Dinocrat writes a scenario that could give you insomnia…
The current drama of the dysfunctional executive branch of the US government more and more reads like a novel than a non-fiction book, as we’ve recently had occasion to note. No doubt there are many senior Democrats, elected and otherwise, who are now scared to death of the disaster that likely awaits them a very long 14 months from now. It could destroy the party for a generation. But what can they do? Their guy won’t resign. A primary challenge would alienate the party’s most loyal voting bloc, without whom they can never win a national election. But what if all this really were a fictional tale. Is there no way out?
We imagine a meeting at maybe the Cosmos Club, though more likely the meeting place would be in New York. (In The Godfather, the building exterior for the meeting of the heads of the five families is the New York Fed.) This meeting of the heads of the Democrats’ five families of fundraising, media, industry, finance, etc. would conclude that the president must be brought down by scandal in order to save the party. Maybe they’d start the campaign with medical rumors in the party’s paper of record. Small beer, but you gotta start someplace. But then they get lucky. There are real scandals that they can use, and lots of them.
To date the media’s policy had been to mostly ignore the scandals or write them off to partisan politics as usual. But these are desperate times and desperate measures are called for. At the meeting they decide that they are willing to use their ultimate weapon, a secret and a scandal so shocking — and one that they’ve known since 2007 by the way — that it would shake American society like it’s 1861 again. They dispatch a grandfatherly CEO to Washington to deliver the news, that if their guy won’t resign, they’ll go nuclear. But they give him a way out, letting him blame the crony capitalism scandals, and then announcing a dramatic decision to cement his legacy as one of the greatest leaders in American history.
The president accedes to the five families’ demands. As a result, over the next month story after story breaks about shady deals between certain companies and the government, all of which make the jobs picture even more uncertain. The administration takes bold action, proposing vast new bi-partisan transparency in government and regulatory reform legislation that is swiftly agreed to by the GOP. But it’s at the joint press conference — the president, vice president and speaker of the house — where the real news is made. The president says that not only does he take full responsibility for any scandals that have occurred on his watch, he and his administration owe it to the young people of America to be the nation’s best examples in putting country before party and in bringing true bi-partisanship to a divided nation. Whereupon he and the vice president announce that they are resigning, effective immediately. A stunned speaker of the house is now in charge.
The GOP is thrown for a loop, since the leading presidential contenders are competing for a job already held by a Republican. The Democrats are able to run the candidate (and her husband) that they really wanted all along, and are simultaneously able to claim the mantle of bi-partisanship, sacrifice and true patriotism. The former speaker is in no way qualified for the new job he has, and it quickly shows. And the media and Democratic incumbents have been freed up to even more loudly excoriate their opponents as mean-spirited, science-denying, rich-favoring, bigoted ignoramuses who are now responsible for everything wrong with the economy and the world. A happy ending that saves the Democratic party’s bacon.
(Of course this reads much less like a novel than a fairy tale. Indeed, a much happier fairy tale than we’re likely to see unfold over the next 400 days.)