If Trump is blackmailing us, we should just pay it and get it over with. Would it be so bad?
Look, I understand, most Americans want to see Donald Trump staring back at them from inside a prison cell. I get that. And he’s committed enough crimes and misdemeanors—high, low, and right in the middle—to have earned those new digs and that pretty orange outfit to complement his pretty orange hue.
But this past week he added extortion to the list—telling the Democrats and the rest of the country—that either all investigations end or nothing legislative gets accomplished. The offer was baldfaced and bitter—a wag might even call it jaundiced.
But why not pay it?
While the investigation(s) lumber forward at a seemingly glacial pace, interrupted and blocked by Trump’s own recalcitrance and his accusers’ own uncertainty, the country continues a downward spiral in areas that really count: health care, education, reproductive rights, the environment, infrastructure, trade, and more. Nothing is being done to check this descent, and the president and his co-conspirators in Congress can claim—with a modicum of justification—that nothing gets done because the Democrats are obsessed with terminating this presidency. The oversimplification is apparent, but the argument is not without merit.
So what if one or more of the following offers were on the table?
A return to the original Affordable Care Act with specific proposals added to expand coverage.
A replacing the fired Betsy DeVos with a public education advocate.
The presidential imprimatur on the original intent of Roe v. Wade.
A return to Obama-era environmental rules regarding CO2, methane, coal-burning power plants, pesticide usage, etc.
The repair of that pothole in front of your house so that you can drive safely to the light rail system that will take you to work over a bridge that won't collapse.
Removing onerous tariffs so that Americans can continue to sell their soybeans and cars and buy their lovely new cellphones.
I ask you to consider those possibilities, not because they will happen if we surrender, but because the president is too inept to effect any of those changes even without the pressures of an investigation. That failure with an open playing field would further underscore that utter incompetence and make it that much more difficult to convince any voters (other than those languishing in his myopic base) that he should win a second term. But a less divisive Congress could act responsibly and maybe do its job.
I know what you're thinking: Trump will get the credit. Not to worry: as we saw this past week with the "drunk Pelosi tape," and the well-planned impromptu Rose Garden meltdown, he is too puerile to do anything but act like a petulant child. We know who and what he is: that won't change.
Face it, the Mueller Report has not been the panacea or antidote we’d hoped for. The House Judicial Committee keeps making demands that cannot be denied, but they are; and issuing subpoenas that can’t be ignored, but they are. Knowing when to fold ‘em may be advice that transcends the poker table, especially since, like poker, there’s always another hand coming. If by folding ‘em we manage just a scintilla of progress in some area where we're currently stagnant, wouldn't that be worth another 500 days of one extra glass of wine to get through the news?
Or do we refuse to negotiate with terrorists? Your call