Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Feel sorry for "Miss Mitch" McConnell? Huh? Well, maybe if he's standing in the path of the Falling Anvil of Orange


If Looks Could Kill Dept.: Naturally in the above photo it's the World's Blowsiest Blowhard bloviating, while Senate Majority Leader "Miss Mitch" McConnell, er, sits silently by -- of course it could be that he's just thinking about the fun of going home to the company of Transportation Sec'y Mrs. Miss Mitch. (Note: If you have a suitably Photoshoppish imagination, feel free to visualize Miss Mitch with a hatchet buried in that odious head. Either odious head, actually.)

by Ken

Miss Mitch is one of the last people on the planet I would normally expect to be sticking up for. Nevertheless, that's kinda what I found myself doing the other day.

It all started when I noticed this link in a DailyKos roundup:

NYT: Trump yelled at McConnell for not protecting him from Russia investigations

That's not when I found myself feeling sorry, kinda, for Miss Mitch. Not yet. Oh, I suppose I was commiserating with him, kinda, but mostly I found myself seeing Trump, and maybe even kinda sorta feeling sorry, or something, for a poor horrendously damaged boy buried under infinite layers of crud. I dashed off an e-note I to the gang, in which I took care to note first:
I've never bothered to inform myself about our Donald's family history, since I've never wanted to know any more about those hateful people. I've always wanted to know LESS about them -- really, as little as possible. Just hoping they would all go away and I wouldn't have to think about them any more.

So I was surprised when The Donald not long ago rambled publicly about his druggie brother Fred. Then today I noticed this link in a DailyKos e-mail.
"Suddenly," I went on to explain:
this image of Trump yelling at McConnell gave me an image of Little Donnie growing up being persistently abused verbally by Big Fred. In the pictures of Fred I've seen he looks like a total wienie, but even the wimpiest guy wouldn't have much trouble bullying his kid for at least a certain number of years. And then, just maybe, there's a fleeting image of Little Donnie being abused who-knows-how by Young Fred.

I realize this isn't a deep thought, and of course merely a speculation rather than a fact. And even if it were an established fac, it wouldn't be an especially surprising one, since we know that men who engage in domestic abuse are overwhelmingly likely to have been victims of abuse. Still, for me something clicked into place here.
This is pure thumb-sucking, of course. I have no inside knowledge, no particular expertise, just a heap of instincts piled on by grizzled experience -- activated, I suppose, by some morbid curiosity as to how a human mind becomes this perverted.

Some of the response, though, targeted Miss Mitch, and included some skepticism about a possibly staged feud between these two pillars of the revered, harmoniously functioning U.S. federal government. What follows is a somewhat cleaned-up version of my reply. Again, it's all pure thumb-sucking.


It's all so preposterous and unbelievable, I'm pretty much speechless. [Okay, the "pretty much speechless" part proved a faulty prediction. Is anyone really surprised? -- Ed.]

I don't have much trouble, though, believing that Trump is screwing with Miss Mitch, partly because showing people who think they're hot stuff that he can screw with them to his heart's content is one of the things he most loves to do and partly because, as people are noting, the Trump Faithful are so clueless that at least on the surface -- which is as far as Trump sees, and as we know he doesn't see that very well -- it looks like a winning face-saving strategy to trick them into believing that it's McConnell and Ryan who've betrayed them and not their messiah.

In my understanding of the situation, Miss Mitch surely understands exactly what Our Leader is doing to him but can't see a play for himself. Miss M, since achieving real power, has taken pride in being a pragmatist, working in the trenches with a good deal of success to make reality align with his wishes and goals. Then along comes Trump, who simply doesn't acknowledge reality, and Mitchie's whole history leaves him bereft of tools with which to counter.

Think back to January 2017, when Mitchie knew he was probably facing two years (at least) of hell, trying to "lead" a majority that had to look completely unleadable, even if the new president behaved sensibly. His "majority," already increasingly hard to deal with in the last Congress, was giving him pretty clear signals that he couldn't count on them for anything if it made the poor dears unhappy, and given the chasm that had opened up in the Republican Party, there were hardly any issues on which he could expect to make 50 of the buggers happy -- let alone find 60 votes where needed.

And then Trump turns out to be . . . TRUMP! All the things Mitchie has spent so many years learning about how the Senate works, and Congress as a whole, and Congress and the president -- it's all out the window, because Trump doesn't care. Fuck reality! Leaving Mitchie in need of some kind of play, any kind of play, and I assume he's discovered that he doesn't have any. By "a play" I mean something, anything, that in some way, shape, or form brings him even the tiniest bit closer to a good outcome for Mitchie -- and there isn't one.

Publicly oppose the president? What does that get him? Except a one-way ticket out of the circles of power. Consult the numerous variants of the proposition: If you try to kill the king, you better make sure he's dead. It's especially true, surely, with this particular imperial wizard.

Do we imagine that Mitchie has forgotten what happened to poor "Sunny John" Boehner, the ex-House speaker, when he merely tried to get the Tea Party crazies in his House GOP conference to be, you know, a little reasonable? Now Mitchie not only has this problem in spades in his conference (after all, his crazies are senators, and each of them knows better than anyone how much more powerful a single senator is than a whole wolfpack of House GOP crazies).

It's not a matter of "policy" as such. Beyond a general far-right agenda, after all, Miss Mitch has no policy, no principles to speak of except what's good for Mitchie. You'd think this might make him just the fellow to deal with Trump, who after all has no principles to speak of except what's good for Donnie, and certainly no policy; he's had so many positions on so many policies that he couldn't keep track of them if he cared. The thing is, though, that "what's good for Donnie" is good only for Donnie and his nearest and dearest. For most everyone else it's a living nightmare.

Take Obamacare repeal-and-replacement. As began to become clear with the dawn of the new administration, Obamacare repeal was going to be a vastly different feat to accomplish than it had appeared in those years when Republicans could ritually vote for repeal, knowing President Obama would veto any such bill. Once Obamacare repeal became a real, live issue, it became clear that it would have been hard enough to manage if all that Mitchie had to deal with was: (a) the House Republican crazies, and (b) the Senate Republican crazies. But Trump showed not the slightest understanding of that process, or seem to feel any more need to than he had any interest in what was actually in any repeal bill.

The one and only thing he cared about was being able to sign a bill that could be called "Obamacare repeal" because of the intense political pressure he felt to not break yet another campaign promise, especially one he'd make such a fetish of promising it to the voters who came to worship him, voters to whom he had lied so persistently and shamelessly. And throughout the process, he did nothing but make it even harder -- whether he was injecting himself into the process or withdrawing from it, lobbing grenades or sulking in his tent, cajoling and hectoring or ignoring and snubbing, everything he did was strategically wrong.

If you're Mitchie, you entered the Obamacare-repeal derby with a legislative position that was impossible, and at every twist and turn Trump did everything in his power to make it harder. At each of those twists and turns Mitchie kept coming up with new stratagems to make the thing doable, and each time Trump managed to make it, if you will, impossibler.

A few months into the Trump presidency, as the Man of Orange made it more and more abundantly clear that yes, this was how he planned to "govern," my sense formed that no, he's not going to be impeached but I also don't see how he serves out his full term. The only course I saw was that eventually enough DC Republicans -- and the people who bankroll them -- might come to come to the realization that the son of a bitch is killing us!!! He's so nuts and so inept that he's going to cost us our positions and whatever finger position we have on the levers of government. At that point the Trump exit I imagined would happen through behind-the-scenes persuasion: having him hear from all the people he trusts that the only way out for Donnie is to get the hell out of that damned White House. This I suspected, and still suspect, may be more possible than it seemed/seems, because by all accounts he's not having the fun time he was expecting.

Which wasn't/isn't an especially glad prospect for me, because it simply leaves us at the mercy of the Unspeakable Pence, who unlike Trump and Mitchie has a whole political agenda he believes deeply in. I've heard people say that a President Unspeakable would occupy the office in a weak position, I think that's nuts. Look how much the Right is accomplishing in Washington changing the nature and structure of the U.S. government even in these times of legislative stasis. Take Trump out of the equation, and I think Pence, in league with all those frothing-at-the-mouth loonies who chair the relevant House and Senate committees, is in a position to set in motion an orgy of legislative craziness.

So yeah, I feel kinda bad for Miss Mitch. It doesn't really matter what exactly the president is yelling at him about. The notion that there's something Mitchie could have done to shield his master from Special Counsel Mueller's investigations is totally nuts to everyone who has even the teeniest-tiniest contact with reality, but that number doesn't include POTUS. It might be suggested that Miss Mitch really doesn't have much to lose at this point, considering that right now the Senate majority leader's powers are pretty much zip, especially if he's going to find himself in the president's crosshairs as designated scapegoat.

Nevertheless, what can Mitchie do? I don't think he can even dare to offer the president a confidential opinion that he'd do well to get going while the going is still good. However incompetent Trump may be at actual constructive achievements, would you want to challenge his ability to make your life a living hell?


I didn't go into this in my original e-mail, but I've been thinking about it as I reread and tinkered with what I did write.

Remember when I wrote that "I suspected, and still suspect" that persuading Donnie to get the hell out of the White House "may be more possible than it seemed/seems"? Ironically, the apparently growing momentum of Special Counsel Mueller's investigations, with all those grand juries he's had impaneled, may make this persuasion harder, and harder still if Mueller shows signs of having the goods on Donnie.

Donnie, after all, knows why he take the monumental risk of resolutely refusing under any circumstances to release those tax returns. And Donnie surely has a pretty good idea of what looking into his business dealings can turn up. And it's not just the humiliation of being revealed as a lifelong fraud -- far from a master dealmaker and entrepreneur, a bumbling business halfwit who had certain public-relations talents but proceeded to fuck up every deal he touched and would have been a bankrupt and pauper if he hadn't gotten the inspired idea to start courting the world's sleaziest superrich scumbags to keep him afloat in exchange for aiding and abetting their international money-laundering and other fraudulent and/or illegal enterprises.

As desperately as Trump has been trying to sling mud at Special Counsel Mueller and his associates (who include a large number of lawyers and other investigators with a track record of investigating and prosecuting the very kinds of enterprises their current mandate calls for them to get to the bottom of), I can't help feeling that his real terror is that Mueller appears to be -- can you believe it? -- an honest man! And a competent one.

The legal point remains unresolved as to whether a sitting president can be indicted, and nobody has yet pressed the point. An ex-president seems like a whole other president, which could mean that Donnie has a special interest in not being pried out of the White House.

But he has to leave sometime. Doesn't he?


I would be remiss if I signed off without sharing Noah's vision of what's to come for our beloved Senate majority leader, shared as we were kicking this around via e-mail. "My version," he ventured, "would have Mitch ending up killing himself but taking out a few people with him at the W.H."

Later he clarified: "Of course my Viking ancestors cry out for the Blood Eagle treatment for all of these lowlifes." And he added this "PS":
According to a new Vanity Fair article, Buffy and Biffy Kushner are very depressed in Washington and feel their self esteem is under assault. I feel soooooo bad for them. It just makes me cry, I tell ya.
Now that's a note I feel utterly comfortable leaving on.

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At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any feeling of less than total contempt and disgust with mcturtle exhibits the reason the right has so little use for the "bleeding heart" left.

Would you have felt sorry for hitler when he had to poison and shoot himself too?

Some people are just so purely evil that no matter how much their lives may end up in a total cluster fuck, it isn't as much as they deserve. period.

mcturtle has tried to kill up to 10s of millions. He's probably responsible for the deaths of dozens with shit he's managed to PASS. Just remember this when you have one of those empathy spasms over the likes of him.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TL;DR: Republicans screwing each other because they are in power and that freaks them out. No rational thought can be allowed, so chaos reigns.


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