HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

 
The US Senate is full of potted plants

by digby




I wrote about the Corker "revelations" for Salon this morning:

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence spent taxpayer money on a stunt orchestrated by the president: He walked out of an NFL game when some players took a knee during the national anthem. Now some team owners are apparently acceding to Donald Trump's demands that they punish players for failing to stand, which must make the president feel like a powerful man indeed. Trump has traded on a weird, kitschy patriotism from the very beginning, going so far as to literally hug the flag at times. He has often voiced a worrying admiration for public displays of military power, recently telling reporters that he was planning large military parades for the next Fourth of July.

Trump sees patriotism as a show of dominance. This is reflected in his endless paeans to "toughness" and the increasingly alarming way he conducts American foreign policy with threats, demands and broad hints that he is preparing to go to war.

He telegraphed all this during the campaign, running on a platform of global military dominance without any constraints of international law. Trump wondered aloud why we have nuclear weapons if we aren't going to use them and told our allies that unless they ponied up a lot more money, they might as well get nukes too, because the U.S. would be looking out for No. 1 from now on. He made it clear in a dozen different ways that he cared nothing for democratic norms, treaties or alliances and promised to tear up or ignore any existing agreements he didn't like.

After Trump said all that for more than a year, the Republican Party nominated him for the presidency and almost 63 million Americans voted for him six months later. So it's not exactly surprising that he believes he's been given a mandate by his voters to behave like a despotic madman. You can say a lot of things about Trump, but he has never tried to hide who he is.

It was obvious to the other half of the country that the man was both intellectually and temperamentally unfit to be president by any measure and that he had little understanding or regard for the Constitution or democratic values. But the vast majority of Republicans, including virtually all the party's elected officials, ended up backing him and have been making excuses for him all along. Since he's been president, the Republican establishment has cravenly clung to tax-cut zealot Grover Norquist's dictum that Republicans need not worry about the character or competence of their president:


We know what direction to go. . . . We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.

It turns out the "modern conservative movement" is a bunch of hot air, as demonstrated by its inability to accomplish anything at all, even with a president who would sign a grocery list if he could strut around afterward and call it a "win." More importantly, it's always been the case that the presidency is more than signing the holy grail of tax cuts. When you install a man who ran as a despotic madman, he might turn out to be one.

Virtually all left-leaning commentators have been documenting the atrocities in detail, and there have been some vociferously critical conservative pundits and analysts as well. Some elected Democrats stepped up early and often to point out that Trump is beyond the pale. But it has been more than a little bit disorienting to watch most congressional Democrats and all but one or two Republicans pretend that Trump's presidency is business as usual. Sure, they have policy disagreements and they hold high-stakes votes on important issues where they all make big speeches denouncing each other's positions. The leadership goes up to the White House and has photo-ops and eats Chinese food and "makes deals," while the emperor is walking around stark naked and raving mad -- and he's becoming more reckless and dangerous by the day.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the first elected Republican to tell it like it is when he said last August that Trump "has not shown the stability or competence required for an American president to succeed." That caused a bit of a ripple, as did Corker's comments last week about how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly are keeping the country from descending into chaos. (That's assuming it isn't, of course.) But Corker's recent interview with The New York Times in which he said that Trump "may be setting the U.S. on the path to World War III" really got people's attention. Corker is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and not given to hyperbole.

Of course he's right. The list of Trump's affronts to the office of the presidency may be a mile long, but nothing he's done is more reckless and dangerous than this ongoing brinksmanship with North Korea and his determination to trash the Iran nuclear agreement.

Corker also let the cat out of the bag about his colleagues, who he said all agreed with his assessment of the president's dangerous unfitness. On Monday, reporters piled on, saying they had heard similar comments from many officials of both parties. Some Democrats, notably Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, made strong statements affirming the view that Trump is out of control and imploring their GOP colleagues to stop worrying about their precious tax cuts and focus on this urgent situation. But if anyone expected other Republicans to step up to back Corker, they were sadly disappointed.

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the House Freedom Caucus chair, may have made the most revealing comment of all the Republicans when he said of Corker, who is not running for re-election, "It's easy to be bold when you're not coming back." Evidently it's too much to expect that Republican lawmakers might speak up about their president recklessly careening toward World War III when they have an election to worry about. (That's still more than a year away.)

James Fallows wrote a fine piece in the Atlantic about what Bob Corker can do to turn his words into action. He is a powerful United States senator, after all, and he bears some responsibility for enabling Trump in the first place. But it should not stop with him. These congressional Republicans are not potted plants -- they are the only ones entrusted with the power to protect the nation in the case of a rogue president.

It's hard to believe that the party that fetishized macho nationalism and swaddled itself in the flag for decades is now sitting idly by while the schoolyard-bully president puts the whole world in danger. But apparently they have defined patriotism down to the demand that football players stand for the national anthem and that's about it. Profiles in courage? Not exactly.

.