Impeaching Donald Trump

Oh, man, would I love to see that happen. I mean, set aside my deep, abiding, decades-long dislike for Donald Trump, who not only represents but literally embodies the absolute worst in both human nature and late-capitalist rape-culture patriarchy. The man is just absolutely terrible at the job. I mean, after Abu Ghraib and torture and our pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation that – however awful a regime Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was, and it was awful – had not attacked and was not going to attack us; after dropping the ball on terrorism and the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina; after firing so many US attorneys for not prosecuting Democrats and trying to privatize Social Security and all the other terrible things George W. Bush did in office, I didn’t think we could ever have such a terrible President again. But I was wrong. Oh, how I was wrong.

I’ll spare you the litany of his crimes and incompetence. You’re either well enough aware I’d just be re-traumatizing you, or you’re hate-reading this and won’t believe any of it. Suffice to say, when they told me when I was growing up that anyone could be President, I should have realized it was as much warning as patriotic bromide, and been more diligent in my citizenship.

But we are where we are, and with the midterms coming up, it’s more important than ever to get out and vote, and to flip one or both houses of Congress so as to provide the checks and balances that are supposed to be the main feature of the world’s greatest democracy.

And let’s be real. Even if we flip both House and Senate, and fill them with Democrats, it’s going to be tough as shit to get anything done, because veto-proof majorities aren’t likely to happen. Hell, flipping the Senate isn’t likely to happen (though it’s probably likelier than it would be without Donald Trump in the White House). But even just flipping the House gets us an institutional brake put on the tax cuts and over-deregulation that is the GOP’s stock in trade.

And the investigations, oh the investigations. Into Russia’s Cyberwar on us, in 2016 and beyond. Into the Trump family’s shady financial and business history. Into – if we push hard enough – all the backroom dealing and chicanery that drives our policy choices. That alone would make it all worth it.

But impeachment? It’s a red herring.

I mean, sure, it would be gratifying. It would even be justified (hello emoluments, hello self-dealing, hello unregistered foreign agents). But in the end it would be a hollow victory. Without 67 Senators willing to vote a conviction on all those high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s no more meaningful than when the Republicans did it to Bill Clinton in the ’90s. A symbolic gesture. A feel-good moment, which accomplishes very little.

And even if we did succeed in removing him from office, what does it get us but President Mike Pence? Who, while decidedly not smart, and a real jerkwad, is at least politically savvy enough not to keep destroying the GOP and the conservative brand. I mean, unless those aforementioned investigations turn up something so horrible that we take Robert Reich’s suggestion – as unlikely as it is appealing – to annul the results of the 2016 Presidential election, I think we’re better off with Donald Trump right where he is, making noise, accomplishing nothing, and shrinking the Republican party down to the hardest of hardcore white supremacists, Christian Dominionists, and oligarch/kleptocrats. Besides, if we get rid of Trump, that open up the field for a smarter, slicker, more eloquent fascist to run, one who won’t have his handicaps or record of failure.

No, painful as it will be, I think we’re best off with Trump as a lame duck keeping the seat warm til January 2021.

And once we’ve voted him out? Well, I for one can’t wait to see his ass perp-wallked to the federal pen, where he can spend what little is left of his life regretting the choices that led him there, and we can get down to fixing all the things he’s broken, and some other things, too.

John McCain’s Death

So… John McCain. Were there things to like about him? Sure. Did he have some good moments? Undoubtedly. There’s the one everyone’s sharing, where he told an old woman to her face that Barack Obama was a decent person and not a foreign-born Muslim spy/interloper/Manchurian candidate. Which, if you think about it, should not have been a high bar to clear. But given the turn toward wackadoodlism the GOP had taken and continues to take, I suppose that counts as political courage. Even if his thrusting of the unvetted, wholly unqualified half-term governor of Alaska into the national spotlight took that emergent wackadoodlism the rest of the way to cloudcuckooland, leading, among other things, to the cyberwar being waged on us by the Russians (remember Jade Helm? How Texans convinced themselves it was actually the US military invading them, to put them in concentration camps built from old Wal-Marts? And Greg Abbott sent the Texas state guard to ‘monitor’ the situation? That’s when the Russians knew they could cause us serious damage without firing a shot, just by feeding the credulous disinformation that fit their confirmation bias).

Of course, he never did meet a war he didn’t like (‘Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran’). Or a tax cut he wouldn’t vote for. Truth be told, he was as reliable a conservative as anyone.

And, let’s not forget that, when the chips were down and the soul of America was on the line in the torture debate, the man who knew how not only evil but ineffective it was folded in the face of political headwinds. The man with the most moral authority on the subject – a man who might have saved us going down that slippery slope – opted to sponsor a toothless bill that exempted the CIA (hello, Gina Haspel, current director) from sticking to the Army Field Guide’s non-torturous techniques for interrogation. Which made the whole thing a distraction at best.

That he remained as popular as he did – and does, even among those who disagree with him – and that he still garners the respect that he does is a testament to John McCain’s real legacy, his greatest accomplishment by far, in which he was, I think, unparalleled: the man knew how to build, and maintain, a brand.

I mean, seriously. He was a torture survivor who signed off on officially-sanctioned torture, who voted with hardline conservatives ninety percent of the time, a man who lent his credibility to Sarah Palin and cleared the ground for the rise of Tea Party conservatism and the worst instincts of the American right. But we still call him a straight-talking maverick who always stuck by his principles and his sense of right and wrong.

Say what you will about the man. But that’s one hell of an accomplishment. Too bad it didn’t do anyone but him any good.

The Manafort Verdict

I’m glad as any libtard snowflake to hear about the Manafort verdict. And I do hope, as so many do, that it’ll lead him to flip. Being who and where he was, I think he’s in a position to fill in a *lot* of blanks and/or corroborate a lot of things that seem obvious but for which there aren’t yet smoking guns.

But you know what? I’m even gladder to see someone who lived his life as if the rules the rest of us have to play by didn’t apply to him get his just desserts. Pumping up his income to get loans, lying and shrinking it when it was time to file taxes, working to make some of the world’s worst people look good (and, most likely, helping them launder money), hell, working as their undeclared agent in the United States: all the actions of a man who, because of his privilege and connections, decided he could do whatever the fuck he wanted and get away with it. And for decades he did, because people like him run the world. A poor woman with a great business idea can’t get a loan, but this guy gets a million dollars because the CEO of the bank wants a job in the Trump administration. It’s not just wrong, it’s counterproductive.

I’ll tell you, what I’d like to see — even more than watching Trump go down, sweet as that would be — is for all these people trading favors and scratching backs and screwing everyone over all the time to be investigated, charged, and put on trial for the fraud and self-dealing that underlies so much of our economic and political decision-making. Sure, we pretend at meritocracy, but we all know it’s not what you know, it’s who. We all know the game is rigged, that, as George Carlin so eloquently and succinctly put it: “There’s a club, and you ain’t in it.”

So yes, let’s hope Manafort flips to save his own skin. Let’s hope (and work so) that Manafort and Cohen are just the beginning of a cascade of justice and realignment. Because it’s not just that it’s morally and ethically wrong for a such a small minority of the population to arrogate such a ridiculous wealth of resources to themselves while so many don’t have enough and never will. It’s a bad use of those resources, one that perpetuates a pyramid scheme version of civilization where the vast majority of human potential is not only wasted but actively discouraged from developing, to all of our detriment.