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Nancy LeTourneau of The Washington Monthly did a first-rate if brief summary of the failed Trump presidency to date. The gist of her piece:

Taking a step back from getting caught up in the latest outrage, a look at what has happened over the last 13 months paints a picture of an utterly failed presidency. Because Donald Trump is incompetent, ignorant and mentally unfit to be president, he is not likely to improve on his performance to date. […]

Even if we ignore all of the obnoxious things he has said or tweeted and focus on his personnel and policy failures, the list is long.

  1. Failed to repeal Obamacare
  2. Failed to pass his immigration plan
  3. Travel ban and recision of DACA have been overturned in the courts
  4. Voter fraud commission disbanded after it went “off the rails”
  5. More than one in three staffers left the White House in its first year
  6. More than 40 percent his first Cabinet-level picks have faced ethical or other controversies
  7. At least 100 White House officials served with ‘interim’ security clearances until November
  8. A record low job approval rating for his first year

Depending on your politics, the fact that Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and the Transpacific Partnership trade agreement would be viewed as major failures. He still hasn’t completed the re-negotiation of NAFTA.

LeTourneau seems to think that Trump can rely on his fake news outlets, the servile right-wing media conglomerate that dances to Trump’s fiddle, to reframe his disastrous tenure. And indeed, the great right-wing echo chamber has been extraordinarily successful over the past decade in persuading low-information, high dudgeon folks that night is day and vice-versa.

That’s bad. But, oddly, what scares me more is what might happen if it doesn’t work. Consider this tidbit – pure gossip, not confirmed, but worth attention nevertheless:

A US National Security Council (NSC) official has reportedly suggested that a limited preemptive strike on North Korea could help the Republican Party in the upcoming midterm elections — a claim rebutted by the White House.

The alleged comment, which was sourced from a scathing opinion column published Friday by the South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh, was also tweeted by a Wall Street Journal reporter.

“Indeed, White House National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Matthew Pottinger was reported as saying in a recent closed-door meeting with US experts on Korean Peninsula issues that a limited strike on the North ‘might help in the midterm elections,'” read the English-translated version of the op-ed.

[…]

The remarks come as some advisers to President Donald Trump have reportedly suggested limited military action against North Korea to give it a “bloody nose.”

According to all reputable sources, such a scenario would have an horrendous effect – quite apart from it’s effect on the midterms. Given what we know about Trump and some members of his contingent, however, it seems like it might seem to them to be a hunky-dory way to maintain political dominance.

And our congressional representatives? Would they defend us and the hundreds of innocents who are at risk against such an atrocity? Will we ever be able to rely on the GOP, the members of which have, as LeTourneau notes, utterly failed to hold Trump accountable – the very people who have even tried to cover for him in the face of what some think might amount to possible treason.

And as for Democrats, sure some will come out to do battle. But midterms scare lots of swing state Democrats who still think that it’s wise to tack to the middle. And maybe it is, as far as their individual political careers go. Don’t expect any profiles in courage.

My own Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, is good at this walking the center line game. And usually I’m glad that she is. This is Missouri after all. But there’s lots going on now, and what’s Claire patting herself on the back for doing? In a recent email newsletter that I received, she informed me that her “bipartisan valentine” was the craven, corrupt Roy Blunt:

Since he and I have been in the Senate, we’ve teamed up on 331 bills and resolutions for the Show-me State—and that’s a record I think we can both be proud of.

Despite what you see on the news and online, there are a lot of things Senator Blunt and I agree on, and they’re almost all about commonsense solutions that will help folks in our state. We may not agree on everything, but we can certainly agree that Missourians come first.

Claire’s effort to hog the centrist spotlight is understandable, maybe. Effective in November? I hope. But it does not inspire confidence in the face of the debacle that is taking place in Washington – one abetted by Roy Blunt – although even he can’t resist expressing his doubts about Trump’s competence, at least as far as his ability to to effectively collude with Russia:

My view continues to be that the (Trump) campaign had one asset, which was a candidate that understood the moment and (was) not very capable of anything much more complicated than that.

Evidently, he’s never heard of “useful idiots” as a category. And maybe he doesn’t care, as long as the idiot in question lets him and his corporate clients have their way.

By the way, did Blunt send Claire a bipartisan valentine, I wonder? Will he even say anything nice about her?