How much of a disaster is the Turdpol Kakistocracy? The Senate Judiciary Committee begins its hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch today. This is a nomination that was stolen from President Obama by obstructionist Senate Republicans, led by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. The refusal by Senate Republicans last year to give Obama’s pick for Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacated seat, Merrick Garland, so much as a hearing, much less a vote, stands as one of the most frightening actions the GOP has taken to undermine American democracy since the party went extremist. Yet, it feels like battling over the Gorsuch nomination is near the bottom of the list of priorities for the Democrats in opposition. Normally that would be because the Democrats loathe confrontation. But President Trump has turned that all upside down. This is where we are. A Supreme Court pick was stolen from a sitting president, and that is less of a crisis for the republic than all the other stories dominating political news.
First, there’s Republicare, or Ryancare, or whatever disparaging name one can attach to the American Health Care Act (I don’t like calling it Trumpcare. That passes blame to the wrong person. Congressional Republicans should not be left off the hook for this shit bill. This is, and always has been, their bill. Trump is busy ruining the country in other ways.) There is no universe where the AHCA looks like an acceptable bill. It will knock tens of millions off of health coverage, and raise premiums for those that remain. It cuts taxes on the wealthy and passes costs to those who can least afford it. The bill is bad enough that although it is expected to be passed by the House this week, there is a very good chance that it is dead in the Senate.
This bill is so bad that a unified Republican government might not be able to pass it. Moderate Republicans don’t like that it causes real physical harm to Americans. Other Republican Senators from states that used Obamacare to expand Medicaid coverage don’t like that it harms their constituents. And over in the zero empathy wing of the party, those Republicans hate that the bill provides any sort of help to anyone. The GOP had seven years to prepare an alternative to Obamacare while they weren’t in the Oval Office. After all their promises and pronouncements, what they have given us is a bill that is a monument to procrastination, more akin to a report scribbled while riding in the back of a school bus on the day it is due rather than a real piece of legislation. Should this bill pass, Americans will die because of it. Nice work, GOP.
Meanwhile, over in the White House, every single day that goes by President Trump proves that he is unqualified for the presidency. Last week the administration released a budget outline that eliminates funding for many agencies that help less fortunate Americans and shifts the money to defense. This is just a preliminary salvo in a coming budget fight, and much of the cuts will not make it past debate. But this budget document lays out the administration’s priorities, and those priorities are cruel.
The budget outline calls for an increase of $54 billion for the Pentagon. We already spend far too much on our military. The return on investment for our military, or lack of return, should be scandalous. Since I’ve been alive, starting way back in the 1970s, the United States government has earmarked over $13 trillion for defense, and that doesn’t include supplemental funding for actually fighting wars. The Pentagon’s budget is just what they use to keep the military running day-to-day, and it sucks up an enormous amount of national treasure.
We do not need a military this expensive. It’s a cancerous bloat on the budget. We spend more money on the military now than we did during the Cold War. There is no justification for spending more money lobbing rockets at ISIS than we did preparing for World War 3. Way back in 1961 President Eisenhower warned us what could happen if the military/industrial state was allowed to run amok. We see it on full display in this budget document. Funding for successful programs that enrich the lives of Americans, from funding for arts and public broadcasting, to providing aid to those living in poverty, is being cut so the military can buy more expensive airplanes. Money spent on defense never comes back. It is not an investment in the future of this country. In fact, the country would be better served if Trump took that $54 billion and burned it in a bonfire, rather than giving it to an already overfunded department that hasn’t won a war in over 25 years.
And then there’s the President’s big mouth. Or, rather, his tweets. A couple of weeks back, Trump accused President Obama of having ordered Trump Tower wiretapped during the campaign. This accusation was baseless nonsense the second it showed up on Twitter. At first it appeared to be a ploy, meant to distract the media from stories with actual meat. But it has continued to grow and grow, melding with the real concerns about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign into yet another albatross around the neck of this administration.
Rather than admit the wiretapping claim was just some shouty rhetoric and moving on, Trump continues to insist that what he said about wiretapping was accurate. Congress has actually spent time looking into this, and refuted the President’s assertions. Yet, there is White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, on the podium, every single day, fielding questions from reporters about the wiretapping claim, and defending Trump’s positions. Trump will not let anyone in his administration admit defeat, even over lies that are instantly apparent. It’s such a weakness in his character that his stupid Tweet has led to real diplomatic incidents with key allies Great Britain and Germany, who somehow got pulled into this nonsense because no one in the White House seems to think before they speak.
There’s more, but listing Trump’s weekly transgressions takes an entire news organization, which Missile Test is not. Suffice it to say, we are two months into this presidency, and it’s clear that no more incompetent person has ever been president. No other person has so profaned the office. There is no way this gets any better. Because they control Congress, it is up to Republicans to save us from the monster in the White House. Any time now would be nice.