WASHINGTON — It’s time to recall absurd, bizarre and downright stupid things said by politicians this past year.
We’re ignoring Trumpisms because he said something ridiculous daily. There would be no room for anybody else.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., topped all the profiles-in-courage lists for announcing he would not vote for the GOP tax bill because it adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt. Then an eleventh-hour provision gave real estate moguls a huge benefit, such as about $11 million to Donald Trump and roughly $7 million to Corker.
Corker said it was unnecessary and bordered on the ridiculous. But, voila! He voted for the bill, including the $1.5 trillion in new debt.
When it was pointed out that 83 percent of the tax breaks in said tax bill will benefit only the top 1 percent, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fl., said defensively Trump never said he was running as Robin Hood.
When it was noted that the so-called carried-interest tax loophole, providing millions only to hedge funds and the rich, was not repealed as Trump repeatedly promised, House Ways and Means Committee chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said with a shrug, “Oh, that’s an ancillary issue. People don’t care about that.”
So go crazy with your extra six or 10 bucks or so a week, which Trump said is the greatest tax cut in history and also a “middle-class miracle.” But don’t get used to it. It goes away in 2025 and your taxes will rise significantly. But the huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are forever, although there are no requirements to reinvest in new jobs or higher wages and there are hidden incentives to move jobs and cash overseas.
“This is going to cost me a fortune,” Trump complained. No, it won’t. Trump benefits big time. If he wasn’t an actual billionaire when he took office, he will be when he leaves.
After Hillary Clinton published her book on her 2016 election debacle, “What Happened,” she reluctantly admitted she could have done a few things differently. (Such as campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin, which she lost.) She agreed her campaign lacked passion and a sense of urgency. But, ultimately, “I wasn’t just running against Donald Trump. I was up against the Russian intelligence apparatus, a misguided FBI director, and now the godforsaken Electoral College,” she wrote.
Her book also explained the benefits of something called alternate nostril breathing: “This practice allows oxygen to activate both the right side of the brain, which is the source of your creativity and imagination, and the left side, which controls reason and logic.” What?
A record number of Trump’s nominees for lifetime federal judgeships have been confirmed by the Senate, some with few credentials. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., had enough. He asked Matthew Petersen, nominated for the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, if he had ever tried a jury trial. No, said Petersen. A civil trial? No. Criminal? No. State or federal? No. Did Petersen know a number of basic legal terms? No. OK, then. Petersen later withdrew saying the whole process had been a big “distraction.”
When comedian Jimmy Kimmel pleaded with Congress not to kill the Affordable Health Care Act, mentioning his baby’s congenital heart condition, former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh tweeted: “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.”
Decrying Obamacare, Rep. Roger Marshall. R-Kansas, said, “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us…’. There’s a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.” (The tax bill ensures 13 million more will lose health insurance.)
Roy Moore, pedophile and ousted ex-judge who rightly lost the Alabama Senate race, was a fountain of incredible statements. Attempting to explain the country’s greatness was one of his worst: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another … . Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”
And we have Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway with her penchant for “alternative facts” and her insistence, on TV from the White House, that Americans should run out and buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories.
Shucks. We’re out of time. And we were just getting started. But there’s always next year.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at email@example.com.