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Politics Through a Blur
A distant view of recent stories.
Over the last week or so, I’ve paid very little attention to politics or really any story in the news cycle. I was attending to a family health situation that consumed most of my waking hours, and is still causing concerns. Some of the news items I did glance over, mostly in the form of headlines, struck me as weird… though I suppose no weirder than any other week in today’s national climate.
But… since it’s been almost two weeks since my last column, I figured I’d write a short piece with a few notes and observations… despite still being lost in a bit of a blur.
From what I understand, there was a huge controversy over singer Taylor Swift showing up at a football game? There was also, apparently, a big brouhaha over a judge in a Trump court case committing the egregious act of smiling when someone pointed a camera at him. I haven’t bothered to dig more deeply into these stories, and I think that’s okay. Democratic senator Bob Menendez and his wife plead not guilty to federal corruption and bribery charges; no word as to whether their bonds were paid in gold bars. There was also that matter of a Democratic congressman pulling a fire alarm at the U.S. Capitol, with neither his stated nor likely motivations for doing so making a whole lot of sense.
The federal government narrowly avoided a shut-down, so that was a big deal. And in case anyone was worried that Matt Gaetz would lose any of the much sought after media attention he garnished from his phony posturing on the matter, the congressman quickly grabbed headlines again by moving to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. There’s assuredly a cable-news audience excited about this prissy little slap-fight between a MAGA grifter and a MAGA subordinate, but how any normal person could manage to cheer-on or sympathize with either of these two is beyond me.
Did you hear about the national debt passing $33 trillion? Virtually no one cares about the debt anymore, though there was the obligatory performative outrage from some congressional Republicans who had absolutely no problem with the $7.8 trillion added under the previous administration. Seriously, it would be great if some folks in Washington, under pressure from voters, started taking this issue seriously, and doing so quickly. Rising interest rates are driving us faster and faster into an imminent debt crisis, all while our country’s major political parties are preparing to nominate for president two of U.S. history’s biggest spending politicians.
Speaking of the election, I did manage to watch most of last week’s GOP presidential debate (in bits and pieces over about four days). There were some definite highlights and a few strong moments, but as expected, there weren’t any game-changers. With the exception of Chris Christie, the candidates still feel like they’re running for second-place. I don’t mean that in the sense that they’re necessarily trying to become vice president, but rather something closer to an understudy, in which they’re positioning themselves to be the replacement nominee should something outside of the normal nomination process eliminate Donald Trump from contention. It didn’t help that the moderators barely brought up Trump, who’s still dominating the race, and is by leaps and bounds the biggest issue of the GOP primary.
By the way, Trump is unsurprisingly calling on the RNC to cancel its third debate and “refocus its manpower and money to preventing Democrats’ efforts to steal the 2024 election”… which just happens to be the theme of Trump’s political fundraising campaign, the money from which has actually gone toward paying his own legal bills (an estimated $200 million so far).
Meanwhile, the former president has been busy turning his back on the pro-life movement, mocking those who believed him years ago when he said he would make Mexico pay for the border wall, and suggesting that his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff deserves to be executed for treason... all while remaining at over 50% in party-primary polling.
Like I said, a weird week… but sadly no weirder than usual.
I’m hoping to get back on a regular writing schedule soon, though more important matters are making that decision for me at the moment. So, I guess I’ll see you all when I see you, and ask — if you’re kind enough to offer some — for your prayers.