Totally Unacceptable Cabinet Picks: A Quick Rundown

In Trump’s ludicrous and disgustingly successful campaign, there was a pretty obvious dark strategy: be so terrible and so dishonest that the media couldn’t keep up. What was awful one day was subsumed the next by something else terrible, until it just became sort of white noise.

Now, I don’t know if this was genius; Trump is a genuinely awful and dishonest guy who does awful and dishonest things as a matter of course. He can’t help it. But he also knows the media, and knows how to distract them, and knows that being terrible wins (in business and reality TV and now, finally and fully, our politics, which have become a mix of his first two vulgar arts), because your opponents are just exhausted.

Anyway, I feel like that might sort of be his strategy with the cabinets. There are at least three picks so far which I have thought “this is the hill on which the Dems must die or nothing matters.”

  • Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who was named after Jefferson Davis, like his daddy and his daddy before him. Attorney General. Hates civil rights. Celebrates the end of the VRA. Wants to continue voter suppression. Will gut civil rights divisions, ignore right-wing racial militias. A dream come true for both the Klan and the alt-right. Can’t be allowed his position.
  • Scott Pruitt, for EPA. “Pruitt has been an ardent opponent of these efforts for years. He calls himself the “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” and has long insisted that states can often regulate pollution better than the federal government can.” If the environment means anything at all, if we aren’t just going to rip up everything so that companies can squeee profit out of our air and land and water, and our bodies, then he can’t be allowed this position.
  • Andrew Pudzler, Labor. See prior post. Hates workers. Thinks that paying people as little as possible is moral. Doesn’t think that the minimum wage should rise about even $9, and would probably want to do away with it altogether.

And that’s not counting Mary Fallin for Interior, whose idea of running our land and parks is to throw open the doors and say “take what you want, guys!” Another disaster, both ecologically and for the idea of a common good (and who thinks the US didn’t build Oklahoma).  I’m sure I’m missing some.

So what to do? Do you fight all of these? You sort of have to, right? But will the Dems be too scared of “they are being obstructionist even though they accused Republicans of the same thing!” Do we fight these all? Or are we going to fall victim to exhaustion? To me, we fight. If liberalism means anything–hell, if the idea of a common good, and a sense that we work for and with each other–means anything, none of these choices are acceptable.

The thing is, like with Trump, I don’t know if exhaustion is a planned strategy. Like Trump, they really are all just this awful.

Good News, for Once

We’ll finish the morning with good news.

  1. The far-right nationalist candidate actually lost in Austria, a rare victory for the forces trying to protect liberal democracy. Also: Austria! That has some special resonance. Maybe they saw the Brexit/Trump victories and realized, well, let’s not do this too. It’s a minor drop, but maybe the reaction to the reactionaries can gather some steam.
  2.  Dakota Access blocked! Despite this blog’s obsession with water, I haven’t really had much to say. But this is a triumph: dedicated activists protesting peacefully to protect water, indigenous rights, and to stand up against a corporate/government axis that used both unaccountable private security (who are never called thugs by the right people, you know?) and military/police action. It’s a stirring victory (even if it is a temporary one) for those who believe that public land and shared heritage means something, and have more weight than private profit.