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Statistically, a person recovering from addiction can be expected to suffer at least one relapse. The Washington, D.C., political establishment has been on its Trump-step program now for about 20 months. It’s not going well.
Every time it has been tempted to turn the ordinary into the next great decisive battle for the future of humanity, Trump has tweeted something offensive.
Pundits and think tanks are left without a way to spill blood gloriously on the battlefield, which kills fundraising.
It is difficult to go to the Koch brothers or the Mercers or to little old ladies with $12 left from their Social Security check after paying rent and buying groceries and say “please give us some money to save the world” if the president is making effective policy choices without your help.
The news last week should have been that peace has been achieved on the Korean Peninsula.
President Trump ignored the experts, enlisted China’s help, ticked off both the neocons and the nevercons, brought Asia to the brink of nuclear conflagration by name-calling, and won a great victory.
No less an authority on the region than South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has said, “I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks.” President Obama was handed the Nobel Peace Prize for much less.
Official Washington, though, was consumed as only it can be over whether the president’s Supreme Court nominee did or did not pin someone on a bed at a high school party 36 years ago causing her to retreat to the bathroom.
For ordinary people who solve most of life’s problems with duct tape—i.e., Trump voters—the whole thing looked like one of those 1980s coming-of-age movies.
It had the brain-athlete (Brett Kavanaugh), the geek (Mark Judge), and the princess (Christine Blasey Ford), all allegedly engaging in some grab-assy combination of drinking and hijinks in the house of someone whose parents were away.
The lesson, especially for our lost generation of Millennials, is that before Instagram, cell phones, and student dating codes, kids met at places where they would not be regulated or chaperoned by adults.
And it was better. Most of us are Republicans because we hate regulations and being chaperoned.
The initial reaction of Trump voters was along the lines of “at least Judge Kavanaugh didn’t hit on his own mother before the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.”
That, and “Oh, no—this is about to get ridiculous.”
Trump’s usual approach to ridiculousness is to say or to do something that undermines its claim of cosmic significance and leaves the likes of Michael Gerson and David French lamenting lost virtue in leadership.
Here, though, the president had to appease an evenly divided U.S. Senate and play along.
Without Trump’s civilizing influence, pundits, think tanks, senators and their assorted minions on both sides have turned the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice into a giant act of political self-gratification.
The Democrats’ various procedural demands on behalf of the accuser have been tactically aimed at upsetting the confirmation vote. It is pure, unvarnished, politics.
Add to that political maneuvering the fact that the accuser deleted her social media accounts more than likely to obscure her connection to #TheResistance, and there is reason to be skeptical.
For those of you who have not reflected much on that hashtag, the French Resistance (for which #TheResistance is named) thought it was OK to lie to resist Nazis, because in that case it was.
The anonymous op-ed in the New York Times was written by a person who gained a place in the executive branch under false pretenses. Same with Russian collusion: a manufactured hoax to preserve Washington’s prerogatives against presidential authority.
If the accuser’s social media identified her with #TheResistance she would be a priori not credible. It would mean she is willing to make things up to thwart Trump.
This is where Trump usually would step in and tweet about her hair and makeup. The Mitch McConnell game, though, is to somehow land the cue ball in a place that sets up the next shot: where nobody can say Republicans are anti-women in the November election.
That never works.
The longer this plays out, the stupider it will get, reminding everyone why they rejected the Washington establishment in favor of Trump in the first place.
The punditocracy is desperate to stake a winning place in the widening polemic over a 1982 high school party.
On Thursday, one of Conservative, Inc.’s bright lights who gets invited to all right symposia managed to turn this WTF into an actual whodunit, by focusing on the “who” part, complete with the diagram of a house.
He apologized on Friday for ruining the life of the guy who lived in the house, which was decent of him.
As much fun as the Washington establishment is having reliving the glory days when it mattered, please, let’s end this.
If the accuser shows up for a hearing, Ted Cruz could show us what it means to be an Ivy League debate champion.
If she doesn’t . . . just vote. Then Washington can admit that it is powerless not to act like jerks, take a searching moral inventory, apologize to everyone it offended, and proceed to the next step.
Photo Credit: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle, GA