W. Bush-era torture apologist Marc Thiessen extruded an especially stinky turd of a column in The Post. Thiessen has never written anything worth reading, but I call your attention to the log he laid in the opinion page litter box yesterday because it’s an especially gross example of how, when “conservatives” buy into Trumpism, they drop all pretense to every principle they previously claimed guided their lives and become walking, talking manifestations of Cleek’s Law.
This column purports to advise Trump on how he can pull a “win” from the shutdown loser-town wreckage that is smoking all around him. Idiotically, Thiessen’s genius plan involves Trump calling Pelosi’s bluff, as if Trump didn’t just try that last week and get burned to the fucking ground for his trouble. But I digress — an excerpt:
[Trump] should go back to the experts at the Department of Homeland Security and ask them: If Democrats refuse to give you the addition physical barriers you have said are essential to secure the border, what other funding would you need to make up for it?… The total, he should tell the border professionals, can be far more than $5.7 billion. Just tell me what you need — the sky’s the limit.
Then, the president should then use his State of the Union address to demand that congressional Democrats fund every single penny. He should announce that if Democrats won’t pay for a wall, this is what border agents and homeland security professionals say they need immediately to secure the border without one. Unfortunately, it is more expensive to secure the border with people and technology than it is with steel slats.
Trump should make clear these demands are nonnegotiable. He will not make any concessions for them. No protections for “dreamers” or extension of the Temporary Protected Status program. Those things are still on the table, but only in exchange for a physical barrier.
If Democrats refuse, Trump will have regained the moral high ground… But Democrats will not refuse, because they have no grounds to do so. They have repeatedly claimed over the past few weeks to support such measures. Well, now it is time to start funding them.
If Democrats agree, then Trump can legitimately claim to have done more than any president in history to secure the southern border. He will have essentially built a virtual wall. And he can do all this without giving up on a physical barrier. Trump can make clear that he will make wall funding a condition of every policy initiative that Democrats put forward in the coming two years. He can declare that he is more than willing to cut a bipartisan deal to reform our broken immigration system — as long as that deal includes a wall.
To recap, if this plan works the way Thiessen thinks it will, Trump will extract untold billions of taxpayer funds for a virtual wall that makes a physical barrier obsolete, then turn around and demand a physical wall too. Why build not one but two walls? So Thiessen’s impotent orange idol can chalk up a “win.”
As we all know, Republican claims about being the party of fiscal responsibility have been garbage for decades. From the sainted Reagan to the present day, Republicans run up huge deficits and bugger the economy in myriad ways, and then Democrats have to come in and clean up the mess.
That said, Republicans used to be disciplined enough to try to disguise their profligacy, using scams like “trickle down” as a pretext for shoveling cash into their donors’ pockets, or lying that a ruinous, pointless war will “pay for itself.”
But here, Thiessen just straight-up urges Trump to spend many billions of dollars on a “virtual wall” and then insist on a multi-billion dollar spite wall that the first project rendered unnecessary. He thinks the American people — the majority of whom don’t want one wall, let alone a belt-and-suspenders boondoggle — won’t mind the expense, point out that Mexico was supposed to pay for it, or object to a vanity wall demand jamming every other piece of legislation for the next two years. Only a cultist could be so deluded.
Because our Beltway press is a dysfunctional garbage heap that privileges phony notions of “balance” over accuracy, Thiessen and fellow neocon trashmongers like Hugh Hewitt retained their prominent perches after cheerleading W. Bush’s epic fuckup in Iraq. Maybe we can make Trump cultism a bridge too far, or at least try to do so.
When Trump is finally exposed as the utter fraud he is in terms that even balance junkies can’t deny — and I think that will happen — let us resolve to use our power as consumers to unseat his worst media enablers, people like Thiessen, Hewitt, etc. — pundits in mainstream outlets who’ve lashed themselves to the mast of the SS Trumptanic.
Let them be reduced to peddling their rancid hot takes at InfoWars or Breitbart, not in the pages of The Washington Post. Or better yet, let them enjoy a steaming mug of STFU.