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THE THOUSAND PER CENTERS

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

THE THOUSAND PER CENTERS
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Let’s traipse down memory lane, shall we, and hearken back to 1972. It was after the Democratic convention, and presidential nominee George McGovern had chosen Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton as his vice president on the ticket. Then it hit the fan. News reports spread like wildfire: Eagleton’s past involved some serious mental health difficulties.
McGovern insisted that he’d stand by his running mate, declaring himself “1,000 percent behind Tom Eagleton, and I have no intention of dropping him from the ticket.” Less than a week later, he dropped Eagleton from the ticket. Forevermore, in the treacherous world of politics, the lesson had been cast in Washington quicksand: If someone says he is behind you “a thousand percent,” you’re probably toast.
Fast-forward to Donald Trump in 2018 (or is that really fast-backwarding?). President Trump was meeting with his GOP congressional toadies and, in effect, nudging them to pass some sort of immigration legislation. At one point in his rambling, he made a promise to have their backs, insisting he would be “1,000 percent” behind them. House Republicans dived for cover. There were two immigration bills: a compromise put together by party moderates and one from the immoderates. First, they killed the harsher one. Then they delayed the gentler version so it could die a slower death. Who could blame them?


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The title of Trump’s book should have been “The Art of the Double Deal.” They know full well that when the going gets tough, the Trump gets going, leaving everyone in the lurch. He did exactly that, still again, to his henchmen and henchwomen. He had ordered them to publicly advocate for a nasty new immigration policy that tippytoed up to that line between child abuse and crimes against humanity. Thousands of kids were being snatched from the arms of agonized parents, simply because the families dared to seek sanctuary in the United States. After his defenders had thoroughly fouled themselves, he turned right around and ditched them, along with his vicious “zero tolerance” policy.
The public was horrified. After a few days of lying and squirming -- mainly lying, by falsely trying to blame the Democrats -- the handwriting was on his fantasy border wall. So he caved ... a full-fledged subsidence. Even his normally stoic wife Melania had been undermining him. First, there was her critical tweet. Then, when she was dispatched to South Texas on a White House mission to demonstrate compassion she wore a carefully chosen jacket while traveling that was clearly an act of sabotage, with its “I REALLY DON’T CARE. DO U?” lettering flagrantly stamped graffitilike on the back for all the cameras to see. Was she inspired by Marie Antoinette, or maybe spitefully getting back at her hubby for Stormy Daniels?
Meanwhile, back at the White House, POTUS was in full retreat, signing an executive order that ended the child snatching. But in his panicked withdrawal, President Trump created a whole new set of problems, turning “zero tolerance” into total chaos. No one, for instance, could promise that all the kids could be located and reunited with their families. Watching all this from under the Capitol Hill big top, the fierce lions had quickly become scared little rabbits, scampering away from immigration as quickly as their little paws could scoot.
One of the most loathsome aspects of most politicians is that it’s rarely about right and wrong for them; only how their decisions about something -- anything -- will be perceived by their voters and, of course, their moneybag donors. So they continue to do nothing and the immigration issue continues to be a blight that shames our country and dishonors our history.
The Republican politicians are hard at work calculating the best way to avoid being splattered too badly and to help Trump out of his mess, now that they’ve cast their lots with him. Maybe this time he and they will acquire a little humility, and learn that some barbarism is just not acceptable. Yup, I believe that all right. A thousand percent.

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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