Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Esq., reappeared briefly to add his timid voice to the Republican’s corrupt tax reform plan early Saturday morning that would layer more icing on the one percenters in the gallery who would benefit the most. His vote further guaranteed his status as a member in good standing of his party’s white-guy club, an image that you might find lurking in cave art.
Portman, as we’ve painfully witnessed, has managed to sustain the fakery of his reputation as a “moderate common-sense conservative” thanks to huge support from folks like the Koch brothers who chipped in $10 million to his last campaign to stow him where they can comfortably find him; a friendly Ohio media that has finally turned on him; and his proud defense of his work as an anti-deficit hawk.
But watch Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who desperately hungered for a victory more impressive than a win by the Cleveland Browns. He was brimming.
The Republicans, once the party of Lincoln, strutted into the moonlight after they scribbled together a package that only the Kochs and other oligarchs could love. Portman proved once again that there is no vote that big money can’t buy.
Imagine, if possible: A senator and cronies who have preachily scorned red ink in federal budgets now standing forthrightly with an historic measure, if it finally becomes law, that will increase deficits by $2.5 trillion. That’s trillion, people. Oh, it will also raise taxes and deny critical benefits to the poor and middle class.
As I tried to follow the action via TV on the Senate floor Friday night, it was no more common-sensical nor less odorous than an evening at a landfill.
Portman, of course, defended his reversal with benign simpleminded assurance that in the long run it would produce jobs – robots notwithstanding – and profits greater than even Donald Trump, he of the unhinged wing, could imagine.
Let the senator shamelessly purr, as he did on Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press”:
“For the first time in over 30 years we’re going to reform the tax code to provide tax cuts but also encourage investment in more jobs, more earnings and improve the economy. What we’ve said is if we can just improve the economy slightly, instead of the 1.9 percent growth that the Congressional Budget Office says is going to happen, if we can do just that then we begin to reduce the deficit and I think that will happen.”
Keep in mind that this is the same financial expert who served as President George W. Bush’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. And we know how miserably that turned out before Barack Obama arrived on the scene with fewer fantasies.
Still, Portman breathes the same fantasy of Donald Trump, who insists that “everybody will get a tremendous tax cut’’, a “beautiful” one at that. At the same time McConnell & Co. will “get the country rolling again.”
As for the Ohio senator, he paid his dues to the moneyed class and decided that the Republican Party was in “good shape.” Once you have accepted the nonsense of the GOP tax manifesto, there’s no way to ignore it without being stripped of the party’s deceptive merit badges.
It is of no use to wear perfume in a sausage factory.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, complained that she hadn’t seen the prized work-in-progress tax proposal, scribbles and all, until a lobbyist passed it to her that evening.
My hunch is that many of the older rickety Republicans voted to support it because they believed that they would be securely in their graves before the deferred negatives in the bill began to take hold. By then, the landfills of America will be overflowing.
And Portman will once again rise to state his case as an anti-deficit hawk.