Friday, September 07, 2018


Two stories dominated the news this week. President Trump's fitness to serve was repeatedly called into question -- in the forthcoming Bob Woodward book, in an anonymous New York Times op-ed, and in stories like this one, from the New York Daily News:
White House officials reached out to a noted Yale University psychiatrist last fall out of concern over President Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior.

Dr. Bandy Lee, who edited the best-selling book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” told the Daily News Thursday the staffers contacted her because the President was “scaring” them....

A pair of West Wing representatives contacted her two separate times on the same day because they believed the President was “unraveling.”
The other major story was the confirmation hearing for (barring a miracle) the next Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh, a right-wing zealot who is expected to be the fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, and what's left of the Voting Rights Act and campaign finance limitations.

The two stories are connected.

Why would staffers who are conservative but upset by the course of the Trump presidency be prepared to have their words go public right now? Maybe they couldn't control the timing of the Woodward book's publication or Dr. Lee's decision to go public, but one rogue staffer chose to submit the op-ed to the Times at this moment, possibly after consulting with other rogue staffers. Why now?

Is it because the rogues fear that the Mueller investigation is about to bring the hammer down on Trump, or that a Democratic House will investigate the hell out of the president and his administration in 2019 and beyond?

Yes, but it's also the case that, as far as establishment Republicans are concerned, Trump's work is done.

The tax cut has been passed. Regulations have been dismantled. And now the fifth wingnut is being installed on the High Court -- despite the many questions Democrats have raised about Kavanaugh this week, he'll get the vote of every Republican senator, and probably three (Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly) or four (Nelson) Democrats. Democrats can search all they want in the documents that are being withheld, but those documents could reveal that Kavanaugh shot someone on Fifth Avenue and Susan Collins would still vote for him.

So as far as mainstream Republicans are concerned, this is the moment when all the good stuff is finally locked in. It's time to prevent the bad stuff -- tariffs (the worst!), oh, and maybe World War III. Kavanaugh's inevitable confirmation was the last piece in the puzzle. So it was time to make a move.

No comments: