Trump’s staff – what’s left of it – is probably bending spoons and keeping flowers in full bloom in hopes that he’ll stay on script tonight. Their best case scenario is that he sticks to the staff-written set of lies and exaggerations. If I had to bet, I think he will, and he’ll come off wooden and rehearsed while stumbling through some words. If not, it will be like sitting at the dinner table at the Alzheimers wing of the nursing home.
I just glanced at the front pages of the Times, Post and USA Today, and they’re remarkably skeptical. The only USA Today mention of the speech says it should get an “upfront fact check”. At minimum, instead of waxing on how Trump finally became president tonight, the networks should have someone in the chair who can take a shovel to the avalanche of bullshit that’s going to rain down. Even the conservative Chris Wallace did that over the weekend with first-string liar Huckabee-Sanders. There’s no need for intellectually lazy journalists like Chuck Todd to do any real work — all he needs to do is read Daniel Dale’s twitter feed.
The one development yesterday that bothered me is talk of Trump’s dream team of barely-passed-the-bar lawyers looking for ways to make sure tax refunds go out. In a sane time, attempts to do that would be met with bills passed by a veto-proof majority by a Congress. But this crew of Republicans is too shit pants scared to do anything. If he can pull it off, this is how Trump gets to a dictatorship, by picking and choosing which government activities get funded. I don’t think it can happen–any IRS employees with a spine will stay home, rather than work unpaid. But it’s just another index of how far we’ve fallen.