Political Theater Extraordinaire

Strap in. Buckle Up. Seat Belts Fastened.  You will not be able to escape it.   Try as you will, unless you completely unplug, don’t read a newspaper, magazine or any other printed piece for the next ten months we have entered into a Twilight Zone of politics and it will run you down and turn your stomach.

Am I talking about the primary elections for President?  No I am not. Am I concerned that Mr. LePage will descend further into the depths of non-governance and distastefully phrased hyperbole? Well yes, but that is not what I am thinking of.

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia  marks the start of what will be months of political posturing, kabuki, posing, lies and slander.  The end of American government as we know it will be threaten by the inundation of non-sense to which we will be subject, all overlaid on a Presidential nominating process that has already generated levels of dangerous GMO fertilizer which threaten our political seed corn.

The President will assure us that it is his duty to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia: which it is.  He will also assure us that there are no political motives attached to his Presidential actions to nominate a replacement: which is baloney.  He will ride the political high road with a well qualified nominee who if approved by the Senate (not likely) will eliminate the chance that Donald Trump can appoint a new Justice early in his term.  If the Senate refuses to hold hearings and vote on a nominee or votes down an obviously well qualified, not too liberal nominee, then the next President, Hillary Clinton,  may well have a Democratic Senate to deal with and possibly even a Democratic House of Representatives if the process gets as bad as it can get, which is a very likely scenario. The President can get into one of any President’s favorite roles, that of the statesman doing his duty and what is right for the country.  It happens to be a role that our current President plays better than most.

The nattering class on both the right and the left will be in orbit. They will  talk themselves hoarse, and us into a stupor, supporting or attempting to destroy any nominee. Opponents will come up with conspiracies, salacious stories and obviously demonstrated mental aberrations about any nominee, along with various examples of sainthood and American hero standing for those in support.    Even before a nomination they will be gobbling on about how the President must nominate someone or that a President with less than a year left in office should not presume to nominate anyone to the Court, but step aside to let the next President nominate someone.  Regardless of which side of that argument you come down on, we all will be subject to posing, posturing, and sundry lies by those who see it has their job to tell us what they think. (I am nattering early in the process to warn you about what is coming not about what I think should happen)

You may want to create your own hyperbole measuring graph, so you can record and easily update different categories of stupid assertions or predicted levels of disaster which will occur as each day passes as the efforts of the talking heads to be heard above the constant noise reach new heights of idiocy.   The end of the world will not make it into the top ten percent of the horrific things that you will learn will happen, first if someone is nominated, and second if someone is nominated and confirmed.

I will admit, there is one small group of men and women, other than millions of us who will  have to live through it all,  I feel some sympathy for as we move into this maelstrom of political craziness.   That small group are the ten or maybe fifteen members of the U.S Senate who will take the nomination of a Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States with the seriousness it deserves.  For the next ten months these men and women will be harassed, badgered and threatened.  They will be pursued by reporters, constituents and fellow politicians attempting to get them to say and do something about the nomination.  They will spend nights arguing with themselves about what they see as their duty and what is best for the country.  This is what we have elected them to do, but in this particular set of circumstances they will be pressed to their limits and on some of those nights arguing with themselves may actually wonder why they thought it had been a good idea to run for the Senate.

Robert Lenna

About Robert Lenna

My professional career has been involved in bringing to Maine the financial capital to build our infrastructure of housing, schools, roads, hospitals, colleges, water and sewer districts. As Executive Director of four independent state authorities charged with putting together public financing for hundreds of infrastructure projects I was responsible for bringing billions of dollar into the Maine economy.