An Un-sedated Colonoscopy

Gail Collins is one of my very favorite columnists. Lately, I have especially enjoyed her weekly “Conversations” with Bret Stephens. Collins is liberal and Stephens is conservative-but-not-batshit-insane, so their Monday Times discussions have been both informative and entertaining.

We can all use some entertainment these days, so I thought I’d share some “highlights” from Monday the 10th.

The linked column  began with a discussion of Trump’s recent speech to his golf club buddies. Both Collins and Stephens agreed that this “allegedly presidential speech” was really just a campaign rant about Joe Biden —” interspersed with reminders that the virus and everything that followed in its wake is ‘China’s fault.'”

Stephens pointed out that the President’s recent “Executive Orders” were unconstitutional (only Congress controls the nation’s purse). That was followed by the following exchange:

Gail: Before I had to listen to him address the nation via his cheering golf partners, I was going to ask you how far the Trump terribleness had driven you. We talk all the time about our mutual desire to clean out the White House. But what about the Senate? Are you rooting for a Republican majority? For Mitch McConnell? For Susan Collins? Tell all.

Bret Stephens: Gail, when it comes to Donald Trump’s Republican Party, I’m a reluctant member of the “destroy-the-village-in-order-to-save-it” school. Obviously I’d much rather see Susan Collins keep her seat than Mitch McConnell keep his post as majority leader, for the same reason that I want moderate Republicans to prevail within the party.

But the most important thing is for the G.O.P. to take such a shellacking in November that they will remember it as the political equivalent of an unsedated colonoscopy.

The thought of handing today’s iteration of the GOP the equivalent of an un-sedated colonoscopy cheered me immensely. I could almost forgive Stephens for some of what I consider his retrograde policy positions.

Stephens followed that zinger up with a good summary of what (the few remaining) rational, unTrumpian Republicans find so unacceptable in this administration:

The kind of Republican Party that didn’t think the term “family values” meant an enrichment scheme for Trump’s children and in-laws; that believed in the power of immigrants to refresh and reinvent the nation; that understood that Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un were the enemy, not Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer; that respected federalism even if it meant deferring to the wishes of Democratic governors and mayors; and that worshiped at the political altars of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, as opposed to P.T. Barnum and Archie Bunker.

Later, he excoriated the Trump supporters–the “Mark Levin types whose default setting is certitude and fury. And Sean Hannity types whose default is obsequiousness and fury. And Tucker Carlson types whose … ” Well, you know.

And– in yet another bodily reference– Stephens noted that

The only good thing that might have come from putting a libertine at the head of the G.O.P. was to get the party to unconstipate itself. And he couldn’t even get that right.

The column became more serious with a discussion of potential Biden running mates, and then concluded with the following exchange:

Gail: Whenever we get on this subject a wave of sadness overtakes me. Still yearning for Elizabeth Warren. But really, anybody who’s part of a change of administration would be OK by me in the long run. One thing I have to give Trump credit for is a general lowering of expectations.

Bret: Gail, rest assured that before the year is out he’ll lower them some more.

I keep thinking about that initial description of what is needed in November: a defeat that Republicans would experience as an un-sedated Colonoscopy.

Believe it or not, I know a lot of formerly dependable GOP voters who would be happy to contribute to such a defeat, if they thought it would lead to a resurrection of the party they had originally joined.

Personally, I’m with the guy in one of those “former Republican” ads who says he’d vote for a can of tomato soup if it would deliver the country from the chaos of Trump. It reminded me of my sister’s declaration that she’d vote for toenail fungus over Trump.

Our job is to make sure everyone who feels that way casts a vote, and that it gets counted!


  1. Some states have secured drop boxes for absentee ballots so that those ballots are not dependent on the postal service for delivery. County Clerks just have the mail-in ballots collected daily and brought to the Clerk’s office for securing and counting. Cameras are installed near the drop boxes to record any monkey business that might occur.

    Given all the chaos Trump and his Postmaster General have in mind for the post office from now to election day and beyond, it seems every county should provide drop boxes in each community in the county which are easily accessible to voters and are secure. Then a lot more folks would be more confident about voting absentee and having their vote counted. It seems clear Donald Trump is going to be talking about vote rigging BY MAIL throughout the campaign. We can circumvent that concern and develop some voter confidence with drop boxes.

  2. Who are those “former Republicans” that were so responsible? Ronald Reagan who taught Republicans that truth didn’t matter? Newt Gingrich who spoke of Obama’s “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior? Skippy Walker who refused Medicaid for poor kids? Susan Collins who appears to have had a backbone extraction? This is a party that is intellectually, morally, and ethically bankrupt and Trump is merely a symptom, not the cause.

  3. “…a good summary of what (the few remaining) rational, unTrumpian Republicans find so unacceptable in this administration:”

    WHO are those Republicans, WHERE are those Republicans, WHY do they remain mute and idle in the House and especially in the Senate when they are required to speak out and take action to end much of our current condition. We are not “circling the bowl”; we are deep in the shit of a two-hole outhouse and sinking fast. Their treasonous positions are far more than being “unTrumpian”; they took an Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution of the United States of American and they were given the responsibility to protect this country and its population by taking action to protect us from the likes of Trump.

    The Republicans in the Senate are responsible for Trump succeeding in his deconstruction of this government and now the deconstruction of the United States Postal Service as well as killing thousands by allowing every illegal and/or treasonous act that has happened and is happening since January when the first Pandemic warnings were ignored. Those in the Senate elected to put McConnell in his position of power; they can also elect to remove him…IF THEY WEREN’T ON ANOTHER RECESS.

    “I keep thinking about that initial description of what is needed in November: a defeat that Republicans would experience as an un-sedated Colonoscopy.”

    That is certainly an apt description of our current situation because the entire Republican party is certainly up our ass…WE ARE LIVING THAT “UN-SEDATED COLONOSCOPY”.

  4. For me what is really scary is so called “Republicans” who believe in bizarre Q Anon conspiracy ideas that are running for the House. Vote Blue!

  5. Thank you Mrs. K. I will keep her in my thoughts. What is her given name so I will think of her by name. I.

  6. Well, JoAnn, you have outdone yourself today. I could not have put it better.

    As for the vote by mail thing, I believe I will just vote early. Get myself down to the City County Building and go vote. If I am risking my life then so be it. Millions of others before me died for this country and what it stood for; I don’t think it is too much for me to put on a mask and go vote. It could not possibly be any more dangerous than shopping at Kroger’s.

  7. Yes, many would vote for a “can of tomato soup” versus Donny in November.

    And, the DNC has obliged with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. At the same time, the DNC wasted millions running centrists against progressives all across the country, including against “The Squad” of female congress-women. All of the centrists lost but the DNC didn’t see that as a mandate. This was occurring at the same time and leading up to what they historically declared a victory for women and minorities by choosing Kamala Harris, another party-owned centrist.

    If Susan Collins has no spine, neither does the DNC and its captive politicians. Instead of following up Trump with progressives who will actually institute policies that help American workers screwed for the last four decades and demolished this entire year, they’ve once again acquiesced to their Wall Street donors and the MIC.

    They will toss out social policies which mean nothing while supporting unregulated capitalism and all its associated corruption. Does anybody think they will address campaign finance reform?

    I’m sorry that former Republicans (still conservatives) don’t have a party they can be proud of any longer. You can thank the Libertarian Koch’s for their Tea Party anti-government assault up and down the ballot. Voting for conservatives within the Democratic Party until the GOP fixes their mess isn’t helping anyone in this country. It’s just buying you some time.

    Meanwhile, AOC has been given a whopping 60 seconds to speak at the Democratic Convention while the DNC has invited several Republicans to speak at the convention.

    The Oligarchs and the MIC must be happy this is going down according to their plan and non-conservatives have been sucked into casting a vote for conservatives in Democratic stripes. Meanwhile, we lose more time stopping unsustainable global capitalism in heating up the planet and narrowing the gross income and wealth inequalities throughout the world.

    All the global marches/protests have been lost on a spineless Democratic Party. We’ll waste another four to eight years until GOP donors can rebrand their product to regain prominence for their former base. In the meantime, we’ll make no progress. I doubt we’ll ever catch up. Expect more protests/marches across the globe.

  8. Like Irvin, I am thinking about the baby. Please keep us updated.

    I think every rational person in the U.S. is hoping for a monumental defeat for the GOP. It seems strange that we need to remind about 1/3 of our countrymen that racism is not acceptable behavior, even in impolite society, but we must. Then we have to guard our future against any resurgence of idiocy.

  9. Indeed, the best possible outcome would be a resounding defeat of Trumpism at the polls – not just Trump, but everyone who has hitched their wagon to him.

    I’m a solid Democrat, but I think it’s necessary to have a healthy and sane Republican party as a counterbalance. Right now, massive election losses are the only thing that is going to cause some self-reflection on the part of Republicans.

    As a side note: I encourage everyone who can to vote early and in-person and not by mail. Polls open Oct 3 in Indiana, I believe. It’s safer than election day because of smaller crowds. You can get it done and over with. There’s no question that your vote will be counted and won’t be rejected because of late delivery, signature mismatch, or any other reason.

  10. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of reforming! the current resident of the White House is not going to go quietly into that good night if she obviously loses the election. He is going to activate his Erik Prince lackeys, along with the rest of his convoluted nationalist thug brigade. Modeled directly after the Nazi brown shirts! He’ll burn it down rather than go to prison which is where he needs to be.

    who thinks of Trump without his Clarion call to his supporters, they will not activate themselves in a massive terror tsunami that would pair up with his thuggish brown shirts. I absolutely guarantee, it’s going to be a scorched-earth policy! Because it’s all about Trump and not about the country.

    On an interesting note, I was talking to a mid-level manager at FedEx, and she said they were attempting to hire like crazy! The starting pay was about 17 bucks an hour on average with almost unlimited overtime to start. She also said that people were filling out the applications but when it came time to report for orientation, they were not showing up. And, not showing up en Mass. She also said that most of the people we’re getting the $600 a week, and made the decision to not show up for work until the stipend runs out! So, does society do the right thing on the whole? It doesn’t seem like it, it seems that the infection is just as bad across-the-board when it comes to people’s personal beliefs.

  11. Sheila, I hope your granddaughter is getting stronger! I would say everyone should pray, but with all the atheists, that would just be a little hypocritical. Hopefully those doctors are the best in the country! be assured I will be talking to the big guy on a regular basis, I saw prayers answered with my granddaughter.

  12. I’m currently reading the latest issue of The Atlantic. One of the articles, by Ed Yong, is titled “How Did it Come to This”? The article is about the administration’s failure to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, but it might as well be the theme for the whole issue and for our national Trump nightmare. Waking up is going to be difficult and traumatic! There aren’t any palliatives, we are just going to have to soldier through!

  13. Todd,

    I disagree with much of what you are saying.

    It’s important to remember that Job #1 for the Democratic party, particularly this election, is to win the election and unseat Donald Trump. We all identified that as THE priority since about the end of November 2016. Job #2 for the Democratic party is to win ” bigly” and to make it very decisive so there’s little wiggle room or doubt about the results and to put Trumpism on notice.

    The “centrists” vs the “progressives” issue was litigated pretty thoroughly during the primary – and Biden won decisively on Biden’s platform. Elizabeth didn’t win. Bernie didn’t win. Pete didn’t win. Rather than demonize the party, perhaps you should be more respectful of the will and the wisdom of the people who voted. It’s still early, but judging from the polls – to the extent that we can trust them – the party is doing a remarkable job of keeping its eye on the prize and getting the job done.

    There’s nothing wrong with advocating for different policies. However, if you can’t be strategic and win elections then you are left just shouting in the darkness. We made that mistake in 2016 and I’m not at all interested in repeating it in 2020.

  14. And yet, after three years and 9 months in office, Trump may actually have his first accomplishment to point to. If the UAE/Israel peace deal holds, we’re all better off. Of course he has no appreciation for why this is important, and in all likelihood we won’t hear much about it from him. I wonder who actually made this happen?

    In conjunction with the “unsedated colonoscopy”, we have a friend who wishes no ill on the Donald except that when he appears in public he is seized with uncontrollable bouts of exceptionally loud farting.

    I’ve just finished Mary Trump’s book and the Trump household (the one he grew up in) makes my slightly dysfunctional childhood look like a stroll through Camelot. Starting early in life, Donald has had a natural bent toward the unhinged. It was encouraged and enabled by his equally sociopathic father and his uninvolved, see-no-evil mother. If he weren’t destroying the country I love, I could perhaps feel some pity for him.

  15. There are still, astoundingly, Republicans who claim that Trump is just what they wanted and expected. Of all of the mysteries that I’ve encountered in my journey through life that is perhaps the biggest now. How could anyone be proud to be part of this mess? I know that the Cabinet and McConnell have to present that way but don’t even they know in their reptilian brain that they are part of the biggest con ever perpetrated? What is in that Kool-Aid?

  16. My choice for president before Biden was Elizabeth Warren, and it may surprise both Todd and Kurt to know that I don’t identify her as a “progressive” but rather as a reformist. I don’t confuse her means of reforming with the substance of what she is trying to reform, to wit: Wall Street, wage inequality, tax and bankruptcy codes etc. I am not into providing a defining straitjacket of progressive/conservative to Democratic candidates and looking at everything they do through such narrow lenses. Pretty is as pretty does.

    Thus, for instance, as a Keynesian, I sometimes am for or against tax increases, depending upon a host of other factors, as Keynes did, and Friedman trickle down doesn’t do. Such a stance is neither progressive nor centrist; it is based on experience and arithmetic, a stance nevertheless those in straitjackets are deprived from adopting. Good government is not the exclusive preserve of those we have arbitrarily classified; even right wing Republicans can occasionally vote right on particular issues, and in a democracy we progressives, conservatives, and even libertarians have to somehow govern in the best interests of the common good rather than for the few, or alternatively, suffer from the slings and arrows of reformists. So, if Wall Street wins this round, we will be back for Round Two. Sometimes reform needs tactical reform.

  17. Terry – Trump is up for the Nobel because Bibi and the UAE have found peace? Could Israel’s annexation plans have anything to do with Bibi’s indictments and hundreds of angry Israelis in the street surrounding his house every night. Oh, and Trump the peacemaker? Give me a break!

  18. The GOP as it exists is owned lock stock and barrel by The Trumpet. Pastor Pence is under The Trumpet’s heel. The 1% are happy as long as they can maintain and increase their wealth they could care less about the country.

    The followers of The Trumpet, continue with their cognitive dissonance. Their posts I read on face book consist of smears and falsehoods. AOC was their Number 1 target and to a lesser extent other members of the Squad.

    Now, Kamela Harris is target number one. On August 2, 2020, Barry Presgraves, who serves as mayor of the Town of Luray, posted on Facebook that “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” After several comments about the post’s racist overtones, Presgraves deleted the post.

    Luray is the county seat of Page County, Virginia. The Trumpet won 74% of the vote in Page County. The Mayor offered some BS excuses, IMHO he knew his constituency would approve of his comments.

    Presgraves and The Trumpet is today’s GOP.

  19. Gerald,

    My choice of president before Biden was Pete – and I think he defied the “centrist vs progressive” labels also. I still love Pete, but Pete didn’t win. I’m not trashing the Democratic party because my choice of candidate – or his views — didn’t win.

    The point here is not to get caught up in labels and such… the point is to say that there’s a time to air policy proposals and a time to get behind the chosen candidates and win elections. Now is the time for unity and to win elections. After the election will be another opportunity to advocate for policies.

    Not to be paranoid, but I think that it’s also important to be aware that there will be many online operatives promoting schisms in the Democratic party in order to help Trump’s re-election. Much effort will be made to get progressives to be angry, dissatisfied, not vote, or vote for a third party. Fox News was making a point to say how progressives were unhappy with Harris. Of course they were also saying she was to the left of Marx… so there’s that. Just don’t expect that everyone will be as inept as Fox at manipulating opinion.

  20. Gerald – Bibi is certainly in Trump’s league when it comes to crime and corruption. However, Bibi is in some ways more dangerous in that he has a working brain (but much less power). Though I’ve haven’t discerned them all, there are plenty of ulterior motives to go around here – nothing is ever straightforward in the Middle East or in this White House. Perhaps David Ignatius can sniff them out on our behalf. In any case, it seems to me that the often dubious(but occasionally righteous) cause of the Palestinians just took a step backwards.

    The UAE has friendly ties with China and Egypt and seeks friends throughout the Middle East. In general, they play an outsized role in world affairs.

  21. This is the best statement of the season: “The thought of handing today’s iteration of the GOP the equivalent of an un-sedated colonoscopy cheered me immensely.” I would add: “… and administered by a plumber.”

  22. I wish. I watched Mika Brzezinski this morning in a rant. It was NOT a rant of superior condescension. It was a rant of terror. She was terrified that we have already lost our democracy and that there is no one with the ability and desire to stop it. I would love to think of Trump and the GOP enablers receiving unsedated colonoscopies. But frankly, I am too worried that our country will not exist in 2021. I will remain as optimistic as I possibly can, but this is not looking good!

  23. Vernon, “plumber” is a good addition. “Using a roto-rooter” also adds some pizzazz to the process.

    How is it possible that some don’t see the con or is it that they can’t admit to being conned?

  24. Irvin,
    Are you an atheist? And, if you’re an atheist you pray? Simple comprehension, not much ambiguity in my statement. I’m not an atheist so I pray, I have not known any atheists to pray! Except maybe if they’re getting ready to get their head lopped off, then they can cover their bases.

  25. And by the way Irvin, I really couldn’t care any less than I do now if someone is an atheist. eventually that will sort itself out! But, you are a little late to the party, and if you haven’t been on this thread or blog for a good while, then you have no idea what I’m talking about. And, I’ll leave that to you to do your research!

  26. TRUMP is the keep-on in-the-foot shooter; watch for it; he’ll never be a really-truly POTUS.
    Hard to believe the electorate will be duped again by GOP chicanery.  He’s a no-learner with porcine habits and odors. Give me an FDR clone,  a JFK clone, an HST clone or a clone of Barack Obama…Guys with class.

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