Man, I never thought I would be nostalgic for the days when John Boehner was banging the gavel as Speaker of the House when not busy emptying out the liquor cabinets on Capital Hill, but that day has dawned. Boehner appears in a clip on Ari Melber’s show, discussing Trump’s Mexican tariffs, and he’s making perfect sense to me. When asked about the Republican party, he responds, “There is no Republican party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican party is taking a nap somewhere.” Indeed they are, and if you look at the clip, Boehner looks like he could use one himself — which is not a diss. Believe me, I have been born-again politically, grasping at straws of hope from anywhere as Trump further strains relations with Mexico, threatening to crater the economy, and even John Boehner is displaying leadership I can follow. That is how distorted and grotesque this house of mirrors in Washington has become.
Then Melber spoke with columnist Mike Lupica and former Republican Congressman Tom Coleman. A candid Coleman informed us that we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. No s*it. RawStory:
“However, I have thought long and hard about what’s wrong with Republicans,” said Coleman. “And I kind of think they’re like the Munchkins in the land of Oz. They’re really afraid of the wizard until they drew back the curtain and found out it was just a guy with a microphone. And I think we have a lot of that going on here.”
“So, you know, in The Wizard of Oz, we had the scarecrow who needed a brain, we had a tin man who needed a heart, and a lion who needed courage,” Coleman continued. “So the Republicans need to take their cue from there. They need to use their own brains instead of letting Trump think for them. They need to follow their heart and do what’s right. And finally, they need the courage to stand up to this wannabe dictator and find out. And I think maybe the Congress is going to pull that curtain and they’ll find out that the guy behind the curtain is just an overweight loudmouth.”
Now, here’s where the detour gets stranger, if that’s conceivable. Even Ted Cruz sounds rational, when it comes to this insane tariff proposal — which Trump keeps absurdly doubling down on, claiming the Senators do not understand tariffs, when he’s the only one in the room who is profoundly clueless. New York Times:
Republican senators emerged from a closed-door lunch [Tuesday] at the Capitol angered by the briefing they received from a deputy White House counsel and an assistant attorney general on the legal basis for Mr. Trump to impose new tariffs by declaring a national emergency at the southern border.
“I want you to take a message back” to the White House, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, told the lawyers, according to people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Cruz warned that “you didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican conference. He called the proposed tariffs a $30 billion tax increase on Texans.
“I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border,” Mr. Cruz later told reporters. “But there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.”
Texas stands to be the hardest hit from tariffs on products from Mexico, to the tune of $26.75 billion. Wrap your head around that for a moment. Texas is a huge state, a small country unto itself, with a massive economy, like California, which is in position three, behind Michigan, followed by Illinois and Ohio, on the roster of states that will be most affected by the proposed tariffs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The other Republican Senator from Texas isn’t too chipper about Trump’s notion, either.
“We’re holding a gun to our own heads,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.
If Mr. Trump were to declare an emergency to impose the tariffs, the House and the Senate could pass a resolution disapproving them. But such a resolution would almost certainly face a presidential veto, meaning that both the House and the Senate would have to muster two-thirds majorities to beat Mr. Trump.
The National Emergencies Act is being used as political theater, like everything else Trump lays his hands to. This is nothing more than grandstanding for the base on his signature issue, immigration, now that La Berrera has become the punchline of a joke. Marco Rubio, in his usual reptilian mode, is among the very few Republicans supporting this proposed perversion of the Act.
The law provides @potus broad authority to control transactions with other nations if there is an unusual & extraordinary threat to the national security &/or economy of the U.S.. Unlawful migration & drug flow transiting through #Mexico into U.S. clearly poses such a threat.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 3, 2019
It might come down to a vote in the Senate. There is one ray of hope, out of the recent past. The Senate did vote 98-0 last July, to reject Vladimir Putin’s proposal to Trump, made in Helsinki, to allow an exchange of Russians indicted by Mueller for the right to interrogate American diplomats, who Putin believed had committed crimes against the Kremlin. That did take place. Maybe the same thing will happen twice. Hey, maybe now-retired Senator Jeff Flake will be allowed to get back up to the podium and quote George Orwell again. Remember that? The famous line, “the party would have you reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. it was their final, most essential command.” Then he said this:
“If ever there was a moment to think not of just your party but for the country, this is it…This is not a moment for spin, deflection, justification, circling the wagons, forgetting, moving on to the next news cycle, or for more of Orwell’s doublespeak.”
That was indeed such a moment and it looks like this is another one. Sigh. How soon can we fire the lead of this s*itshow and get it cancelled?