Oh, for the languid days of the No-Drama Obama era, where Fox News was so desperate for meat that they were forced to resort to discussions of Obama’s ill advised sartorial choices (the infamous tan suit) or his elitist attitudes as expressed by his choice of condiments. (The day he had a burger with Joe Biden and asked for Dijon mustard.) Sean Hannity made a banner story, “President Poupon” out of that one.
We’ve gone from that dull-as-a-door-knob calm, to a surreal mad roller coaster ride, where lightning-bolt-driven cars threaten to derail, as they spew unsteadily through the tortured landscape of a theme park out of Dante’s inferno; all the while the pounding pulses and sweaty brows of its riders are reminiscent more of victims of a cocaine overdose moments before cardiac arrest, than of people having a good time. Welcome to Trumpworld, Hellraiser Pinhead will validate your parking.
Today was yet another Big News Day in Trumpworld, given that both the indictment of Roger Stone broke in the morning, and then the end of the longest government shutdown in history was finally settled this afternoon — ironically with the exact same compromise measure that Trump refused to sign into law a month ago, preferring, naturally, to plunge everybody into chaos. So it stands to reason that there was no room anywhere for a story that would have, in any remotely normal administration, been headline news all over the country: to wit, Paul Manafort went to court today to discuss the possibility that he may be required to serve an additional ten years in prison for allegedly lying to Mueller’s team. Ten years is no small amount of time in anyone’s life and at Manafort’s age and with his health problems, this is no small news squib, this is the sitting president’s former campaign manager possibly spending the rest of his life in prison. Don’t look for it on the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post, but Rachel Maddow did post on it, using the story to establish the context of what is the new normal in the Trump administration.
Paul Manafort is in a bad way and doing everything he can to keep his situation from worsening. His hair is white now and he leans heavily on a cane. His age and health make it literally a matter of life and death that he not spend an additional ten years in prison, on top of the sentence already contemplated of 7 to 10 years. A final adjudication of this issue is set to take place in a closed door hearing February 4.
Point being, Maddow makes it clear that when she went to sleep last night, this was the story with all the drama. Manafort’s hearing will generate a transcript, albeit a redacted one, due to the sensitivity of the subject matter which Manafort discussed with Mueller in his 9 hours of hearings. Yet despite the obvious high profile of the Manafort case in adjudicating the Trump Russia matter as whole, it was eclipsed today by another development in that case, the indictment of Roger Stone. And both issues took a back seat to the government shutdown, yet another destructive issue to which the tag “unprecedented” has been attached. This adminstration is so out of control that now even basic scorekeeping is hamstrung. Sadly, this is who we are and how we’re functioning in 2019 with Donald Trump in charge.