|BRIAN SNYDER / CORBIS|
A funny thing happened on the way to King Donald's first six months on the throne.
Impeaching him has gone from a liberal Democratic wet dream to an option that an increasing number of Republicans are discussing, albeit privately. This, to be sure, is different than actually doing the deed because the GOP has its own wet dream in believing the regent can help their stalled legislative agenda (which sure worked out well with that Obamacare repeal-and-replace thing, didn't it?) but he actually is undermining that agenda at every turn.
It is a measure of how unhinged King Donald has become that some of the people who could send him packing have tired of his unceasing bombast and finally seem to have noticed how destructive he has become to the Republican Party, not to mention the country.
They certainly had plenty of ammunition in the 27th week of the king's reign as he continued to fume and fulminate over the 2016 election, passive aggressively stroked and criticized his beleaguered attorney general over three consecutive days, flumoxed visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose political partner is Hezbollah, by calling it a terrorist group, debased LGBT soldiers, went off script at the national Boy Scout jamboree to blast Hillary Clinton and then went way off script at a rally in Ohio where he asserted in luridly graphic detail how undocumented immigrant gang members "take a beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die."
And it was only Wedndesday.
On Thursday, Senator Lindsay Graham declared that firing special counsel Robert Mueller would be the beginning of the end of what one pundit calls "an affliction, not a presidency." The Pentagon said that it doesn't change its policies toward soldiers' sexual identities based on crazy tweets. The chief Boy Scout executive apologized for the king's speech. Sessions refused to resign while Senate Republican leaders asked the king to pretty please kindly knock off his demagoguing of the AG, while Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley flat out said that if Sessions is axed his committee will give him no chance to appoint a replacement. Then entire Senate convening in the wee hours of Friday morning to pound the last nail into the replace-and-repeal coffin.
And all this pushback was more or less overshadowed by a royal court at war with itself. "The grass outside the White House is full of snakes," opined The New York Times, "And the person inside that office is no better."
Meanwhile, the king's new propaganda minister, Anthony Scaramucci, out-crazying the man who hand picked him, ranted that chief of staff Reince Priebus was a "f*cking paranoid schizophrenic" and said of the king's chief strategist, "I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to suck my own cock."
Priebus was gone 24 hours later, fired in a typically cowardly manner as the king waited for him to deplane from Air Force One when they arrived in an appropriately rainy Washington from Long Island where the king had advocated using violence in a speech to police officers. Once Priebus was off the plane and had been diverted to another SUV, the king boastfully tweeted that he had just loped off the head of a court loyalist.
Scaramucci lasted 10 days.
We of course found out a great deal more than we needed to know about King Donald when he bragged to the host of Access Hollywood in that infamous hot mic episode about grabbing a woman's private parts.
And confirmed what we suspect that Congress now knows in another revealing hot mic episode, this one between Senators Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat, and Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, during a lull last week in an Appropriations subcommittee hearing:
REED: I think he's crazy.
COLLINS: I'm worried.
REED: I don't say that lightly, as kind of, you know, a goofy guy. The, uh, this thing, you know, if we don't get a budget deal done . . . "
Reed's budget-deal reference was an allusion to the king's inability to grasp even the basics of governing, which includes his belief that the Blow Up Obamacare bill that was narrowly defeated in the Senate actually increased Medicare payments and did not radically slash them.
As I have written over and over and freaking over again, the greatest danger King Donald poses is not nuking Lichtenstein because of a tiff over lace doily tariffs, but our becoming inured to his madness.
This is something of a race for time, which is why we can take heart that there finally is some pushback (did you ever think Orrin Hatch would eloquently defend transgender people?). It hypothetically moves the king's breaking point forward, or perhaps the point where the Republicans decide it finally is time to cut their losses since their leader seems unable to focus on anything beyond saving his and his family's asses from the Big Bad Mueller.
The blow to the king's colossal ego because of the defeat of repeal-and-replace, which in the end spectacularly crashed and burned because he was very good at intimidating people and very bad at lobbying them on the successive replacement bills' (plural) supposed virtues, will make him meaner and on the prowl for more people to hurt and new things to destroy as the special counsel's footsteps grow louder.
The one constant is that it's never the king's fault.
As the week mercifully ended, Congress passed with near unanimity and sent to the king a veto-proof bill strengthening Russia sanctions that effectively ties his small hands and infuriated Vlad the Impaler, and the king let out a mighty blast at Senator Lisa Murkowski, who along with Collins and John "He's No Hero" McCain, had spelled defeat for the final Obamacare replacement bill. This was after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's crude blackmail attempt failed to move the Alaskan. For good measure, the king scolded Congress in a Saturday tweet for looking "like fools" and being "total quitters" and threatened to cut their own insurance plans, which actually may be the first good idea he's had.
Polls show a steady erosion of rank-and-file Republican support for the regent, although overall his numbers remain robust even if the GOP is a burned-out hulk that can barely rule and is utterly inept at governing. But there may be no better indication that the fever swamp from which the king rules is under siege -- and that hiring more thugs won't do the trick -- than the growing number of right-wing and conservative commentators who enthusiastically rode his royal carriage and are now jumping off.
Influential radio host and blogger Erick Erickson is typical:
The president told everyone that only he could do the job and he would drain the swamp. Instead, he's dammed up the swamp, put a party boat in it, and has turned his attention to Twitter.
We are still a long way from a Barry Goldwater Watergate moment in which the Republican leadership hikes down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, bows to the king and tells him that he needs to put down his scepter and resign.
The ignominious collapse of the centerpiece of the king's presidential campaign -- the quick repeal of Obamacare -- is being viewed by some pundits as the last straw. Unfortunately, there will be more of them.
But the tide finally is running out.