Tuesday, October 27, 2020

2020 Sucks. So Does Mark Meadows

The "death march" on June 1, 2020.
Meadows is 3rd from right, next to Trump.
Former Congressman Mark Meadows (NC-11) has left a trail of political havoc pretty much everywhere he's been. One of his earliest fender-benders was the 2013 government shutdown to stop Obamacare. That did not gild the GOP with glory. In 2018 (still in the House as leader of the Freedom Caucus) he helped get Trump a little more money for "border security," which certainly endeared him to Twitterman, and soon (March 8, 2020) Mark Meadows was elevated to White House Chief of Staff (Trump's 4th).

But to get to the White House, Meadows needed to extricate himself from his North Carolina congressional seat. Hmmm. 

Mark Meadows' To Do List, December 2019

1. Find a trustworthy successor, someone you know will play ball. (Ah, wife's personal friend and Tea Party debuttante, Lynda Bennett of Maggie Valley.)

2. Advantage Lynda Bennett's campaign every underhanded way you can.

3. Take the P.R. heat from a crowd of Republican primary candidates running with Bennett who think you crossed the line in advantaging her. Especially critical of you is young Madison Cawthorn, one of about 15 candidates vying for the office. Also Jim Davis, NC Senate member, favored by the Republican establishment.

4. Hide and watch Bennett get only 21% of the primary vote (though finishing as Number 1) and face a run-off against -- surprise! -- Madison Cawthorn.

5. Get Trump to endorse Bennett in the run-off. Check.

6. Watch in shock as Slickster Cawthorn runs away with the election, fueled partly by his Bachelor vibe and partly by widespread Republican resentment at the way you sprung your retirement on the district.

Meadows attempted to repair all this damage to his reputation back home by immediately pivoting to wholehearted endorsement of Cawthorn, shoveling corporate help his way and getting him into the presence (though carefully distanced) of Donald J. Trump along with star billing at the Republican National Convention. Reality show stuff. Maybe good TV, but the whole saga smells situationally tawdry, like a bacteria-laden swamp. Plus Golden Boy has turned leaden, sandblasted by a series of unfortunate revelations.

This morning WashPost reporter Josh Dawsey published "Meadows Under Fire as Trump Chief of Staff," and we learn again the hallmarks of the Meadows touch. He's criticized anew for being "ineffective," a "bungler," a sender of mixed messages, secretive. He claims to rely on -- as a kind of job manual -- “The Gatekeepers,” a book on presidential chiefs of staff by Chris Whipple. Chris Whipple, though, went on the record to say this: “It’s hard to count the ways Meadows has failed as chief of staff. It’s been an unmitigated disaster.”

Photo by Amanda Volsard,
for the WashPost
But Meadows thrives because he's attached himself to Trump as fawning sycophant, the one who agrees and enables, the one willing to take a bullet -- whether hot lead or hot virus. He jumped into the helicopter with Trump to Walter Reed, the only staffer to do so. Then he practically slept at Trump's feet in the hospital. He wasn't afraid of COVID. In fact, he'd already survived one self-quarantining the actual day after he was named chief of staff. So what's this flu-like chest cold to one so devoted to the leader? He even apes Trump's dress style. It's embarrassing.

"Unmitigated Disaster"

Among the other torn sheets of Meadows' tenure in the White House, none is more galling and life-threatening than his hand in getting Scott Atlas, the "herd-immunity" king, into intimate contact with Trump. Dawsey reports that Meadows "helped empower Scott Atlas," a single act that will eventually be credited for tens of thousands more preventable deaths from the coronavirus.

Meadows has also (and rather notoriouslyflirted with young-Earth creationism, the ultra-conservative belief that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Anyone who encourages that will also believe any cockamamie medical theory in 2020 and be a lethal threat to all of us.

No comments: