Put away your sunscreen, I ain’t gonna be blowing any sunshine up your ass today. Right now everybody is all up in arms over His Lowness’ bogus national emergency declaration, and with good reason, although the court resolution will likely stretch beyond the end of his first (and hopefully only) term. But that emergency declaration was made necessary by events that his own GOP caucus participated in, and the implications of that seem to be flying under the radar.
Let’s go back to the moment of conception, when Herman-the-sperman met Edie-the egg for this latest Trump crisis, shall we? Trump was in day 34 of the partial government shutdown that he “proudly” created, when he got a phone call from
Ditch McConnell. McConnell told him that he was under increasing pressure from his own caucus to bring Pelosi’s clean CR bill to the floor for a vote, and if he did, there were 70 votes to pass it, more than enough to override a Presidential veto. The next day, Trump ended the shutdown.
McConnell told Trump that he had 70 votes to pass the bill. It would have been unwise for McConnell to bluff about something like that, since playing liars poker with a cranial cro-magnon like Trump is a risky proposition. The Democrats have 47 seats in the Senate right now, which means that 23 GOP Senators were ready to cross over to end the shutdown. Hmmm. There are 22 GOP Senators up for reelection in 2020, and 23 senators willing to defy Trump. Draw your own conclusions.
The Republican calculus regarding their tolerance for Trump and his shenanigans, especially in the Senate has always bee absurdly easy to suss out. Forget their constitutional responsibilities, the Republicans will let their oaths slide like shrugging a mantle of snow off of your shoulders when you come in from outside in January. The Republicans, especially in the Senate, would stick with Trump right up to the moment when it became politically untenable to do so. The calculation has always been, “Which hurts me more electorally, backing Trump’s stupid plan, or defying him and pissing off his base?”And with this wall boondoggle, they reached the tipping point.
Conservative columnist and author David Frum nailed it to the wall last night on Real Time. The current GOP agita isn’t so much with re-calibrating money through this national emergency scam, it’s where the money is being reallocated from. Does anybody here honestly believe that a single GOP Senator would give one shit, much less two, if the money was being re-appropriated from programs like housing for the poor, or the Medicaid expansion, or EPA safeguards? I think not. But where is the money coming from for Trump’s vanity wall? From defense spending, or to put a finer point on it, military construction spending.
GOP Senator Tom Tillis from North Carolina strongly opposes Trump’s national emergency smoke-and-mirrors. Why? Maybe because he has a couple of hundred million in military construction earmarked for North Carolina already in the pipeline. Missouri has a couple of hundred million more already in the pipeline to be spent in that state. You think Roy Blount is chomping at the bit to support Trump on his national emergency? Folks, we’re talking some serious pork here, enough to hold a statewide summer BBQ. Those Senators worked their asses off to ensure that those appropriations for their state got right where they are, and now Trump want’s to steal it to safeguard a couple of hundred miles of scrub brush and marsh? Over their dead bodies! Forget the constituents, how about the contractors that support their campaigns who are about to lose out on a fat, easy paycheck? Trump is talking about looting billions from military construction projects, how many GOP states do you think will be affected?
Strangely enough, these GOP Senators are getting covering fire from an unlikely source. Trumpenstein’s former BFF’s in the right wing media, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh. Trump’s original plan was simpler, and didn’t include the national emergency. Sign the bill, and complain to the heavens that it was the goddamned Democrats that screwed him on his wall funding. But all three of them, in one form or another, called bullshit when they smelled bullshit, reminding everybody that Trump had two full years with complete control of congress, yet did nothing to prioritize his wall. As long as the RWNJ talking heads keep holding Trump’s feet over the fire, it gives them a smoke screen for their votes.
Once again, Trump has been skewered by the practical problems of his vaunted “outsider” status. Trump could have easily gotten his purloined billions from other smaller, non controversial sources. But in the last two years, if we have learned nothing else about Trump, we have learned that he’s bone lazy. He saw that lovely little $800 billion Defense Department slush fund sitting around, and said “Fuck it, I’ll hide the shit in the sausage.”
The Republicans took a bloodletting in the 2018 midterms, and it was a wake up call. Those who stuck with Trump lost, and those who made a last minute, desperation hail Mary to come out in favor of protecting pre-existing conditions ended up with their heads on Salome’s platter as well. Trump took a pounding in the polls over the shutdown, and dragged the GOP down with him. Personally, I think that there are going to be enough GOP Senators who cross over to pass the House bill canceling Trump’s national emergency, knowing that Trump will veto it. And then they’re going to sit back and watch their own polling numbers like a hawk on a field mouse. And if they pitch their vote as being the best thing for their state, and their poll numbers don’t take a nose dive, they have their answer.
But whatever happens, if the GOP Senate defies Trump, the die is cast. What’s broken can never be made whole again. You can crazy glue a plate, but the crack is always there. And as Trump’s crises become more frequent and dire, his responses will become more maniacal, engineered only to shore up his own base, which can’t get the rest of them reelected. If his Senate defies him once, they can defy him again. And the last thing that Trump needs is any question about how strong his Senate base is where impeachment is concerned. To quote the old television ad, “How low can you go?”
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