This time may be different. Trump was not a normal candidate, the transition is not a normal transition, and this will probably not be a normal administration. The president-elect is surrounding himself with mediocrities whose chief qualification seems to be unquestioning loyalty. He gets credit for becoming a statesman when he says something any newly elected president might say (“I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future”) — and then reverts to tweeting against demonstrators and the New York Times. By all accounts, his ignorance, and that of his entourage, about the executive branch is fathomless. It’s not even clear that he accepts that he should live in the White House rather than in his gilt-smeared penthouse in New York.
In the best of times, government service carries with it the danger of compromising your principles. Here, though, we may be in for something much worse. The canary in the coal mine was not merely the selection of Stephen K. Bannon for the job previously filled by John Podesta and Karl Rove, that of counselor to the president and chief strategist. Rather, the warning signs came from the Republican leaders excusing and normalizing this sinister character — and those who then justified the normalizers.
One bad boss can be endured. A gaggle of them will poison all decision-making. They will turn on each other. No band of brothers this: rather the permanent campaign as waged by triumphalist rabble-rousers and demagogues, abetted by people out of their depth and unfit for the jobs they will hold, gripped by grievance, resentment and lurking insecurity. Their mistakes — because there will be mistakes — will be exceptional.
Nemesis pursues and punishes all administrations, but this one will get a double dose. Until it can acquire some measure of humility about what it knows, and a degree of magnanimity to those who have opposed it, it will smash into crises and failures. With the disarray of its transition team, in a way, it already has.
My bottom line: Conservative political types should not volunteer to serve in this administration, at least for now. They would probably have to make excuses for things that are inexcusable and defend people who are indefensible... (our emphasis)On the same page today, E.J. Dionne, Jr., hopes for "an alliance for the Republic," to exercise vigilance in thwarting the coming anti- democratic, un- Constitutional excesses of the shitgibbon's rule. So far, he's not seeing it:
Such vigilance, alas, seems in short supply among elected Republicans. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), for one, was unperturbed by Bannon. “This is a person who helped him win an incredible victory,” Ryan gushed. “We’re confident about moving forward.” I guess we can’t expect much independent oversight from the GOP House, given that a “Make America Great Again” hat was placed on the seat of every caucus member at its Tuesday meeting. Is the House about to be reduced to a cheering section? [snip]
Trump is signaling that he’s prepared to run roughshod over the benchmarks of decency and (small-r) republican government long endorsed across ideological lines. Left and right will have their differences over policy. But if they don’t come together from the start to thwart Trump’s departures from widely accepted practices and values, our country could face a very grim four years.While some see fissures in the Republican Party possibly expanding into debilitating fractures, the old cliche that, in politics, "Democrats want to fall in love, Republicans just fall in line" would seem to suggest that the opportunities presented by having a unified Republican government undoing the last vestiges of progressive policies and programs will =ahem= trump those that might be inclined to make common cause with Democrats to thwart the shitgibbon's "departures from widely accepted practices and values." We haven't seen these Republican unicorns in the past, and we don't expect to see them now that they're in complete control. We need to be vigilant, but not expect Republicans to put country ahead of party, since they haven't done that for as long as we can remember.
BONUS: Jamelle Bouie has an excellent read on how Democrats are already in danger of screwing up their opposition to the shitgibbon.