Meanwhile, on Earth 3
February 16, 2017 5 Comments
[I like to think of Earth 2 as the one where Hillary picked up 80,000 more votes in 3 key states; or the one where Comey didn’t throw the election to Trump.]
So, Earth 3, with a normal Republican as President. Frum again:
Suppose Mike Pence were president now. Tax-reform legislation would be hitting the floor of the House. A competent White House staff, headed by people with intact reputations for honesty, would be hammering out the compromises necessary to repeal healthcare reform. A functional National Security Council would be generating options for responding to Russia’s cheating on arms-control treaties and aggression in Ukraine. Democrats and liberals would be assailing congressional Republicans on immigration and abortion—not espionage and treason.
Alas, here on Earth 1, Republicans are showing far more interest in power and partisanship than country:
Instead, their hopes, their interests, their constituencies, and possibly their careers are all at risk, subordinated to the personal imperatives of a president who does not share their principles and does not care about their party.
Each member of Congress went into this line of work with some idea of serving their country. They do not yet know whether clandestine cooperation occurred between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. They do not know whether that clandestine cooperation continues now. Possibly Trump imagines that he is using Putin, rather than being used by him.
But what they do know is that Trump is doing damage to U.S. alliances and the U.S.-led global economic order. They know that he’s staffed his White House with disturbing personalities who do not seem to recognize or accept ordinary ethical norms. They hear from business leaders, foreign heads of government, and their own contacts in the defense and intelligence agencies that they are alarmed and frightened. They see the president of the United States behaving in ways no president should behave. They are partisan creatures, as they have to be in their line of work, but they have enough experience to appreciate that concerns don’t cease being valid just because they are raised by their Democratic colleagues. They must feel that their restraint on the president and the White House is the most important constitutional line of defense against presidential corruption—or worse. If they don’t act decisively now, when will they act? If this isn’t bad enough—what will be?
Let me answer that… When Trump threatens to raise taxes on rich people. As far as I can tell, that’s the only red line. Still waiting to be proven wrong. Ugh.
[And, just because this came up in the Google image search for Earth 3]