The First 100 Days Should be the Last
Being a political blogger is very similar to being one of the blind men feeling an elephant. According to the old Indian legend, one man felt the trunk and thought it was a rope. Another felt the abdomen and thought it was a wall. Yet another held the tail and thought it was a vine. The point of the story, of course, is if you completely lack context (or in this case, sight) and try to form an opinion about something large, you're likely to focus only on the small part you can actually get your hands on. And, of course, your very limited perception is always going to be wrong.
With the party running the current administration, the Supreme Court (which should NOT be run by a particular party) and Congress, the elephant metaphor makes for an apt symbol, indeed. No matter how well connected we think we are (and some in the 5th Estate are), we're still on the outside looking in. Or, as with the Indian story, fumbling around the elephant and focusing on particulars that are guaranteed to lead us astray.
Take the current situation brewing between us and North Korea. Kim Jong Un, another in a long line of soft, blubbery, genocidal second generation dictators, is waving his nukes in our general direction. This, to judge by him addressing the entire Senate at the White House last Wednesday, is making Trump flare his orange neck wattles in North Korea's general direction.
OK, the time for jokes is over. Trump's seriously going where neither Bush nor Obama ever went before and that's forcing a showdown between us and a nation that has The Bomb. We don't know if they have the H Bomb or how effective their delivery systems are. When nukes are involved, we have to assume the other guys know what they're doing. To play Devil's Advocate, think Dick Cheney's One Percent Doctrine.
We'd made Trump the butt of countless jokes, many for good reason. But in his first 100 days, he has managed to do this:
1) Get both his Muslim travel bans shot down in federal court.
2) Made no progress on his vanity wall, save for stealing land from Texas residents (who voted for him) through "eminent domain" for something that hasn't begun to be built, yet.
3) He has alienated Australia.
4) He has alienated Mexico.
5) He had alienated Germany.
6) He had alienated North Korea.
7) He has alienated South Korea.
8) He has alienated China.
9) Rex Tillerson, his so-called Secretary of State who seems to have been installed merely to ensure that all the proposed oil pipelines, especially Russia's, get built according to schedule, otherwise doesn't seem to have a fucking clue what else is going on.
10) The same day the Senate was briefed on North Korea at the White House, Rep. Elijah Cummings openly said the White House acts as if "it has something to hide." Meaning Russia.
11) After trying to get rid of it for seven years, the GOP couldn't get enough votes to kill ObamaCare despite having the votes in both chambers to do so.
12) Congress today had to pass stopgap measures to prevent the government from shutting down because Trump vowed he would do that if he didn't get his way.
13) His former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, is of the liveliest interest in the halls of Congress and is not being offered an immunity deal.
All this in the first 100 days. And these are just the bullet points.
In the case of the Trump administration, it's not so much what we know as what we don't know is what should alarm us.
We don't have Trump's tax returns that he'd promised to disclose on the campaign trail.
We don't have access to the intelligence documents proving Michael Flynn did not seek permission for, or disclose, some large payments from Russia.
We don't have the Trump dossier assembled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele.
We still don't know the extent of Trump's ties to the highest levels of the Russian government as well as Russian organized crime.
We don't have the transcripts of the conversations held between Russian
We don't know any of this shit. We're feeling the tail and thinking, "Vine" and so forth.
Yet as the Teapot Dome scandal and Watergate and many other political scandals have proved, the coverup is always worse than the original crime. It wasn't Watergate that toppled Nixon, it was the subsequent coverup.
Those of you in your mid 50's and up may remember Watergate. That was back in the good old days when Nixon's own party was prepared to impeach him at the risk of seeing their own party lose in the upcoming 1974 midterms. And it was only when Barry Goldwater walked into the Oval Office to inform Nixon that the Senate had enough votes to impeach that Nixon got out while the getting was good.
Well, between Trump's malfeasance with the levers of power, the blatant dishonesty, the recklessness and the ridicule he's heaped upon this country in such a short period of time, with the 2018 midterms looming closer and closer, the GOP may once again consider defenestrating one of their own and throwing Trump's bloated carcass off the bus and under its wheels. The longer this administration shambles to what is guaranteed to be a horrific climax, likely with North Korea, the more Trump pushes them into that corner. They're about to pay for their partisanship and support of this clearly insane man if they don't 25th amendment this lunatic even if just for cynical reasons such as incumbency and party supremacy.
We on the outside looking in can only guess at what's producing the fever and the fret we're seeing in the West Wing, the constantly conflicting signals given to us by Trump then his flaks who insist Trump was speaking only metaphorically. We can only extrapolate conclusions from the evidence we're seeing. We're legally blind and grasping at shadows, forms, outlines, blobs of color.
But what we're permitted to see with our necessarily limited ken doesn't portend anything good. You don't need vision to know when a crowded building is on fire. You'll still hear the people screaming when they run out and the fire engines' sirens. You'll feel the heat, smell the smoke.
And a sane person wouldn't continue their walk, glad to be blind, pretending the world isn't burning down around their ears.