Quite reasonable people have asked me why I don't think the Trump-Russia connection is really very much worth your time, and Masha Gessen at The New York Review of Books explains why better than I could. And with considerably more generosity than I would have done, too -- as I'm exhorting everyone to work-work-work, Ms. Gessen reminds us that the "Russian conspiracy" "is used to explain how Trump could have happened to us, and it is also called upon to give us hope. When the Russian conspiracy behind Trump is finally fully exposed, our national nightmare will be over." Still, "none of the information" coming from intelligence agencies "can be independently corroborated," which I'm sure doesn't surprise you, and a lot of the dot-connecting doesn't actually pan out (Russia's December execution of two cybersecurity experts had nothing to do with Mr. Trump, and a phantom Ukraine plank in the 2016 Republican platform wasn't even out of our foreign policy mainstream, to name two). And I still tell people Russia didn't create the Interstate Crosscheck database or "lose" all those non-votes in Detroit and Flint, and Russia didn't induce the Democratic party poobahs to get behind the "safe" candidate instead of the one who could actually inspire people to vote Democrat. If Democrats would work on matters like these, all the Russian interference in the world wouldn't matter.
One doesn't want to gloat over Mr. Trump's failure (at least in the short term!) to get his health care "reform" bill passed, but when he blamed Democrats for its failure, I laughed out loud. A more reasonable individual might have blamed his own attempts to make his bill even worse in order to attract votes from nihilists in the Republican "Freedom" Caucus -- the CBO re-evaluated the bill as it was revised mid-week and found it would not only deprive 24 million Americans of their health insurance but would actually cost more than Obamacare does, and it would take a special kind of stupid to pass that. Then Mr. Trump offered to make health insurance corporations cover many, many fewer essential health care services than the Affordable Care Act does now, which would have made useless the pre-existing condition ban Mr. Trump says he likes so much. So Mr. Trump blaming Democrats for the health care bill's failure is like the schoolyard bully whining that no one will play with him. Now, his statement that "(t)he best thing that could happen is exactly what happened"? He might be right about that -- we're still over 19 months away from midterms, which is plenty of time for Trumpcare to turn up in, say, a must-pass appropriations bill, or for something else entirely. So, think we might be getting a terrorist attack soon?
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gets an earful at a townhall over his support for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. He goes so far as to tell his loudly-booing audience that "if you can’t understand that he is a qualified nominee, then you’re not listening" (so much for the power of persuasion!), and that "elections have consequences," which he must have imagined would sound better coming from the man who dutifully voted to confirm Justices Sotomayor and Kagan in 2009, but which only reminds folks that in this election, 54% of the electorate voted against the winner of the Electoral vote. He also plays the Straw Man card, by suggesting his attendees think "only liberals only can get their nominees and conservatives can't" -- this, though he's been in quite a few Congresses that simply refused to hold hearings on a Democratic President's judicial nominees. But that's not even the worst thing he said. Here's that: "I don't think that the Constitution was written so that you get everything you want and I get nothing." Actually, the Founders did write the Constitution so that an elected representative gets nothing -- elected representatives do the will of their constituents, not their own will. Why do we need to keep reminding our elected representatives of that, I wonder?