Welcome back to Sunday Four-Play, a weekly Sunday show review column wherein I pretend I don’t lie supine in the bathtub every Saturday night clutching a bong the size of a culvert pipe while desperately hoping our collective, eight-year waking nightmare ends before I’m forced to spontaneously exfil my long-beleaguered eyeballs with a discount Fleet Farm ice auger.
In other words, I find clips from the Sunday shows (four of them, to be precise), transcribe them, add some commentary, and hope it somehow helps me cope with the serial depredations of one Donald John Trump.
So the two big political stories of the week were Trump getting arrested and Republicans gathering for their first primary election debate to pretend it doesn’t matter.
Full disclosure: I did not watch the debate. Between the chloroform-suffused reproofs of Asa Hutchinson, the bath salts suppository that is Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis’ desperate attempts to pass the Turing test before anyone discovers he’s a semi-ambulant skin Furby being remotely controlled by a moist sack of lemmings, it was altogether too much to bear.
That said, it’s a little premature for Disney to release the animatronic DeSantis statue for its famous Hall of Presidents, isn’t it?
Holy frosted fuckballs, Gladys. I’ve seen fourth grade book reports that sounded less rehearsed than that. His smile is about as natural as the polypropylene rod stuck up his ass. What made this dude think he could run a successful campaign, anyway? He’s like a Manchurian candidate who runs for president while he’s being hypnotized.
Oh, and you may have noticed that Trump’s Georgia mug shot (aka suburban voter repellent) was released this week, too. What can you really say about it, other than he looks like a literal devil? Which is good, I guess, because how else would we ever know that Donald Trump is angry about something? He’s like a black box … full of shrieking dingos. If the DMV had taken that photo, his driver’s license would now stipulate he’s required to wear corrective lenses, a full-body nicotine patch leotard, and at least one military-grade Hannibal Lecter muzzle.
But enough of that guy. The Frighty-AF Indictee wouldn’t dare appear on any of the Sunday shows. Unlike these folks.
First up … the cool new fascist on the block, Vivek Ramaswamy. Ugh.
Rumor has it Trump skipped the first GOP debate because he was still workshopping nicknames for this guy. “Vivek-section” doesn’t really roll off the tongue the way it should. “Ramaswampy” sounds better, but the guy seems more eager to drain the so-called D.C. swamp than Trump is.
We basically just found out about this guy, and already he’s fucking exhausting. He’s like the dude at the party no one knows or invited, but who still somehow insinuates himself into every conversation. God knows why Blecch* Bro decided to get up in our faces now. Maybe he was the high bidder on David Crosby’s abandoned storage locker and found his premium stash.
Ramaswamy was on “Meet the Press” with a suddenly very tired-looking Chuck Todd explaining how he’d be better than—but still just as fucking awesome as!—Donald Trump.
*H/t to Mort Drucker and Mad magazine.
TODD: “Look, a political neophyte outsider became president and couldn’t get a lot of the things done that he wanted to get done, in Donald Trump. Why do you think somebody with less experience than Donald Trump had is somehow going to make the federal government function in a way that you’re outlining.”
RAMASWAMY: “So I think there’s three things I would say. The first is, we have that experience to learn from. I want to build on the foundation that Trump laid. Frankly, I will invite him as an adviser and a mentor. I don’t want to relearn the same lessons. I want to pick up where he left off in taking on the administrative state. The second thing, Chuck, is I do think it needs to be an outsider to take on that administrative state, but I also think it needs to be an outsider who has a deep, first personal understanding of the laws and constitution of this country. I think Trump was in many cases duped by his managerial advisers, for example, who said that you can’t fire employees in the federal government due to civil service protections. Read the law. Turns out those civil service protections only apply to individual firings, not to mass layoffs. Mass layoffs are absolutely what I will bring to the D.C. bureaucracy. And I think the fact that I am from a different generation, Chuck, will be an asset. I’m able to reach young Americans. I’m able to reach people who haven’t traditionally been brought into the mold of Republican politics. I don't even talk about Republicans and Democrats, and so I think I will be able to build a greater moral mandate across generations that helps unite Americans around the America First agenda rather than making it a strictly partisan affair.”
First off, slow the fuck down, man. Have a Sanka or something. Just because you’re campaigning in Iowa doesn’t mean you have to sound like you’re auctioning hogs. We get it. You’ve got big dick energy. Hoo-boy, do you ever. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to listen to you for more than 30 seconds without thinking of a big dick. You’re like the Fukushima of dicks, dude.
Secondly, he wants Trump to be an adviser? For what? How to find the best Dunkin’ Donuts in Arlington? How to bury a rival mobster—or your ex-wife—without anyone noticing?
Finally, he wants to make fascism cool and relatable to younger generations! He doesn’t even talk about Republicans and Democrats. He talks about laying off civil servants en masse to create an army of handpicked toadies answerable only to him. Because if there’s one thing younger generations want more of after four years of Trump, it’s autocratic kakistocracy.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Another week, another Trump indictment. Will his GOP opponents even notice?
And now for something completely different. Mike Motherfucking (literally, it would appear) Pence!
Check out this profile in porridge as he insists there’s nothing wrong with backing the autocratic ambitions of a convicted felon who stole highly sensitive government documents, ignored the Constitution he was sworn to uphold, and literally tried to end American democracy. There’s nothing wrong with it if you’ve signed a toothless pledge, anyway. Because the sacred promise Trump would never honor in a million years is crucial to Pence’s own sense of propriety.
Casper the Friendly Milquetoast was on “Face the Nation” with guest host Nancy Cordes, and he tried his very best to ‘splain himself.
CORDES: “We’re talking about Ramaswamy here, if you don’t mind, Mr. Vice President. He said that he would pardon Mr. Trump. You were one of six candidates on the stage who said that you would support Mr. Trump even if he is convicted of a felony. Why do you feel that way, especially since you also said on the stage that you felt that he asked you to put him before the Constitution. Why should someone like that be president?”
PENCE: “Well, look, I signed a pledge to be on that stage and say that I support the Republican nominee. I remain confident, more confident after Wednesday night, that the Republican nominee will not be the former president.”
Well, one thing you can say about Pence is that he’s true to his weasel words. He took an oath to the U.S. Constitution, but he also made a completely unenforceable promise to Ronna McDaniel. How to choose? What would Jesus do? Probably cast the demon out of Trump, honestly. But that’s just common sense.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Trump's lawyers try to spin their incorrigible client's latest indictment
If it’s Sunday, it’s Chris Christie saying self-evident things that are nevertheless highly controversial among the rank-and-file in his party.
The former Trump footstool (he was also, for a time, governor of New Jersey) appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with Martha Raddatz to make more outrageous statements about Donald Trump. Namely, that he shouldn’t be the Republican nominee if he’s convicted of stealing and hoarding top secret government documents and/or attempting to usher in a thousand-year fascist North American reich (now with 20% more Mexico!)
Holy shit, you’re really going out on a limb here, Chris. Be careful out there.
RADDATZ: “I want you to rate your own performance on Wednesday night. Looking back on it now, is there anything you would have done differently?”
CHRISTIE: “Not really, Martha. I mean, I think that I answered the questions as I always do, really directly. Looked into the camera and spoke to the audience at home and told them the truth. And the truth is that we can’t have a convicted felon as our nominee for president and expect we’re going to win. And it was really the most amazing part of the debate to me was the idea that the majority of my competitors believe that you can have a convicted felon as our nominee for president and that they support that and that he could win. I think that’s an impossibility, and I think what it will mean for folks across the country is four more years of Joe Biden. And for Republican primary voters, they have to think about what that will mean—potentially a packed Supreme Court, potentially the elimination of the filibuster, and a lot more. So what’s at stake here is we need to nominate someone who’s proven that they can beat Democratic incumbents, and I was the only one on that stage that’s ever done that, and I’ll beat Joe Biden if I get the nomination.”
Again, I didn’t watch the debate for the reasons already stated, but from what I read and heard, Christie didn’t have the breakout moment he needed. Maybe because he thinks MAGA voters give a shit about—or have even heard of—the filibuster. That kind of rhetoric won’t earn him a single MAGA backer, and he needs those voters if he’s going to go anywhere in today’s Republican Party. If he promises to earmark $10 billion to subsidize the purchase of “Fuck Joe Biden” flags, he might actually get some traction. But talking about government policy? That’s a loser from the start. He might as well show up to the next debate in Mike Dukakis’ tank helmet.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Chris Christie is still the only Republican actually running for president
Wait, what?! Kos is on “Meet the Press”?
Kos is on “Meet the Press”!
Yes, it’s our own Markos Moulitsas appearing with former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who’s pushing a third-party effort known as No Labels. Joe Lieberman is part of this nonsense, too. You know, the guy who never got to be vice president, thanks in large part to Ralph Nader. Is this his revenge on the country that denied him his due?
As Daily Kos’ Meteor Blades noted in an April story on this site, the group seems an awful lot like a conservative astroturf organization, and it’s naively (or maybe not so naively) pushing its “centrist” agenda while the very fate of our planet hangs in the balance.
On the surface, No Labels appears centrist. But the bipartisan “balance” of its supposedly “sensible” policy prescriptions align with big portions of the conservative agenda. To offer just one instance, the organization was one of the scuttlers of the original $3.5 trillion Senate Democrats proposed to fund a clean energy transition and policies to combat climate change. And, while No Labels sought funding from some wealthy liberals, it also rang up the likes of ultra-right-wingers David Koch and Peter Thiel, putting the lie to the supposed concern about extremists.
With democracy perched on a knife’s edge, with women forced to join livestock as beings without reproductive rights, with the fossil fuel industry and its puppets willing to ignore the climate crisis, with economic inequality rampant, medical bankruptcies common, gun violence a plague, white supremacy still widely embraced, a Supreme Court majority peopled by reactionary liars, and LGBTQ Americans under legislative attack, running an independent candidate intent on fantasy bipartisan compromises with Republicans who have shown themselves dedicated to making things worse while blocking anything to make them better is indeed hooey, pernicious, and perilous.
Needless to say, Kos sees right through this subterfuge, and he told McCrory to his face.
TODD: “Pat, you are big part of No Labels. You guys are recruiting candidates. What is this ticket going to look like, and is this a 100% commitment that there is going to be a ticket from No Labels?”
MCCRORY: “Well, Nikki Haley in the debate confirmed that 65% of the people are disgusted with both Trump and Biden being our only choices. They’re asking, isn’t America better than this? Can't we have a better choice? And the momentum, the movement of No Labels is on fire right now. People are looking for another choice ...”
TODD: “I get that people don’t want ...”
KOS: “No they’re not, no they’re not.”
MCCRORY: “There are a lot of people, I’m telling you right now, there are a lot of people who predicted Trump would never be president are the same people who are saying there’s no way in hell a third party can win. I’m telling you, we’ve never had 65% of the people disgusted with both parties.”
KOS: “So No Labels is literally a movement that says we stand for nothing. Imagine going into Walmart or Target and seeing ‘no labels’ on the products ...”
MCCRORY: “You haven't read, obviously, the 30 issue statements of No Labels.”
KOS: “No, here. The issue statement ignores abortion, and it has such barn-burning issues such as medical tort reform. That will light up the audience.”
MCCRORY: “You have not read it ...”
KOS: “So, the reality is that it’s finance industry-heavy. … No actually, I did read it. I read it last night.”
MCCRORY: “Well, Nikki Haley basically repeated the No Labels agenda.”
KOS: “So the problem isn’t they don’t like Biden or Trump, it’s that you are creating this idea that there’s a mythical unicorn creature that will agree with these people who want something else. That doesn’t exist. When Magellan polled [Joe] Manchin and [Jon] Huntsman, it was like, what, 12%, 15%?”
Thanks much, Kos. Most of us feel confident that Biden can and will defeat Trump—assuming Trump’s the nominee—in 2024, but third-party fuckery could be an unwelcome X factor. God forbid these useful fools actually go ahead with their plans and throw the election into chaos. After all, chaos is where Donald Trump lives. He’d have home-field advantage. And we sure as shit can’t have that, now can we?
But wait! There’s more!
That’s all for now, folks. 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.