Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How The Tax Bill Actually Could Be a Win For the GOP

I finally figured out one way that passing the most unpopular piece of major Federal legislation since the 1980's actually could be considered a win for the GOP. It still doesn't make them look like better human beings. In fact, if anything, it might make them look a bit worse.

You may recall that a few days ago there was a strange story about Paul Ryan: a supposedly reliable source said that the Speaker was very moody and had talked about not running for re-election in 2018, and ending his political career.

Then very quickly after that Ryan denied that this story was true. He said that everything was wonderful and that he had no plans to retire. But a lot of reporters continued to act as if the story hadn't been a mistake at all. And if anyone might be in a position to know where the story had come from and how reliable it was -- it's those reporters.

Now, all reliable polling on the planet shows that the Republicans just keep getting less and less popular, and that many Republican members of Congress might be retired after the 2018 mid-terms -- voluntarily or not. Whether Ryan runs or not, the Speaker of the House might well be a Democrat after the mid-terms. Their sinking popularity might mean that this tax bill -- if it passes. It hasn't passed yet -- might not just be the first big bill passed by the GOP during Trump's term in office -- it might be the first and the last.

And so, it might very well be that many Republican Senators and Congresspeople regard this bill as their retirement program, their golden parachutes. They feel they can't impeach Trump -- it doesn't make sense to me that they feel can't impeach him, but it seems more and more as if they feel that they just can't. Trump is extremely unpopular, and getting more unpopular, and he is dragging the rest of the GOP down with him. And so the Republicans in the Senate and House are cashing in, as big as they can, before the voters retire them.

Now, that's certainly evil, but it's a rational sort of evil, based on a realistic assumption about the future: the assumption that the Democrats will control Congress after the 2018 mid-terms, and that if the Republicans want to get richer by ripping of the US in a huge way, they have to do it right now, because right now is going to be their last chance.

But I could be completely wrong. Time after time I've given the Republican leadership way too much credit: Assuming that they wouldn't be dumb enough to actually impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 with the ridiculous case that Kenneth Starr handed them. Assuming that they would manage to nominate someone other than Trump. Assuming that they would impeach Trump rather than let Trump destroy their political careers along with his own. Etc, etc. Perhaps, again, in this case, they're simply less fact-based than I could imagine, and they really believe that their tax bill will lead to budget surpluses instead of deficits, and that they will win instead of lose in the mid-terms, and that Trump will be re-elected and go down in history as the greatest American President of all time, and that Trump and Sarah Huckabee are honest and straightforward. Etc.

Again, though -- the bill hasn't passed yet. There still is time for individual Republican legislators to figure that their prospects for a political career in the future are worth more than what they would make from the bill. Or even to have a fit of conscience, and to stand up and say that this bill is wrong and disgusting and that they can't vote for it for those reasons. No, I don't think that's likely. But you never know. It might play very well politically for some individuals in the GOP. And they actually are human beings.

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