By Brian J. Karem @BrianKarem
I almost laughed. Okay I did laugh.
I got a call from a friend who asked me if I was in the middle of the rugby scrum involving President Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and a seemingly comatose Mike Pence.
“I kept screaming at the television, ‘Karem, jump in there and break it up.’”
I wasn’t there and there is no way I wanted to jump into the fray with a bunch of arguing grandparents. I don’t change “Depends.”
It reminded me too much of a few of my family reunions where the aunts and uncles start arguing over who’s the fattest and why.
But Tuesday’s smackdown in the Oval Office involving President Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer also reminded me of how far off base we are in the country.
The argument served as a microcosm of everything wrong with American politics. A few of my friends thought it was actually a step in the right direction as those who disagree with each other battled it out in an unfettered fashion – and I can see why they think so up to a certain point. Blunt discussions on the issues are needed. But afterward Trump, Pelosi and Schumer all declared victory and made fun of each other only adding to the acrimony already festering in this country.
Then there are the analysts who continue to try and deconstruct this presidency as if it were populated by your common, garden variety politician.
Donald Trump is not your average politician. He never has been and never will be. His detractors believe him to be a criminal narcissist who would make Richard Nixon look like Mother Theresa.
His fans think he’s the living embodiment of Jesus Christ.
Analysts look at the president, the actions in the Oval Office and the recent firing/retirement of Chief of Staff John Kelly and claim the president is becoming more unstable and that the president’s inner circle is slowly collapsing around him.
These people do not understand the truth – the only way this administration becomes more unstable is if it explodes and the only inner circle is The Donald’s family.
To really understand this president, news organizations should send their crime beat or mob reporters who understand this type of thing better than your average genteel political reporter who dresses impeccably and can pontificate at levels rivaling the politicians they cover.
This administration defies normal expectations on many levels. The Democrats want to fight with the man in the Oval Office on his home turf and he eats that up. Mike Pence looked like he was drugged and drowsy, but our president enjoys every minute of discomfort.
He is the chaos. He is the center of the storm.
And in Montgomery County, the storm will be felt stronger than most areas around the country. Should the federal government shut down because Congress won’t give Trump a wall he doesn’t need and can’t afford, there will be real consequences.
This week Senator Ben Cardin outlined some of those problems. Speaking to the County Council, Cardin explained “This is all about the president’s ego and agenda. He believes that beating up on immigrants is good policy for his base, and he is going to continue to double down on that.”
That is hard to handle in Montgomery County which has a sizable immigrant population.
Cardin says a full shutdown won’t occur but since there are as much as 80,000 federal employees living in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, the negative impact of even a partial shutdown will be tough on local businesses and residents.
Looking at the Oval Office smackdown, one cannot help but wonder how much worse the federal government can get.
It was a historic and histrionic display of emotion. There is no doubt the Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads.
But they have been at it for awhile. One of the president’s promises – and one that helped sway many voters tired of business as usual – was his claim that he would drain the Washington D.C. swamp.
But it still feels fetid and moist in the swamp and there are few places to hide from the swamp creatures running things.
The Republic has suffered through a variety of calamities since John Hancock made sure King George could see his signature.
But the sight of lawmakers ranting and raving and then retreating to their own corner where they continued to make fun of each other was not a bright spot in our history.
It wasn’t even a twilight moment.
It was one of those moments late in the night where you shudder with fear, not knowing if the howling you hear outside the window is real or your imagination, and fearing the consequences of either.
That, more than anything else, makes me laugh.
The howling will continue for the next two years and you can’t cover your ears and hope to escape it.