For the GOP, Call Me When Someone with Something to Lose Speaks Up

TrumpEmperor

In every analysis of the Republican Party and the dotard that leads them, the statistics say that their numbers are going down. Since the act of swearing in Orange Foolius in January, his overall approval has fallen in ALL 50 STATES, including those that he won in the November election handily (in Alabama, his approval has fallen 11%). Much of this is driven by the departure of independent and “swing” voters who migrate between the two parties, but there is also some eroding of support from those who align with the GOP, especially rural whites that haven’t seen the “winning” they were hoping for.

These numbers are noticed by those who bear the brunt of the idiot’s ravings, the Congress and state officials, whose ratings have cratered. Battered by the continued quagmire that Congress is – even though they have majorities in both bodies – these members of the GOP (in one of the most ridiculous statements that exist in the human vernacular) aren’t viewed as “conservative enough” and face backlash from the electorate. With this in mind, two of the stalwarts of the Republican Party in the Senate have chosen to resign rather than risk being rejected in the upcoming 2018 elections.

Last week, former President George Bush (II) blistered the current administration with a speech that called into question not only his abilities but the methods of leadership (nationalism) that Orange Foolius was trying to inflict on the country. Earlier this week, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker opened the exodus from the Senate by stating that he would not seek reelection in 2018. Then, in a stunning speech on the floor of the Senate where he stated that Orange Foolius was “debasing the nation,” Arizona Senator Jeff Flake also indicated that he would not seek reelection in what was expected to be a bruising fight (Corker did not face much threat of being “primaried”).

JeffFlake

Add in the current maverick streak from the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain, and the nuanced and thought out positions of Maine Senator Susan Collins (also considering leaving the Senate), Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (continuing the family tradition of being “Dr. No”) and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, you might believe that there is an uprising in the GOP that would pitch this jackass out on his plump ass along with the Confederacy of Dunces he has convened. For me, however, give me a call when someone in the GOP with something to lose actually speaks up against the fool that they say is their “leader.”

There’s a base statement that people must keep in mind whenever you hear someone speaking out against a particular subject. For lack of a better way to put it, the old gambling axiom of “What skin do you have in the game?” is precisely the thing to remember.

“Skin,” for those that aren’t up on that vernacular, is to have something at risk, usually something that is of a loss (sometimes significant) to you. In the gambling world, that usually entails some monetary wager. In this circumstance, however, it would mean having to put something on the line that would be greater than any monetary wager could ever be.

In the case of Flake, there was already plenty of evidence that he was going to have a very difficult time in getting through the GOP primary, let alone trying to beat a Democratic challenger and a revved-up opposition in a state that is supposedly shifting to the left. Flake also had previously spoken out against the current administration in the same passive aggressive manner in a book he had written, Conscience of a Conservative, which basically aired his grievances with Orange Foolius’ administration without mentioning him by name.

Corker, when he was first elected in 2006, said he would only serve two terms as a Senator, apparently employing the philosophy that if two terms was good for the President, it was good enough for a Senator. But there are other things that might be more appealing for the popular Tennessean, including a run at the Governorship in the Volunteer State. He also hasn’t ruled out being involved in government (on the state or national level) again in the future.

McCain’s story is well known by now. The veteran Senator, elected to his sixth term as the senior Senator from the Grand Canyon State just last year, was diagnosed earlier this year with a terminal brain tumor called a glioblastoma. Once diagnosed with the condition, patients have a usual life expectancy of 14 months, so it is obvious that, unless there are some Area 51-type secrets floating around Washington D. C., that McCain will not likely end his current term as Senator.

Although these three men (and we’ll get to Murkowski, Collins and Sasse in a moment) have served admirably for the past 12 years minimum, they have helped to create the issues that currently plague our nation. Corker was on the short list for the #2 seat on the GOP ticket with the Tangerine Nightmare and was one of the first legislators in D. C. to support him and his candidacy (the other, the Keebler Elf Jeff Sessions, received a cozy Attorney General appointment for licking his master’s boots). And other than his dramatic, Caesar-esque “thumbs down” vote on trashing the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or, to the simple minded, ObamaCare) this summer, McCain has supported the extreme rightward jerk of the GOP, especially after his drubbing by Bush II (and the neocons trashing of his reputation by insinuating he had an illegitimate black daughter) in 2000 and the resulting realization that he had to change or be steamrolled.

ColinPowell

Normally when you’ve completely fucked something up, you’re expected to stick around and fix it (often called the “Pottery Barn Rule” and made popular by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002 to Bush II prior to invading Iraq). But these three men are doing the exact opposite. Instead of trying to stick around and cure the ills that their previous actions have brought, they are supposedly going to be “liberated” by being able to vote their conscience (but note they didn’t say “oppose the current President and his actions”).

If you can name someone else who might actually tell Orange Foolius to go screw himself, I’m all ears. Right now, the GOP is like the person they elected, a flaccid chihuahua that has been defanged and declawed. While Murkowski and Collins (who was rumored to be potentially running for the governor of Maine until she shot that down earlier this month) have been a thorn in the side of Orange Foolius since he took office, they haven’t exactly been rabid opponents of the person WHO LEADS THEIR PARTY. With the right arm twisting, they could probably be coerced into the madness (note how, during the debate on the ACA, that both Maine and Alaska were targeted for “extra money” to try to sway the two Senators).

Some might say Sasse has the potential to be that Republican who can lead the party out of its nihilistic nationalism, but he is a first-term Senator that, should Breitbart editor Steve Bannon still be the Crypt Keeper when he comes around for re-election in 2020, will face one of his minions. Additionally, there’s just enough mystery about Sasse to still say he’s your typical, “screw you, I got mine” Republican who doesn’t look beyond anything but the party line (in 2016, he voted against the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which would have given states block grants to fight opioid abuse and fund recovery programs).

Paul, who has gone over to the Dark Side in disavowing his libertarian roots in favor of staying in power in D. C. as a Republican (guess who is a frequent golf partner for the Hacker-in-Chief?), has no desire to buck the current administration. If he can get a few concessions that demonstrate he trying to castrate the current federal system, then he can claim his Ayn Rand fantasies are being implemented and still be admired by those who would rather watch Rome burn than build it up.

Absolutely nobody who has spoken out from the GOP has any “skin” in the game. Not one of these people previously mentioned has put their Congressional seat on the line, their reputation, or their years in what was once a party that championed business, trade and was anti-Communist (now it is isolationist, crapping its panties and dreaming of a fascist to save their totalitarian day). And there isn’t anyone currently among the crop of cephalopods – including the tortoise Mitch McConnell nor Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan – who is showing any ability to step up and tell this administration “Enough,” as Flake lamely did in his Senate speech, especially elected officials like this.

It is time that someone – hell, a massive number of someones – assumed the role of an adult in the Republican Party as a whole and Congress for a start and looked to change things. There is something that Flake said that was spot on: “Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership…Regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.” It is time that the “adults” in the GOP revolt against the odiferous emanations that emit from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue like rancid flesh at a slaughterhouse. Or is it already too late for the party to be saved from the transformation into a fascist organization under the leadership of Bannon and his ilk?

KellyFacePalm

Advertisements

Has the 2020 Presidential Campaign Begun Already?

I settled in last night for the only Vice Presidential debate on the schedule for the 2016 campaign honestly with no expectations for either candidate. Democratic nominee Tim Kaine and Republican pick Mike Pence are the type of guys that don’t rock the boat, they speak in measured tones, they offer ideas and occasionally jab at their opponent with some repartee or pointed remark…you know, the way that politicians did debates before the Orange Scourge came to the fore. What I didn’t realize by watching last night is that the campaign for President in 2020 has already begun.

First, let’s talk the VP debate.

kainepence

The first half-hour or so of the discussion between Kaine and Pence was anything but. Rather than let each other have their two minutes to answer the question at hand, both – but Kaine was by far more annoying as he seemed to do it EVERY time – would interrupt their opponent (and a serious knock on moderator Elaine Quijano, who never had control of either candidate – perhaps it’s time we give the moderators some rules enforcement capabilities…a shock collar around a candidate’s junk is a pretty good step). It seemed that they wanted to take the tactics that Trump displayed during the first Presidential debate and espouse on them for the VP soiree. I’m sure that these candidates wanted to look like they were defending their partners while trying to score some points, but both came off poorly with the amount of interruption.

As the debate rolled along, both sides seemed to score points for their pet causes. Pence was quite good at demonstrating the Republican stance – that “America has to be seen as strong” and he presented very surface-level thoughts on that subject (my pet peeve, “strengthening a depleted military,” was a part of the discussion). Pence presented his not-very specific ideas in a thoughtful, temperate and professional manner.

Kaine, for his part, went a little further into details of what a Clinton/Kaine administration would do. The problem is, when the surrogate does these things, it does kind of lock the Presidential candidate into a box. There’s a thin line between Pence’s approach and Kaine more-detailed explanations and Kaine stepped over that line. For all the information he was putting out, however, Kaine ruined it all with constant interruptions of Pence while he was speaking. I know Kaine wanted to defend his running mate against the attacks of Pence, but he went WAY too far in doing so. I don’t know if the pre-debate planning for Kaine included a watching of Trump during the Presidential debate – and the aside of “Don’t do this” (didn’t he learn anything from watching his partner debate the Volcano of Hate?) – but, as a longtime politician and someone who has been through a debate before, he should have shown much more tact and couth. As it was, he came off as a rabid Chihuahua by the time the final bell rang.

Finally, Pence did have the “package” when you look at someone. Yes, it is highly superficial and ignorant, but that is the way politics IS in the 21st century. Pence LOOKED the part of a Vice President, of someone that could step in should something happen to the leader of the country and reassure a shaken nation that everything would be alright. Kaine looked like the frazzled operator of a mom-and-pop grocery store that was constantly running out of items to sell. Pence was calm; Kaine was peppy to the point of annoying. Pence was measured in his statements; Kaine seemed to spit his sentences like he was in a rap battle. Pence was tranquil in his appearance (for the most part); Kaine always looked like he was ready to leap out of his chair to say something. As far as the debate, Pence wins by a split decision.

But there was something else that I noticed during the debate on Tuesday night. Pence continually (and wrongly) denied that the Republican campaign was an “insult based” one – has he LOOKED at who he’s running with? In fact, as Pence was continually denying that the Trump/Pence ticked were running an “insult based” campaign, his partner was on Twitter INSULTING every moment of the debate. That wasn’t the most telling thing of Pence’s performance, however.

penceshovel

While the 90-minutes plus debate wore on, Pence outright refused to take accountability for any of the litany of statements made by his “boss” during the course of the campaign (and there have been plenty of examples). When Kaine would hit Pence with Trump’s statements on Mexicans and Muslims or his multiple statements regarding treatment of women (among others), Pence skillfully slipped taking any responsibility for them, basically leaving Trump out to dry on his own petard. After realizing that Pence was in no way going to have the back of his party’s nominee, it became obvious why.

Pence isn’t playing for being the #2 on the winning ticket in 2016. Pence has already set his sights on the 2020 campaign and is using the time on the ticket with Trump to solidify his hold on the nomination four years from now. By taking this action, Pence gets a jump on any other candidate – Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, perhaps a center-right candidate such as Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska or another moderate Republican who might actually bring the party into the 20th century (too much to ask for them to progress to the 21st…baby steps, folks) – by LOOKING Presidential and putting his version of “conservatism” in front of the people of the GOP.

The problem for Pence is he doesn’t know what type of Republican party is going to emerge from the wreckage of this year. Pence parties like it is 1899 and those types of policies just aren’t going to cut it in the 21st century. Ryan and Sasse, as well as other younger Republican conservatives, know the value of compromise, know that they have to work with the opposition to get things done and know that there are some former benchmarks of their party that need to change lest they shrivel and die. They also haven’t been corrupted by the alt-right conspiracies or other people’s hardline conservatism. If the StormTrumpers flame out as expected in November, then their ilk will be banished to the wastelands. The question is whether Pence has done enough to be able to remain on the Ark or will he be a part of the wanderers.

As to the debate, the bottom line is even after hearing Kaine and Pence speak, no one is basing their decision on their place on the ticket. When Sunday rolls around for the second Presidential debate, will Cheeto Jesus have learned his lesson and at least cracked the workbook to try to have some substance? Will Cheeto Jesus actually try to LOOK Presidential or will he try to bluster and bully Clinton during the Town Hall meeting (many believe that was one of the things that hurt Al Gore in 2000 against the second George Bush after he leapt from the stool and stormed into Bush’s personal space during a similar Town Hall debate), something that NEVER works when you’re among the people? And can he tolerate having been beaten not only by a woman but also by his subordinate in the two previous debates? (My bet:  No, bullies only know how to bully, and no.)

Donald Trump
The thing that is known is that Mike Pence is going nowhere with this ticket, but he’s OK with that. It makes him a lock to come back for a run in 2020 and he announced that last night.