Who Will Be the Next American Fascist President?

The Stephanie Miller Show theme song is tuned to the current or soon-to-be-current occupant of the Oval Office and has since 2018 been “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. Following the Nov. 7 declaration of Preznit-Elect Joe Biden, her tune returned to one they’d used previously, the manic “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. For me as a lifelong Democratic voter, longtime Miller listener, and current pandemic shut-in, it was heartening to observe the show changing its tune.

I think many of us are feeling that way, a bit more plucky these days, a bit more hopeful. Trump lost. Biden won. Goofus and Gallant finally got to have their knock-down drag-out, and Gallant is standing over Goofus like Ali over Sonny Liston in his clean white trunks, his arm cocked, his face meanly daring Goofus to get up. Victory feels good.

And, to some extent, we should. The Biden administration may just be able to right some things. Just as Preznit Carnage One-Term was able to unilaterally pull these Untied States out of the Paris Accords, Biden will be able to unilaterally re-enter. Same with the World Health Organization, and hopefully a slew of other foolish executive calls that have been made these four years. Biden can also—and already has been—leading brilliantly from the Bully Pulpit, masking up and holding campaign events responsibly, and he’s made sure he’s been seen in conversation with the keenest of America’s scientific brains. And I haven’t even begun to ponder what a Biden administration might be able to accomplish when more Republicans snap their denial of the Biden win, or even, dare I type it, if both runoff elections in Georgia are won by Democrats.

But is it too soon to walk on sunshine?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Trump will be successful in his sometimes hilarious attempts to sway the election results. I cannot anymore look at Rudolf Giuliani without A) seeing him in my mind’s eye flopped out on the bed in the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm fumbling around in his pants, or, as the kids call it these days, “tucking in his shirt,” or B) hearing the Benny Hill song in my head. 25 lawsuits; they’ve lost 25 lawsuits, and some of the arguments they came armed with wouldn’t convince a toddler’s mama to make with an extra cookie. No, Joe Biden will assume the office in January 2021, and I think this current inconvenience will resolve like a Picardy third within a week.

But like the Joker says to Eckhardt, man, think about the future.

Preznit Carnage de Bologna has been pretty ham-handed in his adventures. But he’s presented a buttload of raw material for the next fascist Preznit. And that person—and I’m not saying it will be Nikki Haley or nothin’, but yeah, I think it will be Nikki Haley—now has lots of time to war-game Trump’s most outrageous strategies, if one can call them that. How to gaslight without screaming like a harpy. How to call the media the “enemy of the people” without using those exact words, or to brand information that reflects badly on you as “fake news” without actually saying “fake news” because Ivanka has trademarked that phrase in Chinese already so you can’t have it.

Mitch McConnell was already in the process of breaking the U.S. government. And he thought he was clever and all, doing it with a tire iron jammed in the gears. Then along came Trump with a blowtorch. And his ingenuity for destruction, his fine ability for creating the carnage he warned of in his inaugural, which even George W. Bush reportedly said was “weird shit,” is but grist for the next, and more successful, fascist Preznit of These Untied States.

The band Consolidated had it half-correct when they sang of “Friendly Fascism.” I’ma enjoy Biden’s Inauguration like a peach pie.

But I’m still worried.

A Good Day

I am enjoying my favorite salad, an olive salad with juniper dressing, and I am listening to this weird bootleg-sounding CD I picked up some time ago of Duke Ellington circa 1971. I don’t expect the best sound quality when enjoying music of this era, but this bad recording is missing the charm of earlier Ellington bad recordings and just sounds like some wisenheimer snuck in with a tape recorder they borrowed from the high school AV closet, so I turned the volume down a little, but it is a nice break nonetheless as sometimes the MSNBC, after I’ve consumed it in large quantities, scratches my brain bumps in bad ways. And today has been a large MSNBC day here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology, my friends.

As you may know, Rachel Maddow is in COVID lockdown presently but was able to provide some of her cogent color from her bunker, and she enunciated a thing I’ve been thinking all day, how before today, Impeached Preznit Carnage One-Termer’s threats to not concede, to sue, to stamp his widdle feet and cry, to not concede, to not recognize the legitimate results, how that threat prior to today felt like a dark and cold approaching storm. However, she said, today, these efforts seem merely “laughable,” and yes, that is the word she used. And, she’s right.

I had expected a Biden victory to emasculate Trump. I hadn’t expected it to have happened so quickly. Earlier today, Twitter covered up four of his tweets consecutively, due to them being full of bullshit. He snuck away to go golfing, and America went and called the race in his absence. By the way, whose job was it to try to convince him that going golfing on today of all days is the most horrible of ideas, and does that person still have a tongue in their head? How about the person who had to deliver the news while this dipshit was on the links?

And I know I’ve been somewhat of a Pollyanna regarding Biden—funny, Joe Scarborough used the same word this morning by way of self-description—but the micro-era I’m driven to in my thoughts is when we were all wringing our hands about the running mate. There were reports Susan Rice was in the mix, and Karen Bass, and Val Demings, but whether you remember the short-list names, you certainly remember the waiting. We’ll announce on Aug. 1. That became next week in August, and on Aug. 11, it became we’ll tell ya real soon, so there was even more waiting that day, which is when he announced. But to me, the waiting, the seemingly stretched process by which he decided, I think it offers assurance. The VEEP pick is the nominee’s first preznentshul decision. Joe Biden did it right. And I think he did it right ever since. And today, these Untied States of America are enjoying the fruits in a one-term Trump.

That there was any question is a wonder. A re-elected Trump would have been a re-elected impeached president. He would have been a re-elected president with 120,000 COVID deaths on his head, with 550 needlessly orphaned children on his head, a re-elected president who did not bother to press the issue of the murder of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a re-elected president who used the military to clear peaceful protesters from the premiere protest park in Washington, D.C. just so he could hold up a Bibble and take a picture, a re-elected president who dared to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Fucking Limbaugh.

Biden is already getting to work. Axios reports that he will soon announce a COVID Task Force. There is already talk about his Cabinet. The projected president-elect and vice-president will speak tonight and claim victory. And Americans are dancing in the streets.

It was, indeed, a good day.

Perfection

Joe Biden did this weird thing today where he made a brief speech and said exactly what was needed to be said. Here is a link to the transcript of his speech today. And here is what I consider to be the nut graf:

We the people will not be silenced. We the people will not be bullied. We the people will not surrender. My friends, I’m confident we’ll emerge victorious. But this will not be my victory alone or our victory alone. It’ll be a victory for the American people, for our democracy, for America. And there will be no blue states and red states when we win, just the United States of America.

He spoke 796 words today. 796 words. And with the words he chose, he offered comfort, and sanity, and leadership. His speech was not about minute-to-minute politics. It was not about winning or losing. It was about comforting a reasonably jagged-feeling America. It was a fireside chat. And it helped.

This is why Joe Biden is the perfect candidate for our times. It’s why he’s the best choice to be president right now. Since his nomination, I have been unable to shake the feeling that the Democratic Party accidentally somehow stumbled into perfection like a guy in a tux who trips in the mud. Without an apocalyptic challenge in front and, let’s face it, all around us, he’d just be Joe Biden, older Joe Biden, who doesn’t cope as easily for his stutter anymore, who seems to yell more than he needs to, who says “look” and “folks” a lot.

But what we’ve been lacking has been a president who rises to the occasion. Impeached Preznit Carnage Weird-Lean Pear-Shaped Hickey is a president who has been offered the greatest opportunity to do that thing a president does when challenged, to grab the bullhorn on top of the smoldering pile of rubble, to yell at the German man to tear down the wall, to say the thing about asking not what your country can do for you, to break out and sing “Amazing Grace.” No president has been more challenged to rise to the occasion, and, weirdly, Impeached Preznit has willfully crossed his arms, pouted, and refused to do so every stinking time.

Joe Biden isn’t even the president yet, and he rises to the occasion every time he’s seen in public.

We’ve had a hard campaigns before. We’ve faced hard times before. So once the selection is finalized and behind us, it’ll be time for us to do what we’ve always done as Americans, to put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear each other again, and respect and care for one another, to unite, to heal, to come together as a nation.

This is a study in contrasts to how the current occupant of the Oval approaches it:

This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity — for the good of this nation, this is a very big moment. This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.

This is a country in sore need of a chief executive capable of rising to the occasion, capable of registering empathy, capable of embarking on a sensible path forward, capable of leading with integrity and by solid example. Joe Biden does nothing but prove himself to be this.

Somehow, the Democratic Party chose the best person for the job, I think nearly by accident. Joe Biden is no mere second banana any longer. He’s not just good.

He’s perfect.

We’ll know more later today. But keep honking your horns, America. We’ve got this.

I ain’t gonna work for Trump’s farm no more

I want some music or some list or some fucking squirrel-ghost to land on my shoulder and to tell me that everything is going to be all right. I want Jack Black to appear on my side and yell in my ear that LOOK WE ALL DID THE RIGHT THING AND VOTED BIDEN just like we did in our Rocky Horror homage. I know my Dad voted Biden. I know my Mom voted Biden. I know I voted Biden. I know if you’re reading this you may have voted Biden too.

But I’m still listening to Starcrawler at the top of Arrow de Wilde’s lungs. And I still keep burying my forehead into my palms.

Why does the future seem so bleak? Why as I type this do I feel like I’m tossing pizza crust? Why is it so difficult to feel okay about this vote? It not only feels defeating despite all the numbers indicating that Biden and Harris are kicking this idiot’s ass.

They have worked so hard to make good policy seem awful.

They have demonized Obamacare. They have put false fangs on Social Security and Medicare. They call them “entitlements” even though you have already bought them with your money.

I see this meme sometimes that says something about “two wings of the same bird.” Before you post this meme you might google it. This is a specific reference to Cuba and Puerto Rico and does not from its origin refer to our politics on the mainland. But it’s stupid regardless. As Steve Benen documents in his fine book The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics America is made up of one party who still cares about public policy and one who does not.

Guess which is which.

They are not the same. There is one party in the United States that stands for decency and good things, and wholesome American values. That party is the Democratic party, and it is now led by the presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.

I so adore her. I mean, I like Joe, but I crush on Kamala so hard. Right?

The other party is the Republicans. And they subvert democracy. They withhold U.S. Justice appointments for ten months and then act like it’s normal. They tear nursing babies from their mamas tits and expect you to think it’s okay. They support a preznit who actively spreads COVID wherever he goes and doesn’t care.

I could write so much more but I’m getting tired.

But let me offer some perspective as a man who has lived so far to be 52 years old, which means that Richard Nixon was made preznit just four years after I was born. In my early years Nixon was the most corrupt preznit we’ve ever seen, then came Reagan, then came GHW Bush, then came his son.

Why do Republicans keep presenting us with more and more trash? And why does it get worse and worse and more horrifying? Until now they just said HERE’S THE WORST PERSON IN AMERICA. LET’S MAKE HIM THE PREZNIT OF THE UNTIED STATES.

Both parties are not the same. And if you vote for Howie Hawkins or Daffy Duck or some shit, you are voting for Donald Trump.

Thank you for bearing with my nonsense but please please vote Biden/Harris.

Why Are You Confident About Biden 2020?

I remember the conversation I had with Eric just before I left work in 2016. He was sure Trump would win. I was sure Hillary would win. We both said so.

Eric and I both shared the same birthday.

Ane he was right. And then he died.

Rest in peace, brother.

***

This is not 2016.

I keep saying that a ya’ll keep nervously scratching your arms and you’re all like ARE YOU SURE?

Yes.

I’m sure.

2016 was weird. Let’s start with the fact that it was the first election in eight years not to have an incumbent. Or that it was an attempt by political party to garner a third term as preznit. Nobody ever seems to factor those impossibilities in. Instead they be all like “Hillary was a horrible candidate and never went to Wisconsin and said that thing about coal that once.”

2016 was weird.

There was Comey. There was Russia. There was, sorry if you don’t like to talk about it, but there was Bernie. There was the Green Party. And, yes, there was Hillary.

This is not 2016.

This is 2020. And there is an incumbent. And his record is the worst in American history. He has torn breastfeeding children from their mamas’ tits. He has looked the other way amidst reports that an ally put bounties on our soldiers’ heads. He has been impeached for leaning on a foreign entity for garbage on a political opponent. He has inarguably bungled a response to the most vital health crisis this country has ever experienced. Just yesterday, he left his own supporters out in the middle of nowhere to freeze to death.

I still think we’re going to be okay. I’m not saying I think it’s going to be easy.

But have you seen those lines?

Paul Weyrich is shitting his pants in his grave.

It’s going to be okay.

Really.

I Voted

I have just returned to my headquarters from my first attempt to vote. Where I live, where I have lived for nearly ten years now, I have never waited long in line to vote. I figured I’d just take my ballot in and drop it off real quick just to make sure Louie DeJoy didn’t mess with my vote.

They were lined up around the block.

Suddenly, my faith in the United States Postal Service has been restored.

Regardless of how it was done, it is done: I have voted. Make sure yinz do, too.

***

I often wonder why some “conservative” friends are sometimes weird about attribution. One today in my facedbook feed began a post by claiming they’d found it “in the comments section of an on-line article.” This struck me as weird, so I did some painstaking legwork: I copied the first sentence of what they had posted, and I pasted it into a Googly search bar.

Wouldn’t you know that the piece was published on the Fox Business site and was authored by Andy Puzder. Who’s Andy Puzder? Why, he was nominated in December 2016 to be Impeached Preznit Carnage Dear Leader’s Secretary of Labor.

Here’s the lede in this little op-ed: “Released two weeks ago, the Census Bureau’s report on “Income and Poverty in the United States” for 2019 clearly shows that, pre-pandemic, President Trump’s economic success blew past that of any other presidency. First, the Census Bureau reported that real median household income grew to $68,703 in 2019, an impressive 6.8% increase over 2018. It was the largest one-year increase in median income on record going back to 1967.”

So. I googlied that, too. And I discovered a darned interesting article by Jonathan Rothbaum, chief of the Income Statistics Branch in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division at the US Census Bureau. Rothbaum wrote that there might be a wee bit of a problem with making comparisons to years prior to 2017, “…since recent estimates reflect changes implemented to the survey,” and also, ya know: Pandemic.

The article is called “Was Household Income the Highest Ever in 2019?” It wanders pretty far into the weeds, so your mileage may vary. As noted, however, the kernel of Rothbaum’s analysis is that Andy Puzder’s scratched-the-surface comparison and its slimy adulation of the Superspreader-in-Chief might leave us a bit short on truth.

Besides, there’s that trickly little qualifier in there, “pre-pandemic.” As in yeah, I was in terrific health before all the tumors. I don’t care if the fucker put a literal chicken in every literal pot before the pandemic. In fact, that’s a polling area I’ve never been able to understand, oh, Trump has been horrible on the COVID, but he’s our man when it comes to the economy! There is no economy with COVID. There’s only more and more people skewered via intubation in ICU beds.

I remember when it was explained to me what had to happen in order to conquer this pandemic. First, we have to stay home so as not to overwhelm the medical infrastructure. Next, we have to test people, test a lots of people. After that, we ask anyone who tests positive where they’ve been and who they’ve seen in the last two weeks or so, and we go to those places, and we find those people, and we test THEM. And so on, and so on, and scooby doobie doo.

Do you notice a part of that we’ve not done? The contact tracing? Like, not at all? We are EIGHT MONTHS into this pandemic now. There has been no federal push to do the most vital, the most aggressive thing that can be done to whack this virus down. And this Andy Puzder offers up an analysis that is no better, no more useful than the nostalgia one feels flipping through one’s high school yearbook. Remember before the pandemic? Wasn’t that neat?

Impeached Preznit Carnage Poopypants is still making fun of reporters for wearing masks; he just did this yesterday. He has not learned a single solitary thing not even after having experienced this illness himself. Another term will not cause him to improve. He is a worthless, shitty, no-good chief executive of this country, and he’s got to be voted out (since the Senate abdicated its responsibility earlier this year).

Joe Biden will encourage masks and will in fact mandate them where he can. He will mount a national effort toward testing and create an infrastructure for contact tracing. And, while mounting a response to the current crisis, he’ll proactively work to be prepared for future strikes. And I can bullet-point all of the other initiatives Biden has posted on his campaign literature, but there is one thing he has done and will do that really creates the fault between these two candidates regarding this plague:

Joe Biden wears a mask.

So, from this perspective, for me, this was a good day. I voted. I saw formidable lines for voting. And I have just watched Biden speak in Luzerne County, Pa., and it was a strong speech. I am feeling mighty good about this.

14 Days

Toby Ziegler believed in magic.

White House Communications Director for fictional President Josiah Bartlet, Ziegler says he has written two speeches on election night. “I’ve got a speech if he wins. I’ve got a speech if he doesn’t,” he says. Despite apparently legendary poll numbers for Bartlet, Ziegler obsessively insists he won’t “tempt the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing.” Josh Lyman joins the meeting and, upon learning that Deputy White House Communications Director Sam Seaborn has somewhat mocked this, Lyman agrees with Ziegler’s prescription: Seaborn must go outside, turn around three times, and spit. Or curse. We’re not sure which.

I sure am glad I ain’t Toby Ziegler.

I’ve been saying “landslide” for a while now. When I say it out loud to other human beings, sometimes they make that same Toby Ziegler superstitious face, and I prepare for them to insist that I get myself outside to do some sort of skyclad ritual in order to please the whatever from high atop the thing. Don’t get complacent, says they. We can’t be complacent. Complacency. That stuff’s a killer.

And they’re not wrong. Whatever label you stick on your forehead, be it “liberal,” “progressive,” “Democrat,” “socialist,” “radical,” or “Abbie Hoffman,” no, we can’t be complacent. We can never be complacent. But I’m not being complacent. I’m being confident.

My voting plan is to awake early(ish) Saturday morning, the first day for early in-person voting in New York, and to traverse to the local mall that is .25 miles from my home, and to vote. From the looks of the reporting, many other Americans have made and stuck to voting plans around the nation. Look, NPR said so.

There are many reasons I think it’s wise for Democratic voters to shake off the putrid shade of PTSD that afflicts from 2016. This is a different year. It is a different election. Our nominee is running a great campaign. He chose a rock star running mate. Even the polling averages are looking good for Democrats. And the opposition, Impeached Preznit Carnage G. Fuckhead Not A Real Billionaire, keeps finding and triggering all the shit-packed frog-mines in his path. (I have many other reasons but am trying to write succinctly.)

Of course don’t be complacent. But please, find some confidence to wear in your hat. Stow at least some of that dread and loathing under your seat. Like my man James Carville used to say, we’re right. They’re wrong. And if Impeached Dear Leader Dances Like Elaine Benes has been good for something, he’s been good at demonstrating just how right we are. People are aware. And they are showing up.

::whispers:: landslide!

Now. Go vote. And let your little light shine.

A Twilight Zone Treatment

It started when Melania had commented that he didn’t quite look like himself.

She didn’t often comment on his appearance because she had long ago given up, as had he. She took an odd solace in entertaining that many women end up with their fathers. She certainly had, with this stout, stubborn man who even wore a tie like her Dad did. Well, her Dad could eat crow for all she cared because he did not wake up every morning in the White House.

Donald was feeling fantastic, as he was revealing to his audiences every night. He felt virile, happy, energetic; far from the beat-down man he’d been just weeks ago. He had tried many different ways to play down the Chinavirus to the American people, and he had been roughly criticized for it, but he had just been trying to assuage the nation. I’m a patriot, Donald told himself as he peeped in the mirror, preparing for his hour or so of ablutions that would include the fine mist powder that gave him that healthy glow he enjoyed and the meticulous hair styling.

He swore he saw some bumps there. But he did not have time to worry about a little acne that was probably the result of his treatments.

Marine One had transported a terrified president to the hospital that day; he was feeling every wretched symptom that he’d heard about, the shortness of breath, the fatigue, the congestion, the heart palpitations. There were even weird ones he hadn’t heard about. His fingers tingled. He kept feeling like he had to shit real bad. Not to mention that while on the chopper, he hallucinated a long conversation with former wife Marla. He was in a bad way, real bad, and he thought he was a goner.

Publicly, Donald’s treatments were reported to include an experimental cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, a treatment that had only faced a single, small clinical trial; remdesivir; and dexamethasone, a corticosteroid that mitigates inflammation in the lungs and tempers the patient’s immune system. What was not publicly reported was that there was an additional treatment that Donald was receiving, even more highly experimental than the antibody treatment, a full infusion given once every three days. This treatment had just been discovered the previous month and so had received no clinical trials whatsoever. But Donald felt fantastic.

Newly energized, this Commander-in-Chief would let noting stand between him and reelection. “I want a rally a night for the next 20 days, folks,” he told his staff. Some expressed worry about this plan, of course, and suggested a safer approach. After all, the suggested quarantine period for a person actually hospitalized with COVID was 20 days.

“Nonsense,” he said. “I feel great. I feel like a billion dollars. I have to go out and see the people.” He would add that he was quite the opposite of contagious. He would insist that he had achieve immunity, a kind of glow. And yet, sometimes if they caught him in the right light, it seemed that his face was changing.

He had brought on a new adviser regarding the pandemic, one he’d seen on the TV, one who espoused a “herd immunity” approach. As more tenured medical professionals got squeezed out into the corners, the herd immunity guy got more of Donald’s ear. He in fact began to reference it in interviews and touted his own fresh vigor to his audience: “I feel so powerful,” he told his supporters at one rally. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women – everybody.” *

He continued to have rallies, continued to pack Americans closely, as it was discussed in the most secluded of back rooms; if herd immunity is the key to resolving this issue in the United States, then the president can help achieve this for us and reclaim the stage at the same time. It seemed like a boon to his team, who had now been convinced that herd immunity should be the actual policy.

The next day, Donald gathered with his medical staff for his next infusion. He had taken off his jacket, he was preparing to remove his tie, but he noticed that the nurses were not prepping the formula. His doctor took a stool in front of him and said, “Mister President, there’s something we’ve got to tell you about this treatment.”

“As you know, this treatment we’ve been giving you has not even been tested via clinical trial. Now, usually, a clinical trial is done to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the drug. Due to your insistence and your persuasiveness, sir, we administered you the drug.

The thing is, sir, there is a rather clear side effect, one we believe you are suffering. You may have noticed changes to your appearance, sir?”

Donald replied that he had, and that he had written it off as a bit of acne due to the treatments.

“Here’s the thing. We’ve discovered that this treatment can severely alter one’s appearance. You’ll notice some bumps beginning to protrude from above your temples. Your face will elongate, and your nose will become longer. You will begin to resemble, well, sir, let me show you a mirror.”

Donald took the mirror and examined his face. For the first time in a week he really paid attention, and he realized that he was looking back at a goat.

Donald Trump had a face like a goat, one of the most primary herd animals on the planet.

He made a braying noise as if to say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

But the transmission was complete. Donald’s “herd mentality” mentality would continue to direct his thinking for the rest of his life.

Melania patted his head.

#30#

*An actual quote from Impeached Preznit Carnage Superspreader