Politics has always been a dirty pastime riddled with broken promises, crass hypocrisy and subjective rank opportunism. I should know: I've been a political strategist for over 20 years and counting. And I've had a front row seat to this behavior and contributed many new chapters to the book of dirty politics. That's because there are no second places in American politics -- its win or lose. Does the phrase cutthroat, gutter politics some to mind? So when I hear leaders of BOTH political parties speaking teary-eyed about their love of the common people and wanting to put more money in their pockets, it immediately suppress the overpowering urge to yawn.
That was my first reaction to the Republican tax bill. But then I took a closer look and realized that even in the treacherous world of politics this bill (now law) took the cake. Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, has long wanted to do this. This was and is the culmination of the toxic amalgamation of Reaganomics, Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" (Paul Ryan's guiding philosophy), and trickle down economics, the natural hogwash that ramming hard-earned taxpayer money into the overstuffed pockets of rich people will somehow help us poor sods. So instead of buying luxury custom built yachts, airplanes and other rich people toys, they will, out of the goodness of their hearts and love for the army of the unwashed, they're going to suddenly grow consciences and provide work. This Republican pipe dream, packaged as hard facts, would have us working stiffs believe that a tiny group of people that vehemently oppose the $15 minimum wage, will get a St. Paul-like revelation to do the right thing.
Tone deaf to the pleas of the people that they say they're doing this for and salivating over a bill (soon to be law) that will jettison over 13 million Americans from the health coverage roster, Republicans only heard the threats of the big campaign donors. Their greedy, whining, grabbing, lobbying, cajoling paid off -- Republicans and the billionaire class won. We the people got royally screwed.
Yes, with only 33 percent of the support for the bill (the same kind of flushy toilet numbers that President Trump is stuck in) the Republicans charged ahead like a crazed herd of wildebeasts heading for grazing grounds. Drum roll for the privileged few and even if pigs suddenly start to fly they got what they paid for -- and more. The Republican puppet masters must be dancing a jig now, giggling uncontrollably as they wring their grubby hands in gleeful anticipation of the coming money tsunami that will flow into cash troughs and the inevitable feeding frenzy.
The bill will be signed into law by a catastrophic president an event that will no doubt be marked by triumphalist chest thumping and broad guffaws that hide the hurricane-like damage that this one, simple illegible scrawling action on paper will cause. The elderly will buckle under the sheer weight of a law that sees them as so many pieces of unwanted garbage, to be disposed of and thrown into social landfills. Students will fall, unable to pick themselves up as teachers hold their heads in their hands locked in incomprehensible perplexity.
I'm no Christian as you all know but, at this time a Biblical verse came to me, its sheer simple poetry obfuscating the heavy weight of its pragmatism: Matthew 6:24: "You cannot serve both God and Mammon." But today Republicans demonstrated that they CAN do just that and in case you don't know who or what "Mammon" is -- just substitute is for "money." It's a warning about the self-destructive power and nature of unrestrained, out of control greed. The Republican Tax bill suddenly looked to me as "a golden, fatted calf." They sold their miserable souls to the Horned and Hoofed One without plodding from his trident.
But the obscenity does not end there. They had to do us one better. Yes, with President Trump's signature this bill, now law, will be like paying himself and his well-heeled cronies. In fact, the 45th President of the United States would have done something that no other past president has done -- write and sign a check to himself. Because this law will fatten his bank account and allow this companies to continue to milk the public teats like a group of piglets fighting to suckle on one big, fat money pig.
This is a corporate money grab plain and simple. I don't need to read the law to come to the unmistakable conclusion that something is radically wrong when corporations will get tax cuts forever and "we the people" in whose name the law is said to be about, will have the meager pittances of cuts sunset after about 6 to 10 years. And to add insult to injury, to stick it to the "little man" that Republicans love saying they are working for, insurance rates will go up and millions will lose coverage. The Orwellian stunt has not fooled the people, even those that are died-in-the-wool Republicans. They know a con when they see one. Big business and mega donors now have the run of the place and they're going to behave like a rampaging bull in a financial China shop. Swell!
I watched the smug; "gee, we did it!" looks on the faces of the almost all-white, all-male Republican amen chorus beatifically beaming behind a president desperate for "a win" at any cost. Why, the man nearly broke into his version of the Polka -- he was gushing and bouncing about like a kid with ADHD, beside himself that at long last, at last, here's something that he can take to his zany base and say "see, I passed tax reform; Obama care repeal and replace up next." Yeah. Corporate one percenters will now loot the US Treasury that "I President-in-Chief, the shining orange one supreme, beyond reproach and immune to criticism, winning "bigly" and harbinger of "fake news" have spoken.
But the REAL NEWS is that for all the Republican senators posturing about fairness and good governance they are not going to buck their corporate godfathers. The so-called moderate Republicans, those who showboated during the Affordable Care Act fandango and stuck their gnarly fingers in Trump's eye, all capitulated and voted in lock step with their president's diktat. "Heroes" like John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, the thinking goes, "held out" for "something better." But I don't know what they got or if they got played. Serves them right if they got played for suckers.
Donald Trump is will strut, preen and crow over a law he has not really read and knows next to nothing about, but signed anyway. Don't be miffed or dismayed over this - it's his purpose in life. You see it is apropos and fitting that a gigantic legislative fraud is now law and that it was visited on a gullible, mentally feeble American population by the easily the biggest political faux pas in US presidential history. It is the axiomatic conclusion to an activity that spawned a grotesque political charlatanry that the majority of Americans are now ruing.
Dear angry and offended Americans, this too shall past. This ugly nightmare that now causes you sleepless nights will end. All this coupled with the deliberate attempt to erase and undo all of the policies and common sense legislation instituted by former President Barack Obama would be hilarious were it not serious as high cholesterol. Indeed, the Republican anti-Obama agenda -- from blaming him for everything that they screw up, and gum up to the 45th POTUS actively, ruthlessly, energetically and without regard to the consequences, excoriating anything and everything with "Obama" written in it, is monumentally laughable. Its as if these cats in the U.S. Congress are so mentally unstable that they are willing to do anything that the Pharaoh in the White House tells them to do.
As Americans -- the vast majority of them -- get ready to experience the realities of the new tax law and Wall Street's money gormandizers get set to sing Big Boy's "Happy Days Are Here Again" reminiscent of that Dick Tracy movie, this may well be a pyrrhic victory. Time will tell, as Jimmy Cliff said. The euphoric mood in Congress and the White House should give us pause -- how can they celebrate at the same time that they are bringing misery to so many, many? Simple. They just don't care.
Ah, Will Shakespeare. I salute your pearls of wisdom You did warn us about this. Macbeth was bloody well right.
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,