Russia

At this point, you have to believe that Republicans are like the frog in hot water – indifferent to the fact that it is heating up. In the last 24 hours, Trump has insulted one of their own, Jeff Sessions, for doing his job. Used the Boy Scouts as a backdrop to whine, attack enemies, threaten friends. And dragged his 11-year-old son into the conversation.

His closest confidant, son-in-law Jared Kushner – the man he has entrusted a multiplicity of tasks – has confessed he lacks the management skills to be a crook.

Now they have squeaked a win in their campaign to kill Obamacare. It took a tie breaker, but they have agreed to keep discussing exactly how to hurt their fellow Americans. No one has been more stalwart in the fight than the terminally ill John McCain. This happy warrior is indefatigable in stripping millions of the sort of healthcare he relies in on in his time of tribulation.

Fifty Senators voted to keep the hurt on – but it is hard not to see McCain as a symbol of the hypocrisy that infects the whole tribe. From straight shooter to assassin if you will.

There is a silver lining. The Republicans are doing themselves no favors for 2018. The Democrats have been handed every condition they need to win back the House. If they can’t, they should disband and hand the mantle of opponent over to people competent enough to do the job.

The healthcare imbroglio will be iced until the Senate has to vote on an actual bill. And in the interim, the Russia follies will suck up all the oxygen. To that end and less noticed today, Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had a chat with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

More problematically for him, he has been summoned to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee – not with a polite “if you don’t mind stopping by”, but with a subpoena no less. What will Manafort reveal? Will he plead the “fifth”? Or will he take the ‘lying to Congress’ route? Whichever way it goes, I don’t expect an exoneration of Trump.

And in the midst of the tempest, Trump won’t let the Sessions matter alone. His distress at Sessions’ recusal has caught the attention of the normally supportive conservative media. Even Breitbart has taken umbrage. Their fear is that the crusade against immigrants will lose its hateful focus if its lead proponents are squabbling.

The conservatives are  frustrated that Trump will not back up his rhetoric. He says he hates all the right people. He promises all kinds of actions to hurt folks – both citizens and not. He swears the rich will never have it so good. But he won’t put his back into it. Trump is lazy. Easily distracted. Too seduced by golf. And more dedicated to his personal vendettas than he is to steering the ship of state (please no Titanic jokes).

Republicans came giddy into 2017, full of piss and vinegar, ready, with their majorities, to rip down Obama’s temple. But they have proved unequal to the task. Throwing spitballs was easy when there was an adult in the White House. But now the children are in charge – and looking for the Lord of the Flies.

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Really? 7.19.17. Healthcare on Life Support; Trump whines; Asset Forfeiture; Trump’s Magic Math.

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