THE COHEN COLUMN-The election results in the Montana special house race are in, and unfortunately the people of Montana did not know what kind of smiley face thug was running on the Republican side until it was too late, after most of them had mailed in their ballots.
Of course a lot of people in other states did not know what they were actually voting for in Donald Trump until it was too late either. And I’m going to discuss all of this today.
I’ve already predicted that Trump is going down. How quickly that will happen (and all our lives depend on the speed of that) is a critical function of how many Americans speak out and demonstrate.
We don't have video of the quick draw assault itself by the Thuglican candidate in Montana, billionaire Republican Gianforte (jeez, another businessman thinking he has special powers to save us) who, by the way, was surrounded by NRA banners in other videos from the "event."
But we hear the thug shouting on the audio tape about how he's sick and tired of reporters and their questions, basically the same as any domestic violence self-justification. I mean, he had it coming, right? I mean, he was likely a liberal and therefore fair game -- literally, right; right wing?
Even the Fox News crew who witnessed it all flatly disputed this, and confirmed that the thug suddenly just grabbed the reporter by the neck and flattened him.
But none of this stopped his campaign from releasing an official statement, sorry, I meant to say a preposterous and lying fairy tale, claiming essentially that the reporter's neck attacked his hands.
And he has already been charged overnight with assault. If the reporter had been more seriously injured Gianforte would be going straight to jail, not to Congress.
Three of the Montana newspapers who endorsed this thug withdrew their endorsements the following morning. It's not enough. Election or not, serious injury or not, this man is seriously unfit to be seated in the US Congress.
So what is the response of the remainder of the Be-A-Thug-lican Party? Did you have any idea there were so many crickets in Washington, D.C.? All they care about is power, one more vote, cast by a thug or not.
Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, in the ultimate abdication of integrity, says it's up to the people of Montana. But this happened after most of the people of Montana voted. So what is the ethical responsibility of Congress?
If any member of the House beat up a reporter after being elected, would this not require that member to be expelled?
Ryan’s attitude seems to be, hey, thugs will be thugs. It’s just Gianforte being Gianforte (sound familiar to the Trump apologists during 2016 campaign?)
Whatever, it's a complete disgrace.
Here's how it works on the Republican side: If they can con the not wealthy people, against their own interests, into voting for them, they will preach about how elections have consequences. Otherwise, they will use sheer obstructionism, or even threats of violence, to get their way.
Frequently, when hearing from right wingers, they are invariably of two types.
First, there are the shouting, obscene, abusive, contemptuous emails comprised of curse words and dirty language, thugs cut from exactly the same gun cotton cloth as the Montana hot head. They are capable of no policy argument on the merits beyond blind, vicious and vile hatred. Sometimes included are not so veiled threats of actual violence.
Second there are the pious proselytizers who believe that the purpose of secular government is to impose their particular sect of religious dogma on the entire country by force of law, as if Donald Trump were their personal Vicar of Christ in the flesh. Is there no self-centered hedonist waving a bible in their face that they will not get in bed with or offer promises to appoint religious zealots to the Supreme Court?
There is nothing more self-righteous than a holy roller with a short fuse, packing heat.
Make no mistake, the guy at the top, The Donald, has set the tone for this.
Trump was mandating violence against protesters at his campaign rallies, encouraging his supporters to beat them up and promising to pay their legal expenses if they did.
From the beginning, Trump was constantly stoking angry abuse of the press, with multiple assaults against reporters during the campaign, including a photographer thrown to the ground for trying to take photographs outside of the “concentration camp area” that restricted the press, and the rough handling of a female journalist by Lewandowski.
Just recently Trump personally manhandled the Prime Minister of a NATO member, pushing himself past the prime minister of Montenegro during a tour of NATO's new headquarters on Thursday May 25.
As a YouTube viewer commented: “The Donald is trying to look like the dominant male in front of the cameras. What actually comes across: A bully who is immature and insecure. Our national embarrassment.”
I might add Trump is reminiscent of dictator Benito Mussolini, Trump puffs up his breast and scowls presumably as a challenge to ….. the world?
Remember Mussolini was deposed by the Italian people and hung in the town square in disgrace. Oh’ that Trump’s 2nd Amendment people were so enlightened.
Moving on, there is Trump's incessant and still ongoing pathological lying, easily and immediately debunked, as was the Montana thug's claim that the reporter attacked HIM.
By the way, Gianforte waited until after the election to publicly apologize for his assault on the reporter. Assuredly he didn’t want to appear unstable before he got his people’s votes. Meanwhile thousands will be without healthcare if the House bill makes it through the Senate. So, can we not get back to one of the major issues about which Americans desperately care -- the only solution that works: Medicare for All, single payer healthcare.
Indeed, it was a healthcare question, a Trump campaign promise, about the dismal congressional budget office score of the Republican healthcare “reform” bill that set off the keg of hair trigger explosives in Montana.
Gee, if a healthcare question set him off, I wonder what he will do if a reporter asks him a question about the many hungry school kids that have to do without lunch?
(Michael N. Cohen is a former board member of the Reseda Neighborhood Council, founding member of the LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee, founding member of LA Clean Sweep and occasional contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.