As Republican members of the House and Senate continue to enable Mr. Trump and shield him and various members of his administration from public scrutiny, dark corners to hide in are becoming harder to come by. These legislators are silently suffering and crying out for more dark corners to hide in after they transform into their Dick Dastardly character and perform their dastard deeds for Mr. Trump in the hope that he will help them in their effort to win their agenda fight with the Democrats.
The dark corners are not needed only for the transformation process but also as a hiding place from their constituents after they have transformed back into their respectable politician persona. They desperately need these dark corners to serve as havens until the storm has passed over. So don’t be shocked if there is a bill introduced by one of them soon that asks that significant and, at the very least, adequate funds be appropriated for more and darker corners. They wouldn’t be asking for anything near the amount of the funds they are seeking in tax breaks for the rich so to approve their request should not be a problem. And, of course, more is always better as long as it isn’t for the middle class or poor.
In the past when they have gone home on recess (vacation), most of these ambitious politicians have held town hall meetings to keep their constituents informed, listen to their concerns and get their input on the latest issues. This time, however – if I recall correctly from an article that I read, only about 13 of them had actually scheduled town halls by the time they left on recess (vacation). Whoa; what’s up with that?! I think that it has a lot to do with the House passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Senates inaugural effort to do the old Washington Two Step while they try to figure out how to handle this toxic piece of legislation instead of following in the footsteps of House members and summarily approving it.
Although the crown jewel in this piece of legislation is an $800 billion cut to Medicaid (they need this money to help fund the tax breaks that they intend to give to the rich), House members are telling their constituents that the AHCA will not negatively impact those who are a part of this program. They are also telling them that the AHCA will be much better than Obamacare and that those with preexisting conditions have nothing to worry about because they will be taken care of under the Republicans new plan. It appears that the Senate is not buying in to this spin. If they believed that they could just toss out the AHCA legislation and never speak about it again and there would be no consequences to pay, they probably would.
One of the reasons why the Senate would probably like to just toss this legislation out and never speak of it again is because they have seen the extremely negative reaction that their constituents have exhibited toward members of the House who voted ‘yes’ on it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put together a group of 13 guy senators to address the problem and was immediately criticized for not including any women in this group. Of course Senator McConnell began to work his magic against such criticism by immediately playing it down. Before all is said and done, he will likely include at least one women in the group. And this probably is not a bad idea because, after all, women do make up more than 50% of America’s population and so also make up a large part of those who would most likely like to see America craft and espouse a meaningful healthcare policy.
Sensing that this poison-pill legislation wasn’t enough of a challenge for the Republican-led House and Senate that has been protecting and enabling him in order to prove their loyalty to him, the boss (Mr. Trump) suddenly tossed in an additional challenge for them to deal with by firing FBI Director James Comey. Not only did he fire him but it appears that the way that Director Comey found out that he had been fired was when it flashed on the television in the back of the room while he was speaking at an event in California. What makes this such a daunting challenge is that the FBI was doing a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether or not Mr. Trump and some of the members of his administration were involved in colluding with the Russians in meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
To make this daunting challenge even more challenging, the reason that Mr. Trump used to fire Director Comey was due to his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton emails investigation. The odd way that the firing was handled by Mr. Trump was compounded by the fact that he did it based on a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from all things dealing with the Clinton emails, and a recommendation from Rod Rosenstein – the recently confirmed Deputy Attorney General who would be acting in his place regarding the Clinton emails. And last but certainly not least, During the course of his campaign and after he was elected, Mr. Trump had praised Director Comey for those very same things that he used as his rationale to fire him. Surely if congressional Republicans continue to protect and enable Mr. Trump through this they will have proved their loyalty to him, right? Right…? What the heck; perhaps, like me, you fall in the ‘who knows’ category. Because with Mr. Trump, you are always just rolling the dice: his promises and words have too often proven to be empty.
At the writing of this article, Mr. Trump was 109 days into his presidency. As I have said in previous articles posted to this site, “It seems like soooooo much longer.” Only time will tell if we will get to the bottom of what actually happened during the Russians meddling in our 2016 presidential election and whether or not Mr. Trump and/or members of his administration colluded with the Russians during that time and whether or not they are still colluding with them. If the Republicans opt to prove their loyalty to Mr. Trump by continuing to protect and enable him even through this challenge, we may never get the answers to these questions.
I strongly believe that patriotism has unadulterated and bright boundaries for all Americans. But when patriotism and politics are mixed, depending on one’s perspective, those boundaries, when they are placed adjacent to one another, can become blurred and the boundary lines can become almost impossible to decipher. And whenever that happens, patriotism and politics can indeed become strange bedfellows. Mr. Trump is a tough man and a master manipulator whose narcissism is only matched by his perseverance. He can spin myths (alternative facts?) that he may actually believe to be true and quickly make those around him who are loyal to him believe them.
That notwithstanding and despite the fact that there will likely be those congressional Republicans who opt to prove their loyalty to him even through the firing of Director Comey, we must always hold out hope that principle, good hearts, and good sense will prevail. So to reinforce that hope I leave you with the words of the late President John F. Kennedy and the late Dr. Martin Luther King:
President Kennedy said; “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
And Dr. King said; “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Let’s hope that House and Senate Republicans will consider and heed the words of these two great men and do the right thing. Let’s hope that they will place loyalty to country above loyalty to party.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line