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If It Quacks Like A (Lame) Duck...

"Lame Duck" by Nancy Ohanian

Trump showed us, right? He put the fear of God into everyone... or, as CNN's Kevin Liptak put it, Señor Trumpanzee "is driving the country through chaos from behind the wheel of his golf cart... As he departs office, Trump is intent on wielding-- or, in this case, withholding-- his executive authority in ways that punish his rivals, distract from his loss and ensure he remains the center of attention even as a lame duck." Still, no government shutdown today, despite his threats. Nevertheless, he was too late in the signing-- old man's timing is off-- to prevent unemployment aid from lapsing, which will cost mills of families $300 each for no reason at all other than his fit of pique.

Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger represents the a huge exurban district that wraps around Chicago-- at a distance-- from the northwest at the Wisconsin border and Rockford, all the way down to a very rural stretch along the Indiana border due south of Chicagoland. Kinzinger outpolled Trump significantly in his district. In fact, Biden won the biggest county in the district, Winnebago, but so did Kinzinger. Trump took 37.03% of the Winnebago County vote. Kinzinger took 52.52%. Kinzinger wasn't afraid to go on State of the Union Sunday and say that "To play this old switcheroo game...I don't get the point. I don't understand what's being done, why, unless it's just to create chaos and show power and be upset because you lost the election."

Trump was talked into signing the bill-- caving, as Mike Allen put it-- by Mnuchin, Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy, playing to his vanity and persuading the delusion and increasingly senile Trump he would look like a winner by signing it. They told him Congress would "focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election," according to his own looney statement and that the Senate "will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000."

He also said he would use executive authorities to remove what he's deemed "pork" in the government funding bill-- despite having proposed identical figures in his budget this year.
"I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill," Trump wrote. There is little expectation his requests will go anywhere.

McConnell, while praising Trump in his own statement afterward, made zero mention of the items Trump listed. He still lauded Trump for providing economic relief as "quickly as possible," a laughable compliment given the days it took for Trump to sign the package.
After Trump signed the bill, a senior White House official voiced frustration that Trump relented on signing the deal over his demand for higher stimulus checks.
"What's particularly hilarious is watching Trump quit on his coronavirus relief push while complaining about everyone quitting on his reelection. Why should any supporter fight for him when he quit on trying to get them more than a measly $600?" the senior official told CNN.
At other points in Trump's presidency, shambolic staff work and breakdowns in communication have led to avoidable embarrassment. At its worst, government incompetence contributed to unnecessary sickness and death in a pandemic that has now killed 1 in every 1,000 American.
But never has the shoddy inner-workings of the administration failed in ways that risk the entire government shutting down and millions of Americans being denied jobless benefits that, only days earlier, they seemed guaranteed to continue receiving.
That even in the hours leading up to the bill's approval no one on Trump's staff appeared able to say exactly what he would do, or when he would do it, typifies a governing style that relies more on chaos and score-settling than on anything calculated.

Mike Allen ended his piece by noting that Republican pollster Frank Luntz told him "It may be too late. Too late for him, too late for the economy, too late for Covid, and too late for the Georgia senators." And Juan Cole began his blog, Informed Comment, this morning with something even more consequential: How incompetent Boob Trump took down America and launched the Chinese Century. Obama and even Bush in a way, made it look so easy that even a reality TV show host could do it. It didn't work out that way. Trump botched it all up-- bigly. The 20th Century was the American Century and the 21st isolated to be the Chinese Century... and, wrote Cole, "And, China is going to get there sooner thanks to a new isolationism and a paroxysm of ignorant reality-denial for which Donald J. Trump has been the cheerleader and chief implementation officer. China will grow 2% this year. The US economy will contract 3.5%. China’s growth is enabled by government health policy. Even next year and through the 2020s, American growth is expected to be anemic. In contrast, China will likely grow 5 percent a year for a while starting next year, then as it matures further as an advanced economy, fall to 4% growth. And it isn’t just a matter of growth rate. The US comes out of four catastrophic years of Trump with a massively ballooning budget deficit... One of the most important growth sectors in this century will be green technologies, a sector in which China has developed a worrying lead over the United States. China is responsible for 23% of global green energy investment. It is the world’s largest maker of wind turbines and produces 63% of the world’s photovoltaic panels. The US government is hostage to Big Oil and has not moved fast enough or vigorously enough to outperform China in this area. Only about 19% of US electricity is from renewables, which means we are paying trillions for fuel, whereas sunshine and wind are free. Some analysts expect China’s energy mix to be 62% renewables by 2030, with massive cost savings of 9%. Trump spent four years knee-capping green energy and trying to bolster planet-killing coal."

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