known as a man who stubbornly and steadfastly stood behind or beside a child molester and rapist because his wife was given a job by Trump.
     No, the thrust of this open letter is to remind all of you in Congress to carefully read the tea leaves and realize what is happening and what will happen on Super Tuesday a little more than a year from now. What happened in 2016 was mere prologue to the bloodbath that will follow next year. And 20 of you are retiring of the end of this session and that doesn't include who have already abruptly left Congress since the midterms. This is why your party showed barely enough self-awareness to know that you will not retake the House next year and to devote your time, energies and resources to hang on to the Senate.
     Which likely won't happen, either.
     The "Do-Nothing Democrats" are working at warp speed in the House to wrap up this impeachment inquiry by this Thanksgiving or Christmas at the latest. That would be a fortuitous development either way as it would provide America with one huge reason to be thankful or provide our battered and exhausted nation with the greatest Christmas present of all time. But either way, Donald Trump will be impeached in the House. Then it will go to you. You know how it works.
     Majority Leader Grim Reaper will not do anything about it because he cannot do anything about it. Articles of impeachment from the House of Representatives cannot be ignored, dismissed or derided as mere partisan legislation like, say, the quarter billion dollar spending bill for election security that passed the lower chamber with broad bipartisan support and consensus.
     No, your Majority Leader, who may be a lame duck senator even as we speak, will have no choice but to impotently flare his neck wattles at Democratic senators who would have the temerity to compel the testimony of the so-called President of the United States.
     And anyone who has spent even one minute with that comb-overed baboon or read his Twitter feed knows, that will not go well for him at all. The same will apply to any Republican so hidebound by ideology and political partisanship. At this point, it still looks as if many Republicans are still clinging to Trump's coattails in next year's down ballot races (Well, not in California). But in reality, they're not clinging to his coattails but pulling on them for all they're worth to keep that evolutionary dropout from doing a Thelma and Louise and taking the entire party over the cliff with him.
     I would think the proper course, simply letting go of those coattails and ensuring Trump a lonely, one-way Wile E. Coyote trip to the bottom of the canyon, would be the simplest thing in the world to a politician of either party, the first instinct that kicks in when trouble rears its ugly head- Political self-preservation.
     It is not treason to abandon a president, especially one just pretending to be one, who had not only abandoned the principles of leadership and upholding the Constitution of the United States of America but had preemptively decided to never honor them. It is your patriotic duty. That's patriotism for America, not Russia or Israel or Saudi Arabia, just so we're straight on that. Apostasy, perhaps. But sometimes apostasy is necessary even if done out of political survival. It is this base and disingenuous instinct to which I am appealing, ladies and gentlemen of the Grand Old Party, because I automatically realize how futile it is to appeal to your better angels. Whatever better angels with whom you were born had either fled to serve better spiritual clients or had committed suicide after realizing the utterly futility and hopelessness of their thankless tasks. So, self-serving political survival it is.
     In public, you're doing what the ancient laws of political primacy demand and dictate and stand behind and beside your so-called president no matter the flagrancy and conspicuousness of his countless high crimes and misdemeanors. But in countless news articles, the real news is leaking out. Anonymous sources, Congressional aides and so forth tell eager reporters there is dissent in the ranks, that you thick-skilled morons and dead mule-stubborn political barnacles, after nearly three years of cartoonish Dick Tracy-class villainy, are finally starting to come to the conclusion that your "president", for want of a better word ("Imposter," "Manchurian Candidate"?) isn't quite the savior evangelicals still think he is. That you are no longer statesmen but enablers of the most corrupt administration since Nixon, the most racist since Andrew Jackson and only fascist administration in our 245 year history since the first Continental Congress.
     You are, with few exceptions, still enabling a man who is not only committing crimes with (thus far) impunity but even admitting to his crimes and expressing honest amazement and baffled fury when called on his one man crime wave.  You are defending a Bargain Bin martinet who does not understand the concept of loyalty except as a one way concept- That given to him. He is a spoiled, petulant man-child who inevitably turns on someone the very second they displease him, someone who never once in his life until now has had the word "No" said to him by lawmakers, courts, heads of state and the American people. And he honestly doesn't know how to handle that like a mature, rational adult.
     To put it in its starkest terms, he will eventually throw you under the bus as he had already done with Mitt Romney, as he has done countless times of late with Fox "News", as he has with countless administration officials both past and present, such as former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who is revered in military circles. He will do the same to you, eventually. He may not win but, like a chess grandmaster taking on all comers in a city park, he will eventually get to every single one of you and look like a fool doing it.
     Ladies and gentlemen, you have a very big and important choice to make, one that will impact not only on your political careers but one necessarily involving the very soul of our Democratic Republic, this Great Experiment. And that moment will come after the Upper Chamber compels the testimony of one Donald John Trump, a man who is to sleaze and corruption what Bill Gates is to software.
     And the impeachment trial will surely come long before next year's general election. It could possibly be this year or early next year at the latest. It will be a watershed moment greater than even the Republican Party's vote to impeach Nixon in 1974 in the lower chamber. One way or the other, your names will be known to history and remembered long after your political careers and lives are at an end. How will you prefer to be known? As a senior lawmaker who continued supporting a petty dictator who could serve only a limited time or as one who put party before country and chose to, for once, support and defend the Constitution that invests you with the rarely-used but awesome powers of impeachment and expulsion?
     This is a man who had brazenly stolen $6 billion dollars from the military to pay for his border wall when he declared a bogus national emergency that you in the Senate had to rescind a couple of months later. During this political gimmick that Trump obviously sees merely as a note that he needs to pay down to his racist red meat voters, he took, among other things, $771 million that was earmarked to fight Russian aggression. He ripped families apart and caged children, over a half dozen of whom died in our custody. And all you Republican enablers could do was cluck your forked tongues and tried to draw parallels with Barack Obama (there are none).
     This is a man who, with no heed to the futures left to our children and grandchildren, had filthied our environment through countless deregulations because he has spent one half of his purloined presidency undoing everything Obama did (the other half spent fending off impeachment, lawsuits and investigations). He had steadfastly refused to turn over his tax returns, something every single president, even Nixon, had done in the modern age. He had refused to allow even past as well as present government officials from testifying, forcing the House to compel such testimony through the power of subpoena. He had steadfastly refused to turn over any and all documents subpoenaed by that same legislative body.
     This is exactly, precisely how a guilty man acts when he has much to hide. His lawsuits fighting such subpoenas are getting shot down faster than ducks in a shooting gallery (five in one day last Friday). He is flailing like a dying whale, he is raging, he is simply out of control. Perhaps in violation of the non-binding Goldwater Rule, more than one mental health professional has questioned the sanity of the "president."
     This psychopathic behavior is still being defended by your party, one risibly billed as "the Party of Personal Responsibility." You are no more that than you are the Party of Lincoln, especially in the Age of Trump.
     The fallout from Watergate reverberated through America and its political structure for decades. The 1974 midterms were a bloodbath. And the same will happen next year whatever you decide about Trump when those articles of impeachment will (inevitably) get sent up to the Senate. But perhaps you can save your seat if not your legacy.
      You are marching in lockstep with someone who sought the presidency for two reasons and two reasons only- To undo everything the black guy before him did and to make himself richer than even his wildest dreams of avarice. In CREW's ongoing investigation into Trump's self-dealing, they found over 2000 conflicts of interest that had netted him countless tens of millions of dollars during his "presidency". One conflict of interest alone would've, should've and could've triggered the Emoluments Clause and impeachment proceedings. And at the same time he's pimping the office of the presidency, he's simultaneously bankrupting the Secret Service and the American people. Until Saturday night, Trump had audaciously tried to self-deal himself a fat payday by hosting the 2020 G7 at his own resort in Miami. Luckily, many of you found your balls and spines long enough to cry foul and compelled him to change what passes for his mind.
     Predictably, he was baffled and furious and blamed the media and Democrats because he's still got enough marbles left in his skull to know he still desperately needs the big red firewall of the Republican Party to protect him from expulsion from an office he never legitimately won.
     He did engage in quid pro quo with Ukraine. Even the heavily censored transcript of the call they'd released only after the whistleblower's report made the news made it plain he'd held up the aid while pointedly asking for an investigation into the Bidens, which of course would impact the 2020 election. Days later, he openly sought China's help to that end. Earlier this year, he'd told ABC he'd accept dirt on an opponent from any nation.
     In other words, "something of value."
     This is because Donald Trump comes from a world where the laws simply don't apply to him, he came to Washington thinking he was merely expanding on that world and is openly furious on a constant basis when reminded there are laws, checks and balances and some things he cannot and should not do.
     And your fucking party welcomed this Russian Trojan horse into our nation's Capitol with shit-eating grins and wide-open arms. That, my friends, is something you will never live down.
     But, as I'd stated, there is something you can do to mitigate the damage to your incumbencies, your careers, your very legacies- That is to vote for impeachment. That is because this is the only sensible course of action. This is a decision that should be weighted with consideration and honor for the Constitution of the United States of America that every single one of you, including Donald Trump, swore to uphold. This consideration should not be delayed or diluted or derailed because of lobbyist money or party primacy.
     You would be doing it to salvage the tattered, blood-spattered soul of a nation you pretend to honor on your flag lapel pins. Take a look at those pins. Remove them from your lapels long enough to look at the colors. Those colors do not represent a presidency or a mere session of Congress or even the entire US government. Those colors represent a nation of 330,000,000 people who desperately need to know that the law is being upheld and not just the appearance that the law is being upheld to punish political foes or when the 1% is wronged. That flag, treated as a sacred living organism by the men and women of our military, stands for the blood we shed to forge this great republic in the crucible of liberty and justice, this Grand Experiment in democracy that, until 2017, used to be the model for other nations aspiring to our ideals.
     It represents the greatest nation that ever graced the earth but is great no more. The man you defend had a lot to do about that by pulling us out of the Paris Climate Accord, the INF Treaty with Russia, the Iran nuclear deal, the UN Human Rights Council and other things. And the world that to your Dear Leader has shrunk down to the size of his collected properties, that world? It is leaving us in the dust.
     When impeachment comes to the Senate, the Democrats, assuming they will remain unified, will require but 27 Republican votes to expel Trump from office. Again, 23 of you are up for reelection. Support for impeachment goes up among the electorate literally every week. If you do not care about the soul of our nation, and I have more than enough reason to suspect none of you do, that is how cynical you've made me and others, then think about the cost to your soul with which you will have to live until the end of your days if you choose not to vote to impeach.

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