So You’re A Republican Congressman Who Planned On Using The Debt Ceiling As Political Leverage

Rough day, buddy. Rough day.

Wednesday started out so promising. After your perfunctory daily blood sacrifice to Mammon, you attended a pancake prayer breakfast with your turtle friend Mitch and a dozen of his closest colleagues. “We’ve got a tough road ahead of us this September,” he intoned, jowls all aquiver, “But by gum, I’ve lubricated tax reform with our debt ceiling threat. We’ll be able to slide it through Congress to the president’s desk before month’s end.”

What callow youths you were this morning.

Apropos of nothing, the tangerine tyrant who roosts in your party like an obligate brood parasite smacked your best laid schemes upside the head.

President Trump, a man of few allegiances who seized control of the Republican Party in a hostile takeover, suddenly aligned himself with Democrats Wednesday on a series of key fiscal issues — and even gave a lift to North Dakota’s embattled Democratic U.S. senator.

Trump confounded his own party’s leaders when he cut a deal with Democratic congressional leaders — “Chuck and Nancy,” as the president informally referred to them — on a short-term plan to fund the government and raise its borrowing limit this month.

Trump’s surprise stance upended sensitive negotiations over the debt ceiling and other crucial policy areas this fall and further imperiled his already tenuous relationships with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

The episode is the latest turn in Trump’s extraordinary separation from his own party, as he distances himself to deflect blame for what has been a year of gridlock and missed opportunities for Republicans on Capitol Hill. It follows a summer of presidential stewing over McConnell and Ryan, both of whom Trump views as insufficiently loyal and weak in executing his agenda, according to his advisers.

After all you’ve done for the man, this is how he repays you and your party. After. All. You’ve. Done. You swallowed every pang of conscience, silenced every klaxon, stopped up your ears with candle wax so your party could take total control of Washington. You looked the other way when he groped other men’s mothers and daughters. You put up with his inane, embarrassing, counter-democratic blather on Twitter. You feebly defended his obstructions of justice. You turned off your brain and bowed so low your nose scraped the ground to get your way. For nothing. This cuckoo has offered only searing disappointment. And now he collaborates with the enemy?!

You realize you’ve grit your teeth so hard you’ve cracked a tooth. You wonder — and as you wonder, you know you’re not the only Republican congressman to be wondering this — has the time come for a 46th President of the United States? What do you need to do to get there? You hope Mike’s up for the job.

(Year Zero/Day Two Hundred and Thirty)

The Boys Are Back In Town

Did you hear? The boys — mostly, this being Congress — are back in town!  They’re well-rested and ready to get in pointless fights with the president, attempt to pass toxic legislation and fail to run a government they have near-total control over.

First up on the agenda, tax ref– DACA! Trump intends to stick it to the Dreamers and has given Congress exactly 6 months to sort it all out. But Congress isn’t inept; they can juggle multiple balls at once. So the DACA ball is in the air, next comes tax ref– Hurricane Harvey relief! Houston is one big puddle right now. 60 people are confirmed dead, and many more have lost everything. Responding to this disaster can’t wait.

So DACA, then Harvey relief, then tax refo– oh, what is it now?! Kim Jong Un detonated a hydrogen bomb underground, and the Trump administration continues its ill-advised game of feeding the troll? This calls for some sober-minded adults in the room.

But after DACA, hurricane relief and averting a nuclear holocaust, they’ll be able to give their undivided attention to… to… tax reform. Presuming nothing else major happens in the month of September. Congressional Republicans desperately need something to brag about to their constituents. If they can’t pass something in the next month, the electoral politics of 2018 ensures nothing substantial will be done for another year and some change.

It’s a good thing for the GOP the American tax code isn’t, you know, complicated.

(Year Zero/Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Nine)