There is an upside to having a president who appears to be a traitor to his nation.
As is inevitable, in this age of reality show reality, we are referring to Donald Trump, the star of "Let's Destroy Everything That I Can't Take 100% Credit For." In case anyone missed Donald's TV duet with Vladimir, find it on the net. View five or 10 minutes. Without commentary. Maybe even without sound. It is astonishing. The visuals, by themselves, seem to tell a story about an obstreperous, naughty boy—Donnie—who had been sent to the office of Headmaster Putin. There, he was made to drop trou, bend over the desk, and receive his caning. That's all off-camera. We see them afterward. Certain that his pedagogy has created the desired effect (employ the rod, correct the child), the satisfied Head now marches the chastised schoolboy out to the assembly. He has the boy nod contritely while he makes a speech. Then he has the boy speak. The boy lets everyone know that he has now fallen in line. If, in addition, you listen to the words, Donnie says, "I think the United States has been foolish." Then he goes on to say that the real problem is the US intelligence services, the FBI, and the Mueller investigation: "The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it's kept us apart. It's kept us separated." Us meaning him and Headmaster Putin. The crimes are not a problem—because they didn't even exist—the Headmaster has told him so. "No collusion!" It's looking that's the bad thing. The boy refers to the Headmaster as "strong and powerful." Plus, he's made the US "an incredible offer." He would allow US investigators to come to Russia to speak to the Russian operatives who have been indicted for meddling in the election. Of course, the Russians would also go to America and question the investigators and the US should also send him the ex-ambassador he doesn't like, and Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder, who instigated the sanctions that the Russians hate the most. The boy who calls himself a great deal maker—"That's what I do, I make deals"—is enthusiastic. It reminds us that his great deals sent his casinos into bankruptcy three times and that the top law firms won't work for him because he doesn't pay his bills.
Right. Lest we forget. The upside.
For Trump and the Republicans, it's stopped everyone talking about his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. As a boy lawyer, Brett worked for Ken Starr when he was going after President Bill Clinton. Now that a Republican is in office, Brett would "put the nail" in the court ruling that allows an independent counsel. To Kavanaugh, the president is so special that it should be official that he is truly above the law. Kavanaugh will be a committed warrior in the fight to protect corporations from people. In 2010, a killer whale at SeaWorld drowned and dismembered a trainer. OSHA fined the company for not taking safety precautions given that the same whale had previously killed two other people. Two judges on a three-judge panel agreed. Kavanaugh, the third, dissented. He compared it to a sport like boxing or stock car racing—but it wasn't a sport, it was a show—and he was outraged that the theme park would have to pay a $12,000 fine just for letting an employee be killed. According the White House, in a letter sent to business groups to get their support, Kavanaugh has "overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clear air, consumer protections, net neutrality," and "favored curtailing the power of independent federal regulators." He thinks the Consumer Financial Protection Agency is unconstitutional. He thinks the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the Senate wrote most of it. He opposes net neutrality. Is there anything he likes? Yes. Warrantless surveillance.
Most of that is a continuation of Judge Kennedy's positions, just more so, as the Court goes ever deeper into the embrace of big money and its power. The big difference is that Kavanaugh is supposed to swing hard right on social issues, most particularly abortion. Trump has sworn to appoint judges that will overturn Roe v. Wade, so we should assume that's Kavanaugh's mission.
To some, that would be wonderful. I am always happy to receive letters from readers. I just got one [Letters to the Editor, page 24], from a reader upset that I didn't list Planned Parenthood in my article on "the banality of evil" and Adolph Eichmann, since they provide abortions by, in the words of the reader, "piercing the craniums" of the unborn. It chastised me and others of my ilk for being "eerily silent when it comes to the fate of American abortees." Sadly, making abortions illegal won't stop them. It never did. However, sex education, access to contraception, access to medical care, better general education, and higher wages, are all strongly correlated with lower rates of abortion. Those are the things that I would suggest the letter writer should fight for, and, if they come up as court questions, that Kavanaugh would almost certainly oppose.
The upside for the Democrats is that it distracts from their failures. For losing to the worst presidential candidate in history. For losing control of the Senate, giving the man who wants to destroy everything two Supreme Court nominations. For losing control of the House, so that they can frantically try to cover, whitewash, and distract from Trump's various lies and crimes. As well as passing one of the worst tax bills in history. Also, the Left never developed a cadre of lawyers similar to the troops that have come out of the Federalist Society which gave Trump the list of 25 "reliable" potential nominees. They had previously given us Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch. In addition to what they've done to the law, their opinions have twisted logic and denied reality, in order to rule in favor of money, corporations, and the Republican Party.
The additional upside for the Democrats is that it reveals Trump as weak, cowardly, intimidated, and acting like he's a Russian puppet. A man who makes deals in which North Korea and Russia get a lot and America gets nothing. Whether this will affect his supporters, is, of course, unknown. It does seem certain to galvanize Democrats.
There's even an upside for the general public. If you've wondered what a "surrender monkey" on an "apology tour" would actually look like, now you can see it.
See that—every cloud has a silver lining. Though April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May. But it's already August.