So, how's your Monday going?
The news has been positively in full meltdown - not only have more Brett Kavanaugh accusers come forward (3 to 4 now, depending on how/if you count Avenatti - and I'd argue you shouldn't, given Avenatti's predilection to overpromise and never deliver) but this morning saw the spectacle of the Justice Department melting into Trumpy goo as Rosenstein either quit, was fired, or was given a very nice fish, depending on whom you listen to.
Yet, when thought about from a touch of perspective, it becomes clear.
- First off, the real story, is the Kavanaugh nomination immolating. Right now, the Republican senate is faced with forcing through the nomination -- and to do so, they will have to keep at least 3 of at last report 4 wavering moderate GOP senators onside for what would be easily the most brazen exercise of raw power in a process that has already seen quite a few. McConnell may be many things (lacking in morals, utterly transactional in ethics, devoid of charisma, possibly Yertle the Turtle) but he can count votes. That is what is frightening the government today.
- Trump is also many things (insert a long and very creative stream of profanity here) but he is a consummate master of drama. He also very much understands how a certain type of media works - the type that is dependent on leaks to function, mistakes gossip for analysis, and needs a constant flow of newness. When called on to actually explain a policy position, Trump cannot finish a sentence. When called on to give an interview to TMZ, Trump is a wordsmith.
- So, someone decided that what was needed right now was the Mother of All Distractions. The #Resistance is concerned that Trump is about to fire Rosenstein and put the Mueller investigation on ice? Then do it! No, wait, don't! No, wait, leak that he resigned! No, have it leak that he was fired! Look this way! Look that way! Go! Go! Go!
- Backing this up: the story originally broke on Axios. Axios was founded by one of the more conservative founders of Politico (itself a website devoted to process as opposed to policy and gossip as opposed to governance) and is by far the favorite place for high-level Trump staffers to leak strategic stories. Normally it's a staffer planting a knife in a rival's back - today it seems TOO chaotic. Chaos for the sake of a certain order.
- What is the end goal? Why, my friends, that's the best part.
There is none.
Trump, and his cohorts, are day traders. Day traders exist on the stock market as leeches (off a market that itself makes money off speculating on the fortunes of others who actually build things) - they don't care about longevity or consequence; they simply are looking toward the next four hours.
Things blowing up? Blow them up harder and run away. Total day trader move. Very Trump. Much chaos.
As someone memorably said earlier this year, what we're seeing is less a news cycle and more the Cylons attacking every 33 minutes. Some perspective can actually help. So, where are we?
- Kavanaugh may or may not be toast. We're still going to get a far-right conservative replacement who will shift the balance of the court for decades.
- Rosenstein may or may not survive the week. Mueller's investigation may or may not be in jeopardy.
- If the Democrats flip at least the House of Representatives in November, then next year there will be many, many more investigations regardless. If they do not… well, then we get the government we deserve.