Traditionally, even in presidential years, this is the slowest time of the year for political news. Congress is on their August recess, and most vacations are over with, or just wrapping up. Parents are just finishing up last minute back-to-school shopping, or are collapsed on the couch with the little monsters safely back under somebody else’s watchful eye, and the President himself is somewhere away from the office, giving us our summer reprieve.
Thus close to Labor Day, normally the summer blockbuster movie season is winding down. All of the alleged monster hits having already been released when there are more people likely to park the kids in a dark place for a couple of hours. But even in a summer movie season as bereft of really good fare as this one was, all of a sudden, there are several political thrillers that could be box office blowouts, all looking to come out around the same time. Keep an eye out for these.
Escape From Mitch Mountain – Everybody thought that it was hysterical when Joe Scarborough of MSNBC seriously tagged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with the oh, so elegant moniker of Moscow Mitch. The cherry on the sundae was the way that the nickname drove Yertl McTurtle absolutely insane, forcing him to the floor of the Senate to piss and whine about how his oh, so honorable name and integrity were being impugned by a bunch of vicious lefties.
We’re now starting to see just why McConnell went to Defcon 5 so quickly. Several newspapers, along with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC are starting to lay out a very clear timeline of Moscow Mitch’s Machiavellian interference in ensuring that sanctions against Putin aligned aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska were lifted, despite overwhelming bipartisan support for them to stay in place. Within days, Deripaska’s company ponied up $200 million for a new aluminum plant in the most distressed part of Kentucky.
This is blowing up in everybody’s faces. The Kentucky legislature is now royally pissed at the way the state’s Governor deceptively marketed the plan to the legislature in the closing hours of the session, some now claim under false pretenses. The machinations of former Senator David “The Hooker Magnet” Vitter as a go between, and a federal appeals court slot for his totally fruitcake wife are just adding fuel to the fire.
This could end up leaving McConnell himself with a full omelet on his face. Deripaska’s company has already threatened that any scrutiny of the deal could cause the company to pull out. Well, the deal is now getting more scrutiny than a new strain of virus, from the media to the KY legislature. McConnell is going up against a female former marine fighter jock, with in state popularity of 32%. If this thing mushroom clouds on him, especially if Deripaska bails out leaving him holding the bag, we could see a Crying Game ending, with McConnell tearfully bitching that everybody in Washington is being mean to him, taking his shriveled old balls, and going home.
The Hunt For Beto October – Normally, campaign reboots, especially this early are not a good sign for a campaign. A campaign 2.0 is normally a dead-in-the-water signal flare, and a campaign 3.0 reboot means that the bow just slid under the water. We’re now in the opening credits of Beto 3.0, but this may be one of the sleeper hits of the summer.
It’s no secret that the Beto O’Rourke Movie has been one of the major flops of the summer political season. Beto, partly by his own hand has struggled to gain any kind of traction, this despite campaign roll out media attention that any other candidate would die for. He tried a reboot in May, which failed miserably, and now he’s taking one more crack at kick starting the engine on his jalopy. But this time it just might take off like Amy McGrath’s fighter jet.
O’Rourke has been running a traditional campaign, which is a terrible mistake, since Beto is a seriously atypical candidate. He captured hearts in Texas in 2018 by spurning every political norm in running for the Senate, hitting every Texas district personally, setting up mobile voter registration tables at campaign events, and talking from the heart instead of the playbook. All of that has been lacking in his presidential run. Instead, O’Rourke has looked almost mechanical, searching for ways to look like he’s even interested.
Beto is by nature an emotional, uplifting, charismatic presence as a politician. We haven’t seen anybody who looks and sounds this much like JFK since RFK. The El Paso Walmart shootings hit Beto O’Rourke where he lives, literally. He immediately suspended his campaign, returned to El Paso, and immersed himself in the grief and tragedy of his home town. And in doing so, he found his passion, and regained his voice.
O’Rourke’s return-to-the-campaign-trail speech in El Paso yesterday was a one man tour de force. He spoke with passion, emotion, and in putting to bed any thoughts of him dropping from the race to run for Senate in Texas, he put country ahead of self, or even party. He found his signature issue at last, white supremacy and gun violence, and he in no uncertain terms laid the blame solely at the feet of the pocket dictator where it belongs, Donald Juan Trump. He made making Trump pay for his sins his personal mission, and went straight to Mississippi of all places, to put human faces on Trump’s idiotic and racist ICE raids his comeback splash.
The number one qualification for a Democratic candidate for president this year continues to be who is the best one to beat the Mango Messiah. Beto O’Rourke has now taken this personally, and he’s showing signs that he’s ready to make it personal. If Beto hits Trump hard and constantly, especially if he gets media attention doing it, and goads Trump into a back-and-forth that Beto appears to win, he could gain traction and climb the polls quickly. After all, Biden shot to the top with his Charlottesville reference in his roll out video, and finger pointed at Trump, yelling into the microphone in his roll out speech, and he’s stayed on top of the polls. Nobody else has matched Biden’s passion so far, but O’Rourke could be the one, and in a way that even Biden can’t match.
Psycho 5(000) – If there’s one thing that any psychiatrist or psychologist will tell you, it’s that people with mental problems don’t tend to react to pressure very well. Well, it appears that “Mother” is screaming in little Norman Trump’s ear again, and Mama’s little man isn’t taking it very well.
Trump’s fantasy Candyland is finally starting to crumble around his ears. Even faithful FOX is deserting him in his hour of need, their own polls showing that not only is Trump unpopular, even a majority of FOX viewers think he’s a filthy liar, and that he’s dividing the country instead of uniting it. Former stalwarts like Anthony Scaramucci are turning on him and nipping on his heels, and even his vaunted stock market appears ready to make a salmon run for Haitian pen stocks for security and stability. It’s all crumbling down around his feet.
Trump is doing what psychos always do when the walls come crashing down, he’s swinging that big, shiny blade, and indiscriminately. His attacks are becoming more racist and indiscriminate, and he’s starting to get sloppy, leaving fingerprints all over the crime scenes. But Trump is doing the only thing he knows how to do, lash out at everybody who threatens him and his fantasy world. And like any drug addict, Trump’s rabid base now needs more frequent, and more powerful “fixes” to keep them satisfied.
Trump may be rapidly approaching critical mass. In his latest meltdown, he not only made himself and the United States look ridiculous, in insisting that Israel deny entry to two sitting congress members, he made Israel and Bibi Netanyahu look ridiculous as well. In making the request at all, he placed Netanyahu in an untenable position one month before the Prime Minister runoff election. Either allow the Muslim women entry, and be attacked by his far right flank for weakness, or deny them entry, and be attacked from the left for smearing Israeli democracy, and anger the U.S. congress that he desperately needs to be united and bipartisan in its support for Israel. Bibi took one-from-column-A, and is still getting it from the right, as well as the left, for being a spineless puppet of Trump.
So far, GOP legislators have benefited from being on their August recess, being able to duck the cameras and reporters they’d normally have to face if they were back in D.C. on a weekly basis. But that can’t last. Trump’s spiraling degeneration is going to be a topic at GOP town halls for the rest of the month, Democratic activists will make sure of that, and after Labor Day, they have to return to the Capitol Hill fish bowl, and a ravenous press.
Most of the GOP incumbents have already changed tactics, stopped defending Trump’s obsessive mood swings, and ducking for cover instead. But racism is the only card in Trump’s deck, and the more often he plays that card, and the more violently he plays it, the harder it is going to be for Republican members of congress, especially vulnerable incumbents, to hold their tongues. If the Democrats keep the pressure on Trump, and if he continues to become more unstable, you could finally see an open civil war break out in the Republican party over Trump, especially if William Weld becomes more aggressive in his campaigning in his primary against Trump.
There’s Something About Cory – I’ve said it before, Cory Booker’s lack of success in the Democratic primaries confounds me. He’s qualified, charismatic, personable, and passionate. And he’s mired at about 3% in most of the polls. I don’t get it.
But that may be about to change, and Cory Booker may end up being one of the sleeper hits of the summer season. I say this largely for the same reason that I previously wrote about Beto O’Rourke. The tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, as well as Gilroy, are tragedies that fall right into Cory’s wheelhouse. Booker has spoken often and passionately, both from the debate stage as well as on the trail, about the personal way that he has been touched by gang violence, not only as an inner city Mayor, but as a continued inner city resident. And as an African American male, the largest pool of gun violence victims, he brings a voice and perspective that nobody else on the trail can match.
Since El Paso and Dayton, Booker has also pivoted more firmly on the issue of gun violence, but so far hasn’t made any real, overt connection to Trump. If he wants to be effective, he is going to need to do that. Like Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker is going to have to channel his outrage over gun violence, and the way that it has affected him personally, and tie it directly around the necks of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.
If he can manage this, Cory has one advantage that Beto has yet to display. Like Elizabeth Warren, when the Muse is upon him, Booker tends to come across as a “happy warrior.” He showed that in the last debate, smiling devilishly as he took shots at Biden, and Biden even responded with a couple of grins of his own as he jabbed back. Both men obviously enjoyed the exchange, and it showed. People instinctively like to see that, not only are they passionate, but they’re actually enjoying what they’re doing out there, it humanizes them, a characteristic that the current Toddler in Chief sorely lacks.
As as African American, Booker has even more reason to wrap Trump up in a cocoon of white supremacy than O’Rourke does. Cory is gong to have to fight harder than Beto will, as the media seems to have already given up on Booker in a way that they haven’t with O’Rourke, but if Cory can use his sharp wit and oratory to start nailing Trump to the barn wall, the media attention will come, and Booker could find himself in the high single digits come the September debates, and in a much stronger position to make a serious run.
So there you have it. The summer may be almost over, but there are still a handful of late season hits that may be worth checking out. And the best part of it is, you don’t even have to drive out to the mall, plunk down $12.50, and risk a theater shooting. These blockbusters will appear live on your regularly scheduled networks, a new episode every evening. Enjoy the show!