Trump As Revenge On The GOP
If someone had wanted revenge on the GOP, they’d ask Trump to run for president. I wonder who did that.
What follows is total and complete speculation, though there are some facts to back up my conclusions. It is a thought experiment, as a way to tease out just what has happened to the GOP.
As I watch the news unfurl on the impeachment hearings in Washington, I see Trump in the crosshairs of the GOP. I mean, the Democrats. I think back to how he stormed the election in 2015, 2016 and beyond. I think back to his bravado, how he interrupted Hillary Clinton in the debates with a live mike, and how he won without the popular vote. I think about his demeanor, his attitude, and his attempt to run the federal government like his own private business. And I wondered if, in 2015, I had wanted revenge on the GOP, what would be the best way to go about it?
I’d ask Trump to run for President.
While researching one of the many articles I published in 2015, I read in the New York Times that Bill Clinton had talked with Donald Trump by phone. It was never made public what they really talked about, but they did talk a few weeks before Trump formally announced his intention to run. They both used to play golf together. The Clintons attended Trump’s wedding in 2005. To me, right there, is a point of suspicion.
When I saw the selections Trump made for his cabinet picks, I saw nothing but millionaires in his cabinet. Nothing but the elite of the elite in his cabinet. Nothing but his corporate crony friends. He brought in the King of Usury, Steve Mnuchin. He brought in the Queen of Usury, Betsy DeVos, among many others. These were people who made their money on the status quo. If Trump was planning to drain the swamp, it was mighty hard to gather that on his cabinet picks.
But then came all this business about Ukraine and Hunter Biden and how Trump was angling for an investigation, at least an announcement of an investigation of the son of his political rival, Sleepy Joe Biden.
I mean, Trump is a pretty smart guy. I’ve seen him improvise on camera and in public. He knows how to act. He has a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Trump must know that his every move is being watched, so he could play to the crowd. And Trump is supremely confident about his re-election.
Why would Trump ask a president of a small, nearly forgotten country for an investigation of a rival in exchange for the release of funds already appropriated by a law he signed himself, knowing that everyone was watching? After all that, he expected Republicans to defend his boorish behavior, and they did. He must have known that he could not hide his “deal” from anyone.
He’s had affairs and with that kind of behavior, he knows how to hide when he really wants to hide. He was able to keep his activities private for a time. Yet he was found out. Just like this time with the “quid pro quo”, you know, the one that he didn’t really want. Right? I’m fairly confident that if Trump wanted to keep his request for an investigation of Hunter Biden a secret, he would have found a way to keep it low and out of sight.
Trump is bulletproof. He is quite possibly the most famous person in the world right now. I bet there are people in the third world with no running water, and nothing but a hole in the ground to use for a toilet and yet they’ve heard his name. I think that Trump is right up there is with Jesus, Elvis, and The Beatles when it comes to fame, but not talent. And there are many people who love him. I bet they’d vote for him this fall even if he was impeached again and eventually removed from office. He could be the biggest write-in in history.
But there is something else going on. Republicans are having trouble justifying Trump’s behavior. Even Senator Mike Lee from Utah was fuming about the way Trump’s staff handled the briefing of lawmakers after Iranian military strongman General Soleimani was assassinated. But in their minds, that assassination is not impeachable, either. Not really a war, not really a crime. Just business as usual.
After Bill Clinton was impeached in the House but acquitted in the Senate, the country continued its lurch to the right, but with greater acceleration. Clinton could no longer pursue any major legislative priorities. His influence and that of the Democratic Party fell to the horizon, replaced by Republican influence.
Democrats were lost for a generation after Clinton was impeached for an offense that hardly rises to impeachment compared to what Trump did. And I suspect there is still some bad blood in the water about that impeachment. I saw that with Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony, where he accused Democrats of trying to spoil his nomination to the Supreme Court. He won the vote for his lifetime appointment to the court, but he was quite partisan about it. I believe that Trump will cost the GOP at least a generation of voters for his term in office.
Even Ken Starr says that the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland was “substantive”. You might recall that Ken Starr was the special prosecutor who investigated Bill Clinton. When Starr says that the evidence is looking rather strong against the president, you might start to worry. I know I would. Astute voters will remember that a Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Trump.
Trump is a man of means. He’s a billionaire. He could do whatever he wanted to embarrass the Republicans, and he did, and he continues to do so. He intervened in the sentencing of Roger Stone, and now Bill Barr said he is considering resigning because Trump is allowing politics to interfere with the operation of the Justice Department. If it isn’t one thing, it’s three.
And then the pardons. Oh, a thousand pardons, please! Trump just pardoned a handful of white-collar criminals who were “treated unfairly”, nevermind how unfairly they treated other people or betrayed the public trust.
Trump commuted the sentence of former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was convicted of tax fraud and lying to investigators. He pardoned former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat. He pardoned billionaire Edward DeBartolo who was sent to prison for corruption charges in 1998. And to top it all off, he pardoned Michael Milken, one of the architects of the savings and loan scandals in the early 80s. Milken was prosecuted by the Reagan administration’s Department of Justice. How Republicans can defend this is really beyond me.
These are just some of the things I’ll be thinking about when I vote in November. I think that Trump is dragging the GOP through the mud, day after day, week after week. He is exacting revenge on the GOP in a way that few of us could have foreseen, and I think that the longer he is in office, the more damage he will do. To them.