And so I did my part yesterday.
I refrained from even posting here about the ascension of the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta.
I did tweet, though – and at one point I realized just how under-siege our Constitutional form of government is: In rapid-fire succession, I re-tweeted a half-dozen tweets from Bill Kristol.
And the re-tweeting was because I was in agreement with him.
And then there was George Will:
Twenty minutes into his [ ], Donald Trump, who is always claiming to have made, or to be about to make, astonishing history, had done so. Living down to expectations, he had delivered the most dreadful inaugural address in history.
“A dependence on the people,” James Madison wrote, “is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” He meant the checks and balances of our constitutional architecture. They are necessary because, as Madison anticipated and as the nation was reminded on Friday, “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”
Once again, full agreement – almost.
I omitted one word.
It is not a presidency. It is a Russia-backed, white nationalist junta.
The previous eight years were a presidency – at least officially. But we all know that, in large part, Barack Obama’s two-term presidency ended as Bill Clinton’s did – after only two years.
And therein lies the reason that the only honest assessment of the Obama Administration that one can offer is that it was a failure.
Mind you, I’m not talking about Barack Obama the person. Had he been eligible to run for a third term, I’d happily have voted for him.
But he wasn’t.
Term limits – via the 22nd Amendment (rammed through Congress in 1947 while under the control of Republicans who, then as now, talk the talk about ‘the people’ deciding for themselves how government should operate, but are always eager to rig the game to stop the majority from electing their candidates of choice) – prevented that.
And, of course, con artistry is what ended the Obama Administration in practical terms on Jan. 3, 2011. For Clinton it was the Contract on America. For Obama it was the astroturfism of the Tea Party.
Obama, though, was luckier than Clinton in one respect: the Democrats did maintain control of the Senate for four more years, only losing control in 2015. So, Obama did get to fill a few more federal judgeships than Clinton was allowed to fill. But, thanks to that, the Supreme Court seat that, very clearly, a majority of Americans wanted a Democratic president to fill, remains empty.
As I’ve noted here more than a few times of late, the wants of the few outweighed the needs of the many.
Cue St. Barney:
Those LGBs with the specific want of a military career got what they wanted (and later, those Ts with the same want would get the same – or so they think.) And those who want us to believe that hate crime laws actually prevent hate crimes got what they wanted.
That was just in Congress during 2009-10. We all know that those who want it to be true that ‘once we have marriage equality, nothing else will matter’ later got what they think will cause nothing else to matter.
But, of course, they’re about to find out otherwise.
Those who are able to milk the media for quote space in which they bloviate about trans people having “robust bias protections” got….
well, a lot of undeserved space in the media in which to bloviate about the entire universe of ‘sex discrimination’-based judicial and administrative protections which all emanate from a very thin Supreme Court decision from almost 30 years ago is something more than smoke and mirrors.
But, of course, we are about to find out otherwise.
Most of the bloviators, after all, weren’t the ones shopping for employment while the bloviators were bloviating – and most of them aren’t shopping for employment right now as a necessity to pay bills.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t make use of the smoke and mirrors before the fans blow the smoke away and before the jackboots shatter the mirrors. Some trans people have worked it in their favor.
But what lives by the administrative ruling can – and likely will – die by the administrative ruling. And what lives by a passage (albeit an incredibly salient one) from a four-justice plurality opinion from 1989 can – and likely will – die by the five-justice majority that will exist when Thomas, Roberts and Alito get two christofascist playmates (one if the bloviators are as wrong about Kennedy as they are about most everything else.)
And Chelsea Manning’s commutation?
Explain to me how that is of practical value to anyone not named Chelsea Manning?
Yes, I agree, it is symbolic of a change between the Democratic presidential administration of the 1990s and the one that ended on Friday. But I have to go back to the thing that didn’t change: each one was assaulted – successfully – by the right-wing hate machine. Perhaps Bill Clinton had an excuse for not seeing his coming – or at least not believing it was possible. Barack Obama did not. He’s a smart guy. He surrounded himself with smart people. Perhaps one can make an argument that they could not have prevented what happened in 2010, but we’ve already seen – just today – the lengths to which the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta is willing to go to control the narrative.
To the same degree that the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta is willing to push lies, the Obama Administration had the power to push reality. Sometimes it did, but too often it let itself get run over by lies.
So, I repeat: Barack Obama the man is top notch. Ditto for Barack Obama the man as the president the individual – for the most part. But the entity – the era – known as the Obama Administration really is a failure.
Now, I do hope that the protests of today are the start of something that will lead to Democrats re-taking Congress in 2018 – but this time under a Speaker of the House who doesn’t take impeachment off the table even before the votes are counted.
And yet, I remember the last time dubious presidential election signaled the end of a Democratic president’s second term.
Sixteen years ago we all were confident that we could contain the cancer of illegitimate executive branch control to four years.
We were wrong.
Sure. Again – I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen today.
But also place your bets.
You might as well make a few bucks off of accurately predicting which American cities will be volunteered against their will to be the victim-props in the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta’s ever-so-convenient counterpart to 9/11 which – probably far quicker than Bush-Cheney so needed – it will need to fully distract an overwhelming majority of the populace and completely suppress dissent.
And, while you’re at it, place your bets as to which American cities will, once the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta manages to unite all of the world against America in global war, play the roles of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Place your bets.
You might as well make a buck.
Because if anything – well, anything in addition to roaches – survives the coming holocaust, it will be the obscenity of profit-above-all-else.
So, yes, long after the mushroom clouds dissipate, Chad Griffin will still be pulling down a half-mil per year.
As an American, that makes me feel great again already.
#sarcasm (in part)
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