- October 26, 2017 in Columnists
Great speeches, now let’s blow up the government
It’s been great having Republican Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker speaking out against the horror at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Some say it’s not really a profile in courage if you’re terminally ill or not seeking reelection. But at least in Flake’s case he has been consistent. He’s always been opposed to Trump and his plummeting poll numbers are attributed to the bold stance he took from the beginning.
But I don’t want to give them too much credit. After all, what they’re saying is the equivalent of someone informing us that the sun is hot. The things they’re saying about Donald Trump are obvious and evident. Those of us that haven’t sold our country out for a political party could see this years ago. It is no surprise that Donald Trump is an unfit, uncouth man lacking the rectitude, gravitas and stature to be commander in chief. He’s spent a lifetime demonstrating that fact.
The stunning thing are the other Republicans who lack patriotism, the guts, integrity and class to state the obvious. It’s sad that so many Republicans have sold their souls on the cheap, prostituting their reputations on the hope that such a vile narcissist will be able to affix his disjointed signature to their legislation.
The time for Republicans to speak out has long passed. We’re beyond that. I want to see what those who are speaking out plan to do. It’s not enough to point out the fact that Donald Trump is a liar. It’s not enough to say he debases our culture, embarrasses our country and diminishes our national prestige on a daily basis. Talk, even though the overwhelming majority of Republican elected officials don’t value the nation enough to tell the truth, is cheap.
We’ve repeatedly been told that Trump voters wanted to send a message and blow up the system. Well, since we’re all in a kinetic kind of mood damn the torpedoes! Let’s indulge the baser demons of our nature and really set things off!
Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are the most powerful men in Washington D.C. right now. They have the power to stop the Trump agenda cold. If they held a joint press conference tomorrow and said they will vote no on any legislation as long as Donald Trump is president, it will seriously hamper this presidency. Their abstinence only gives the Senate 49 votes, thus killing any and everything without their say so.
The move would generate a lot of hate and death threats but I suspect they’re already getting that. It could motivate the GOP into thinking they’d have a lot less headaches if they dumped Trump for Pence.
Or how about take it a step further? Those three senators have the power to set the Senate agenda. They can dictate terms of a tax bill, healthcare bill or anything they want in the senate because they have the ultimate bargaining chip. McCain, Corker and Flake could decide to caucus with the Democrats and end Republican control of the Senate. They wouldn’t have to turn the gavel over to Chuck Schumer. They would be in position to dictate the terms. In the course of an afternoon Mitch McConnell would have to hand the gavel to a newly independent Jeff Flake. Imagine that.
Such a bold move wouldn’t be unprecedented. In May 2001 Vermont’s Republican Senator Jim Jeffords switched to an independent and began caucusing with the Democrats which turned over control of the Senate from the Republicans to the Democrats. These three senators can use the threat of transferring Senate control to extract concessions from Mitch McConnell and the Republicans. They can also extract concessions from Democrats.
It’s not enough to critique Trump. We need action. The Republicans are eyeing a tax bill that could give 80 percent of benefits to the 1% and add between $1.5 to $2.7 trillion to the national debt. The newly minted law firm of McCain, Corker and Flake could end that nonsense in a minute. These are fiscal conservatives. McCain didn’t vote for Bush’s tax cut. Corker has said he won’t support a bill that adds to the debt. (And on Thursday Corker blasted the GOP tax plan.) And Flake has long been a budget hawk, who led the charge on killing earmarks. They could keep Trump and his minions from hosing the middle class.
Or what about this little-reported issue: On Aug. 2, by passing the bill with veto-proof margins, Congress forced Trump to sign a bill imposing stiff sanctions on Russia for their assault on our democracy. But Trump, who was supposed to implement those sanctions by Oct. 1, hasn’t done so. The Republican Party went insane when President Obama implemented DACA, sparing minors of undocumented immigrants from being deported, saying he wasn’t enforcing the law. What about this?
Senators Corker, Flake and McCain can hold up any tax bill until Trump starts enforcement of the sanctions.
Does the idea of a cabal of senators with nothing to lose blackmailing the Senate and president sound good to you? It doesn’t to me either. Our system isn’t supposed to function that way. But the Senate wasn’t supposed to steal a Supreme Court pick from a president because he was from a different party. Our government shouldn’t be looking the other way and trying to hamper an investigation into an enemy’s attack on our democracy. The president shouldn’t be protecting an enemy of the United States from sanctions. So the old rules no longer apply.
There will be no flood gates opening of Republicans finding their consciences and balls and standing up to Donald Trump. That won’t happen. We’re living at a time where half the population thinks patriotism is standing for a flag while falling for a demagogue. You want statesmanship? Go watch a movie. Character is dead. Our better angels have been betrayed and murdered. We’re in a brave new world of small men motivated by selfish things.
Denunciations on the Senate floor and on cable news are fine theater but what are these men prepared to do to rein in this clear and present danger to the United States and the free world? You can’t accuse someone of leading the nation towards a half-baked spurious nationalism or warn the President is putting us at risk of World War III or deliver a speech about the perils of normalizing Donald Trump and then go back to business as usual. If they believe that he’s unfit to serve then they must act.
Do something. Blow it up. We may have to destroy this fucking government in order to save the country.