Sunday, July 23, 2017

Donald Trump's Flying Circus is Really a Russian Pee Pee Party

I bet THAT pisses off liberals
First of all, just to be clear, I have no idea whether the pee pee tape actually exists.  I have no idea whether Trump’s strong pro-Russian bent is the result of blackmail or something else.  But I am confident that if Trump is being blackmailed by the Russians, it must be over something a whole lot more serious than a piddling little pee pee tape.

That being said, Trump’s alleged Russian pee pee party is actually quite a good metaphor for his (and his followers’) approach to the Presidency.  The Steele memos claim that Trump hired a bunch of Russian prostitutes in the Moscow Ritz Carlton to whizz all over the bed Obama had slept in to show his contempt for the then-President.  This led to an obvious question – where did Trump sleep afterward?  Someone (no idea where to find link) got the schematics of the Moscow Ritz Carlton and determined that the room in question was actually a suite.  After the prostitutes had ruined Obama’s bed and gone home, Trump had another room where he could sleep.

Well, now Donald Trump is President and he (and, to a considerable extent, his followers) are treating the occasion as a giant pee pee party – a chance to whizz all over Obama’s achievements and ruin them.  In this they are running into an awkward fact --- in the real world, there is no other room that they can withdraw to when the party is over.  If they want to whizz all over Obama’s policy bed, they will have to sleep in it afterward. 

Healthcare is the most obvious example.   Trump is absolutely determined to repeal Obamacare, come hell or high water.  What is to replace it?  Trump doesn’t know and there is no evidence whatever that he cares.   All he knows is that it is an Obama policy achievement he is determined to whizz on.  If he can’t repeal Obamacare, he can at least sabotage the exchanges and crash them and thereby ruin Obama’s achievement.   What comes after concerns him less than knowing that he destroyed what Obama built.  Ordinary Americans, including many Obamacare opponents, and even many Republican members of Congress, are starting to have misgivings about whizzing all over the health insurance system and then having to continue to use it.  Confronted with the reality that some 20 to 30 million people could lose their health insurance (depending on whether Congress goes with repeal and replace or just repeal), a lot of people are starting to wonder whether that is worth doing just to spite Obama.

Less immediate to most Americans but no less serious is the Iran accord which seriously restricted Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.  Trump has called that the worst deal ever made and is determined to destroy it.   In this, it should be added, Trump is doing no more than follow in the footsteps of our last Republican President, George W. Bush.  Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, reached an agreement with North Korea whereby they would seal their plutonium reactor and admit international inspectors to their plutonium reprocessing plant in exchange for a wide range of energy assistance.  This arrangement was deeply offensive to hardline hawks because it amounted to paying protection money to an extortionist thug, but it did keep North Korea’s plutonium locked up and kept them from turning it into a nuclear bomb.  It did not prevent them from attempting to circumvent the deal by building a uranium centrifuge to build a uranium bomb. 

At this point it was somewhat understandable the Bush might be reluctant to repeat the whole business his predecessor had gone through – reach an agreement that gave the North Koreans further bribes for shutting down their next attempt.  It would have the unfortunate result of teaching North Koreans that attempts to build nuclear weapons would be rewarded.  On the other hand, there was a dearth of good options available.   Bill Clinton persuaded the North Koreans to deal on the nuclear reactor because he really was willing to go to war over it, or at least to bomb the plutonium reprocessing plant.  Bush, bent on starting a war in Iraq, did not want to be distracted by a war in North Korea.  And he was ideologically opposed to any diplomatic engagement because, as Vice President Dick Cheney said, “We don’t negotiate with evil; we defeat it.”

So instead Bush withdrew from the non-proliferation agreement with North Korea.  He made clear that he wasn’t interested in talking and nothing would change his mind.  When the North Koreans announced their withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he refused to negotiate.  When they kicked out the UN inspectors, he refused to negotiate.  When they very publicly unsealed the plutonium reactor, he refused to negotiate.  And when they detonated an actual nuclear weapon – well, by then it was too late.  I could not say what the Bush Administration was thinking.  Maybe they thought refusal to negotiate would bring down the North Korean regime.   Maybe they thought invading Iraq would give the North Korean government pause.  Maybe they thought taking an unyielding stance was more important than whether North Korea actually got nukes or not.  Or maybe they just wanted to whizz all over whatever Bill Clinton had done.   But be that as it may, the North Koreans now have nuclear and weapons and missiles that can hit us, not exactly a great outcome.  

Trump seems incapable of considering whether something similar might happen if he scuttles the Iranian accord, or else he thinks a nuclear Iran is a small price to pay for whizzing all over Obama’s achievement.

Least apparent, but potential most catastrophic, are attempts by Republicans in general and Trump in particular, to wreck and attempt to fight global warming.   Cooking the planet is a small price to pay for wrecking Obama’s legacy.

When I am in one of my more cynical moods, I wonder if Republicans intend all these things.  By making clear to Democrats that they will go to any lengths to root out any Democratic policy initiative, no matter how great the damage to the larger society, they may be issuing a clear warning to Democrats next time they may hold the triple crown – don’t try to accomplish anything or we will destroy it, no matter how long it takes, or how much collateral damage it causes.

Donald Trump is rich, powerful, and 70 years old.  All that ultimately means he can afford another room in the suite, so to speak, after defiling the Obama bed.   If he wrecks the health insurance individual market and throws millions off Medicaid, he can still afford the best of care himself.  If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, he can drown out the development in a myriad tweets.  And if the planet cooks, he probably won’t live to see it.   He appears to consider all these things as well worth it, just to extend a big middle finger to the liberals.

The question is whether his supporters will ultimately agree.

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