Isn’t it great to see all these Republicans finally abandoning the sinking SS Trump? God knows it took them long enough! And isn’t it particularly great to see Lindsey Graham leading the charge, after Trump’s Oval Office self-immolation on Tuesday? Here’s what Graham tweeted right afterward:
Oh, wait. That doesn’t sound very ship-jumpy. I guess like Rick Blaine, who went to Casablanca “for the waters” only to find he was in the desert, I was misinformed.
This week, with Robert Mueller closing in and Michael Cohen finally sentenced, has brought a new round of “will Republicans finally jump ship?” segments on cable news. For the millionth time, no. This 50th round is as stupid as the first 49 were.
No, Republicans are not jumping ship anytime soon or probably ever. Some occupy different perches on the ship than others. Graham, for example, is up in the crow’s nest, scouting the distant rough seas, eager to report to his captain dear captain that the ship has weather’d every rack, the prize they sought was won. He’s joined there by House members Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows, and Jim Jordan. Others not quite so enthusiastic take positions below deck. Ben Sasse is down in the galley peeling potatoes, maybe, contemplating signing on to a mutiny (once it’s 100 percent clear that it would succeed). But he’s on the ship.
They’re all on the ship, and they’ll be on it until it comes to rest in Davy Jones’ locker. I hope this is obvious to everyone by now. The next person who writes a “Republicans are jumping ship” story should be made to jump out of journalism. Republicans don’t care what he does. You heard Orrin Hatch admit it the other day. God, what a moment that was. If they build someday a museum of the Republican Party, and in the wing covering the party’s decline and fall they need five representative video clips showing museum goers what happened, Hatch’s comments to CNN’s Manu Raju will surely be among them. Raju asked Hatch about the hush-money payouts to the two women. “The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president,” said Hatch. When Raju noted that the payments had come to light not because of anything Democrats did but through the work of the Southern District of New York, Hatch said, “OK, but I don’t care.”
OK, but I don’t care. That is the motto of what used to be the Republican Party in the Trump era. Access Hollywood tape? I don’t care. Seventeen women accusers? I don’t care. Meeting with Russians at Trump Tower? I don’t care. Getting the Boy Scouts to boo his predecessor? I don’t care. Firing the FBI director and then admitting on national TV that it was because he was looking into Russia stuff? I don’t care. Still making millions off his hotels? I don’t care. And on and on and on and on and on, until finally this week we get to unindicted co-conspirator and mastermind of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the voters? I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.
Remember: He, the President of the United States, called a sitting congressman Adam Schitt. And no Republican gave a Schiff.
People try to explain this by citing polls. When his approval number among Republicans dips below X percent, they say—X being sometimes 60, sometimes 50—then the ship will start to empty. But it’s still 89 percent. And it will stay 89 percent, even if there’s a recession, because that can be easily enough blamed on Fed chair Jerome Powell, who, though evidently tall enough to execute the duties of his office, has been on the receiving end of Trump’s abuse since the day he took office, meaning that Trump partisans are already primed to blame the economy on him.
In fact, if anything, Trump’s approval rating among Republicans might tick slightly up in the event of a recession, since a recession would be fresh evidence of the theretofore unimaginable depth and cunning of the deep-state efforts to lay Trump low. To a certainty, his numbers among Republicans will improve when Mueller issues his report. The worse the report, the better his Republican numbers will be. The worse the report, the higher Lindsey Graham’s dudgeon. And Orrin Hatch will again blame the Democrats, and tell Manu Raju “I don’t care.”
We are way beyond the realm of poll numbers, far past reason. We are in the land of psychosis. Trump is some kind of drug to these people. And I don’t mean the hoi polloi. I mean the likes of Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch too. I don’t know what it is. He has gotten into their brains. This “Lindsey Graham” and “Orrin Hatch” we see walking around Washington, they’re not even the same people they once were. The Lindsey Graham who hung out with John McCain, the Orrin Hatch who dearly loved Ted Kennedy; they’re gone, replaced by pod people.
What will happen if Mueller documents White House transgressions worthy of an organized crime syndicate? They’ll say I don’t care. There will be no delegation sent to the White House, a la Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott in 1974, to tell the president the gig is up. They’re with him to the bitter end, and possibly beyond, if Trump loses to a Democrat in 2020 and it’s apparent that at 12:01 pm on Jan. 20, 2021, federal marshals are going to approach him and say, “Sir, you have the right to remain silent.”
There is no Republican Party anymore. Oh, there’s John Kasich, a few others, maybe enough for a poker game. And it might exist again someday. But for now, no matter how deep this crisis gets, expect nothing from them except I don’t care. The rest of us will have to find a way to save the country ourselves.