Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Everyone Ends Up Dead On The Floor"-- Welcome To The GOP Congressional Mindset


I've been meaning to mention that hilarious story about the hundred 8th graders from South Orange, New Jersey visiting Washington on a school trip who refused to pose for a picture with Speaker Ryan.
Close to 100 8th graders refused to take a photo with the Speaker and instead sat in a parking lot across the street. Speaker Ryan then took a photo with the remaining class and posted it to his Instagram.

"I can’t take a picture with someone who supports a budget that would destroy public education and would leave 23 million people without healthcare,” Matthew Malespina, a student at the school, told his local newspaper, the Village Green.

Others grounded their decision in their aversion to Trump.

“I didn’t want to be in [the picture] because he believes in most of what Trump believes in,” a fellow student, Louisa Maynard-Parisi, told the Village Green.

Parents were torn about whether the kids should have sat out on the photo. Ryan was a "legitimately elected official," one parent wrote, and they would have been offended if conservative students had done the same thing to President Obama.

Matthew Malespina's mother, on the other hand, couldn't have been more proud.

"I am proud of my son and all the other students who chose to respectfully not to participate in the photograph with Speaker Ryan.”
Molly Ball's story at 6AM Monday in The Atlantic, at least for Ryan and his Republican cronies in Congress, was less hilarious. They control the House, the Senate and the White House and should be abletoimpose their agenda on the nation. But, instead, everything seems tone falling apart, or, as Ball put it, "a ceaseless, disorienting swirl of scandal, 120 days of self-inflicted chaos and crisis." And if consistent polling is to be believed, dozens of them-- including Ryan-- are going to lose their seats in the rapidly approaching 2018 midterms.

At a press conference Lyin' Ryan was asked what was his view on the idea that Republicans might be better off with the vice president, Mike Pence, in the White House instead of Trump, Ryan shook his head in exasperation. "Oh, good grief," he said. "I’m not even going to give credence to that."

“But your members are saying that!” the reporter said. Republican members of Congress were buzzing about this idea, openly wondering, as the presidential mess threatened to consume their careers and priorities, whether it might be possible to remove the president and move on.

Congress, Ryan insisted, was perfectly capable of doing its job. “I know people can be consumed with the news of the day,” he said, as though a potential impeachment were the latest celebrity scandal, or the time everyone was up in arms for 24 hours about avocado toast. “But we are here working on people’s problems every day. We have all these committees that do different jobs, and our job is to make sure that we still make progress for the American people, and we’re doing that. It’s just not what we’re being asked about.”

Ryan listed more accomplishments underway—streamlining the Pentagon, sanctions on Syria, workforce-development programs—and insisted the House could “walk and chew gum at the same time.” But Trump’s troubles have cast a long shadow over the 291 members of his party in the House and Senate, who see their agenda going up in smoke in what is generally a presidential party’s most productive year.

A flawed, unpopular health-care bill is stalled in the Senate, the president’s budget proposal has been dismissed out of hand, and hope is fading for other priorities such as tax reform and infrastructure. “How do you pack all that in?” Senator John McCain asked last week, adding, “So far, I've seen no strategy for doing so. I'm seeing no plan for doing so.” One Republican congressman suggested that what was needed was for the president to throw “a temper tantrum” to get lawmakers to act-- this congressman happened to be named Brat.

Meanwhile Democrats sit back and watch it burn, with no small amount of schadenfreude, and the Republicans who never liked Trump see their worst predictions fulfilled. “You bought this bad pony. You ride it,” the anti-Trump consultant Rick Wilson tweeted recently. A staffer to a Senate Republican who did not vote for Trump told me, “We didn’t have high expectations, so we’re not disappointed. We tried to warn you.”

But Paul Ryan, with his long-cultivated persona as the party’s resident idealist, has always had high expectations. He watched last year as Trump ate his party; now he must watch as the president consumes his dreams. “Paul wants to govern, he’s trying to get what’s possible to get done, and he’s got a lot of credibility on the line,” Ryan’s friend Jimmy Kemp, the son of the late former Representative Jack Kemp, told me. “He’s been working on these issues for so long.”

Kemp, who wrote in Ryan’s name on his presidential ballot, described the speaker as burdened but steady. “He’s frustrated and it’s wearing on him, but he’s not throwing in the towel,” he said. “He just has to answer questions about so many things he doesn’t want to answer questions about.”

For the Republicans running the government, Capitol Hill has become a workplace with extremely poor morale. The moderates fear for their careers, while the conservative true believers see little to hope for. When the liberal magazine Mother Jones credited Representative Justin Amash of Michigan with being the first Republican to raise the possibility of impeachment, the office of Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida called to request a correction: Curbelo had gone there first.

But for the most part, his party has not openly turned on Trump. What would be the point? Behind closed doors, a longtime House Republican staffer told me, a few lawmakers still wholeheartedly defend the president; among the rest, there are differing degrees of fatalism. One group thinks it is possible to fight through the crisis, while another is resigned to “a long slow death,” as this staffer put it, potentially culminating in a Democratic-controlled House beginning impeachment proceedings in 2019. “This is like Reservoir Dogs,” the staffer said. “Everyone ends up dead on the floor.”

...It has become a Capitol Hill cliché lately that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like years. Lulls in the news feel ominous, and you never know what is going to happen. Tempers are fraying: the GOP’s congressional candidate in Montana’s special election last week tackled a reporter for pressing for his position on health care (and still won the election). “There is total weirdness out there,” Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina said after the Montana incident. Trump, Sanford said, had “unearthed some demons.”

...Washington’s turbulence has yet to redound to the benefit of Democrats, and the Montana victory soothed some Republican nerves. But one GOP lobbyist wondered to me whether longtime members of Congress might soon take the opportunity to retire if the situation doesn’t improve. “You finally have united Republican government, and this is as good as it gets? Why bother?” he said. “A malaise is setting in.”
Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL) has already announced she's retiring-- from a nice blue Miami district not even the DCCC is likely to lose (they they seem to be already trying hard to)-- where Obama beat Romney 53.0% to 46.3% but where Hillary eviscerated Trumpanzee 58.6% to 38.9%, el Señor's worst performance in the country in any GOP-held district. But Ros-Lehtinen is probably not the only Republican looking to retire as Trump and Ryan make a shambles of their party. The Cook Report, which is rarely accurate about this kind of stuff, listed a dozen senior Republicans they claim may be on the verge:
Don Young (AK)
Vern Buchanan (FL)
Mario Diaz-Ballart (FL)
Fred Upton (MI)
Frank Lobiondo (NJ)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)
Pete King (NY)
Patrick Meehan (PA)
Charlie Dent (PA)
Jaime Herrera-Beutler (WA)
Dave Reichert (WA)
The list is making the rounds in DC but from talks I've had with reliable GOP staffers, it's as silly as most of the nonsense coming out of Cook. And not included is a Republican who probably actually is retiring at the end of the current term: Science Denier-In-Chief Lamar Smith of Texas.

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At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pride in those kids who showed more balls in that half-hour than all the democraps have showed since 1982. Well done.

Peter King is considering bailing? that would be a surprise, unless he's lined up a nice 8 or 9-figure lobbying job already.

A comment about Reichert: I watched as he was elected in a kind of gerrymandered purple district in a blue state. He was the cop who finally caught the green river killer a while back. And as far as I can tell, he'd been respected by all but the criminals he crossed paths with.
Until, that is, he got drafted to run and won that seat. Suddenly he wasn't the respectable dude who did fine work and was viewed as above reproach. He was a fucking republican. Not the worst one (ryan, gomert... a list of hundreds), but bad when it counted often enough to cause one to recalibrate one's assessment.

His low point came on drumpf-death 1 which he was for. He was allowed to vote nay on drumpf-death 2, but one wonders what penalty he will pay among the Nazi party for that one. Maybe he will pre-emptively retire instead. I don't know.

But he'll never be able to wash off the stench of the DC Rs as long as he lives. A pity. But he'll deserve it. Fucking asshole.


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