It’s time to Break It Down!
For the past 6 and half months, #45 has been the principal resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia. For more than a year and a half before that, he was a candidate for the highest political office in the world. During that entire period, more than 2 years total, he and his supporters, surrogates, and spinners have actively engaged in moving the goal posts with regard to facts, truth, and even science.
Time after time over the past couple of years I have engaged individuals in conversation that firmly believe that just as he says he’s going to, Trump is indeed, Making America Great Again. Right out of the gate, I concede I am among the first to admit, I sincerely doubt that, it is not just that overarching claim that repulses me, it is the methodical underlying narratives that I find so vexing.
His surrogates and spinners have constructed a pair of cutesy phrases to explain Team Trump’s bogus propositions, and to otherwise defend the ruses that reflect the schemes and conspiracy theories they love to promote…all apparently designed to deflect attention from the many preposterous positions and actions this administration has taken. The two terms I referenced above, fake news and alternative facts, are the exclamation points his acolytes use to attenuate and downgrade any political or policy arguments that do not align with Trumpology.
Until recently, despite the frequency and volume of instances which reason would ordinarily dictate a pause is in order, Team Trump’s position has been to soldier on despite facts, despite science, and sadly, despite countervailing truth. Alas, slowly, but surely, there may just be a glimmer of hope. Last week, in the face of a full court press by the Trump Administration, the GOP Senate leadership, and the vast majority of its rank and file members, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and John McCain (R-Arizona) joined forces to create what journalists deemed a dramatic moment in the U.S. Senate.
This trio of Republicans pushed back against conservative GOP orthodoxy and joined with the Senate’s 48 Democrats to prevent passage of what was euphemistically called the skinny repeal of Obamacare, a cynical bit of legislation that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to squeeze through in the middle of the night without significant debate or review. The bill was ultimately voted down after 1:00 a.m. last Friday morning.
Senator McCain, noted as a maverick in his Party, came back to Washington 11 days after surgery to remove a blood clot during which it was determined he had a brain tumor known as a glioblastoma. In his initial vote after returning, he voted to allow the skinny repeal to be debated. In doing so, he gave a speech that seemed to presage his eventual vote on the actual bill. At least, that’s how it turned out. McCain cast the pivotal vote, and has garnered much of the resulting attention for dealing the ultimate death knell to the bill. Yet, Collins and Murkowski merit equal billing for their late night and early morning work. Had any one of the three defected, the 49-51 vote would have been 50-50, and Vice President Pence would have cast the deciding vote to push the bill over the top.
So, fast-forward to this week. This past Monday, a politician wrote in an op-ed for Politico Magazine. In the piece he said:
“To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties, and tremendous powers of denial.”
Absent any inside baseball knowledge about the above referenced op-ed, especially given the preamble about Team Trump talking points, a logical conclusion is that, at the very least, the op-ed writer is a Democrat. However, that was not the case. In fact, said writer is not only a politician, but also a Republican politician. Moreover, he is a U.S. Senator.
Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) penned the op-ed. It was essentially an essay, excerpted from his new book, entitled, “Conscience of a Conservative,” released yesterday. In it, he argues that the GOP was responsible for making Trump a phenomenon of national proportion when it opted to vehemently oppose President Obama at every turn. Flake stated expressly:
“It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us.”
I have argued relentlessly that the impetus for the largely otherwise inexplicable Trump love fest is the raging anti-Obama sentiment held by a key political and ideological segment of the country. I believe without question, there were a number of issues that contributed to the Trump victory, including Mrs. Clinton’s flaws, Wikileaks, James Comey, and Russia. None of them, however, in my opinion, was more impactful that the 8 years of GOP inspired and executed anti-Obama tactics and strategies. Even today, more than half a year into the Trump era, it is common for his supporters to hearken back to President Obama as a standard point of deflection for spates of contemporary Trump Madness. Flake’s op-ed/essay underscores my argument in spades, as he states the following:
“But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure. It was conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our No. 1 priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president – the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime. It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us. It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued.”
In another passage, Senator Flake quotes conservative columnist, Michael Gerson, who wrote in May:
“The conservative mind, in some very visible cases, has become diseased,” and conservative institutions “with the blessings of a president…have abandoned the normal constraints of reason and compassion.”
On many occasions I have explained in minute detail the numerous reasons why I think Trump Season will last at least 4 years, and not inconceivably 8 years. While the actions of these four Senators do not raise my level of optimism for a shortened term, I have allowed myself to hope for an elevated level of accountability. We will see.
So remember, while it’s uncertain whether these actions will permanently change the course of history, they are important. Better than that, they just might…”Newsflash: Four GOP Senators Do/Say The Right Thing!”
I’m done; holla back!
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