Friday, February 2, 2018

The Man Who Would Be King

Or my kingdom for a wall

After a year of vacillation with several Republican senators openly criticizing the president, and even pondering his removal, Congressional Republicans now appear to have made their bed with him.  They clapped like a bunch of sycophants at each and everything he said in his State of the Union address.  Even when he called on Congress to give him more authority over federal departments, they all clapped, oblivious to the fact that his main aim is to "cleanse" the FBI.  To hear Paul Ryan, such an idea is not out of the question.  Congress already gave the president the authority to "cleanse" the VA, which he highlighted in his speech.

The White House and its conservative mouthpieces are convinced there is a deep state in the federal government aimed at bringing him down.  This is why he wants to "100% release" the Nunes memo, an artlessly contrived memo designed to discredit the FBI and in turn the current investigation into the White House links to Russia.  Congress has already agreed to release the memo, but is refusing to release Democratic criticism of the memo.  Devin Nunes is the same guy who was scurrying over to the White House at odd hours of the night in an effort to support Trump's claim that he was being surveilled.  But, House leader Paul Ryan stands behind Nunes, and thinks that the Democrats are just trying to distract the public.

It really makes you wonder what Bob Mueller has found if Republicans appear on the edge of granting the president unprecedented powers to clean house.  All these agencies are supposed to be independent, serving the country not elected leaders.  This includes the DOJ, which Trump has openly complained about throughout his tenure.  He believes these guys should work for him.  What turned to have so many Republican now openly contemplating a purge of this contrived "deep state?"

This is like a bad television version of a Shakespeare tragedy where the king, let's say Richard III, is trying to crush the rebellious forces against him.  Trump openly believes that Obama has planted moles throughout the federal agencies and that these persons are trying to bring him down.  Why not, this is what his friends at Fox have been saying for months.  It doesn't matter that many of the persons who have been identified have long served in the FBI, DOJ and other federal agencies, they are seen as sympathetic to Obama and therefore antipathetic to Trump.

Obama is seen as a king in exile by the more ardent conspiracy theorists, plotting his return to power.  How such a Machiavellian plot would unfold is anyone's guess.  There's also one about Clinton and Soros teaming up together to overthrow Trump.  I suppose Obama is working with Richard Branson.

The degree of paranoia among Republicans is growing, especially in the wake of their special election defeats.  The only way to retain hold of government at this point is to grant the President more authority, given the very real possibility they may lose Congress this fall.  This would be unparalleled in American history, except during times of war.

Of course, Trump continues to threaten war with North Korea despite the fact the country has opened up to South Korea.  Rather than claim success for this rapprochement, Trump appears anxious to maintain an antagonistic relationship.  His advisers are well aware of the war powers a president would gain and how these powers could be used to entrench their hold on government.  Note the Republican Congress refused to grant Obama such authority.  With Syria now essentially wrapped up, thanks largely to Russia and Iran, the only place left to turn is North Korea.

Trump's State of the Union address should have given lawmakers pause, not a reason to cheer.  It was the speech of an autocratic despot, not the President of the United States, constantly referencing nationalistic themes in an effort to turn his conservative base against anyone who would defy him in Congress.  After all, Trump continues to enjoy an 80% approval rating among the Republican electorate.

It is for this reason that Republicans are afraid to stand up to him in an election year.  Trump even managed to get a  wayward Democrat to join him in the cheering section -- Joe Manchin -- who now finds out it didn't do him any good to cuddle up with the Republicans.  I don't feel sorry for Joe in the least.

Democrats need to stick to their guns, and fight the Republicans to the bitter end.  The real war is right here in America over the heart and soul of the nation.  They must continue to openly defy the Republican sycophants who are aiding and abetting Trump on the road toward an autocratic state.  This has been the game plan all along.  The reason for all the political gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and other attempts at disenfranchising a large cross section of American voters.  But, when these efforts no longer work to retain their hold on state and federal government, then the only recourse is autocracy.  This is what Trump offered in his State of the Union address.

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