Not a whole lot of surprises to begin the year.
Which of these do you find the least surprising?
- That the GOP House voting to effectively end ethical oversight, subsuming the independent OCE into a new Office of Congressional Complaint Review, which reports to the House Ethics Committee, which can effectively quash and muzzle all new investigations?
- That this newly liberated Congress is staring at a glorious future of the most business-friendly and regulation-hating Cabinet possible, one in which the whole business climate will be rewritten by deep-pocketed industry lobbyists who would love to make some new friends in Congress?
- That Paul Ryan pretended to be against it, burnishing his man of principle facade for a media always ready to swoon their way to every available fainting couch in Janesville, forgetting that if he was actually against it (spoiler: nope) he’s already the least-effective Speaker in memory?
- That, speaking of ethics, Kellyanne Conway, future subject of fawning Halperin/Heilman book probably called The Maverick and the Professionals, said again today that Trump would probably hold a press conference where he’ll probably talk about his business divestment next Tuesday, probably. ““I believe it was rescheduled for Jan. 11, originally, and if the lawyers and the compliance officers feel like we’re ready, then we’ll stick to that date. It’s really up to them. But I know that I spoke to the president-elect today about press conference and I know that’s the current plan. So that’s next week.”
- That you’re not terribly reassured of the presser’s viability as a real thing.
- That there is a lack of assurance about anything, except for the creeping dread that no matter how you try to avoid it, January 20th is creeping closer, and that something terrible is about to be born, and that while you may stretch the days, filling them with as much in the way of distraction as you can, it doesn’t matter. The days will turn, and the pages will fall, and very soon Donald Trump will actually be President, he’ll be standing there at the Capitol, with his hand on a Bible, taking the sacred Oath of Office. You’ll wake up the next morning and the headlines will actually say “Donald Trump Inaugurated as 45th President” and all the months of wishing this wasn’t reality are washed away in the cold, sticky light of that terrible day. Because it has begun.
- That the impossibility of it makes the rest of life seem faintly surreal as well, like we really are living in a weird timeline or alternate simulation.
- That our inability to stop January 20th from happening gives you the exact same queasy feel when you see the months and years of your life roll by, with a little more gray, knowing that there is nothing you can do to slow it down, much less stop it. It isn’t even that you want to: it’s that it is impossible. It’s all impossible, and you’re so small, and want to lash out, but there’s nothing to hit. There’s no solid object. There’s just time, and the leering ghoulish certainty that things are about to get a lot worse.
- Or that Pacman Jones got arrested for assault and spitting on a prison nurse? Because honestly, that might be the least surprising thing.