Remember “The Dating Game”? It was one of those shows that folks of a certain age would watch when we stayed home from school pretending to be bleeding from our eyeballs with hemorrhagic fever. Even as a kid it seemed odd to me that 1) anyone would go on a beach trip vacation alone with a stranger they’d just met, 2) they’d select their date, sight unseen, based on generic softball questions like “What’s your idea of a fun first date?” and 3) the woman would often look utterly stricken when she finally met her chosen suitor face to face, even though only one of the contestants ever turned out to be a serial killer. (That we know of, anyway.)
I couldn’t help but think of that show after Republicans chose Rep. Mike Johnson to lead the House for however long we have left until the rapture, when God finally calls Randy Quaid and his Igloo cooler full of squirrel heads home. The ordeal felt a bit like an episode of “The Dating Game” where Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and Johnson were the three eager bachelors and Republicans somehow decided Johnson was their least creepy option.
I can almost picture a beaming Johnson declaring how super hard-core he’s going to love America as soon as he gets it alone: “For our first date, I’d like to fly you to Idaho, force you into a covenant marriage, and stare at you for the rest of your natural life with the baleful mien of a Christmas elf who doesn’t like to make toys but does have an oddly specific penchant for unlicensed taxidermy.”
In other words, Republicans chose this guy with precious little forethought or vetting, and it sorta feels like it could backfire. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But we already know he’s all-in on forced birth, The Big Lie, criminalizing gay sex, and handing Ukraine over to Vladimir Putin, so naturally he’ll be an ideal brand ambassador for the GOP heading into the 2024 election cycle.
This week on the Sunday shows, Johnson’s name came up more than it ever has before. In addition, Maria Bartiromo of “Sunday Morning Futures” scored an exclusive interview with the man himself. I fully expected her to ask about Johnson’s plan for governing and whether it’s easier for a Christian dominionist weirdo and real-life “Handmaid’s Tale” character to keep a show on Fox News or be elected speaker of the House with the unanimous support of his party, but Johnson was too busy lying to get into too much detail on any of that.
He did have some important stuff to say, though. Mostly lies, but what else is new?
So let’s dive in, shall we?
Normally if I were cueing up a Tim Kaine clip I’d warn you well in advance so you had time to order smelling salts and a home defibrillator on Amazon, but in this case he’s exactly what we need. He’s the man for the hour. And the one after that. And the next one, too. Aaaaand … oh, shit, he’s still going. Oh, no, did he just start in on the macroeconomic implications of corporate sorghum subsidies? Again? We could be here a while. Hope you brought a book.
So you didn’t want industrious, conscientious, and serious leaders like Tim Kaine, eh, America? Well, look what you got instead. Kaine may be as exciting as plain oatmeal, but at least he’s good for you. You went with the Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, and they turned out to be actual bombs.
Kaine joined “The Saturday/Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart” to discuss the yang to his yin, new House Speaker Mike Johnson—who’s also pretty boring, but in that lawful evil way Republicans have always loved.
CAPEHART: “Before we get into the nitty-gritty, just generally your view of Speaker Mike Johnson, what he represents?”
KAINE: “Well, Jonathan, he is the most powerful Republican in America. He is the face of today’s GOP. He’s second in line to the president, and you outlined the positions he had, from election denial to climate science denial to anti-LGBTQ, anti-women’s reproductive rights. This is who the Republican Party is now, and remember, he received the vote of every member of the Republican caucus to be speaker. So that is obviously a very different vision than Virginians have, a very different vision than Senate Democrats or Republicans have, and so it sets up some challenging times ahead. But all that said, it’s better to have a speaker than not have a speaker, because we have important work to do for the American public.”
It is better to have a speaker than not to have a speaker. That is true. And it was better for the Titanic to have a captain, if only to tell the string quartet where to set up. But Kaine makes some great points, and even more importantly, he offers a living, breathing contrast to today’s GOP, which is exciting in the same way that buying Tylenol in October 1982 was exciting.
If you want sober, steady, and policy-focused, you’d do well to elect more Democrats like Kaine. If you want to have a child every 10 months and, seconds after giving birth, be forced to shout, “Thank you, Jesus, may I have another?!” then Mike Johnson is definitely your guy.
As Kaine said, it is important to have a speaker. Who else is going to try to impeach Joe Biden for no reason? New Speaker Mike Johnson, newly hatched from the Republican-pol pod farm miles below Koch Industries, appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo to further gaslight a weary nation that’s had just about enough of this nonsense already.
Bartiromo asked the question that’s at the top of every American’s mind: Are you going to keep the Biden impeachment charade going through the 2024 election?
BARTIROMO: “What about the investigations into the potential Biden family influence peddling, potential bribery? Are you going to allocate the financial resources and human capital needed to do an in-depth investigation? And will an impeachment inquiry turn into an official impeachment?”
JOHNSON: “We’ll see, Maria. I worked on the committees of jurisdiction, and Judiciary is one of those. I think our chairmen have done an exceptional job, you’ve spoken to all of them. Jamie Comer and Jim Jordan and Jason Smith, on Oversight and Judiciary and Ways and Means. They’ve continued those investigations. Even while we were going through the tumult of the speaker’s race, they were still working methodically through that. I’m encouraging that. I think we have a constitutional responsibility to follow this truth where it leads. We’re the rule-of-law team. We don’t use this for political partisan games like the Democrats have done and did against Donald Trump twice. We are going to follow the law and follow the Constitution, and you and I have a suspicion of where that may lead, but we’re going to let the evidence speak for itself, and I look forward to rolling that out over the coming days and weeks and letting the American people see exactly why we’re taking the next steps and where it’s headed.”
Okay, no one has time to fully parse all the lies and barmy nonsense Johnson packed into that short clip. Suffice to say, Republicans have no evidence against Biden. In fact, their one big hearing on the subject was so effing embarrassing, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer recently told reporters, “I don’t know that I wanna hold any more hearings, to be honest with you.” Which is a weird thing to say if, as Johnson claims, they just want to let “the American people see exactly why we’re talking those next steps and where it is headed.”
But flipping reality on its head is kind of the GOP’s brand now. Donald Trump may have extorted a foreign power in order to dig up dirt on Biden, and yes, he tried to illegally overturn the results of a free and fair election and was all-in when his feral mob decided it wanted to hang Mike Pence (he should have known Pence would hang himself eventually), but President Biden loaned some money to his brother. And his brother paid it back!
Rule-of-Law Party to the rescue!
Sadly, just based on the few clips we’ve seen, it’s clear that Johnson is the kind of liar who can lie straight to your face without flinching. And if I never watched anything on Sunday mornings besides Fox News and Alvin Styczynski’s Polka Palooza, I’d be pretty convinced by him, too. But I watch all the polka shows, and sample more than just one Sunday show, too. So I’m not fooled by him for a second, no matter how many outrageous fibs he tells for Jesus.
Top Trump gadfly Chris Christie is back. He appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper to help us ascertain the obvious: Murderous autocrat and war criminal Vladimir Putin’s best friend in America is Donald Trump. And if Trump returns to power, Putin will get pretty much everything he wants (including a U.S. withdrawal from NATO, though Christie didn't specifically mention that part), and Ukraine will be left twisting in a very foul wind.
Yes, Christie is still telling the truth about Donald Trump, which is a big reason why he’s stuck at roughly 3% in the polls. You can’t be a truth-teller and expect to win anything as a Republican.
TAPPER: “Let’s turn to the war in Israel. President Biden has proposed a $105 billion foreign aid package, which includes support to both Israel and Ukraine and some other priorities. Donald Trump said yesterday that Ukraine aid and Israel aid should be separate, it should be decoupled. What do you think?”
CHRISTIE: “Well, this is Donald Trump’s, you know, bad worldview. Look, he wants to do it and separate them because he wants to continue to coddle Putin, as he’s done from the minute he became president of the United States and going forward from there. This aid is connected because these attacks are connected. There’s no doubt that Russia, China and Iran, and North Korea are all working together to try to disrupt the world and create violence. We need to support Israel and support them strongly, and we need to support our friends in Ukraine as well. Remember, Jake, we made a promise to them in 1992 when they removed nuclear missiles and returned them to Russia that we would protect them if Russia attacked. We need to keep our promises.”
Wait, did anyone else notice what I noticed? Christie just admitted that Trump has been coddling Putin from the moment he became president. Is that why Christie risked his life to help Trump prepare for the debates against Biden? So Trump could continue coddling Putin for another four years?
Republicans. I tell ya, man. Even when they’re telling the truth they’re up to their eyeballs in horseshit.
Of course, Donald Trump isn’t the only Republican who wants to coddle Putin. Enabling mass murderers is all the rage in the GOP these days. While they’re eager to send aid to Israel, which was attacked by a terrorist group with a small fraction of Israel’s resources, Ukraine was invaded by the No. 2 military in the world (by beet consumption, anyway), and it’s doing a great job curtailing Putin’s imperial ambitions. In other words, Ukraine is shedding its citizens’ blood for the sake of Europe’s and the world’s democracies, not just for its own interests. If you want to promote democracy and contain brutal autocracy, this is the fight you should be paying attention to.
But as the recent speaker battle proved, these jabronis take their orders from Donald Trump now, and Trump still wants to build a big tower in Moscow. Perhaps to live in, but that remains to be seen.
Sen. J.D. Vance joined host Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” to throw our brave and loyal ally Ukraine under the busski.
BRENNAN: “We just heard the new House Speaker, you have some similarities with him in terms of separating out Israel aid from Ukraine aid. He did say, though, ‘We can’t allow Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there. We’re not going to abandon them.’ What part of that statement is objectionable to you?”
VANCE: “Well, nothing is objectionable in the sense that if I could wave a magic wand and throw Putin out of Ukraine, I would, but what we have to accept is there’s a difference between what should happen and what can happen. America has limited capacity. Just in the Israeli conflict, for example, there are 300,000 artillery shells the Israelis would love to have access to. They don’t have access to them. Why? Because we sent them to Ukraine. We have a rising threat of China in East Asia. There are weapons the Taiwanese need that we can’t send because we sent them to Ukraine. We have to focus. That’s all I’m saying.”
Uh-huh. You know, when a guy who still supports Donald Trump claims “we have to focus,” it’s almost too much for a single human brain to process. I may have to hook into the Borg hive mind for a few while I try to make sense of it. We have to focus, so let’s make this googly-eyed Adderall golem president again. That sure would help!
Also, we can’t keep sending money to Ukraine. They might win, and where will we be then? So let’s get the Los Alamos National Laboratory started on that magic wand! We’ve got the bad guys on the run now!
These people. Sheesh.
But wait! There’s more!
- ABC “This Week’s” Powerhouse Roundtable discusses the defenestration of Mike Pence. (Hey, this was never his year anyway. He should have waited until 1528.)
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Rep. Dean Phillips’ decision to primary President Biden: “Everyone's got the right to run, but I'm sorry, I have no idea what he is running on that is different from what President Biden is running on.” (“Meet the Press”)
- Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he still feels at home in the Republican Party, but he hasn’t talked to congressional Republicans about providing funding for Ukraine. (“Meet the Press”)
- Rep. Byron Donalds claims “more and more Black Americans say we gotta have Trump back.” (“Sunday Morning Futures”)
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis insists we need to keep mental health in mind in order to stop mass shootings but doesn’t support red flag laws that would keep people with troubling histories from buying AR-15s. (“Meet the Press”)
That’s all for this week! Have a happy Halloween! It’s a frightening world out there these days, so maybe take some time to unwind with a few of those “Saw” movies and maybe an “Exorcist” or two.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.