If you were wondering whether the media learnt anything from four years of Donald Trump, the answer is ‘not much.’ Freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is the proof.
Greene has said some pretty politically extreme things and associated herself with political calls to action that are
borderline criminal. The Democrats are outraged. The Republicans support her. The Dems punish her. Ok, granted, it’s a story. But Greene has made it much more than that.
Firstly, Greene has been able to take a story that might last a few news cycles and keep it front and center for over a week.
Secondly, every story the media runs about her includes a photo. And she has been smart enough to wear a mask with a different proactive political slogan on it every day, doubling her media impact.
Either Greene is brilliant media strategist or the media has learnt nothing from their experience with Trump. It is probably 1/3 the former and 2/3 the latter.
Maybe Greene’s next mask should read, “Media. So sad.”
A Democratic congresswoman wants to move offices because a Republican congresswoman physically bullied her in the hallway. Does this sound like middle school, or what?
It’s not surprising to find bullying politicians. Donald Trump was an accomplished bully even before he became bully in chief and set an example for the nation. So the fact that his female doppelganger, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has latched onto bullying is not surprise. The surprise is that the freshman representative is getting away with it.
One might make excuses for her target, freshman Democratic representative Cory Bush. She’s a pastor and might just prefer to turn the other cheek rather than go to battle.
But Nancy Pelosi is another story. Is she really going to let Taylor Greene get away with bullying someone out of their office? Successful bullying just encourages more of it. Of course, Pelosi also has to balance making Taylor Greene a right wing martyr by coming down hard on her.
It will be interesting to see how Pelosi keeps her house in order. Look for the iron fist in the velvet glove.
Chuck Schumer may be the new majority leader of the Senate, but when it really comes down to cutting deals on the big things it is probably going to be Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell that do the tango.
It’s not that Schumer’s a wallflower or irrelevent. He’ll be running 90%+ of the show. But Schumer is new in the role and has two handicaps: ambition and resentment at McConnell and the Republicans. McConnell doesn’t have either of these. He’s 78 and was just elected to another, and probably final, six year term. A mastermind of Senate rules and politics, he has nothing to prove and can operate with dispassionate effectiveness.
Biden is operating from the same place as McConnell. They are the same age and Biden has also reached the top of his ambition. He spent enough time in the Senate – as a senator and as Obama’s emissary there – to know what’s what. If something really difficult comes up, the two of them are going to be the dealmakers.
McConnell’s one distraction is Donald Trump. Trump scared the crap out of him with his insurrection antics. At a minimum, McConnell would like to keep Trump from performing a second act. What he really wants is to remove Trumpism from the Republican party and get it back to where it was before the tea party took it over.
Who knows, maybe Biden will help him.
Reports are that Donald Trump wants to leave Washington in full pomp mode. Red carpet, military bands, a twenty one gun salute. He’s going out standing tall. Will everyone honor him or will some take a knee?
The attendance will be heavily screened, but there will be people there that are not Trump supporters – maintenance staff, technicians, even members of the press. It will only take a few of them taking a knee during all the pomp to get attention. The cameras will surely find them. If they are military they could risk court martial, but they would still be heros to many Americans.
We’ll find out tomorrow morning.
In about a week, Twitter will unlock the US President’s @POTUS account and turn it over to Joe Biden. What will he say?
Twitter kicked Donald Trump off its platform last week. His personal @realDonaldTrump account went first, @POTUS soon after. Biden gets @POTUS with a fresh start.
Biden will have 240 characters to get his message across. That is the length of the first two paragraphs of this post. But Biden shouldn’t need that much in his first tweet. In fact, he could get by with only one character:
Any other ideas about what he should tweet?
During his presidency, Donald Trump was a picture of perfect health, other than a quick Covid bout. If the overweight seventy year old had anything wrong with him, we didn’t know about it. To be fair, the President’s health could be considered a state secret, so fine.
Once he’s out of office, he will face a slew of indictments and lawsuits. Trump’s response to legal challenges has always been the same: deny, obstruct and delay (and when all of that fails, surrender quietly).
Health issues are a time-worn tactic to delaying legal proceedings. It will be interesting to see how many ailments Trump comes up with once he has to go to court.
It isn’t going to take much to identify the Proud Boys and other people that invaded the US Capitol buildings yesterday. Few of them wore masks, there was plenty of camera footage and most of them probably put selfies on social media.
No, the question is not going to be who did it. The question is going to be whether Donald Trump pardons them on his way out the door. On the one hand, these folks are the ‘foot soldiers’ of his political movement. He pardoned the ‘generals’ – Roger Stone and Paul Manafort – so it would look bad if he abandoned his regular troops. Who would go into battle for him again?
On the other hand, Trump cannot pardon folks without knowing their names. So if law enforcement really wants to go after the invaders, they would be wise to keep their names secret until Jan 20 when Joe Biden takes over.
Unless, of course, Trump is impeached or relieved of his duties before then.
A few days ago, someone finally asked Brad Raffensperger what everyone wants to know: “Would you vote for Donald Trump again?”
As Georgia’s Secretary of State, Raffensperger has been assailed and bullied by Trump for not finding a bogus reason to tilt the election in his favor. Still, he avoided answering the question, stating simply that “I support Republicans — I always have and I probably always will.”
Raffensperger’s circumspection might have been to avoid any appearance of influencing the runoff elections for Georgia’s senators. But that voting is over. Someone ought to put it to Raffensperger again, especially considering the Trump-supported activities in Washington this afternoon.
The question should be a bit different, though.
“Do you really still think Donald Trump is the kind of person that should be President?”
Have you noticed how Ted Cruz is now the de-facto face of the senators against democracy? A week ago it was only Senator Josh Hawley who was against the ceremonial certification of the presidential election results. Then a number of other senators signed on and all of the sudden the news is all Cruz.
The Donald Trump years must have been hard for Cruz. Other than Trump, there is no Republican politician more narcissistic and ready to recklessly blow stuff up than Cruz. And one could argue that Trump is not really a Republican, which leaves Cruz in first place. He was Trump’s strongest competitor in the 2016 primaries.
One explanation for Cruz muscling his way into the media spotlight is that he wants to get Trump’s base behind him when he runs for Senate again in 4 years. The more Cruz-like explanation is that he figures Trump is toast and wants to inherit his mantle when he runs for president in 2024.
Cruz probably figures that after Trump leaves office his legal troubles are going to pile on. The pile will be so deep that even Trump will be damaged goods, maybe even a convicted felon. Cruz is preparing to assume the role of bomb-thrower-in-chief.
Either way, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Is America’s Secret Service getting better at keeping secrets? During Barack Obama’s time the president’s security detail kept the scandals coming: strip clubs, prostitutes, drinking themselves into a stupor. The last incident happened a few months into Donald Trump’s presidency. Then they completely stopped.
One school of thought is that the Secret Service cleaned up its act. Changed its culture. Got rid of the overly macho agents who made bad choices.
Anyone that has experience with turning an institution’s culture around might be a bit skeptical of this. Especially if it is a quasi military institution like the Secret Service. They might just think that the agents simply got better at keeping their secrets.
If the second alternative is true, it might have been pretty handy for Trump. Here’s a guy who fancied himself as a ladies man his whole life. Being married didn’t stop him from wanting and having other women. Do we really think that he was able to turn his personal culture around on a dime when he moved into the White House? And stay faithful to his often absent wife for 4 long years?
Maybe he and the Secret Service came to an arrangement. Maybe he cut a deal with them. “Take care of me like you took care of John Kennedy – not the Dallas part but the secret staircase Marilyn Monroe part. In exchange, I’ll look the other way when you guys have your fun. As long as you get smart about it.”
We will probably never know. For now.
[UPDATE DEC 31, 2020] Joe Biden is reportedly replacing some of Trump’s Secret Service agents. Maybe he knows something we don’t.