Welcome to the New America, sometimes referred to as Making America Great Again, other times as #NightmareAmerica. Whatever it is, Ringling Brothers has got nothin’ on this.
On Tuesday night eloquence took a curtain call and on Wednesday the circus tent went up. Big top. Three rings. The show was large on spectacle and slight of hand, and it was scary as hell.
In left ring we had Buzzfeed and Its Amazing Unverified Documents, casting aspersions and golden showers confirmed by no one at all. The Buzzfeed justification argued that the reports have been floating around so long even Harry Reid mentioned it, so the public has a right to know, but know … what? That a set of possibilities with no more substance than idle rumors was making the rounds in DC? When has that not been the case? Remember LBJ ordering his guy to spread the rumor that his opponent had sex with dogs? LBJ’s guy said, “Sir, we can’t say that, it’s not true!” And LBJ said, “Of course it’s not! I just want to see that sombitch deny it.” The more things change….
A wise and excellent friend said today that none of the golden shower rumors need to be true because as soon as the image is in our head, mission accomplished. Hooray for cannibal politics. He’s right, and that ritual dance of shame has led us to our current default setting, where we are continuously at each other’s throats, tearing into opposing views with all the unrelenting, thoughtless ferocity of a Walking Dead horde, all while the polar ice caps melt and animals key to our global ecosystem go extinct.
However, in the long game Buzzfeed may have done the media a favor. So many news organizations demonstrated the professional restraint expected of the Fourth Estate because overwhelmingly, they didn’t publish unconfirmed information. One minor ray of sunshine was that Trump stopped attacking the media long enough to acknowledge as much. Whether this leads to a better relationship between the media and the President-elect is less likely than winning Lotto.
Meanwhile, over in the left ring, we have not one, not two, but three cabinet confirmation hearings going on at once. Don’t pay any attention to that man behind the curtain, it is just Mitch McConnell, King of hypocrisy, rushing through confirmation hearings before paper work or background checks are even completed, in direct opposition to his own demands just eight years ago. Corey Booker and Marco Rubio either asked hard questions or positioned themselves for their next election, depending on who was watching, but ultimately, this immensely important process was overshadowed by the Main Event in the center ring.
Mitchell has also announced that America needs and wants a Supreme Court justice appointment, after delaying one for a year. The sheer arrogant belief that America will not puke in disgust is impressive And again, overshadowed by the center ring.
And in that center ring, the Master of Ceremonies, with a table full of documents reportedly setting up some kind of trust that, according to ethics experts, will absolutely not absolve the president-elect of violating federal law so severely he’ll be eligible for arrest as soon as he takes the oath of office. And nowhere among all the files and allegedly signed documents was the one document much of America has clamored for – his tax returns. Trump said no to releasing any of that, and said he could legally run his business and the Oval Office simultaneously, and proudly claimed he turned down a two billion dollar deal because it wouldn’t look good, and announced any profits from foreign parties will go to the U.S. treasury. Whew, what a day!
And all of that just served as a warmup for DJT mocking and combating with the press, acknowledging that Russia “probably did it” and calling the U.S intelligence community Nazis. (Intelligence has only been dissed like that twice previously that I know of, by Kennedy and Nixon – enough said.)
And while the circus distracted with shiny objects and explosive phrases and mock battles and pronouncements on everything, Congress worked through the night to begin dismantling ACA, alias Obamacare, without a publicly shown plan available to replace it. Millions of Americans, conceivably including many who voted for this leadership, will soon be significantly worse off… Unless a surprise pops out of a top hat no one has seen as yet.
And this is only the beginning, folks. The Big Top is been set in stone, the acts are signed to a multi-year residency, and we’re settling in with our popcorn and Twitter feeds.
It is gonna be a Hell of a show….