Welcome to Sunday Four-Play! It’s the 19th Sunday of ordinary time, but that’s not important right now. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
To be fair, the chance that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie becomes the next Republican presidential nominee is about the same as Jesus returning to Earth after 2,000 years to see if anyone’s invented Hot Pockets. Then again, stranger things have happened. Like Donald Trump becoming president—which lies somewhere on the “strange” continuum between quantum entanglement and accidentally finding out your dad is Carrot Top.
That said, Christie is the only Republican candidate who’s actually running for president this cycle. Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison, and the rest of these Lilliputians appear to be running for the privilege of becoming Trump’s next VP. But first they need to show their mettle by getting their numbers up and proving they can hang with ... erm, for him.
But, while Christie Supine and the Pretenders may be miles behind the feral frontrunner right now, America’s political landscape can shifts seismically with little warning. Who knows? Maybe a federal judge will confirm Trump is a rapist. Or maybe he’ll be caught red-handed stealing highly sensitive government secrets, and later be indicted for it. Or maybe everyone will find out he tried to steal a free and fair election just to assuage his own ego. Can you even imagine? He’d be sunk. America would never stand for it. People would be throwing wet garbage at him in the streets. They’d shave his head and force him to wear sackcloth wherever he goes. Eventually he’d be sucked up a chocolate tube, never to be heard from again.
Yeah, yeah, I know. A man can dream, though, can’t he?
What do you say? Let’s get started!
Christie gets the top spot this week because, as noted, he’s the only Republican who’s actually running for president in 2024. Or running to do the job, anyway. Trump is running, but mostly because he wants to stay out of jail and likes the way his Diet Coke button looks on the Resolute Desk. Sure, some of Trump’s other opponents are taking little swipes at him here and there, but Christie is the only one talking about Trump the way he needs to be talked about.
Sunday was no different. Christie appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and was saying simply outrageous things!
KARL: “The judge in the election interference case had the first hearing. She’s put a protective order on. She also said she won’t allow politics to interfere with this case. Is that possible?”
CHRISTIE: “Well, let’s first start with what the judge said. I think it is impossible not to have politics inform this case. It’s not a normal criminal case, so politics is going to inform some of it. But I also think Donald Trump needs to be smart and careful about this, if that’s at all possible. Which is that he is a criminal defendant. Jon, let me remind the viewers out there. If he’s indicted in Atlanta this week as we’re anticipating that he will be, we will have the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president out on bail in four different jurisdictions—New York, Miami, Washington, and Atlanta. Four different jurisdictions he’s out on bail.”
Wait, what? What is this guy saying? It’s a bad thing if your party’s presidential nominee faces dozens of felony counts in multiple jurisdictions? Whoa. I like this guy. He comes right out and says all the stuff I’m too afraid to say! So courageous. He’s running against another candidate for high office and using that candidate’s glaring vulnerabilities against him! That may be a first in politics. What a brilliant stroke. This guy is going places.
Seriously, though, Trump’s indictments are starting to look like that scene in “Back to the Future” where Biff Tannen and his pals get smothered in manure. What are the rest of these jabronis waiting for?
And it’s interesting to see in the “This Week” chyron that Trump won’t sign a pre-debate pledge to back the eventual GOP nominee. Wait, did I say interesting? I meant blatantly obvious.
Then again, it would really be something to see Trump and Christie debate, wouldn’t it? It would be like watching a knife fight between two preternaturally clammy howler monkeys. It would be like watching sex between Bill O’Reilly and an 8-foot-tall falafel golem. It would look like the first three paragraphs of a Kari Lake Penthouse Forum letter. Or like a constipated labradoodle barking show tunes at his rectum. It would look like the IMAX premiere of Mitch McConnell’s colonoscopy video.
In other words, it would be a huuuuuuge spectacle. And just as monumentally gross. Can you imagine these two oily fucks going at it? The air between them would be flammable.
And now for something completely different. Mike Pence!
He’s trying to run on Trump’s record while at the same time attempting to distance himself from Trump. It’s quite a high-wire act … in that he must be high if he thinks he can pull it off. But that won’t stop him from trying!
Here he is attempting to finesse a question about the former president and the horde of MAGA toadies who literally tried to murder him. Is he a MAGA Republican, “Meet the Press”’ Chuck Todd asks? Well, we just don’t know, now, do we?
TODD: “Do you consider yourself a MAGA Republican?”
PENCE: “I’m incredibly proud of what we did in the Trump-Pence administration for four years. You better believe it. In those four years, after eight years of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression, eight years under Barack Obama, Joe Biden that saw military cuts that hollowed out our military, eight years of liberals on our courts, under the Trump-Pence administration with the support of MAGA Americans, we literally did make America great again ...”
TODD: “You’re a MAGA Republican or not?”
PENCE: “… before the pandemic struck. Look, I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican in that order. I’ve always said that, and people who know me know those are my values, those are my ideals, and I really believe that the agenda that I’ve always been about, and that I’m looking forward to taking to that debate stage, is the agenda that will bring this country all the way back.”
Before the pandemic? Yeah, thanks for clarifying, Caspar the Friendly Milquetoast. Unfortunately, that’s a little like saying the Hindenburg’s farewell flight was the best zeppelin ride ever until, well, you know. And while President Obama’s economic recovery—which began its ascent from the giant, smoldering financial crater George W. Bush left us in—was indeed slow at times (thanks, again, to Republicans), it was creating jobs at a significantly faster clip in its final three years than Trump’s economy added in its first three. Which means that, by one important measure at least, the pre-pandemic economy was more sluggish under Trump than it was under Obama.
So it’s unclear who exactly is going to vote for Pence (who, by the way, is running for president, in case you hadn’t noticed). His only natural constituency appears to be 4-week-old fetuses who want to live in a Mike Pence-led christo-fascist theocracy. And that’s an extremely narrow demographic.
Oh, lordy. Marsha Blackburn is talking again. And like most of her GOP colleagues, she’s big mad that Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor to look into the business affairs of private citizen Hunter Biden, who is evidently the only alleged criminal Republicans care about these days.
The esteemed senator from Tennessee shared her worthless opinions on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” in what the network dubbed an “exclusive.” Which simply means no one else on the planet wants to talk to her.
BLACKBURN: “And I think everyone knows David Weiss is not a prosecutor, he’s not a special counsel, he is a collaborator. And the sweetheart deal that he had cooked up for Hunter Biden, now they’re going to give him a sweetheart deal with the special counsel and run out the clock.”
David Weiss? You mean the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney who started investigating Hunter Biden in 2019 during the—erm—Trump administration? And whom Attorney General Merrick Garland allowed to stay on the job to complete his work? That guy?
Something tells me Blackburn and the rest of the GOP bullshit brigade aren’t being entirely honest.
Good guys! We’ve got good guys, too! My life isn’t just a nonstop cavalcade of snark. I have a soul, you know—corroded though it may be.
Rep. Jamie Raskin appeared on ABC “This Week” with Jonathan Karl to lend some perspective on the whole Hunter Biden thing.
KARL: “So I want to ask you more about the stuff Republicans have been highlighting regarding Hunter Biden. We saw Joe Biden at one point say that Hunter Biden had no dealings, got no money from China. We now see from Hunter’s own words that that’s not true. Does any of this raise concerns for you? The money from Ukraine, the money from China, the money from Russia. Does any of this … whether or not it’s criminal, whether or not it warrants special counsel status. Are you concerned about this, though?”
RASKIN: “Here’s what I’m concerned about. During the Trump administration we saw the development of a completely new public philosophy, which is that government is not an instrument of the common good and the public interest, government is an instrument for private self-enrichment for the guy who gets in, for his family, for his private businesses, and that’s a model that we’re seeing all over the world ...”
KARL: “But you don’t approve of that model, obviously.”
RASKIN: “I do not.”
KARL: “You’ve denounced that model ...”
RASKIN: “That’s what Putin is doing, that’s what Orban is doing, that’s what Marcos is doing, that’s what al-Sisi is doing ...”
KARL: “I mean, that’s been going on since the dawn of mankind.”
RASKIN: “Well, but it’s new for America that someone would get in and just basically say, everything is corrupt and I’m just as corrupt as the next guy, and I’m going to take money, as Trump did from China, from Saudi Arabia, from the United Arab Emirates. I mean, look, you know, his son-in-law Jared Kushner pocketed a cool $2 billion from …
KARL: “From Saudi Arabia … But what about Hunter?”
RASKIN: “So I am concerned about it, and I’m concerned not just about public officials like Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, but even family members that water-ski along for the ride. And I have been begging my colleague Chairman [James] Comer for us to do a serious analysis of what the laws should be about money-making ...”
KARL: “And you would take part in a serious investigation …”
RASKIN: “Yes, of course we would. And we’re going to release a report about all of the foreign government emoluments, millions of dollars we can document that Donald Trump pocketed at the hotels, at the golf courses, through business deals when he was president, and that his family got, but they’ve not laid a glove on Joe Biden as president. They haven’t been able to show any criminal corruption on his part. What they’ve got is Hunter Biden, and we all seem clear that this guy was addicted to drugs and did a lot of really unlawful and wrong things, and we have said let the justice system run its course. They’re not saying that about Donald Trump. Any time Donald Trump actually gets indicted after a grand jury has already determined that there’s probable cause … they attack the prosectors, they attack the judges, they attack the system. For them, Donald Trump could never be guilty of anything.”
Yes, he could never be guilty of anything. Certainly not bad taste ...
Oh, poor, poor Ivana. That’s revenge for giving birth to Eric, isn’t it?
But wait, there’s more!
Have a great one! See you next week.
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.