Don't Let Republicans Off the Hook on COVID Relief and the Minimum Wage

In Pennsylvania, 62% of voters in 2019 supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That was consistent with polls from previous years. A poll this month showed that 59% of Pennsylvanians support the COVID relief bill currently being voted on, including the hike in minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Pennsylvania is the same as the federal one: $7.25 an hour.

In Wisconsin, the bill polls at 60% support. A 2019 poll showed 57% support for a higher minimum wage. The minimum wage right now in Wisconsin is $7.25 an hour.

In West Virginia, raising the minimum wage to $15 has the support of 62% of voters. The state's Republican governor, Jim Justice, supports the COVID relief bill, including the minimum wage hike, which is currently a comparatively generous $8.75 an hour.

Nationally, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill polls at 76% approval, including 60% of Republicans. It is one of the most popular major pieces of legislation in years. It is bipartisan. Hell, it's universal, considering that 71% of independents are for it at least "somewhat." And at least 59% of Americans support the $15 minimum wage. 

I chose Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia specifically because they are states whose two senators are divided between Democrat and Republican. And while it's easy to dump on Democrats in the Senate for their failure to unify behind the minimum wage hike or getting rid of the filibuster (and, yes, I realize it's primarily Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona), and while it's easy to be cynical about Republicans' fealty to their agenda of owning the libs and getting back power so they can get in more judges while undermining democracy and kissing Trump's voluminous ass, that lets Republicans off the hook for doing things that large majorities of Americans, including in their own states, want them to do. 

Seriously: the approval of the COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, is above 50% in Republican states like Florida, Texas, Missouri, and Louisiana. And that's in a poll that not only laid out what was in it (including the minimum wage), but also gave examples of arguments for and against it before asking about support. 

We simply give up on Republicans without making them take the blame. The problem isn't just two Democrats. The problem is 50 Republicans. Yeah, sure, put all the pressure you can on Manchin and Sinema. (By the way, Manchin isn't changing parties if he's squeezed. If he does, he'll be crushed in the Republican primary in West Virginia in 2024.) But Republicans need to be reminded that they can pay a price for ignoring their states' voters. Why should Manchin get all the grief when West Virginia's other senator, Republican Shelley Capito, simply sails along, flipping off the people in her state who desperately need funding. Even now, Democratic groups and the DNC need to be running ads nonstop that put the screws on Republicans, that get the phone calls pouring in. Will most of the targeted Republicans not give a damn about it as long as their corporate funders back them? Probably, but you can make them sweat and set things up for 2022, at the very least. 

When Senate Minority Leader and Man Who Always Looks Like He's Seen a Large Penis for the First Time Mitch McConnell was asked about the broad support for COVID relief, he called it "wasteful," and Republicans criticized Democrats for things in the bill like funding for the Kennedy Center and a bridge in upstate New York, as if $100 million is anything other than a molecule in a drop in a $1.9 trillion bucket. 

But this popularity of this bill and the minimum wage fight during the time of COVID gives Democrats a chance to do something that I've talked about a great deal: it allows them to shift the political narrative away from "feckless Dems are too liberal" to "cruel Republicans are taking food out of your mouths" and "Republicans want to keep you at starvation wages." Democrats like Manchin and Sinema and previous self-proclaimed "moderates" are still buying the former narrative, but the nation has obviously moved away from that. The nation took the legislative and executive branches away from Republicans two years after giving them complete control of them.

Democrats are still responding to the narrative that Republicans created for them during the Reagan presidency. Too many Dems tried to prove they weren't that "liberal" (including Joe Biden). Now, let's figure out how to make Republicans have to show they are not who we say they are. This is a legit chance to do that, the first one since 2009, and we screwed that one up. Don't waste this opportunity.


500,000+ Dead Need to Be Piled in Front of the GOP

This dumbfuck nation has no idea about how deep the post-traumatic stress disorder it's going to have to deal with for the foreseeable future is going to be. As we shift back to whatever normalcy is, we are going to bear the scars of the miserable last year and more. Every human interaction will be burdened with a sense of unease, an anxiety that will remain even as we know that we're vaccinated, that the virus is gone or under control. We will have been rewired by this brief but scarring period, and that goes even for those who act like it's all back to how things were pre-COVID. Resistance to the trauma is an active effect of it. 

And then there's the mountain of the dead to contend with. Over a half-million people who lived in the goddamned United States are no longer here, and that's another scar on our exhausted, marked-up bodies. We cannot allow that loss to simply be absorbed into our collective propensity to repress, to forget the quotidian horrors of 21st-century existence. We need to keep that pain and grief present. And we need to lay those corpses down where they belong: piled like fleshy cordwood right in front of the Republicans.

We live in the world that they fucked up. No, the GOP didn't start the coronavirus, but they sure as hell made it into a catastrophe through their unending support for Donald Trump, who saw COVID not as a crisis but as a turd in the punchbowl at his gaudy party that he wasn't going to fish out. And they can't ever be allowed to forget it. What I fear is that the Republican Party is already changing the narrative, shifting blame for the high death count to states, to federal medical officials like Anthony Fauci, and, when it doesn't seem completely insane, eventually to the Biden administration, sweeping their own guilt away. 

You can see it happen in real time with their refusal to deal honestly in any way with the insurrection and riot at the Capitol on January 6. You can see it in the party's refusal to censure, formally or informally, their members who profess to believe that the 2020 election was so filled with fraud and illegalities that Donald Trump actually beat Joe Biden. In fact, when you get to the level of the state GOP, they've gone completely nutzoid in their adherence to what we now call "the Big Lie" about the election, using it as an excuse to fuck over the voters with bullshit, useless restrictions that seek to turn Democratic voters into criminals. They are gaslighting and then building their agenda on how they've gaslit everyone.

In her scathing piece titled "Trump Is Guilty of Pandemicide" in Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett damningly lays out how Trump completely checked out on any decisions at all on COVID efforts between the election and the inauguration. He was essentially telling us all to go fuck ourselves and die if he wasn't installed back in office. And it's not as if he did much of anything before, other than not blocking funding to get a vaccine. He made masks and social distancing and lockdowns into a political battleground. He perversely refused to acknowledge the dead and sick, offering virtually no words of comfort or sympathy. He lied about his own bout of coronavirus. He supported the sick fucks who protested maskless against restrictions, even to the point of violence, even to the point of an attempted kidnap/murder of the governor of Michigan. He held rallies and events with no masking and no social distancing that were superspreader events. He pointedly declined to use the Defense Production Act until too far into the pandemic and even then on a limited basis. He didn't give a single rat shit about having a national plan on testing and mitigation, and, at the end, we lost two months of vaccine distribution because, as I said, we could all go fuck ourselves, as far as he was concerned. So many lives could have been saved. So many jobs and businesses could have been saved. As Garrett puts it, prior to Trump, "no sitting U.S. president...has willfully allowed such preventable carnage to unfold on the American people."

And sitting there, almost to a person, aiding and abetting and supporting and comforting Trump was the Republican Party. They didn't kill people with weapons, but they sure as hell caused hundreds of thousands more to die than needed to. They're counting on the short attention span of American voters to forget that complicity or to believe the lies they are telling now. Democrats can't allow that to happen. The corpses of COVID victims ought to be tied to each one of them, weighing them down like Jacob Marley's chains. 

Democrats are losing the moment. They are losing the chance to tar and feather Republicans with their failure, much like they did in 2009. They are losing the momentum and the plot on the COVID relief package as they try to get Republicans to buy into it (even if President Biden has said that he doesn't have a problem passing it without them). Hell, in 2009, by this point, the Recovery Act had been signed into law by Barack Obama to deal with the economic crisis. Meanwhile, Republicans have been given a chance to regroup post-insurrection and get their cocks hard for obstruction while Democrats keep finding ways to step on their dicks every time they move, even as the bill is supported by a huge majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans. Just pass the goddamn thing.

But it's not just a problem with the legislation. Democrats are also dropping the ball on making sure that everyone fucking knows that the reason vaccine distribution is going so well now is because of the Democrats running the federal government now. Donald Trump is a moronic piece of shit, but he's a savant when it comes to marketing himself. He fucking dreads the idea of not getting credit for the vaccine rollout. It's not that he deserves any credit, but that never stopped him from claiming it. He knows that Democrats could easily plant their flag on the vaccine's success. 

And, frankly, I don't know what the fuck they're waiting for. Get those ads out there. That's where you draw the separation between the parties in stark terms: They're the disease; we're the cure. (Not to go all Cobra on you.) There should be a commission on the COVID incompetence like what's being done with the 1/6 coup attempt. And, in general, we should have more moments like Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly absolutely tearing Republican Jim Jordan a new asshole, as he did today over the election fuckery.

I know we say all the time that Democrats are unmatched in their ability to fuck up golden opportunities to put a goddamn stake in the heart of the GOP vampires. But this shit isn't even that hard. Every terrible allegation you can make against Republicans is fucking real, unlike the fantasy crap they pin on Democrats. And it would suck to lose the chance to secure a narrative that paints the GOP as the criminals and extremists they are, all in the name of some worthless fucking illusion of unity.

See, Democrats can explain, the problem with unity, the problem with bipartisanship is that one of the parties is filled with murderers. Look at all the dead people piled in front of them.


Dead Terrrorist: Rush Limbaugh Wrecked America

When I heard Rush Limbaugh had finally died, my first thought was "I hope he was screaming in pain when the light switch flicked off." He had lost his hearing, battled opioid addiction, and succumbed to lung cancer, and he still didn't suffer enough. I hope he realized at the end that there was no afterlife, that after he died, he was dead. Forever. 

Rush Limbaugh was already a mad bomber before he was invited to become the spiritual leader of the terrorist movement known as the Republican Party. The top hyena of the savage beasts of right-wing talk radio, Limbaugh was the jabbering clown, mixing the naughty school boy humor of drive-time DJs and the nonstop ranting of an end times preacher. He gave voice to the aggrieved white men who saw their hegemonic control over everything being encroached upon by women, by people of color, by gays and lesbians, by them, that undefined shadow culture ready to wreck all that the good, bleached, heteronationalists had done for the ungrateful hottentots, whores, and homos. He turned "liberal" into a dirty word, and we are just recovering from that.

Like Ronald Reagan letting the evangelical sadists into the White House, thus making them a poisonous political force we are dealing with to this day, Limbaugh's status was legitimized by President George H. W. Bush. Bush was seeking man-of-the-people street cred in his run against the genuinely earthy Bill Clinton in 1992. Against the young, hip, sexually-voracious Clinton, Bush seemed like an out-of-touch dilettante, a prissy pussy, a rich elitist, so he took a sojourn to Limbaugh's studio, which must have smelled like phlegmy cigar breath and fiery beef farts, to canoodle with the egotistical prick with a mic, who was already on a tear against both Bill and Hillary Clinton, with whom he'd be obsessed for the rest of his shitty life. And why not? In that election year, Limbaugh was the most popular talk radio host in the country, he had a number one bestseller with his first book, and was about to launch his quick and pathetic failure of a TV show. He was fucking ubiquitous. Hell, Bush had already hosted him overnight at the White House. 

You who weren't aware or alive during this time have no idea how huge Limbaugh was, how significant, and how omnipresent he was. I was talking to my pal Mark last night about it. Back in the 1990s, as part of a radio drama show I produced in Tennessee, I wrote a parody of Limbaugh called "The Rich Flemball Show" (no, it was not subtle). And Mark played Flemball, so I thought he'd have some insights or at least a good insult or two upon that bastard's death. He told me about how, in his town in middle Tennessee, "There was a barbecue restaurant that had a Rush room. Every day they would turn on Rush to listen, and every day the room would be filled with people who wanted to listen to Rush." He said that when Limbaugh was at his peak, you couldn't be at a red light without someone blaring Rush. "My mail carrier would have Rush playing whenever she drove up," he added.  People wanted to act like and be Rush Limbaugh. (And, yes, radio was that important back then, pre-internet, pre-Fox "news.")

There was something else that George H. W. Bush was seeking that Limbaugh embodied: identification with a caricature of a type of masculinity. Not rugged machismo, no, that was for Reagan and his horses and ranch. That took too much physical effort. Instead, it was a white male dominance, a sense that power and acclaim and riches and women were owed to the white men. In Limbaugh's telling, it wasn’t enough that men were seen as superior. It’s that all opposed to men had to be defeated and denigrated. You couldn't just say someone was wrong; you had to dehumanize them, and that meant something beyond calling them "hippies" or "communists" (although he certainly did). It meant being as savage and cruel as possible. Limbaugh set out to destroy the center and the left in our political spectrum, leaving only a brute force right led by white men and possibly a non-white or two who acknowledged how awesome white men are.

You can read all about Limbaugh's wanton cruelty, like his attacks on women's sexuality while constantly bragging about his own. He didn't coin the term "feminazi," but he popularized it to the point that it helped wreck the momentum of the feminist movement for decades. That pejorative debased any feminist effort, from equal pay to equal treatment at work to issues like rape laws and sexual harassment policies, all things he saw as attacks on normative white masculinity. He wrote in in The Way Things Ought to Be, "A feminazi is a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed." His reasoning is that women want abortions because it disempowers men. "They don't need men in order to be happy," he blathered on motherfuckingly. "They certainly don't want males to be able to exert any control over them. Abortion is the ultimate symbol of women's emancipation from the power and influence of men." Remember: he's saying that this is a bad thing. Anything a woman did to gain power had to be done at the expense of male power, and that shit would not stand in his perverse world view.

There was an image of the white male as the natural leader of the world, that to criticize the white male is to demean him (which is the narcissistic way in which "political correctness" and "cancel culture" are defined by these pricks). Limbaugh didn't invent toxic masculinity, but he made it something to be embraced, something to aspire to for men, and you had to actively resist it. For many in the 1990s and since, it's easier to embrace this image of the white collar male as conqueror, the Attilas of the cubicles. It presents an outdated and even comforting way of ordering the world, but, of course, it was one that was based on a bullshit hierarchy and notions of gender and race that were outdated in the 1970s. 

Mark said, "The one image that sticks in my head is a close-up photo of him, looking up at his jowls, cigar stuck between his teeth, as if saying, 'Look what a tough son of a bitch I am.'" And on his show, he would assert an alpha male dominance over callers that was just tedious because he always could just cut them off and move on. Limbaugh couched all of this in biblical bullshit, yammering on about how Christianity needed to be taught in schools and that biblical notions of identity needed to be enforced. He embraced the evangelical nutzoids and they embraced him because they both pushed a patriarchal view that was the antithesis of the embrace of equality of the sexes, genders, sexualities, and races. That shit is comforting to too many people, and Limbaugh leaned into it, even as he rotated through so many wives it was as if he announced, "Bring me another woman. This one broke" before he moved on to the next one. 

Some will tell you that Limbaugh was funny, that his caller abortions and his jokey slams on the disabled and the deceased were just dark, edgy humor. Except this deaf bitch punched down most of the time, and that's not funny. Besides, that's what conservatives will always say when they're caught being complete fucks: we were joking. I read Limbaugh's fucking books. He wasn't joking. Chances are that he hated you and wanted you to be, at least, subservient to him, or, even, dead at his feet.

We are living in the United States that Rush Limbaugh was a large part of creating. He inspired Newt Gingrich to fuck up the running of Congress. He tore apart families like right-wing media and Donald Trump did in more recent decades. Hell, my brother listened to that brazen buffoon for a few years, and I regularly had to say, "No, fuck him. I wish he would choke to death on one of his cock-substitute stogies." He perverted media by substituting his bullshit lies for actual facts. He showed Roger Ailes that you could make shit-tons of money by spouting the most racist, divisive fuckery and laugh at the rubes while you counted the cash. He was cruel to the weak and made hate into a something to aspire to. Jesus, he made it fine for conservatives to not even pretend they gave a shit about people who weren't them and gave license for the right to use degrading language to anyone different. And he inspired all those even further devolved shit worms that came after him, like Hannity and Coulter and fucking Tucker Carlson. 

"He won," Mark said. "He made the Republican Party in his image: a bunch of fucking misanthropes with no sense of humor about themselves, and that's it. That's who they are for the foreseeable future. He's a big part of why their party is so broken, that us vs. them mentality." He didn't do it alone, but, goddamn, he gave the GOP license to treat legislating as a battle to the death. He fanned flames of the culture war until he could cackle over the conflagrations like a gleeful arsonist jacking off as his fires burned down schoolhouses. "I'm glad he lived to see Trump lose," Mark said, for, yes, Trump was the ideal Limbaugh president, a fake tough guy who thought his bravado and bullshit masculinity would make him a great leader. 

I hated Rush Limbaugh for over three decades. It was a visceral, burning hatred, the kind that has only been topped by a hatred for George W. Bush and Donald Trump. I fucking hate bullies, and that's what he was, always pushing around others through his sexism and racism and homophobia and Islamophobia. More than that, he was a terrorist, finding new targets to poison and electrocute and blow up. He didn't give a fuck how much damage he did as long as he got credit for doing it. He wanted you to feel inferior to him, like every half-assed, self-hating shitheel in history. And he arguably caused more death and destruction than ten Osama bin Ladens. It would take volumes to detail all the evil done by him and in his name.

Yeah, I fucking hope he died screaming. I fucking hope he was in just enough pain to feel it all without going into shock. If there's a hell, I hope he's next to Antonin Scalia, awaiting a train of hot, spiked demon dicks to ream his ass and mouth for eternity, two spurts of lava jizz coursing through him from each side until they fill his desiccated lungs, over and over again. 

Then he'll begin to come close to feeling all the suffering he caused on earth.

(Note: There are no fat jokes in here because I made enough of them over the years. Unlike Limbaugh, I don't do the same schtick forever.)


Texas Learns That Government Has to Do Something Other Than Restrict Abortion

In his State of the State address at the beginning of February, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott laid out five "emergency items" that the legislature can vote on within 60 days of the start of the session. These included passing a weak bail reform measure, punishing cities that "defund the police," protecting companies from lawsuits related to COVID-19, and doing something something "election integrity." The one infrastructure measure that was given emergency status was a genuinely good one: expanding broadband access for rural communities.  Of course, it's hard to use broadband when your power is out.

The rest of Abbott's agenda was the usual conservative culture war bullshit. "In this session, we need a law that insures that the life of every child will be spared from the ravages of abortion," Abbott said. And "we need to erect a complete barrier against any government official anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas. Texas must be a Second Amendment sanctuary state." Oh, and don't worry. Your right to get coronavirus at church will be protected: "I want a law this session that prevents any government entity from shutting down religious activities in Texas." In other words, mostly cruel and dumb garbage that benefits no one except the politicians who have lied so much that the truth looks like a liberal conspiracy to their idiot hordes.

There was no talk about using tax funds from the economy Abbott bragged about to shore up the energy grid in Texas. There was actually nothing else about infrastructure other than making sure that Pornhub streams smoothly on the ranches of West Texas. But Abbott did say one other thing that is pretty relevant to the frozen clusterfuck the state has become in the last two days: "Texas prides itself on low regulations, but our response to the crisis revealed even more regulations that can be cut... I’m asking the legislature to make permanent some of the regulatory relief that are authorized. This will cut red tape and unleash the full might of the Texas economy."

I'm going to guess that the blackouts, low or no water, frozen and burst pipes, and the damage all that causes will have a greater economic impact on Texas than the "red tape" of regulations. And, to state the blatantly obvious, it was lack of regulation enforcement or regulations themselves that created this ice dildo Texas fucked itself with. See, Texas had a similar situation in 1989 and decided, "Ah, fuck it, we'll be fine." Then it happened again in 2011 and Texas decided, "Ah, fuck it, we'll be fine." 

Except really, it wasn't fine. To be fair, the Texas legislature did pass "a law in 2011 requiring power companies to file regular reports with the Texas Public Utility Commission about their weatherization efforts." But, you know, that doesn't mean anything was actually weatherized, although they talked about spending the money to prevent rolling blackouts without doing much because that's what the fuck happens in a state where the utilities barely have to answer to the government because capitalism and freedom.

In November, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas's Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken "assured the Legislature that the agency had studied a range of extreme weather scenarios for the coming winter and had determined, 'there is sufficient generation to adequately serve our customers.' But ERCOT only sets best practices for generators, unable to force them to better protect their equipment from the cold. State Rep. Gene Wu described it as, 'trusting producers to use profit motive to maintain production.'"

You got that? This isn't about the lies that Texas officials and right-wing media fuckstooges have told about wind power being the culprit for breaking the power grid in the state. (It's not. It's everything, which means that it's mostly natural gas issues because that's what generates most of the power in Texas.) It's about a state government that's been run by Republicans alone since 2003. It's about the conservative fuckery over the years, including deregulation, climate change denial, and refusal to spend on the basic shit that people need while instead worrying about whether or not the motherfucking Dallas Mavericks are playing the National Anthem before their games.

This is a climate disaster, with at least 10 people dead already and more misery on the way, including possible issues with the food supply chain. Abbott is blaming the Green New Deal, which is not a law anywhere, but, hey, it's better than saying, "Yeah, we fucked up royally for nearly a generation and need to be voted the fuck out of office before we kill more of you." Or you could listen to cockfleas like former governor and former Secretary of Energy Rick "Wait, You Mean the Job's Not Just About Oil" Perry saying, "Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business."

That's what these assholes think about you: Texans would rather freeze to death and starve than let the big ol' guvmint do the job that a motherfucking government is supposed to do. And that's where you come in, Texans. Your government can do more than pass anti-abortion laws and create gun sanctuaries, where rifles and pistols can run wild and free. It can actually make it so shit isn't miserable. Get on that.

Oh, by the way, Abbott is now saying that "reform at ERCOT would be an emergency item during the legislative session." Don't hold your breath that they'll actually, you know, regulate it.


Democrats Are Trying to Save the Republicans' Souls, But the GOP Prefers Damnation

Note on Saturday, 2/13: You could read all of this in past tense now. But it still stands. 

In their presentation of the ironclad case against Donald Trump, Democrats are offering Republicans that rarest of things in this time of wanton condemnation and belligerent tribalism: a chance at redemption. By cataloging Trump's sins against democracy and the stability of the nation, enabled and cheered on by most Republican senators and nearly all of the hooting maniacs in the Republican caucus in the House, yes, Democratic House managers have demonstrated that the Republican Party has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Trump Corporation. 

But they are not doing it merely to attack the craven lackeys of the disgraced former president. They are doing it to say, "This is what you've become. This is the man you have given the last shards of your wrecked integrity to." And then Democrats are giving Republicans this chance to untether themselves from Trump and his shrinking hordes of idiots. They are trying to save the debased souls of Republicans. It's a kindness, a mitzvah, as House manager Jamie Raskin eloquently placed the decision in terms of larger morality. 

Yet, almost assuredly, Republicans are going to vote for their own damnation. 

Right now, the only thing that can save the GOP from Trump is banning him from running for federal office. Trump knows the power he has over the party: he could, on a whim or on a grudge, start a third party and take a big chunk of Republicans with him. But that only works if he's on the top of the ticket in 2024. The number of rabid Don, Jr. devotees is gonna turn out to be pathetic, like low enough to make that desperate bastard cry more. So the equation is pretty simple: take a Trump run out of the picture and the Republican Party is free to go back to being basically the exact same thing it always was, a bunch of hateful motherfuckers who want to inflict maximum harm on the poor while enriching themselves and their donors but unburdened by the destructive oaf who will dominate them as long as he chooses to do so. 

Basically, you can break down the Republicans in the Senate into a few distinct categories in their relation to this reality:

You've got your ride-or-die ones, which includes the actual true believers (like quivering worms Mike Lee and Tommy Tuberville), Trump's ass remoras (like Lindsey Graham and Marsha Blackburn), and the fake Trump-humpers, like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who believe that they can take Trump's place as the God of the Yahoos once he's gone (which likely means they're gambling on him going to prison or being dead or too physically weak to run in 2024). Oh, and Rand Paul, but fuck that guy.

You've got your Sweet-Jesus-make-him-go-away ones, like Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski. That also includes assholes like Ben Sasse, who wants to run for president but without being eclipsed by an orange shadow. Also, fuck that guy.

And you've got your supposedly-savvy ones who, to the extent that we know, are wrestling with their votes. That includes Mitch McConnell, who wants his fucking power without having to deal with Trump  but also wants to retain power in the likelihood that Trump's acquitted and is watching things like the treatment of Liz Cheney and trying to figure out how to fit his square dick in a round hole so he can get the fuck out of this relatively unscathed. McConnell knows just enough to tell senators to vote their consciences, but he's not brave enough to tell them to vote to convict. As for the rest in this group, you've probably got your "I want to convict, but I won't because I don't want all the death threats" crowd, as well as your "I want to acquit because I suck but I know he's guilty and, goddamnit, I might actually have a conscience on this one thing since my family was scared I was going to die on January 6." You see that in the eyes of someone like Rob Portman. Fuck that guy.

(Side note: This would be the time to get donors to the GOP to make a statement. Will corporations stop supporting senators who vote to acquit? Because that would change some minds pretty fuckin' quickly.)

Look, we're almost certain about how this is going to go. Yes, Republicans will take damnation because that's who they are. It's who they've been for decades. They have successfully manipulated class resentment to their favor. They have exploited racism and xenophobia and Islamophobia and homophobia and weaponized it. They will drive the working class and those in poverty to their graves rather than raise taxes on the wealthy and pretend that that's the American way and, really, at this point, it kind of is. Reagan let the evangelical crazies in the door to the GOP, and it's been wide-open ever since, and it's a straight line from that to QAnon and the Proud Boys and the Trumpists taking over the joint.

Democrats have given Republicans a gift, a way to begin to purge themselves and demonstrate that there is a glimmer of decency left in them. It couldn't be more obvious that Trump spent years getting his followers ready to commit violence in his name. The vote to convict couldn't be more obvious. Democrats are practically begging Republicans to take this opportunity. The question is whether they are too dumb, too awful, too greedy, and/or too short-sighted to take it.

But, if they don't, it's also a trap. Barring any last minute shocks, they will vote to acquit. When they do, Republicans are saying that they belong to Trump. They are his loyal curs and they're just fine with that, as they have been throughout his terrible presidency, supporting him on his savage cruelties and abhorrent egomania. They are just fine with his violence and lawlessness. They are fine with him threatening their lives. They are fine with him continuing to pervert and contort all aspects of the American political system. They don't give a fuck about democracy. If they can get his blessings and a kind word, it's all good. 

As I've said before, to continue to support Trump is evil. Some people justify their evil through a larger ideological frame to make themselves feel better. And some people just like being evil.


Younger Democrats Are All Out of Fucks to Give for Republicans' Feelings

Let us say, and why not, that you're a Democrat who came of age in this century and then got elected to Congress. Your adult experience of the Republican party really starts with George W. Bush and the Iraq "war" and the economic meltdown and the fucktastrophe that was the response to Hurricane Katrina. You don't fondly remember Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan getting their Irish on to cut deals. You don't give a goddamn about how chummy Bob Dole and George McGovern were. You don't give a fuck about how there used to be liberal Rockefeller Republicans or there were glory days of cooperation or any of that bullshit that people exaggerate like their dick size on a Grinder profile. You only know Republicans as the savage motherfuckers who have twice wrecked the country and who treated Barack Obama like shit, who blocked progress in every area, who filled the judiciary with brutal idiots with culture warrior and evangelical nutzoid street cred, and who whine like wounded bitches whenever anyone dares to call them on their fuckery.

Imagine how freeing it must be, how liberating to not be burdened by that history. Younger Democrats get it. They know that the Republican Party is just a bunch of cruel capitalism fanatics, Christian nationalists, white supremacists, and conspiracy maniacs. They deal with the GOP as it is, not the fantasy of how it was, not the fantasy of how it could be. 

That's why to those of us who have been waiting for this Democratic Party to finally emerge, who hoped that it would move beyond the torpor of tepid tradition and cancerous comity, these last few weeks have been like getting a breath of fresh air after being locked in a closet and having to inhale Joe Lieberman's farts for years. 

Look at where things are going: Democrats are embracing the agenda (heavily influenced by the Bernie Sanders left, which, despite what you may think of Sanders himself or some of his more dickish followers, has brought more energy and youth to the Democratic Party since Obama's first campaign, and that's a net good by any fucking stretch of your political imagination) that is supported by the majority of the American people. And most of it is supported by big majorities, like the approval of Biden's COVID relief bill is at roughly 60-66%, including at least a third of Republicans.  Who the fuck cares what Marco Rubio or Marsha Blackburn whine about when you've got that much of the public behind you? If you can't run on "We did what the country wanted us to do," then you suck. 

The Democrats who have run out of fucks to give about what Republicans think, believe, want, need, or feel are pushing the party leftward (if by "leftward," you mean, "Where nearly every other country in the fucking civilized world has been for decades and calls 'the middle'"). You see it in how vitally important raising the minimum wage is at last, as well as canceling student debt. You see it in how a push for a rational, compassionate immigration policy might actually get off the ground beyond reversing the xenophobic fucknuttery of the Trump administration. President Joe Biden's policies so far have been, on the whole, more progressive than I think anyone anticipated, and his "yeah, suck my balls, we'll go it alone" response to Republicans wanting to negotiate COVID relief to death was encouraging as hell. 

The older generation that gets on board will reap rewards, like not being primaried. For instance, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is no idiot, and he's following that leftward tilt to avoid a primary from someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And, frankly, the same goes for Nancy Pelosi's "you can eat my whole ass" approach to slamming through impeachment in the wake of Trump's traitorous encouragement of a coup attempt. Even more to the point, a Republican, fucking Mitt Romney sees the way the wind is blowing and has gotten behind an effort to reduce the number of children living in poverty through, Reagan wept, money from the government (and Biden is supporting it, too).

That's why it's beyond maddening when the traditionalists and the supposedly enlightened "moderate" Democrats rear their dumb fucking heads and advocate for shit like the filibuster, as if a Senate rule is more important than the will of the majority of the country on something like expanding health care, or like the completely dumb means-testing for the financial support in the COVID relief bill. Or even in the fucked way that Democrats are conducting the Senate trial for Trump. Call fuckin' witnesses. If we're throwing down over an insurrection, let's throw the fuck down.

This is not temporary. Democrats have developed a deep, deep bench since 2016, one that includes not only the Squad and Katie Porter, but newcomers like Cori Bush, Ritchie Torres, Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock, all of whom understand that Republicans represent an existential threat to democracy and not just Democrats. They have been given no reason to give a single half-hearted fuck about the GOP. They're right, as are all of us who have been wanting this attitude for years. Maybe Trump finally scared the shit out of Democrats, as if they finally understood that you can't win a game when your opponent has wiped his ass with the rules.

Really, the Republican Party is only alive as long as Donald Trump wants it to be. That's how pathetic it is. That's how useless it is. Fuck them until they're buried in the cold, cold ground and govern as if we can actually fix the shit that needs fixing.


Republicans Want to Ignore the Trauma of the Capitol Riot Because Most of Them Are Guilty of Inciting It

I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again. I've had guns pointed at me multiple times. I've been in fights. I've done some weird shit that was dumb and dangerous. None of that made much of an impression on my psyche because I was fairly certain each time that I wasn't going to die. The one thing that sticks with me is one sound: the jiggling of a locked doorknob as someone tried to open the door to the bedroom I was in. No one else was supposed to be in the apartment of my then-partner. But at around 3 in the morning, from the bed, I heard the screen door open and then some prying at the front door and then footsteps and then a pause and then the metal knob being turned. This was before cell phones, and the only landline in the joint was in the living room, so calling the cops was out of the question. I yelled, "Whoever you are, I've got a gun" as, yes, I held in my hand the pistol that my partner kept under her bed, ready to shoot anyone who came through the door. It didn't come to that. They ran away and we discovered the only thing missing was the large knife that we had left on the counter in the mess we intended to clean in the morning. Whoever was there didn't intend to rob. They could have grabbed the TV and a couple of items and had a decent haul. They were there to kill or rape. Ever since that day, I have never felt entirely safe wherever I'm staying. It really is more a feeling. I don't really do that much differently, but I always double-check locks now since the fact that I happened to lock the door that night was potentially the difference between life and death. Or life and me shooting someone. 

That's trauma. That's the way trauma works. I don't like that my behavior changed due to it, but I don't fucking like that it happened and I don't fucking like that I really can't help the way I feel. I don't want to, but I just do. And what happened to me was mild. It's nothing compared to the victims of violent crimes who suffer physical and emotional damage. It's less than nothing compared to sexual assault survivors or war victims or, hell, soldiers, even. Or kids in a school shooting. But this shit stays with you, even if you made it out physically unscathed.

What happened to the members of Congress, their staffs, the building staff, and the police of January 6 was traumatic. I mean, Jesus fuck, imagine being a Democrat as you hear a crazed mob of conspiracy nuts hooting and yelling down the halls, shouting the names of Nancy Pelosi, the Squad, and others, a bunch of violent white people who broke windows and doors, who overwhelmed the Capitol police, who you know are hopped up on calls for them to "Stop the Steal," who have been talking openly about spilling the blood of those who oppose Donald Trump, their leader who gave them permission to make sure that Democrats and turncoat Republican got the message and ordered them to march on the Capitol. Imagine barricading yourself in an office with others, piling furniture against the door, hiding in closets and under desks, hoping that they don't find you, that you just wanted to come to work and do your job as, say, Rep. Ayanna Pressley's chief of staff and now you don't know if you'll get out alive because right outside the door is a literal lynch mob, one that has sent your boss and you a continuous stream of death threats, one that had set up an actual, useable gallows outside your place of work. The legit fear of being killed rewires you.

We don't have to totally imagine it because we're hearing from members and their staff about how they were traumatized by the events of that day, and, really, all the days after with much of the right's reaction to the riot. Conservatives mocked people who said they felt that their lives were in danger, like Tucker "I Always Look Like I'm Trying to Convince You I Didn't Fart" Carlson saying of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "When the most harrowing thing you've done in life is pass freshman sociology at Boston University, every day is a brand new drama." He sneered that out of his smug, dumb face on January 14, when the Democrat had said that she and her staff had "narrowly escaped death" in the Capitol. 

On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez explained in detail what happened to her on that day, and, yeah, by any measure, it was gut-wrenchingly frightening. She framed the experience of trauma within another trauma she has suffered in her life, a sexual assault, and the PTSD  that comes after that traumatic event. Of course, dickhead conservatives even mocked her for that, as if those who didn't experience any of this have a single fucking right to say how those who did handle it.

Those in Congress who wish to deny that trauma, those who wish for the ones who incited it to go unpunished, those who just want to move on without figuring out why this happened and how to stop it from ever fucking happening again, they are also participants in traumatizing their colleagues and others. And it's easy to see why. Because the nation as a whole is suffering from series of collective traumas, from the pandemic to the economic turmoil to Trump and the Republicans' effort to overturn the 2020 election. 

That last part is key because it's impossible to get over the abject cruelty (and greed) of what the GOP and conservative media did to this already weakened, beaten down country. And they essentially split the country into those who were driven mad believing the election lies and those who were anywhere from worried to shit-scared about what the mad mob would do. And then they fucking did it, and we are merely fortunate that the insurrection wasn't far, far worse than the 5 people who died that day, along with the over 100 injuries to law enforcement and others.

So when a GOP senator says that impeaching and trying Trump is a waste of time, when Republican senators refuse to even entertain the idea of saying that Trump is guilty of inciting the insurrection, what they are revealing is that they know they are guilty, too, with some, like the odious cockmites Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, directly guilty through encouraging the mob prior to the riot. And they can't even excise the garbage Republicans in the House who have doubled down on threats of violence and the overwhelming majority of whom voted to overturn the presidential election. Frankly, if you supported Trump at all during this attempted coup, you are guilty, too.

These motherfuckers can't wish the trauma away. They know that they fucked up, that they finally went too far. And their refusal to accept responsibility does continuing damage to not just the Congress, but to the country as a whole. We are all the victims of the GOP.