Mind you, I am not a football fan under any circumstances, but everyone in my family roots passionately for the Oregon Ducks -- and there I am. As little as I appreciate football though, I have to admit that I have learned a lot about politics from watching Duck games. The fine art of political strategy is equivalent to a coach larding in trick plays at unexpected times. But as far as the title of this blog goes, I want to talk about kickoff returns.
You can tell a lot about how a game will go, just by watching the kickoff to start the game. When the Ducks are 30 point favorites playing someone like Schmedlap State, you can expect that there will be either dazzling defense or a spectacular return from the very first moment of the game. Conversely, when you have a season like the Ducks had in 2016, kickoff basically promises disaster. Right now, I have to admit to being extremely surprised about the conduct of affairs in Washington, DC. I have to admit that the preliminary behaviors of all of the major players have been totally unexpected. And this has already made me significantly revise my assessments of what to expect after Inauguration Day.
Like 90% of the rest of the world, I was shocked and saddened by Donald Trump's surprise victory. It was truly a perfect storm. if anyone tells you the reason for Trump's victory was X or Y they are full of baloney. The reasons for Trump's victory ranged from A to Z inclusively. Some reasons were extremely small and insignificant by themselves, but combined they were lethal. The same dynamics holds true for modern air crashes. The system is so complex and redundant that any one flaw by itself would ordinarily be inconsequential. However, when combined with some other seemingly inconsequential errors -- an extremely rare and chaotic cascade effect takes place.
So I admit it, like a lot of other lemming lefties I assumed the absolute worst about the incoming Trumpism. I and others imagined the jackbooted hordes of Republicans descending en masse to the capitol to wreak their most nefarious deeds. Statistically, Republicans control the executive and legislative branches of the government, and we anticipate that they effectively control the Supreme Court in short order. In this case, what we saw on November 9th is what we're going to get. Many of us still expect an extremely disciplined fascist army to do everything it can to throw democracy out the window PDQ. And given the Republican super-duper majority, there is nothing Democrats and other leftists can do. But wait!
Talk about jokers in the deck! First, we have the Joker Elect -- T-Rex himself. Donald Trump has already made a significant amount of history between November 9th and now. No other POTUS in the history of the republic has ever been so brazen about meddling in the affairs of state before really assuming power. Mind you, having a lot of secrecy before your State of the Union Address is done for a reason. This is because the job of assembling the 4000 or so appointed positions and hammering together an even semi-coherent program takes up 70 to 80 hours a week's time for months. The preliminary stages of setting up your government are literally crushing. Anyone on any presidential transition team needs to have an extremely unusual metabolism where they only require 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night.
Some of this has been going on no doubt. I'm sure that Vice President Elect Pence has been acting like this as well as the Cabinet member appointees (many of whom are in fact Koch brother vetted and approved). But what we've seen from T-Rex is another thing entirely. Yes, everyone knows that the tweets are continuing. But as they say in poker, there's a tell. Compare Trump's tweet about the Republican attempt in the House to defang the Ethics Commission. That was a very smart move. But then look at Trump's tweets concerning the national security state and Russia. Trump's positoins there are totally insance, and I mean that in a bad way.
Immediate comparisons come to mind with JFK and the CIA after the Cuban MIssle Crisis when Kennedy said that he wanted to break the CIA into a million pieces. The CIA did not take kindly to this. But JFK was in his first year of office before he got seriously on the bad side of the intel boys. And here is Donny, waving multiple red flags at the national security bull, and he hasn't even taken the oath of office. Hate to indulge in comparisons, but somehow I don't think this is going to end well for Mr Cheetos one way or the other.
The really interesting thing about the current state we're in is that because everything is at such a tentative stage, there are no organiational structures that would inhibit any political actor to truthfully speak his mind openly and honestly. Under ordinary circustances, Republican or Democratic Party discipline puts an effective muzzle on reps or sens mouthng off before partisanship breaks out when Congress convenes. The Democrats have been relatively silenced and disciplined, but not the Republicans.
For one thing, the President Elect has gone out of his way to insult and humiliate the likes of John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and just about anyone who ran against Trump in the primaries. These guys all have pretty big egos, and they can carry a grudge forever. So there is very little if any muzzling of the Republican Party regulars regarding their visceral dislike of Frankenstein.
On the other hand, given the nature of all the crimes and misdemeanors that #45 has already created, one gets the sense of great secrecy regarding how the big reveal on all of Trump's sins will unwind. Whether it's his tax returns, his conflicts of interest that violate the Constitution, or his dealings with the Russians -- no one I know is privy to where and how the multiple revelations will land. Most likely there will be ongoing House and Senate committee meetings on the subject that will eventually get beginning to end total media coverage. But for now, it is all a deep, dark secret. I have to admit though, that the machinery in that giant 16 inch gun has been activated. And the gun is starting to rotate in the direction of the Oval Office.
Another tell in the Republican poker hand revealed itself today with the manuvering of the House on a budget reconciliation process to destroy Obamacare. Reporting in Washington, DC indicates that flop sweat has broken out in the ranks of the Obamacare haters. Republicans, as we all know, are paid for lock, stock, and barrel by their corporate interests. As long as Obama was in the White House, the insurance companies felt free to go to their little buddies to tell them what a horrible thing Obamacare was, and the Republican elects obeyed without questioning. But now that things are going to get real in January -- surprise! The insurance companies are unanimously getting extremely nervous about the consequences of actually repealing the law. The industry has been telling Rs that an immediate Obamacare repeal would mean massive insurance company bankruptcies within a six month period of time. Paul Ryan and others have blinked. And they blinked again today.
The rumors of palace intrigue for the Boy King are beginning to be overwhelming. Donald Trump appears to continue his habit of doing nothing but business deals and reading the Natoinal Enquirer. And his tweets still keep appearing. But they have lost their old authenticity. One suspects that there is palace warfare going on, where Steve Bannon poses as Donald Trump for oe tweet. And then Kelly Conway appropriates the Twitter account the next time for the Big Twit. Occassionally someone like Mike Pence comes along, and asks Bonzo to make his "X" on that spot and the chimp complies.
I am thinking that even the compliant Supreme Court might not be so compliant. Let's assume that Trump appoints someone like Justic Scalia Cubed. Does this mean that the Supreme Court is suddenly in lockstep with the rest of Hitler's Army? Not so fast! It's said that the Supreme Court knows how to read a newspaper. And so far, the news on President Elect Trump has been nothing but bad and horrible. Do we assume that Justices Roberts and Kennedy fall in line in perfect harmony with Steve Bannon on the issue of the emoluents clause? Frankly, I don't think so.
You can hear the noise of that 16" gun turret working, and you can see it moving ever so slowly in THAT direction. Donald Trump is perhaps the only person since President Andrew Johnson to start his first day in office two moves away from checkmate. Except that in our case, it would appear as if Johnson / Trump is still only vice president, and Abraham Lincoln is still in the Oval Office.
The good news is that Donald Trump gives every indication of being an asterisk on the presidency -- a short timer who will be quickly impeached and disgraced. The bad news is that the horrible American electoral system will have vomited up President Mike Pence, by far one of the most reactionary and dismal residents in the history of the Oval Office.
Waiting for President Pence.