I should clarify. This is the unbelievably pathetic new Jeff Sessions Senate ad, not to be confused with the unbelievably pathetic Jeff Sessions Senate ad that was released last week.
What has happened to this man?
All I can think is that he’s been completely broken by the abuse he’s taken from Trump.
— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) November 14, 2019
It’s only mildly queasy until the end, when he felt compelled for God knows what reason to re-create the moment at that 2016 Trump rally when he donned the MAGA hat. To genuflect that way now after he spent so many months being flogged by Trump for recusing himself from Russiagate is one of the most pitiful groveling panders we’ll ever see from a politician.
Does it even help his Senate chances? I can’t imagine that it does much to endear him to Trumpers. Watching Sessions shine Trump’s shoes with his tears must be more amusing to them than ingratiating. Look at the vanquished villain, whimpering for the president’s favor! It’s especially un-Trumpy in how servile it is. Trump’s obsession with showing “strength” by never apologizing, never letting a slight go unanswered, etc, is the polar opposite of this Sessions vomit. Why would someone who admires that quality in Trump not feel contempt for Sessions for lacking it so starkly?
It’s not as if Sessions is setting himself apart as the lone Trump advocate in a primary field of Mitt Romneys and Jeff Flakes either. Everyone running is a Trump shill, knowing that that’s the only path to victory. If you want someone who’ll be servile to the president, you could choose Bradley Byrne or Tommy Tuberville instead of the guy who comes packaged with 18 months of presidential tweets regretting that he was ever chosen as Attorney General. And as a special bonus, Byrne and Tuberville would each come packaged with loads more self-respect than Sessions has. Aside from pure name recognition, what’s the argument for reelecting an ex-senator for whom every part of the GOP now feels contempt?
The one thing he hasn’t said yet (I think) is that he regrets recusing himself from the Russia probe. His attitude about that to this point has been more of the “what’s done is done” variety. But there’s no way for him to avoid the question. If a reporter doesn’t pin him down about it, one of his opponents during a primary debate will. What will he say? If he refuses to apologize, he’ll blow up this entire nauseating MAGA charm offensive he’s engaged in. If he does apologize, why not just do it now and rip the band-aid off? It only looks weaker if he waits until he’s pressured into doing it.
I hope for his own sake that he wins. He’s running for Senate again, it seems, because he’s decided that he wants his Senate career to be his political legacy after the whole AG thing didn’t work out so well. But if he runs and loses, these ads — and those endless Trump tweets — will be his legacy. He’s betting his dignity on victory.