Presidential Priorities Differ

A Republic, if you can keep it.”

* If you’re not a feckless GOPster pol or part of a deplorable basket, you appreciate a diminished public presence by this self-aggrandizing, insolent, in-your-face president. That said, it’s still, ironically, no time for an unused bully pulpit, one that is critically necessary to help lead America through pandemic-vaccination logistics and one that is needed to help call out the Russians for cyberattacks. Speaking of the latter, Trump has defended the Russians, blamed the Chinese and disagreed with his own cybersecurity agency and secretary of state. “The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality,” unsurprisingly declared Trump.

In other words, Trump continues doubling down on his sore-loser, Odious Office departure. The election was still “stolen” or “rigged.” And Vlad Putin is still his handler, regardless of how the relationship undermines national security and international repute. The bottom line, even for this unprecedented president, should be to do everything possible to protect the American people. Whether it’s the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, a missile crisis, a presidential assassination, 9/11—or a pandemic and cyberattacks. Trump is underscoring that his narcissistic priorities—and those of most Americans—are irreconcilable.

We can only wonder what kind of Trump-directed counter programming will perversely juxtapose the Inauguration. What is certain is that Chuck Schumer’s hope that Trump might “end his term with a modicum of grace and dignity” is a pipe dream.

* So, Mitch McConnell has finally recognized Joe Biden’s win and even congratulated him. It only took six weeks and a number of long-shot, sore-loser, legal defeats. Hell, Vlad Putin acknowledged Biden’s win before McConnell did. Now the Senate Majority Leader gets criticized—by Trump and his base—for giving up so soon, for not having had a bit more acolyte allegiance. He’s even been contemptuously labeled a “Rino.” That’s what recognizing–however unconscionably deferred–reality gets you in the era of Trump Republicanism: being thrown under the disloyalty bus.

Well, too bad Mitch, but you’ll find some familiar, former Trump enablers under that bus with you. You’ve all earned it. Regards to William Barr and Jeff Sessions.

* “Can’t believe how badly Fox News is doing in the ratings! Fox News is dead.” That was the outgoing president tweeting on Fox’s refusal to validate Trump’s ongoing assertion that he would have officially won the election had it not been “stolen.” Chances are Fox also disagrees with Trump’s ratings-spiral obit for the network. Fox is still, alas, the top-rated network, and, no, it’s not fake news that Fox led all cable news stations in the last round of Nielsen Ratings. Like Trump, it’s still here. Unlike the president, reality can occasionally trump fealty.

* “A growing number of Florida Republicans are urging me to challenge Marco Rubio in the Republican primary.” That was the unpardonably sleazy Roger Stone, reminding us that just when we think we’ve heard it all here in “Flo-RED-a,” we have not. Trump baggage, in its various manifestations and iterations, will be with us for a while. Just ask Ivanka.

* It’s the longest of long shots, but there is some insider talk about President-elect Biden considering Judge Merrick Garland for attorney general. It won’t happen, but the karma-and-poetic-justice crowd would love seeing Barack Obama’s partisanly-derailed choice for the Supreme Court, a man synonymous with fairness, in charge of the post-Sessions/Barr Justice Department.

* “May you be like mixologists at trendy gastropubs: behind bars.” Gotta love Trump-targeted, Yiddish humor, even if Bibi Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson aren’t laughing.

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