This Was the Week that Is
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
In 1964-65 Americans were treated with their own version of a British satirical television program entitled That Was The Week That Was. The show was political satire at its best. This past week in Washington was an incredible week which still is not over and it has been anything but political satire; rather it has been a reality that has been beyond belief.
Consider the following:
- The “must pass” tax bill is facing last minute hurdles from the deficit hawks in the Senate and a pushback from a President who could negotiate the problem if he were actually a deal-maker. All of this is coming before one considers the fact that the bill still needs to be approved by a House-Senate Conference Committee.
- President Trump retweeted three extreme right-wing, British, anti-Muslim videos from 2013 maligning and degrading Muslims; at least two of the videos had long ago been proven to be false. Afterwards Prime Minister Theresa May rebuked Trump for his intemperate behavior. The President countered by attacking her for failing to address radical Islam in the U.K.
- The President is reported to have been pressuring the Republicans on the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees as well as Republican congressional leaders to end the Committees’ investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
- Trump as well as Members of his Administration are threatening the North Korean regime with elevated sanctions and possible reprisals following their launching of an ICBM missile.
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears about to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo who in turn reportedly is to be replaced by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. All of this as the ranks of diplomats at the State Department continues to decline and moral in Foggy Bottom is at an all-time low.
Underlying all of this activity are these questions.
- Will the Republican controlled Congress and the White House succeed in passing a tax bill?
- Can the United States still function on the world stage with its diplomatic corps disarray?
- Are Americans elected officials prepared to address the dangerous, irrational, uncontrolled behavior of the President or will they allow his clearly psychotic, fascistic direction to drive the United States into the ground?
- Have the Russians given the President a deadline of year’s end, to cease the Russia bashing in Washington as well as the continuation of further negative charges and allegations? If Russia does not see that the President can stop these investigations, have the Russians threatened to open the envelope of dirt they have accumulated on Donald Trump?
- A tax bill of some sort is likely to pass, although it may not make it through before Christmas given the fact that Congress needs to extend the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution funding bill at a minimum.
- U.S. foreign policy will limp along but the decline of constructive U.S. engagement throughout the world is palpable.
- The Trump base of almost 35% will accept any behavior from the President and until after the mid-term elections Republicans in Congress are unlikely to budge; but Trump is tempting Members daily.
- Whether Russians have scurrilous and incriminating evidence against the President is not definite but the possibility keeps growing. Until the Mueller investigation concludes Americans will not know. The fact that the President’s lawyer has been suggesting that all the investigations should be wound up by year’s end and now disclosures that Trump himself has been pushing for the congressional committees to conclude their business now, suggests serious pressure is being applied.
Now consider the fact that the week is still not over!