America’s Loser-in-Chief renders the challenge to whoever surpasses him as worst president in U. S. history insurmountable. His collection of scrambled oratory, stupidities, cruelties, mismanagement, international embarrassment, creative medical interventions, and simple meanness grow by the day. But what became his greatest goal—converting America from democratic republic to autocracy—is only steps away, virtually certain if he is still president on the afternoon of January 20.
This month Bob Woodward adds yet another book to the list of lies, cheating, and crimes. Accurately adding still more derogatory descriptions is easy, but I—who’ve has erred as much as anyone in this regard—will make greater effort to minimize criticizing Donald Trump, for he is now and has been an ethically lost cause all along. In more than 35 essays in this blog (of 232 total) I’ve argued that Donald Trump is not only pathologically narcissistic and thoroughly unethical, but a material danger to the United States, the strength of democracy, and America’s place in the world. Perhaps his psychopathology forgivably drives him far beyond conscious purpose.
Viewed more broadly, there is little damage he has inflicted on this republic without the aid and comfort of the Republican Party. Most Republican Senators and Members of the House have gone so far as to violate their oaths of office in order to stay on Trump’s good side. They could have—and still could—rein him in multiple ways, though they continue to ignore or, worse, to join his treachery. After Trump exits the stage, look for their righteous conversion, resembling ex-leaders of post-communist Europe.
As I was preparing this post, columnist Jennifer Rubin beat me to the following numbing charges words with which I fully agree: “There are no innocent Republicans running for reelection to the House or Senate [italics mine; JC]. Their grievous misdeeds . . . were intentional. Their desire to maintain their good standing in the Trumpified Republican Party and avoid the wrath of President Trump’s deeply dishonest right-wing media allies overrode all considerations of decency, honesty and constitutional probity. ”Even when the House Impeachment Committee (majority Democrats) handed the Senate an easy choice between cowering and governing, all Republican Senators save one ducked behind their desks and voted for acquittal. Had Trump not shown everyone but the senate how crooked he is? I suppose not, for Mitch McConnell and the rest sheepishly granted Trump cover for whatever illegal, traitorous actions he might later commit. My, what brave patriots they were!
Trump’s further opportunity for misuse of his office came soon after Mitch McConnell and his colleagues—by acquitting Trump—got their opportunity to do likewise, thereby confirming that Trump could do whatever he wished (ready for that shot on Fifth Avenue?). The coronavirus arrived within days, furnishing fresh opportunities in the next few months for the Senators and Trump to demonstrate how many coronavirus deaths can be shrouded by the expression, “unfit for office,” both his and theirs.
Accountability for that and four years of misgovernment includes a significant amount of pandemic culpability. When the US coronavirus performance is compared to more effective countries, Trump and therefore his Republican protectors are obviously responsible for the many unnecessary deaths. Trump tried to protect himself by a constant coverup about how the US was doing a better job than anyone else. Trump is directly responsible for a confused and feckless federal/state effort that makes America look (and be) amateurish. Further, he contaminates expert opinion with political factors and partisanship, causing the country to suffer a worse economic condition, widespread illness, and unnecessary deaths.
I need to make clear that I don’t think the Republicans I’m shaming ran for office with intent to endure, much less cause, an unprecedented degree of White House sleaziness, or to be accessories to presidential desires for autocracy. Yet, they accept a subservience to Trump at the expense of their own constitutional responsibilities. Misgovernance cannot but cause even further mismanagement, miring governance in culpability under current conditions for a significant amount of our pandemic failure.
And pandemic death. The coronavirus deaths—beyond 200,000; possibly twice that by January—occurred while elected Republicans at the Congressional level were either silent or actively loyal . . . not to the United States, not even to the Republican Party, but to Donald Trump. President Nero fiddled with crank treatments, played political favorites among governors, and complained unendingly that Covid-19’s source being in China proves definitively that he is not responsible.
Except that he is.
As are Republicans who eulogize him in return for electoral morsels from his table.
[JohnJustThinking is an irregular commentary by me (unless otherwise noted) on social, ethical, scientific, and non-partisan political, partisan political, and cultural interests. More than 230 essays have been posted since mid-2013, all accessible from any page. If you choose to be a Follower, you’ll be automatically notified with each new post.]