The first year of the Trump administration has not been, how shall we say, “good,” not even for the baddies, and especially not for Congressional Republicans. There are no signature legislative achievements, or even many medium, appetizer-sized legislative achievements. They managed to confirm a Supreme Court justice, and they repealed the good broadband privacy and arbitration rules, and they managed to not renew healthcare for poor children, which is a win for them because they are evil bastards. But overall, the congressional GOP is not making the most of their first year of unified government since 2007.
The tax cut package was supposed to change all that. After their embarrassing failure to completely destroy the already-very-bad system of American healthcare, this was supposed to be a big WIN! for the party. Things are going a little better but still not great; as of this writing, the Senate bill is yet to be revealed, but the House bill’s deficit-exploding impact has turned off some of the hardline deficit hawks. The bill will also likely get increasingly unpopular as people find out what is actually in it, as happened with healthcare. There’s a danger for the Republicans that the same dynamic that sunk the healthcare repeal process, whereby the demands of the absolutely worst conservatives couldn’t be squared with the few moderates who don’t necessarily want to throw every poor person into Lake Michigan, could sink this bill too.
And the GOP knows it. They are terrified that they’ll have yet another dramatic, very public failure on their hands. Not because they think voters will punish them for that—the GOP has bottomless contempt for the American public, who they consider stupid and easily manipulated, which honestly works out quite well for them a lot of the time. No, they are worried that if they once again fall down the stairs with their underwear over their head and their dick stuck in a melon, their donors will stop calling.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., admitted as much:
And Sen. Lindsey Graham, admittedly known for a special kind of “drunk aunt at a wedding tells you what she REALLY thinks of Mary-Lou” straight-ish talk, said the same:
The same concerns cropped up during the healthcare battle, though mostly anonymously. During their Sisyphean attempt to repeal the ACA, an unnamed Senate Republican told Politico that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was trying to show donors “that the Senate GOP tried again,” and the New York Times reported that Sen. Cory Gardner relayed ominous news of “furious” donors to his Republican colleagues. At this point, with the end of 2017 fast approaching, it seems that they’ve given up even the barest pretense of caring about like, the American people, and shit.
It is pretty wild to see politicians admitting that they are trying to cut taxes on the rich solely to appease their rich donors. How did they get here?
Primarily, it’s an indication of the party with absolutely no shame, and one that therefore doesn’t really fear the consequences of admitting that it’s all about the donors. Both Collins and Graham are in pretty safe seats—Collins won his seat with 67 percent of the vote in 2016, and Graham is, uh, from South Carolina—but even politicians in relatively safe seats should still be, like, a little concerned about openly admitting extremely dumb and unpopular things. It should be very much not okay to admit that you are attempting to pass major legislation mainly to ensure that your donors continue writing checks, not just because that is “bad optics” but because it is actually very corrupt, too. It should literally be illegal to do that!
Why would Republicans not fear the consequences of putting a big sticker on the party’s forehead saying I AM CORRUPT? Perhaps they suspect the Democrats aren’t smart or organized enough to nail them for it, to run ads saying “The Republican Party admits it’s for the wealthy, not for you,” in every district, 24 hours a day (because they know Tom Steyer will waste his cash on those stupid impeachment ads instead). Perhaps they feel so insulated from any sort of democratic accountability, because of gerrymandering and voter suppression and the general alienation of the electorate, that they simply forget to pretend to act as though they are accountable to their constituents, and not their donors. Perhaps it’s because they are very tired, so very weary of trying to get literally anything done with a pile of wet rags for a president and with between two and four annoying senators who are 0.1 percent less committed to being Fully Fucking Evil than the rest of them are. Perhaps it’s because Nothing Matters, lol.
The Republicans are, once again, taping a big KICK ME sign to their big fat bottoms and bending over politely. Will the Democrats hit this juicy target? Or will they keep talking about the fucking deficit, the political equivalent of Father Ted being too afraid to kick Bishop Brennan up the arse?
I bet I know which it will be!