Monday, March 19, 2018

Living in a Gish Gallop

I've been trying to remember what I thought life under Mulligan would be like back in November 2016. For a reality check, here's my post from the day after the election, when I started a new tag called Hell in a Handbasket. This is one thing I wrote that day, and it holds up:

If you've ever had a family member who was emotionally or physically abusive, you'll recognize what I call walking on eggshells. You modulate everything you say out loud or even what you show on your face so that you don't set off the abuser.

That's what life in Trump's White House is going to be like, and for any other people who have to work with him, and by extension, the nation. It will be all about how to survive him and maybe get him to do what you want through twisted manipulation instead of honesty.
Anyway, here's what I can reconstruct of what I thought then versus now. I'm sure I have forgotten dozens of important topics, but that's because we're living in item number 1.

Things that are worse than I even imagined since Mulligan took office:
  1. The constant gish gallop of lies, amplified by the bully (bully!) pulpit and Twitter. Almost every day, there's at least one story that would have occupied the news media for weeks during any other administration and brought about resignations, but with this administration, it's just on to the next story because there are so many of them. The vast majority of people don't even hear about the incredibly damaging activities taking place, but if you're paying attention, the deluge is overwhelming.
  2. The graft, cronyism, and nepotism. While expected, they often take particularly vile forms and surprise me. Melania's close friend making millions of dollars from the inauguration — the expensive travel of Price, Pruitt, Zinke, Mnuchin — Carson's dining room table — Jared and Ivanka...
  3. The fact that Mulligan hasn't imposed sanctions against Russia, even though they passed almost unanimously in Congress. Which leads to the next item:
  4. The complete lapdog nature of all Republicans. I feel silly admitting it, but I thought maybe four or five of them in the Senate would stand up for what was right. Nope.
  5. Continuing support for the clearly depraved Mulligan by white evangelical "christians."
  6. Anthony Kennedy saying he plans to retire this summer so Mulligan can get in another disastrous, 40-year Supreme Court justice.
  7. The decimation of State Department staff. 
  8. The administration undermining the ACA without any legal basis, and getting away with it.
  9. The constant churn of firings and the reality-TV approach he takes to "governing." (A failure of imagination on my part, I know.)
  10. The complete undermining of the security clearance system, especially after "her emails" was such a central topic. 
  11. The coming death of net neutrality. I thought we could save that one, maybe.
  12. The level of sheer incompetence among his judicial appointees. 
  13. How much he's golfing and spending time in Florida. I thought he would be more conscious of how bad that looks, after all the bitching about Obama golfing.  
Things that are not as bad as I worried they might be since Mulligan took (took!) office:
  1. No nuclear annihilation…yet.
  2. No obvious boundary-pushing from enemies just to test him (aside from the whole Russian thing, which started earlier). (I worried about that on here back in December 2016.)
  3. No coup by the U.S. military.
Things that are about what I expected:
  1. Just how bad Mulligan is at all of this. He can't learn anything and he has no interest in learning.
  2. The denial of climate change and acceleration to more fossil fuel use.
  3. The Muslim ban and DACA destruction.
  4. Immigration raids by ICE.
  5. The tax bill.
  6. Scott Pruitt destroying the EPA.
  7. Ryan Zinke destroying the national parks.
  8. Voter suppression/Kris Kobach.
  9. Ben Carson incompetence.
  10. Betsy Devoid incompetence.
  11. Neil Gorsuch.
  12. Nick Mulvaney destroying the CFPB and Congress moving to gut Dodd-Frank.
  13. Jeff Sessions undermining the rule of law like the racist he is.
  14. Mulligan's insults to professional athletes and military families as long as they're not white.
  15. The fact that he gives high-level jobs to domestic abusers. 
  16. The overt form his attacks on the press have taken.
Half of the items on the "about what I expected" list would have happened under any Republican president, so it's no surprise that Mulligan is carrying them out. The incompetence of many of his cabinet members is probably a plus, quite honestly.

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