Here's How Trumpistan Begins...


Fewer than 24 hours after House Republicans voted in a secret closed-door meeting to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, they have now reversed course and dropped their bid to kill that agency. If they had succeeded - the OCE - an independent, non-partisan body created in 2008 after a series of Bush-era scandals - would have been stripped of most of its power. More importantly, it would also have been stripped of its independence.

Under the Republican plan, the OCE would have been renamed and placed under the control of the very partisan and very not independent Republican-controlled Ethics Committee. In other words - Republicans were trying to create a situation where members of Congress -- specifically other Republicans -- would get to investigate ethics complaints against themselves. Obviously, that doesn't really jive all that well with that whole "drain the swamp" thing - and once the general public got wind of what Republicans were trying to do, the outcry was almost universal.

Even Donald Trump lightly joined in on the criticism - questioning on Twitter whether this was really the first thing Republicans should be trying to do after taking control of Congress.

"With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it"

"........may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS"

Faced with this kind of criticism from the media and Daddy Trump, Republicans then did the only thing they could do, they flip flopped. Earlier this afternoon, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy got everyone together - and soon afterwards, the push to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was history.

Republicans are now, of course, trying to act like they've learned some big lesson. Mike Simpson of Idaho, for example, told Politico this afternoon that his party "shot itself in the foot".

Let's be honest, though: the only lesson Republicans learned from all this is that they can't do things like this under the glare of the light of day - and today, being congresses first session - was particularly well-lit. Better to slip such things into must-pass legislation moments before a vote. Even Donald Trump had enough political common sense to know that if you're planning to engage in unethical or criminal behavior, you don't announce it on a high-profile day.

What we saw last night when 119 Republicans voted to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was the real Republican Party.

The apologies we're making today are just a charade to cover up the massive hypocrisy they let slip through.

We also still don't really have a good answer as to why Republicans felt like they needed to kill the OCE right now.

Who's hiding what?

Was the office of ethics about to drop a very large shoe? Is it still dangling?

And why hasn't the compliant corporate media bothered to ask Republicans any of those questions?

Comments

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 3 years 37 weeks ago
#1

The takeaway I have is that congress needs MORE scrutiny, definitely not less. Strengthen the OCE, give it broader and deeper powers. And - good points at the end of Thom's essay: what are they hiding? In the near future, as America is dragged deeper into the swamp, what will we not have known about if congress were to gut the OCE?

Btravelen's picture
Btravelen 3 years 37 weeks ago
#2

Here we go.. another Bush era first term-like monopoly.. hope they overstep in it big-time and show the folks who lapped up what Trump was serving what he and his cronies are REALLY all about... Smh..

waynesr9@yahoo.com's picture
waynesr9@yahoo.com 3 years 37 weeks ago
#3

I suppose the Republicans who are involved in this chicanery likely want to be able to do anything they want under the cover of darkness and then when they are caught, claim that everything was transparent. Also, a comment which has been made on your radio program over the last couple of days is bothering me. Yesterday a gentleman called and proposed that all of those people who live in red states should be made to suffer so they receive retribution for voting for Trump. Today, you seemed to support that idea. Thom, I listen to your program most days and almost always agree with your ideas. But this, I can't support making any American suffer regardless of whether they brought it upon themselves or it is happening as a result of Republican policy. I would hope that there would be a better way to bring them to the light.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 years 37 weeks ago
#4

As long as the media is focused on Republican's (lack of) ethics, maybe this would be the opportune time to organize a shadow ethics committee of concerned citizens to start building a case to bring impeachment charges against Trump right away, keeping it in the forefront of the daily media cycle by constantly hammering Republicans over their damn fool heads.

Why wait? Their feckless leader will be in violation of the Constitution right out of the chute, as laid out by Heather Digby Parton in today's Salon article below. Will they ever impeach him? Probably not. But it sure can't hurt the Democrats -- or our country and its principals -- by keeping their feet to the fire with the incontrovertible facts of Trump's untenable position. After all, impeachment is what they had planned for Hillary.

http://www.salon.com/2017/01/04/does-impeachment-begin-now-the-case-for-building-the-end-of-trumps-presidency-before-it-even-starts/

Legend 3 years 37 weeks ago
#5

Hard to remember that your intention to drain the swamp when you are up to your ass in aligators.

This is just an example of how these Republicans are going to work.

russ h's picture
russ h 3 years 37 weeks ago
#6

I keep wondering if a Trump regieme might actually be a good thing! - I thought that the massive call-in was behind the turn-around. Getting the public more involved like this is really great! And if they keep this up, and we do too, it'll be the best civics lesson ever.

Suze O's picture
Suze O 3 years 37 weeks ago
#7

The biggest problem with Republicans is that they are CUNNING. That is not the same as "smart". Smart people know stupid when they see it. They know outrageous when they see it. But they aren't too alert when it comes to cunning. Lets say the Republicans KNEW what they were doing in trying to subvert the OCE in the light of day, KNEW it was outrageous, and KNEW they would be caught. They also knew they would be stopped, but it may well have been just for show anyway. Of course, the move would grab all kinds of attention, create a hullabaloo, focus the media, etc, etc. If you are a pickpocket, however, that is just what you want: cause a distraction over there so you can sneak in over here. What else was going on at the time? I picked up a little story over on Bill Moyers today. It seems the Republicans made progress on the side by giving the GOP legislators' STAFF MEMBERS the authority to subpoena and question people they have on their witch hunt list. We won't be watching Hillary Clinton being grilled about Benghazi, or Cecile Richards put on the spot about Planned Parenthood (and of course, the American people will not be witnessing a defendant's unflappability, or a recognize a questioner's obvious set-up or snide insinutation). No, this can be done in the back rooms even in the ABSENCE of a legislator (who will be out in C-SPAN's eye all day long). We know how much time and money is wasted on these "investigations" so now they will go on quietly in the background. The Repubs have full control of government for just two short years and they want to hurry and make all the changes they can. Best to give their staff the job of hunting down witches and grilling those who would challenge them without the legislators having to take time away from all the other gutting operations they will be involved in. But that OCE outrage? They figured that would fail anyway. No, the Democrats, and the American people, have to understand how CUNNING works if we want to survive the Trump years. The next time some big flap occurs, look around and see what else is going on. You'll probably find something. The GOP has been using this tactic for years, and it keeps working for them.

Suze O's picture
Suze O 3 years 37 weeks ago
#8

The biggest problem with Republicans is that they are CUNNING. That is not the same as "smart". Smart people know stupid when they see it. They know outrageous when they see it. But they aren't too alert when it comes to cunning. Lets say the Republicans KNEW what they were doing in trying to subvert the OCE in the light of day, KNEW it was outrageous, and KNEW they would be caught. They also knew they would be stopped, but it may well have been just for show anyway. Of course, the move would grab all kinds of attention, create a hullabaloo, focus the media, etc, etc. If you are a pickpocket, however, that is just what you want: cause a distraction over there so you can sneak in over here. What else was going on at the time? I picked up a little story over on Bill Moyers today. It seems the Republicans made progress on the side by giving the GOP legislators' STAFF MEMBERS the authority to subpoena and question people they have on their witch hunt list. We won't be watching Hillary Clinton being grilled about Benghazi, or Cecile Richards put on the spot about Planned Parenthood (and of course, the American people will not be witnessing a defendant's unflappability, or a recognize a questioner's obvious set-up or snide insinutation). No, this can be done in the back rooms even in the ABSENCE of a legislator (who will be out in C-SPAN's eye all day long). We know how much time and money is wasted on these "investigations" so now they will go on quietly in the background. The Repubs have full control of government for just two short years and they want to hurry and make all the changes they can. Best to give their staff the job of hunting down witches and grilling those who would challenge them without the legislators having to take time away from all the other gutting operations they will be involved in. But that OCE outrage? They figured that would fail anyway. No, the Democrats, and the American people, have to understand how CUNNING works if we want to survive the Trump years. The next time some big flap occurs, look around and see what else is going on. You'll probably find something. The GOP has been using this tactic for years, and it keeps working for them.

Suze O's picture
Suze O 3 years 37 weeks ago
#9

Oops. Sorry. I don't know how that got in there twice.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 years 37 weeks ago
#10

Yup, once again corporate media has dropped the ball. Giving Congressional staff members subpoena power to grill private citizens at their discretion in secret "Star Chambers" was a bigger story than a closed-door vote to neuter the Office of Congressional Ethics; although, both are shamelessly craven. And all this on day one!

I'm not sure if it's their cunning, in the sense of making clever chess moves, as much as it's just their nature. They simply can't help themselves. In their hearts, Republicans are fascists, revealing themselves in every word they utter and every move they make.

The most important founding principle of our nation -- that all power resides with the People -- is beyond their comprehension. All that right-wingers and their leaders understand is the pursuit of their own power and wealth at the expense of everyone else -- exactly what our forefathers warned us against!

It's going to get ugly as we enter this new dark age. We must remain vigilant.

Lizzeegirl's picture
Lizzeegirl 3 years 37 weeks ago
#11

Makes me wonder when they create a hullabulloo, what is going on elsewhere while our attention is diverted to the circus? If the citizens have learned one thing, it is that: be suspect of our elected officials. Question everything, and be alert 24/7, because when we are not looking is when they will sell us out.

Trump's Latest Failure Could Kill 6 million Americans

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Trump's new White House advisor on coronavirus, Scott Atlas, has said it on numerous occasions in multiple venues, and now our Attorney General, Bill Barr, is trying to argue that lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus are as bad as slavery. Trying to achieve herd immunity in the United States against the coronavirus, assuming it's even possible, would involve between two and 6 million Americans dying.
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