Sunday, November 29, 2020

Tidings of Discomfort and Dread


By Political Correspondent Isidore F. Stone with
Leo Frank, Georgia Correspondent

As the fight to reverse the results of the Presidential election collapses into a black hole of paranoid conspiracy theories and dripping mascara, Democrats are slowly coming to the realization that in fact the Tangerine-Faced Loser will be chucked out of the White House on his ass on January 20 if he has not already retreated to Mar-a-Elba in a snit.

Some pundits have even gone so far as to claim that the 6 million plus popular vote majority constitutes a repudiation of not only the Soon-to-be-ex-Grifter-in-Chief but the evil for which he sits.  The data is sadly not so sanguine.  Not only did the Democrats fail to take the Senate or the many state legislatures where they could have stood as a bulwark against upcoming Republican efforts to steal future elections, they lost much of their House majority.

So what happened? Some of the House members were in heavily Republican districts where they were swamped by very fine people thrilled to be able to vote for the Loser-in-Chief.  But there may be another more distressing explanation, which also calls the Democrats' chances of taking the Senate into question:

Across the country, suburban voters’ disgust with Mr. Trump — the key to Mr. Biden’s election — did not translate into a wide rebuke of other Republicans, as Democrats had expected after the party made significant gains in suburban areas in the 2018 midterm elections. From the top of the party down to the state level, Democratic officials are awakening to the reality that voters may have delivered a one-time verdict on Mr. Trump that does not equal ongoing support for center-left policies.

. . . .Ms. Skopov, the losing candidate in suburban Pittsburgh, was quick to tell voters while knocking on doors before the election: “I’m a fan of our police. I’m not looking to defund police.”

Still, she was hammered in mailings by Republicans who portrayed her as having an anti-law-enforcement position, which her campaign manager, Ms. Remmert, said did great damage.

So can Democrats win over those crucial white suburban voters who delivered Georgia for Biden but seem inclined to go with more, um, wholesome Republicans like David Perdue and Kelley Loeffler? 

Senator Kelly Loeffler
Privately Democratic strategists fear that
Sen. Kelly Loeffler may be hard to beat

You may have difficulty seeing the distinction between the corrupt bigoted Loser-in-Chief and someone like David Perdue, a grifting venture capitalist who delights in fluffing the white racists of his state by pretending he can't remember the first name of the Vice-President-Elect, with whom he served in the Senate.  But nice white suburban ladies do.

Now there isn't, to use an expression favored by a legendarily astute Southern politician, a dime's worth of difference between the views of the two white Republican plutocrats running for Senate in Georgia and those of the Soon-to-be-Ex-Bigot-in-Chief.  

A nation felled by a pandemic and the consequent economic collapse cries out for financial help for those who have lost the livelihoods (like restaurant proprietors) or their access to food and shelter.  Yet Kelley Loeffler (estimated net worth: north of $250 million) and David Purdue (a pauper by comparison at $43 million) have consistently followed the Republican line of no serious stimulus, a position that tickles the Republican sweet spot: not only is it cruel in itself, but it helps cripple the incoming Democratic Administration so that Republicans can hold it responsible for the dud economy.

Our Constitutional order was almost felled by corruption and subversion at the top.  You don't hear the two Republican candidates saying boo.  

We are running out of time to get a grip on global warming yet with sea water sloshing over the streets of Miami and California aflame, they don't dare speak up.

And of course in a country where persons of color fear that they or their children will be killed either by racist police or vigilantes (as happened in . . . Georgia), these two clowns offer the usual racist bromides about law and order and supporting our shooters in blue.

What then might persuade a rational voter to oppose the Tangerine-Faced Loser and yet support unprincipled Republican goons who support everything he does?  We have a theory, which has the advantage of being supported by the facts on the ground.

It might be that what nice Republican suburban voters didn't like wasn't the incompetence, corruption, racism, and cruelty of the Corrupt Loser.  Maybe they just didn't like his style.  Maybe if he hadn't been credibly accused of 26 acts of sexual violence, spread batsh*t crazy conspiracy theories, mocked the disabled, or smeared anyone who dared to cross him, they might have voted for him because they liked what he had to say

Indeed, it's possible that these white suburban voters like the racism and the anger of threatened white privilege, and don't care about the corruption, the subversion of democratic values, the climate catastrophe, or the other 21,980 terrible policies endorsed by the Republican Party.

Good news: Kevin Dowd's back!

Let's ask a typical white Republican voter, Maureen Dowd's undoubtedly real brother “Kevin,” why he's still loyal to the Loser-in-Chief and all he represents.  We've met “Kevin,” before, so we're not going to dilate too long at this fire pit of white rage.

Despite the Corrupt Loser's inept handling of the pandemic that has led to the preventable deaths of 200,000 or more Americans, his divisive and racist opposition to the idea that Black Lives Matter, his ignorance of the real danger of global warming, his embrace of tax breaks for the rich and tormenting the poor, and his use of the Presidency solely as a tool to enrich himself and feed his vanity, Kevin sums up the undying loyalty of angry white bigots: [no link to racist drivel; this isn't Facebook]:

Democrats have been quick to dismiss any Trump supporter as a racist, homophobe or redneck, but they all shared a common trait with him, an unapologetic love of America.

This love finds its expression in the Cowardly Loser's successful avoidance of military service in the defense of his country on the basis of a phony medical deferment claim and his 40 years of cheating on the taxes that keep America functioning.  His supporters show their love by defacing the flag as a sign of their support for racist, homophobe and redneck politics, threatening lawfully elected public officials for carrying out their duties of counting votes and certifying the winner, and supporting the subversion of the American Constitution.  

“Kevin'”s hate filled cry of threatened white male privilege does contain one true claim: the 73,980,000 who voted for this catastrophe are unapologetic. 

Another possibility is that the fine suburban white Republican base believes that there is some huge gap between the screaming Tangerine-Faced Loser and prim and proper real Republicans like Loeffler and Purdue because they have been told that repeatedly by media savants eager to lionize Republicans whose conduct has cleared the one-inch bar of total disgrace.  For example, the same New York Times that told us about the continued romance between white suburbanites and Republicans asked us to admire the heroism of Republicans who bravely – allowed election returns to stand:

In Key States, Republicans Were Critical in Resisting Trump’s Election Narrative

They refuted conspiracy theories, certified results, dismissed lawsuits and repudiated a president of their own party.

Gee, thanks, fellas.  Of course if you read down to paragraph 9, you learn that maybe the Republican Party generally didn't heroically take a stand for democracy and Constitutional order:

Unfounded as it is, the president’s campaign against the results may leave lasting scars. With much of the Republican establishment endorsing or staying silent on Mr. Trump’s claims, and polls indicating that tens of millions of Republicans believe the election was somehow rigged, faith in American democracy, the fundamental tenet of the social contract established by the framers, has eroded in a dangerous way. And Mr. Biden, the incoming president, now faces a country where many of his constituents consider him illegitimate. 

Many of his Republican constituents, that is.  

And it's not just the media, but superannuated Democratic gasbags eager to spread the glad tidings that there so many good Republicans out there if you know where to look:

Wilfred M. Romney? The Republican who stood up and bravely did nothing when Republicans refused to take up a bill to rush emergency aid to Americans in agony during a pandemic? Who boasted about sneaking on to the Supreme Court an insane cultist after millions of American had already voted?  Who loyally supported burying the John Lewis Voting Rights Act? Who built his entire fortune on stripping and flipping companies and shipping American jobs overseas?  Who tied his crated dog to the roof of his car?  That Mitt Romney?

If we're going to peddle the ridiculous fiction that there's a meaningful difference between lethal plutocrats like Romney, Loeffler, and Perdue and corrupt bigots like the Tangerine-Faced Loser, we shouldn't be surprised if very fine white suburban voters believe us.  

So let's not.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The monster is burning the village!

By Nellie Bly, Political Correspondent and
Roscoe Arbuckle, Show Business Correspondent

A few weeks ago, we opined that there were few movie climaxes as riveting as the bunker scene, when the demented madman rages against the inevitable as the walls close in upon him.

But these days our thoughts turn to classic climax of the horror movie: when the monster turns on the evil humans who created him.  Perhaps that's because of this heart-rending story in Friday's New York Times about the assault on that plucky innocent and fish-fingers heir, Tucker Carlson, after he attacked the Tangerine-Faced Loser's batsh*t crazy mouthpiece, Sidney Powell, for making wild accusations of election fraud without any evidence:

“What Powell was describing would amount to the single greatest crime in American history,” Mr. Carlson said on Thursday night, his voice ringing with incredulity . . . . “Millions of votes stolen in a day. Democracy destroyed. The end of our centuries-old system of government.” But, he said, when he invited Ms. Powell on his show to share her evidence, she became “angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

The response was immediate, and hostile. The president’s allies in conservative media and their legions of devoted Trump fans quickly closed ranks behind Ms. Powell and her case on behalf of the president, accusing the Fox host of betrayal.

“How quickly we turn on our own,” said Bo Snerdley, Mr. Limbaugh’s producer, in a Twitter post that was indicative of the backlash against Mr. Carlson. “Where is the ‘evidence’ the election was fair?” [Except the unanimous testimony of election officials of both parties – Ed.]

The backlash against Mr. Carlson and Fox for daring to exert even a moment of independence underscores how little willingness exists among Republicans to challenge the president and his false narrative about the election he insists was stolen. . . .

The same fear that grips elected Republicans — getting on the wrong side of voters who adore Mr. Trump but have little affection for the Republican Party — has kept conservative media largely in line. And that has created a right-wing media bubble that has grown increasingly disconnected from the most basic facts about American government in recent weeks, including who will be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, 2021. 

Also Russia from her house.

. . . . Roosh Valizadeh, a writer and podcast host who supports the president, summed up the anger aimed at Fox by many on the right, saying, “As long as Tucker Carlson works for Fox News, he can’t be fully trusted.”

. . . . Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review and sometimes critic of the president who called his refusal to concede “absurd and sophomoric,” said that . . . breaking the will that many Trump supporters have to believe he is the rightful winner was extremely difficult.

“They want it to be true,” Mr. Lowry said. “On top of that, there’s an enormous credibility gap and radical distrust of other sources of information. And that’s compounded by the fact that the president has no standards and is surrounded by these clownish people who will say anything. It’s a toxic stew.”

Mr. Lowry added that he thought Mr. Carlson’s words were “admirable” and had told the Fox host so himself. “It’s one thing for people who’ve been opposed to Trump all along, or mixed, to say something like that,” Mr. Lowry said. “It’s another thing for a leader of the populist wing of the conservative movement to call it out.” 

Another thing, indeed.

But to understand why Republicans provocateurs like Fish Fingers and the editors of the National Review were subject to such abuse at the hands of the Trumpublican monster, we need to be unkind and rewind.  [No one under 40 will get that reference – Ed.]

The Times piece itself sketches in the backstory:

Mr. Carlson is no ordinary Trump critic. He has been one of the president’s most aggressive defenders in prime time, especially when it came to standing up for Mr. Trump as he attacked African-American politicians, athletes and the racial justice activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. He has also generally bought into the disproved notion that voter fraud is a widespread problem — a popular position with Mr. Trump and on Mr. Carlson’s network. 

But to understand how the Trumpublican angry white supremacists have come to accept lies over truth, you'd have to look back about sixty years or so to review the diet of increasingly strident lies they have been fed – by the exact same gasbags who are shocked, shocked to discover that the base actually believed what they told him.

First, is Fish-Fingers Carlson actually a fearless crusader for truth?  If you believe that, you're probably constructing an outhouse for the neighborhood wild bears.  According to Media Matters, Carlson has been called out in hundreds of deliberate falsehoods, all of which were devoted to fanning the flames of unjustified white racist grievance:

And that's just since October 1.  

The Media Matters file on this hatemonger, like the known universe, has no observable end.

You might surmise that fed a steady diet of this crap 24/7 Trumpublicans might start to believe it.  They then might regard any deviation from these hate-ridden fictions as explicable only as a deliberate lie.

As for the National Review's Rich Lowry, let's remember his publication's greatest claim to fame, which was its consistent opposition to civil rights in the 1960's on the grounds that white goobers in the South were superior to Blacks.  For those of you just tuning in, this is a racist lie.

Here's a taste of this Southern fried bigotry: 

Consider, for example, this National Review editorial from 1957 (cited in Paul Krugman’s recent book The Conscience of a Liberal):

The central question that emerges—and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal—is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct. If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened. It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority. Sometimes it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way; and the society will regress; sometimes the numerical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.

The equanimity in that last clause is particularly chilling when you consider that it was published only two years after Emmett Till’s murder.

But tell people, especially white racists, what they want to hear long enough and they're going to be mighty surprised and disappointed when you try to tell them you were making it up along.  So perhaps ol' Fish Fingers shouldn't have been so surprised to find out that the monster he did so much to create has come after him.  And his moneybags, the amazingly alive Rupert Murdoch, might want to consider whether he has to pay huge bucks for supposed stars like Tucker.  Anyone willing to shovel the racist lies the monster demands will do just fine.  We're sure someone will remind the old Aussie that Kayleigh McEnany will be available in 62 days and she works cheap.

In any event, Tucker and Rick and all the others who have strayed from the white supremacist party line should remember what happens when you rile up the Trumpublican monster.

It's not pretty:


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Chasing Unity


By Emma Goldman
Social Affairs Editor
with Andrew Goodman on assignment in the South

With the election of Joe Biden now unmistakable to all but the meanest intelligence, and his 73 million diehards, the incoming President has called for unity.  Today The New York Times rounded up the usual diner patrons and reported that it wasn't going to be easy:

More specifically,

Towering before him is a wall of Republican resistance, starting with Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede, extending to G.O.P. lawmakers’ reluctance to acknowledge his victory and stretching, perhaps most significantly for American politics in the long term, to ordinary voters who steadfastly deny the election’s outcome. 

Who saw that coming?  Perhaps anyone who has been awake this century or learned anything about American history, but you don't have to open a dusty book to suspect that the drive for unity has already broken down in the ditch of a country where most Republican officeholders and many if not most Republican voters can't unite around the fact that Biden was elected:

On Monday in Dallas, hundreds of Mr. Trump’s supporters gathered outside the city’s election office in a “Stop the Steal” protest promoted by the state Republican Party. The message from speakers and attendees went further than expressing fears of election fraud, amounting to a wholesale rejection of a Biden presidency and of the Republican elected officials who acknowledged it. One speaker said of the Republican lawmakers who had called Mr. Biden the president-elect, “Remember who they are when you go to the polls next.”

Now portraying the incoming Democratic President as somehow illegitimate has been the Republican playbook since at least 1992, so who really can be surprised when Republicans take it to the next step and claim in the face of all those pesky facts (including statements of  Republican election officials) that the election was somehow “rigged?”  And if one political party is basing its claim to power on paranoid lies about the other, it's hard to know how to unify around that.  

So that's one problem.  But the road to unity is littered with tank traps, as these very fine diner diners will tell you:

Ms. Smith, 67, and her husband, Dennis, 69, tied their unequivocal support for the president — even in defeat — to larger cultural concerns.

Like Mr. Biden and his supporters, the Smiths saw this election as a battle for the country’s soul. To unify with Mr. Biden would be an admission that the battle is lost, and that the multicultural tide powering his victory will continue its ascension.

“Everything I worked for, Biden wants to give to the immigrants to help them live, when they don’t do nothing but sit on their butts,” Mr. Smith said.

“And if those protesters come here, if they go tearing up stuff, I guarantee you they won’t be in this town very long,” he added. “We’ll string them up and send them out of here — and it won’t be the same way they came in.”

If you were hoping we could unite around our shared revulsion of lynching protesters (or indeed anyone), sorry!  By the way, have you ever met an undocumented immigrant who sits on their butt, like this guy?  We bet you haven't because they're not eligible for any cash assistance or food stamps, so if they don't work, they die.

And here's another grumpy old white man spouting insane crap that we're having a hard time unifying with.  This superannuated tosser claimed that the effort to fight the lethal coronavirus

“has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.” “I am not diminishing the severity of the virus’s threat to public health,” he said. “All that I’m saying is this, and I think that it is an indisputable statement of fact: We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.” 

We haven't seen a pandemic take 235,000 American lives in quite a while either, gramps.  By the way, the speaker wasn't some fat duffer slurping pie in a diner, he was, wait for it, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who has decided he does not want to be known as The Great Unifier. 

This bats**t crazy sentiment from yet another distinguished Republican graduate of the Harvard Law School reminds us that we can't even achieve unity on what our old friend Tom Hobbes thought was something everyone agreed on: the absolute priority of self-preservation.

While South Dakota has been crushed by COVID-19, viz:

and the Governor of North Dakota (which apparently thanks to Pres. Harrison is another thing entirely) has finally admitted that masks must be worn, his colleague in the stricken South, Gov. Kristi “Choose Death” Noem has, to promote her future in the Republican Party, taken a different approach:

Death before Democrats may be a principle, but it's not likely that we will be able to rally around it, at least until Gov. Noem's loyal supporters are all in the ground.  If Republicans want their voters to die rather than making them taking sensible temporary public health precautions for the duration of a pandemic, it's hard to see a single f***in' thing around which we can come together as a nation other than Nacho Cheez Doritos.

There's a peculiar thing about all of these divisions: on one side is white supremacy, usually financed by plutocratic big bucks.  On the other side are non-crazy people.  Nor should this be a surprise: this fault line runs through all of American life and history.  Atop this dispatch is an illustration by our old pal Tom Nast.  It's entitled “Compromise with the South,” in response to pleas for unity from Copperhead Democrats who wanted the United States to lure the Confederacy back into the United States by allowing them to continue to enslave Black men, women, and children. 

The cartoon shows a triumphant Confederate, whip in hand, leaning over the grave of Union dead to accept obeisance from a crippled Union soldier and a grieving nation while in the background cities burn and Black men and women are in chains.  The epitaph over the Union grave reads “In Memory of the Union Heroes Who Died in a Useless War.”  President Lincoln yearned for Unity, but he knew it was no substitute for Victory. 

As we write this, we're listening to unity-yearnin' Yuval Levin, a well-paid flack for the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, who recommends we build unity bottom up at the local level rather than worry too much about whom we elect to national office.  Let's just say his past experience on building unity gives his views a great deal of – validity.  He doesn't teach a course at Columbia on Media, Movies, and National Unity, but he has “served as a member of the White House domestic policy staff under President [and Great Unifier] George W. Bush.”  So there!

Now some things (like preventing local police from brutalizing Black citizens) could be addressed at the local level, although we don't see much progress there, despite the undoubtedly hard work of the Massachusetts Legislature.  But ensuring health care for all, addressing a national pandemic, reversing the lethal effects of climate change, and protecting the nation from corrupt politicians nobbled by Russian subversion can't be fixed by building campfires on the town common, can they? 

And aren't those national goals more pressing and important than Unity?  Unity may be appealing and even cute, but if you're spending all your time pursuing it with help from the Bush Administration geniuses at the Acme Enterprise Institute, you're likely to find yourself noticing that, like Wile E. Coyote, there's nothing beneath your feet but air.

Monday, November 9, 2020

The day after



By Isaiah Thomas
Board of Editors with
John Heartsfield in Berlin

The issue has been decided.  The guns have fallen silent except for a few scattered fusillades from an industrial zone in North Philadelphia.  The occupation is over.  The Tangerine-Faced Loser has been ousted from power, even though he continues to rave from his bunker.  Slowly at first the stunned inhabitants who survived the cataclysm (so far, at least 235,000 have not) return to the streets.  They celebrate.  They dance.  

Now what?

To focus attention on that all-important question and to recognize that the four-year Reign of Terror has ended, we have retired our former section heading in favor of this bright, shiny new one.  We like it because it contains the answer to the question.

As often happens, history provides useful guidance.

Here's what Berlin looked like in May 1945:

Here's what the same part of town (Potsdamer Platz) looks like today:


How'd they get from there to here?  Berlin has almost too much history to digest, but we'll focus on one group, who rose out of the rubble of their destroyed city.  They looked around at the endless overwhelming destruction and they decided they were going to clean it up, one brick at a time:

Now it turns out that not all German women spontaneously braved the pain and violence of postwar Berlin to clear rubble.  But some did.  And we could do worse than emulate them.

At first glance the destruction seems so immense as to defy human effort to rebuild.  The Supreme Court remains under the control of anti-democratic Republican hacks, mouthpieces, extremists, and sex offenders.  The Senate may stay under the thumb of Moscow Mitch and his band of spineless weasels.  The structural impediments to democracy – the Electoral College and the 50-state Senate – remain.  And of course Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression, sanctioned by Republican-dominated courts, continues in its full fury.

Already the usual suspects, all of them white and most of them men, tell us that we need to reach out to those whose jackboot was firmly planted on George Floyd's neck and beg them for whatever crumbs they will brush our way in exchange for impunity and privilege.

But just because the task is daunting is no reason not to try.  And as with any other massive rebuilding job, it proceeds brick-by-brick.

So let's pick up a few bricks.

The first brick is the Georgia Senate runoffs.  Winning both of them would give Democrats control of the Senate and the ability to legislate in the public interest.  It would also give them the ability to fill a Supreme Court vacancy without begging robustly healthy uxorious husband Mitch McConnell.

That's not a brick; that's a meteorite.

We are assured by the white dispensers of conventional wisdom that this is out of reach, that Republicans always win runoffs in Georgia, that it is a quest as hopeless as beating Moscow Mitch in Kentucky or saving Doug Jones in Alabama.  Except for one thing:

Oh, yeah, that. 

Before the election, that font of Conventional Wisdom, Politico, assured us that “the prospect of turning Georgia blue for the first time since 1992 is a stretch.”  

Stretch this, Politico.  

So when we're told that the two Senate runoffs are, um, a stretch, don't mourn just yet.  Despite the insane attraction that white racists feel for the Tangerine-Faced Loser, who wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire, Georgia appears to have voted for Biden.  Imagine what might happen if in the absence of the TFL on the ballot, every single person who voted for Biden voted on Jan. 5 for Warnock and Ossoff.  Does anyone think that white Republican turnout will be higher in the runoff?  

The path is clear.  If there are stones in the road, let's bend from the knees, pick them up, and clear them. You can contribute here.

The next barrow full of bricks are things that Biden and Harris can do without the consent of Moscow Mitch and his minions.  

A whole bag of bricks can be cleaned up just by replacing corrupt extremists like Torquemada Barr, Betsy deVos and Ben Carson with effective, honest leaders.  Just imagine what could be done in a Justice Department with a Civil Rights Division that devotes itself to, wait for it, civil rights.

Next come undoing the damage the Tangerine-Faced Loser did by rule and deed alone.  We can and will rejoin the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Accord.  We should be able to restore the Iran nuclear agreement.  And just generally we can stop disgracing and degrading ourselves in the eyes of the world by no longer issuing passes to blood-drenched thugs like Putin, Xi, and Mohammed bone Saw.

The Biden Administration can repeal or simply concede defeat on a slew of illegal and monstrous immigration rules including the noxious public charge rule (now back in effect today), booting asylum seekers back to Mexico, separating children, barring refugees who have been individually vetted or those seeking to visit the United States from various Muslim-majority countries, and claiming that border-crossers are somehow a public health menace while COVID-19 rages out of control here. 

The same is true for environmental regulations, although sane efforts to limit the damage caused by global warming and other environmental assaults may need to be fought in courts now dominated by hack Republican judges.  But you fight every case, and with the return of a competent and respected Justice Department, maybe you'll win some.

Not to mention, but we will, undoing Pres U Loser's efforts in areas as divergent as worker protection, housing discrimination, financial system regulation, and thousands of others.

Then even assuming we narrowly lose the Georgia runoffs, there's a big pile of legislative bricks that can be lifted:

Like reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act.  Who knows, maybe Wilfred M. “Profiles in Courage” Romney and Susan “The Great Moderate” may have an attack of conscience and let this come up for a vote in the Senate?  Stranger things have happened.

Then there are a pile of bills that could curb Presidential power, which may attract more Republican interest when a Democrat is President.  Just for starters, the President's expansive and dangerous emergency powers could be cut back.  If you want to read something terrifying, here's the Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein summarizing how insanely expansive current law is:

The Brennan Center’s original research cataloged 123 statutory authorities that become available to the president when he declares a national emergency. Many are measured and sensible, but others seem like the stuff of authoritarian regimes: giving the president the power to take over domestic communications, seize Americans’ bank accounts, and deploy U.S. troops to any foreign country. Given how broad these powers are, it is critical to have adequate safeguards in place to prevent abuse. 

Yikes.  We especially like closing down the Internet.

Then you could throw in some laws requiring Presidential candidates to release their taxes, subjecting Presidents to all federal conflict-of-interest law, and just for laughs creating a private right of action for violations of the Emoluments Clause.  

Last but not least we can clear the rubble of disinformation and deceit around public health and the current pandemic catastrophe just by returning control of COVID policy to competent scientists and administrators instead of Fox News frauds and assorted mixed nuts.

That's a pretty big pile of bricks to clean up on day one.  But if we're willing to do the heavy lifting, maybe someday our country will look like this:

It could happen here.