CSotD: The War Within

Timing matters, and Lee Judge (KFS) offered this cartoon yesterday. That, plus the elephants, indicates that he meant the metaphorical war in the Capitol, not the actual shooting war that has once again burst out, this time in Maine, but which was too late to be part of his consideration.

But the question applies there, too. Those elephants are part of more than just the war they’re waging on each other, and on the nation, within the halls of Congress.

But we’ll start there.

This Matt Wuerker (Politico) piece is also slightly outdated, having been posted before the music stopped and the choice was made, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the GOP is being led by an ex-president who not only cost them the White House but has had a dubious record for getting his chosen candidates past the voters since then.

And yet he’s way out ahead in polls of Republican voters, who, after all, represent nearly a third of all registered voters. Or at least in polls of Republicans who still have land lines and are willing to respond to poll requests.

Under those circumstances, what possible choice does the GOP have except to fall into lockstep and follow his instructions?

According to Kirk Walters (KFS), that’s how the House wound up electing a virtually unknown Trump loyalist to be Speaker. There were, reportedly, GOP legislators who had to look him up to see who he was, but they dutifully voted for him as ordered.

Walters is reliably conservative in his outlook, but he sure doesn’t seem to be completely dedicated to advancing Trump’s agenda in this matter.

And while it’s surprising to see Walters push back against the decision, he’s not alone. Scott Stantis is also conservative and he echoes the notion that Johnson is simply a Trump servant, placed in position to do the master’s bidding. Note not only the fake blonde hair but the fact that his job title suggests he will only be in office for as long as he remembers who he’s there to serve.

Speaking from the other side of the aisle, Clay Jones gets the name of this non-entity wrong — it’s “Mike,” not “Mark” — but makes the point that, whateverthehell his name is, Johnson has indeed spoken up about the issues that matter to him.

Jones elaborates on Johnson’s declared views in a passionate, occasionally profane screed that contains more about those agenda items listed in the cartoon.

But if you prefer your analysis in a more genteel format, this Rolling Stone article contains much of the same basic information. Read one, read’em both, see what you think.

While we’re still allowed to think.

The saving grace in all this, John Buss points out, is that whatever extremist proposals Johnson manages to cobble together with the Freedom Caucus and get by the passive rubber-stampers in the House will still have to be approved by the grown-ups in the Senate.

That’s only a one-year warranty, mind you. All bets are off if the GOP flips the Senate, and particularly if they manage to put Dear Leader back in the Oval Office before the majesty of the law puts him in Leavenworth.

Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint) offers this optimistic view of things, but it relies on the assumption that the Republican Party wants to continue to exist as the Grand Old Party rather than making a switch to MAGAtry.

As discussed here recently, this is not the same situation the Whigs faced, which fractured and destroyed their party in the build-up to the Civil War.

It is more akin to the Democrats reinventing themselves in the 20th Century and going from the party that had opposed Reconstruction to the party that became the standard-bearers for civil rights, while the Republicans were heading in the opposite direction, though still proudly calling themselves “The Party of Lincoln.”

Perhaps they mean George Lincoln Rockwell, but I don’t think there’s a lot of deep political analysis going on.

If there were, you wouldn’t have conservatives screaming “Communist!” and “Socialist!” at their opponents while proposing to cut funding for Ukraine and hand it over Vladimir Putin, whom they insist had nothing to do with the trolls who rose up to support Trump in 2016.

In any case, we’ve got (ho-hum) another mass shooting on our plates, and if Bill Bramhall‘s cartoon isn’t a creative breakthrough, it states the obvious clearly, and, given how impossible it is to come up with a fresh take on this old issue, clarity may be what’s most needed at the moment.

As I’m writing in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, the shooter remains at large and, having lived in that part of Maine, I would suggest that, if he can take to the woods with some degree of sanity, he could be out there for awhile.

It almost doesn’t matter, though people in Western Maine are, understandably, freaking out and it would be good to either take him into custody or find his body, either of which seems equally inevitable.

And it’s good that Congressman Jared Golden of Maine has reversed his previous resistance to a ban on assault-style rifles, but, then again, he’s a Democrat and, between the new Speaker and the Old Guard, he’s spitting into a hurricane.

Pardon me if I sound uncaring, but we’ve heard this song before, usually played out in passionate, meaningless speeches to an empty chamber during Special Orders.

For a look at what’s really going on, consider this

Juxtaposition of the Day

Dana Summers — Tribune

Jack Ohman — Tribune

Summers makes the claim that Democrats oppose legislation to fund mental health programs, which is either a case of mind-boggling ignorance or astonishing dishonesty. We’ve heard about how the real problem is mental health, not easy access to weapons of war, but it usually comes from the same side of the aisle where mental health funding gets cut. And that’s not the Democratic side.

Ohman is closer to reality, with the GOP Congress using mental health as a distraction from doing anything to challenge the gun lobby.

Lalo Alcaraz (AMS) cuts to the chase and outlines the real insanity that afflicts our nation: A people who can watch so many pointlessly slaughtered and offer nothing more than thoughts and prayers and jargon and lobbying.

7 thoughts on “CSotD: The War Within

  1. For some reason, I had “Mark” stuck in my brain even though I had researched the guy for the cartoon and my blog. Unfortunately, both of my proofreaders were out and I sent the “Mark” version to my clients. I discovered my mistake within minutes and repaired the cartoon with “MIke” and sent that version out with a note. I’ve sent typos out before to my newspaper clients and sent the corrected version soon after, and you will be surprised at how many still use the typo version.
    But the “Mark” version landed on my blog, and I even wrote on my blog about messing it up. I must have put that version on the blog and forgot to replace it. The “Mike” version is what was posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Threads, TikTok, and YouTube.

    I felt that needed an explanation. Mike Peterson was the only person to notice and make a note of it over the past 24 hours.

    1. I wish you had made it Mark Jonson, for a relatively unknown guy now 3rd in line for the presidency

  2. Re: the John Buss cartoon.
    Stephen Colbert himself noticed that Speaker Johnson could be his doppelgänger.
    He was horrified.
    Also, the mental health comments are valid.
    My dim witted congressman (Tom Tiffany) put out some garbage on my Facebook asking me how Joe Biden’s inflation was destroying my life. I responded with a statement about the Lewiston murders.
    Immediately, the page was filled with “the gun had nothing to do with the shooting” and threats.

  3. Summers: But the mental health issue?

    Me: Cool, cool, so that means conservatives are going to make sure mental health care gets better insurance coverage so people can afford it? Maybe they can make sure counselors and therapists are reimbursed better so there won’t be a shortage? Maybe they can make higher ed less expensive so more people can afford the training to be a therapist?

    Summers: …. I can’t draw that coming out of a cartoon elephant.

  4. Listened to the Green Prince on CNN the other day. He took pains to note that Hamas is a religious organization, not a political one, and that as such, it cannot be negotiated with for positive political outcomes. This distinction should not be lost on us as we observe our own Republican Party transformed into a cult of personality in servitude to a charismatic leader.

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