Mike Pence, White-Haired Knight?
I complained earlier today about how poor the Congressional GOP has been, but it’s well worth your time to read this anonymous Republican Congressman unloading on Donald Trump to Erick Erickson. Excerpts:
“I read you writing about this, about wanting to say nice things when you can and criticize when you need to. He may be an idiot, but he’s still the President and leader of my party and he is capable of doing some things right,” he says before conceding it’s usually other people doing the right things in the President’s name. “But dammit he’s taking us all down with him. We are well and truly f**ked in November. Kevin [McCarthy] is already circling like a green fly circling sh*t trying to take Paul’s [Ryan] job because nobody thinks he’s sticking around for Nancy [Pelosi]. She’s going to f**k up the cafeteria again too. [Lord’s name in vain], at least I’ll probably lose too and won’t have to put up with that sh*t.” He won’t lose. His district is very Republican.
What’s the problem, though? Well, get ready…
Oh, man, is it rough. And then:
“I say a lot of shit on TV defending him, even over this. But honestly, I wish the motherf*cker would just go away. We’re going to lose the House, lose the Senate, and lose a bunch of states because of him. All his supporters will blame us for what we have or have not done, but he hasn’t led. He wakes up in the morning, sh*ts all over Twitter, sh*ts all over us, sh*ts all over his staff, then hits golf balls. F*ck him. Of course, I can’t say that in public or I’d get run out of town.”
The congressman’s base loves the President. And we’re done. He feels better having let it all out. It was a funny conversation with a few additional remarks about the President’s personal life I dare not print.
And yes, I agree, it is bad form to say all this in private while publicly praising the President. Welcome to Donald Trump’s Washington. Everybody does this sh*t here.
Read the whole thing. It’s not pleasant, but it’s enjoyable. And it speaks to a real issue in the GOP: the base loves Trump, even though Trump is a terrible leader. I get the base’s despising the GOP establishment — once again, I encourage you all to bow in the direction of Tucker Carlson’s great January 28, 2016, Politico essay — but that doesn’t make Donald Trump competent or good.
Ross Douthat speculates today on whether or not religious conservatives ought to be rooting for Trump to be impeached and replaced by Mike Pence. From his case:
In the 2016 election, once Marco Rubio was defeated and Ted Cruz dispatched, religious conservatives faced a binary choice: Vote Trump or get Hillary. One does not have to agree with the ultimate decision that most of them made to understand the logic that motivated a decision for Trump.
But the politics of the coming year, once the Mueller investigation ceases to be a black box and delivers whatever it’s going to deliver (you’ll get no predictions from me!), might offer a very different choice. If Trump were impeached and removed from the White House, the presidency would devolve to precisely the kind of man whom much of pre-Trump religious conservatism insisted that it wanted in the Oval Office: an evangelical Christian family man with a bluenose’s temperament and a boring Reaganite checklist of beliefs.
Sure, making use of Donald Trump to keep Hillary Clinton from being president is a fascinating flourish by history’s Author, but the idea that the Almighty might use a porn star to make Mike Pence president represents, if anything, an even more amazing miracle. So anyone interested in looking for the hand of God in history should probably welcome that miracle’s arrival, rather than resisting in the name of MAGA.
Am I jesting? Only to a point. That God has a sense of dramatic irony and narrative surprise seems like one of the most obvious lessons to be drawn from the Trump era. That God is using Trump not as an agent of his good work but as a kind of ongoing test of everyone else’s moral character seems like a not-unreasonable inference to draw. That God would offer religious conservatives in danger of selling their souls a chance not just to step back from the brink but to literally replace Donald Trump with a fellow religious conservative — well, that seems like just the kind of opportunity that a beneficent deity would grant to erring members of his flock.
And for those same religious conservatives to pass up the chance, preferring a scorched-earth battle in defense of priapism, would be a sad confirmation of the point that a beloved Christian author made many years ago: The doors of hell are locked on the inside.
The moral credibility of Religious Conservatism, Inc., has been demolished by Trumpism no matter what, but I do think it would be easier for the Republicans to defend their seats this fall with Pence in the White House, not Trump. On the other hand, with a resentful Trump out there pumping up the base to hate the “treacherous” GOP, it might be a slaughter led by the stay-at-home Trumpkins.
Well, let it not be said that we live in boring times.