Nice inauguration, huh? Lady Gaga just slayed them with the anthem, Biden’s speech was a heartfelt humdinger, and young Amanda Gorman gave Lin-Manuel Miranda a run for his money with her spellbinding recital of The Hill We Climb. Newly-minted Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s first daily (!!) press briefing was such a breath of fresh air it practically made you weep – I couldn’t have been the only one thinking C.J. Cregg – and later, the virtual inaugural ball was wall-to-wall A-Listers, and what a fireworks show at the end! It was nice. Uplifting. All of it. It really was.
Right, so that’s over. Everybody back on your heads!
What? You bleat. We’re already at the shitty part? So soon? Yup, reckon so. Let the shitshow begin! Sorry. I did tell you this was coming.
But – but – is the grimmest scenario really inevitable? You bleat again, bleatingly. Well, no, I suppose not. I suppose it’s possible that the jaded legislators of the GOP, chastened by the appalling events of the sixth, shamed by their own complicity in the insurrection, free, finally, of Donald’s Tweet-hammer, and heedful of Biden’s eloquent call for sanity, unity, and bipartisan comity, could indeed begin once more to participate in good faith governing, like they used to do, back in the now distant years B.G. (Before Gingrich). It’s early days, and I wouldn’t want to tell you it can’t happen. I can’t be sure, can I?
I can, however, take a wild frigging guess.
It’s not that nothing at all flows from the Miracle in Georgia. With the Dems in control of the Senate, just barely, Mitch can no longer simply strangle every bill that arrives from the House, he can’t block Biden’s cabinet appointments, and he can’t continue his project to stack the judiciary with Federalist society stooges, nor can he thwart Biden’s judicial appointments. That’s all pretty terrific.
Still, the filibuster lives, and that means there’s still every opportunity, despite the GOP’s minority status, for Mitch to stand in the way of Biden’s legislative agenda, almost as effectively as he did when he was destroying Obama’s Presidency as Majority Leader, and you gotta ask yourself: why wouldn’t he? After all, why is this virtual octogenarian even hanging around? All he cares about is power, and he just lost the majority. If he won’t just go away now, what’s his motivation, if it isn’t the unquenchable desire to get it back? And how do you get it back? By the GOP playbook, that’s how. You stifle every one of the the Biden Administration’s policy initiatives, then blame the Donkeys for never getting anything done, and capitalize on voter frustration to reclaim your majorities in the midterms, two short years from now. It’s simple, really.
Dollars to doughnuts, hell, C-Notes to lug nuts, that’s exactly what Mitch’ll do.
Just listen to the scoundrels, now that Biden’s in the Oval – we’re just coming off an insurrection, a goddam MAGA coup d’état , for the love of Christ, in which most of the them were wholly complicit, either as cheerleaders, instigators, or even, God help them, perhaps active participants (it’s sure starting to look that way), and what do these Republicans do? Well, first, on the very day of the sacking of the Capitol, they stroll back into their respective chambers, picking their way past the piles of vandalized rubble, and still vote to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Then, when that fails, they say look, it’s time to move on, bygones, now we need unity, for which read absolve us of our sins and hold nobody, not even Trump, accountable – or else. Now, with Biden pleading for some measure of flexibility and bipartisanship, they go on offence and rant and rave all over the media that anything Biden does to pursue the legislative program he was elected to enact is a Democratic repudiation of his espoused but obviously phoney bipartisan posturing. True bipartisanship, they insist, amounts to ongoing acquiescence to the GOP agenda. Do anything to advance your own priorities, like we or anybody would in your shoes, and you’re obviously not for unity. Never mind that such is the whole purpose of elections, which elections are supposed to have meaningful consequences. That’s only the case if Republicans win! Oh, and yeah, deficits and wrangling government spending are now of transcendent importance, so there can be no more spending; they’re actually saying, quite literally, we buried the treasury neck-deep in debt giving tax cuts to the rich, so now there’s nothing left, sorry. Plus, how dare you use executive orders to undo Trump’s executive orders? How dare you take steps to undo Donald’s undoing of Obama’s legacy?
Or more generally, as Kathy said tonight, you may have unity, but only on our unilateral terms.
This is the party of liars, cheats, racists and extortionists. Never lose sight of that. Never let them pull the wool over your hopeful eyes. Just listen to the likes of Hawley, Cruz, McCarthy, Paul, and Graham, how they’re all bellyaching about any hint that Biden and the Dems might actually try to do anything at all with what power they’ve won by the will of the people. It’s not fair! It’s abusive! The reaction of these White supremacist grifters and liars to Biden’s Inaugural speech? You heard him! He called us white supremacist grifters and liars! No unity!
Look, the GOP is nothing but a bunch of bullying schoolyard pricks who punch you in the teeth and then demand an apology. Honestly, I don’t know If I can take the grinding frustration sure to characterize the next four years.
If I had Biden’s ear, I’d tell him not to repeat Obama’s dreadful, world-altering mistake of squandering two precious years of opportunity in vain efforts to find common ground with the bastards. Poor, sadly misguided Barack, determined to live up to his own election promises to reach across the aisle, kept making concessions, only for the Republicans to play Lucy-with-the-football and keep coming back with “not enough”. Health care provides the ultimate cautionary tale. Obama kept consulting, and compromising, while to get something done he quickly gave up on the public option and proposed a program dreamed up originally in a Republican think tank, and implemented successfully by a Republican Governor. The Republicans played along, running out the clock, until finally telling him to shove Obamacare, in effect national Massachusetts Romneycare, up his Democratic ass. Not a single Republican voted for it. He might just as well have done as he pleased from day one.
That’s what I’d tell Joe to do. Cram it down their mendacious throats. Screw compromise. But unless the whole party finds a backbone, he doesn’t have the numbers. The senate is 50-50, Kamala with the tie-break, and that doesn’t beat the filibuster. Unless they do away with it, the soul destroying stalemate will persist until White America stops sending the worthless Republican turds back to Washington to do their miserable mischief, which apparently they never will, very much to their own detriment. In the meantime, at least until 2022, the Dems will have just a few opportunities to pull some of their own procedural sleights of hand, primarily via a process known as “budget reconciliation”, the complexities of which would require lengthy explanations that I’m sure nobody would ever read, but it won’t work for everything, and Mitch has his own tricks to pull, some of which, I’m sure, I’ve never even heard of yet. One way or another it’ll be ugly. Every step of the way. Even if they have the guts to be half as determined as the Republicans always are when it’s their turn, which is no sure thing. Then, if things go as usual, the Dems lose the midterms, and that’ll be that.
I try to remember my own words from a few blogs past. This one election wasn’t about changing the world. It wasn’t about doing positive things. Maybe later. This time, it was about stopping the damage. If we can’t climb, we can at least halt the downward slide, right? That’s something, right? I’ve tried to make that enough. It’s just that the world so badly needs changing. Right now. Before it’s too late. And if you don’t change the world, then really, you can’t stop the damage, not all of it, not even the stuff that matters most.
Not on Mitch’s watch, though. He’s got midterms to win in 2022. Then, by God, he, or somebody like him, can get back to destroying everything except the fruits of White privilege, as enjoyed by the GOP’s obscenely wealthy White paymasters. What good will it have done, then, that for two short years the appalling rot was briefly held in check?