No reasonably well-crafted piece of single-focus opining today—just some random thoughts:
Item #1: Once again, Trump has trumped the Democrats in cunning and kabuki theater. Pelosi and Schumer go to the White House for what they think is going to be a private negotiation with Himself. But no: he has staged it as a brilliant ambush to divert attention from all his troubles by inviting the press to witness their interchange, for which he has his little talking points on a pad next to him—and they have nothing. Nothing.
What would any sensible Democratic leader do? They would turn to the cameras, announce that this was an ambush, cleverly designed by the most embattled President in history to seize the news cycle. Thanks anyhow, they would have said to Trump. Either the cameras leave, or we do.
No, no, says the orange-haired one: this is all about transparency!
Right, a smart Dem would have responded. Go get your tax return and show it all around. That transparency is two or three years overdue. We’ll wait right here. Otherwise, we’re outta here. He makes no move to get it, and with that, they say, “Call us when you’re done playing games”. They get up, turn their backs on Trump and stroll out leaving him to bluster on to the press about those nasty, uncooperative Democrats.
But no, not today. They stayed put, agreeing to be trapped in his lair, mildly suggesting that it’d be better not to be on stage with media, and let him have his way with them. The footage of this clever “Gotcha!” is the only thing the media will be playing for a day or two now, while his election perfidy and his humiliating rejection as a prospective employer are cleverly sidelined. “We got to have a wall! There is no security without it! These invaders have infectious, contagious diseases! It’s an emergency!” It was a campaign rally straight from fall 2016, held right in the Oval Office with two captive Democratic stage props sputtering ineffectual comebacks.
If this had been a Little League game, it’d have been called on account of the mercy rule when one team had an insuperable lead. But no such luck. Only one team was looking like little league.
Item #2: All the media talk is about what the Democrats are going to do with all this accumulation of evidence that Trump is a felon. Will they go for impeachment? Will they just hound him with endless investigations? Hmmm?
The much bigger question is what will the Republicans do with all this? Twenty of those senators are up for re-election in 2020. I’d love to be running against one of them to whom I could say, “Your failure to condemn Trump and call for his removal says to voters that you believe it is now and forever totally acceptable for a person to commit not only felonies but treason in conspiring with a foreign government in order to confuse and sabotage American voters—these people right here in the hall and at home. May I see a show of hands here for how many agree that this should now be okay?”
If they ape Orrin Hatch’s pathetic comment today, it should be like shooting fish in a barrel: “Since he’s become President this economy has charged ahead,” Hatch said, adding, “And I think we ought to judge him on that basis other than trying to drum up things from the past that may or may not be true.” (This is the same dude who opined, relative to Bill Clinton, “This great nation can tolerate a president who makes mistakes,” Hatch said then. “But it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up. Any other citizen would be prosecuted for these crimes.”)
Item #3: We love to say that no one is above the law, not even (or, even especially) the President. But of course that is not true at all so long as we hold to the notion that it’s not nice to indict a sitting President because they are so busy doing important things. Kavanaugh was particularly outspoken about this, which may just possibly have the teensiest thing to do with his nomination. I’m thinking Trump’s somehow finding the time to play a few hundred rounds of golf may undercut that rationale, however. But whether it’s now or right after 2020 when he has been dismissed from public life, it seems likely that his new wardrobe will be color-coordinated with his orange hair dye.
Item #4: I actually find myself feeling some concern for the human being named Donald Trump. While I despise almost everything thing he says, does, and stands for, I still recognize that he is a child of God who is doing his best (believe it or not) to cope with his life. I really believe that is true of everyone. I cannot imagine what kind of warping shapes those whose actions and mindsets disgust me, but I do know that they were not born that way. And so, in the case of Donald Trump, who has proven a master of fabricating his own fictional wonderfulness, it makes me shudder to think that at some moment it may actually get through his carefully manufactured carapace that he is a monumental clown whose legendary capacity to evoke applause from equally needy folks was ephemeral.
Once the emperor is shown to be naked, with no artifice to hide behind, what happens? What happens if he actually is sentenced to prison? I wish him away, I wish him out of power and influence, I even wish him in prison, but I don’t wish him pain. I doubt that he’d take after the Roman senator Seneca whose celebrated warm bath with slitted wrists failed to do the job, requiring another day to finish himself off with poison (while dictating his memoirs to an aide). But I can imagine a pretty wretched decline. Better, I’d think, for some of the Republicans now pretending not to notice a dead man walking to take him aside and suggest a semi-dignified early retirement, with a Gerald Ford-like assured pardon from Mike Spence to send him off to seclusion in his gilded Mar-A-Lago or on a well-guarded golf course somewhere. He’d remain above the law for only a little while, until the non-federal crimes for which he couldn’t be pardoned caught up with him, but it might be a more humane way for him to ease into that awful new reality rather than what will otherwise be his unimaginably torturous life in the years just ahead.