Election 2022: Fresh Outta Fucks in the Lame Duck | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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L to R: Hakeem Jeffries and Kevin McCarthy

Election 2022: Fresh Outta Fucks in the Lame Duck

Are we alright again?

Jan 05, 2023 By Steve King
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Well, well, well… I feel like Mr. Bemis in The Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last” when he crawls out from the bunker and into the bombed out city, except everything is still here and not as bad as we thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong: Things are still very bad, and trending worse, but at least the Republicans didn’t win the Senate. In politics, there are two kinds of relief: winning, and then not losing as badly as you expected.

Is this even the “lame duck” anymore? I mean, Congress hasn’t really been seated or able to choose a new Speaker of the House. Everything I’ve seen this week with the Speaker votes was pretty damn lame. Kevin McCarthy has been publicly castrated for days now but at least George Santos got to vote in Congress, though.

So… yeah… Democrats won the Senate, largely in part to Trump’s garbage candidate picks of Dr. Oz, puppy-killer and crudite fan, and Herschel Walker, a werewolf enthusiast. But the election was more favorable to Democrats for two simple reasons: abortion and conservative vaccine hesitancy. Keep up the good work, guys! So yeah, Republicans barely won the House. Like, by a hair. The new House majority is so small that they won’t be able to do much… except… wow, they never really do anything, do they? Oh! Investigate Hunter Biden! For his dickpics… something… anything! That’ll solve all of our problems.

In the closing days of the 2022 midterms, President Biden gave a speech about protecting American democracy from the hordes of election-denying candidates on the ballot, and it turned out that people were actually listening! Polls at the time showed that Americans weren’t all that interested in preserving it. Republican enthusiasm was high. Things looked as bleak as they could. And then, a funny thing happened…

American voters made a not-so-terrible decision, for once! Turns out, some voters actually care about the country and its institutional pillars. Or they were just angry about Roe being killed by Trump’s Supreme Court. Indeed, young women voters were the bulwark against the Republican fascist takeover. When you take fundamental rights away from half of the population, some people get really mad. Whodathunkit? Ginni Thomas is apparently an idiot and the whole town knows. That’s the one silver lining of the Dobbs decision. It was like when we found out Michelle Bachmann was married to the most fabulous Marcus in Minnesota.

Nearly every 2020 election-denier candidate lost. Democrats actually picked up seats in the Senate. Laugh factory and human disaster Herschel Walker, after being forced into a December runoff with Raphael Warnock, decided the best messaging to close out his race would be about how pronouns were destroying our military and if it’s better to be a vampire or a werewolf. I know we’ve all had our own kitchen table issues surrounding the 40-year high inflation, but the thing that keeps me up at night? Whether I would rather be a vampire or werewolf. The pros, the cons, etc. Walker lost the runoff, and while Democrats had already retained the Senate, we’ll never know what kind of senator Walker would have been. I’ll think about this every time the full moon turns me into a werewolf.

Republicans will have a very weak majority in the 118th Congress. While Nancy Pelosi has ceded her leadership team to a younger generation, the new Speaker will still need her to get Democratic members help to pull their asses out of the fire from time to time. Whether it’s Kevin McCarthy, Elise Stefanik, or Steve Scalise, the new Speaker will be a puppet for Marjorie Taylor-Green and the unwashed, unvaxxed minority that makes up the base of the Republican Party. Kevin McCarthy is a dead man walking. Just look at what happened yesterday. It was a monumental, historic humiliation. It was a pile of shit that Kevin McCarthy swallowed gladly.

And with a maybe indictment of Matt Gaetz, and the George Santos fiasco, his position will be even weaker than we can fathom. He basically traded Maddi Cawthorn for Santos. And his new caucus shat all over him for it. As Marianne Williamson would say, there are “dark psychic forces” at play here.

Like I said, we’re back in 2011 Congress territory. It’s going to get rocky in 2023. In the lame duck session of Congress, the Democrats, in their haste to take care of everything else, did not kick the debt ceiling until after the next election, thereby guaranteeing some really scary negotiations in the coming year. It has taken congressional Republicans days to sort their leadership out so the debt ceiling is like an undetonated bomb waiting to go off in everyone’s living rooms. Schumer might as well be negotiating with Matt Gaetz.

They did produce a big spending bill that’ll hold off some of the new Republican Congress’ insane demands in budget negotiations. In that spending bill were also tweaks to the way elections are certified, thus pre-empting Trump from trying to pull off another January 6th insurrection. Speaking of the insurrection, the January 6th Select Committee released their report and referred charges for Trump to the Justice Department. Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor to sort it all out, something he could have done the first day he walked into the job of Attorney General. So, don’t expect much. Stop beating it to the fantasy that Trump will go to jail for the rest of his life. The best we can hope for is that he cops a deal for the stolen documents at Mar-A-Lago and that bars him from public office. He. Will. Not. Go. To. Prison.

But the lame duck accomplishments weren’t nothing. Democrats knew the store was going out of business, so a lot of house-cleaning needed to be done. They passed an epic budget with no problem. They passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which, aside from being a real tearjerker, also federalized and protected interracial marriage. Because that was something that needed clearing up. But what it was really about was stopping the Supreme Court from shredding the Obergfell marriage equality decision from 2015.

Congressional Democrats could have passed a legitimate student loan forgiveness plan that couldn’t be challenged or sabotaged by the now Leroy Jenkins-ing Supreme Court. They could have passed a marijuana decriminalization bill. They didn’t. They could have saved the DREAMERS. They didn’t. But, hey, at least they’ve got new House leadership in Hakeem Jeffries. One side is interested in setting up the next generation for success. The other? Not so much. They’ve got a Harvard-educated, truly horrific person standing on a mountain of cash and dead COVID victims waiting in the wings (Desantis), who could actually win, but no, Trump is running for president again.

Not that you’d know it considering that he’s barely left Mar-A-Lago. Trump is a notorious homebody, but even his people are saying he’s shrinking, for lack of a better word. Mitch McConnel has called him “diminished.” You can’t get more diminished as a former president than selling stolen Google image jpegs as hilarious NFTs. For real, his “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT” being an infomercial for his NFTs was equally unintentionally hilarious and humiliating. Yeah, he’ll make a lot of money off of it, but it’s a pathetic grift on par with paying for a Twitter verification badge. In his “Trump Card‘‘ launch he had more energy than his sleepy 2024 presidential run announcement. When candidates are zombie-ing through the motions, voters can tell. Trump voters are different, obviously, but he’s not having fun. Everyone was speculating that Trump was going to announce a run for Speaker of the House, an audacious, if ill-suited role for the former Chief Executive but no… Trump Cards!

We are through the looking glass when, after six failed Speaker votes, Margorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert are on opposite sides of an issue that doesn’t concern a Walmart discount dispute… But Boebert basically told Trump to go eat a dick. Trump is so diminished that the rank and file aren’t listening to him anymore. When Marj “Three Toes” Greene is advocating for the establishment RINO, things are not good. I suspected that it might be a power play for Trump, but no, there is no plan, no one is in charge.

As I am not a “Kevin McCarthy” er, I mean, glutton for punishment, this is as far as I can go with these exhausting people at this time. At the time of this writing, I’m done. These aren’t small government conservatives, they’re no government anarchists.

Biden is maybe about to run again too. At 80, he is fit as fuck, but in poll after poll, voters do not want a rerun of 2020, and both men know it. He deserves retirement. Not because he’s a bad politician; quite the opposite. He’s got a Reagan thing going. The more you underestimate him, the more powerful he becomes, but he also knows when to take and when to give. He’s been a part of three major presidential races that saved the country. He deserves to relax and let the youngbloods keep going.

We know what 2023 will be like: Republican obstruction, bullshit investigations, a weaker than usual Speaker, a darker Brandon, and 2024 jockeying. Gavin Newsom is coming and VP Kamala Harris will run if Biden doesn’t, so that primary is going to get nasty. They can’t both be on the same ticket. And Pete Buttigieg still thinks he can be president. John Fetterman is ideal, as long as he recovers from his stroke, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be old enough.

Say it with me… “Fetterman/Ocasio-Cortez.” Sounds good, right? Long story short, we still just don’t know! Both parties are a bit of a jumble right now. One obviously more-so than the other, Kevin… But that’s what primaries are for. Until then, we’re in a slightly undiscovered country now. Let’s fucking go!

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