Trump versus 'Mitch M & Paul R'
For anyone who cares about America, the saving grace of Donald Trump’s appalling presidency so far has been his sheer incompetence at passing any major legislation to begin wreaking the national destruction he promised to his wackiest supporters. Trump appears to have no idea that his own total ignorance of democracy, his infinitesimal attention span and the constant, chaotic uproar from his own administration are sabotaging the passage of legislation.
Instead, Trump has now identified the dastardly villains who are responsible for Trump’s failure to pass the Trump agenda he promised would immediately transform America on Day One. It’s the enemy within: Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Ryan and McConnell have deservedly come in for enormous amounts of criticism ever since Trump assumed the presidency, but Trump may be the only one who has ever accused them of undermining Trump’s presidency. The most frequent criticism of those two—along with every other Republican in public office these days—is for their failure to act more forcefully when Trump incessantly violates accepted standards of common decency and the values of America itself.
When Trump declared some “very fine people” were shouting racial and anti-Semitic hatred along with neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan at a white supremacist rally, Republican leaders were finally forced to duck to avoid getting splattered with the flying filth. More often, they keep their heads down and pretend Republican legislation isn’t being disrupted by Trump’s mad ravings on Twitter denouncing whomever he woke up hating that day. Imagine Ryan and McConnell’s surprise when it turned out to be them.
“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval,” Trump tweeted. “They. . . didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy—now a mess!” Donnie T clearly doesn’t heart Mitch M & Paul R. Even worse, the amateur president for whom that Schoolhouse Rock ditty, “I’m Just a Bill,” was far too advanced to understand, now presumes to lecture U.S. Senate and House strategists on how to get laws passed.
The biggest problem McConnell and Ryan have passing Trump’s legislation is that it’s terrible legislation. Trump tells outrageous lies about providing health care to everybody at a fraction of the cost. Then, he tries to pass a bill destroying health care for tens of millions of people and sending co-pays and premiums soaring. Trump considers McConnell’s failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act (and endanger the lives of more than 22 million Americans) a grave political sin rather than a blessing. “After hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed!” Trump tweeted of McConnell. “That should NEVER have happened!”
Ryan actually succeeded in getting his mean-spirited House Republicans to pass Trump’s horrific bill. But now, Ryan’s on the same Twit list as McConnell. Trump knows next to nothing about passing legislation; all he’s ever cared about is declaring himself a winner. He can’t blame obstructionist Democrats for his failures since Republicans control both houses of Congress. So, the only people left for Trump to blame are Republicans.
But Trump is playing with fire. Republicans who see Trump up close know the truth about just how unbalanced he is, and many of them are working up more courage than Ryan and McConnell to describe it publicly. Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker spoke directly to the president’s ability and mental health: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”
Jeff Flake, the Arizona senator Trump hates even more than John McCain, just published Conscience of a Conservative filleting not only Trump, but his own party: “We pretended that the emperor wasn’t naked. Even worse: We checked our critical faculties at the door and pretended that the emperor was making sense.”
The thing is Republicans don’t really need Trump who increasingly is becoming an embarrassment and a burden to them. There’s no future for any political party appealing only to aging, white males while driving away every other demographic in a changing world. (Yes, I know, a shocking number of Trump’s neo-Nazi supporters are young, but that’s more a mental health issue.)
If Republican leaders turned their backs on the vile, unstable Trump and worked with Democrats, they could pass plenty of conservative legislation. After all, the Affordable Care Act was actually conservative health reform first enacted by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. Republicans would, however, have to abandon their party’s attacks on civil rights, voting rights and equal treatment under the law for racial and religious minorities. But no legitimate American political party should ever embrace those positions in the first place.