Critic’s Notebook: “The Mooch” Is the Newest Star of Summer’s Most Toxic Reality TV Show

From Anthony Scaramucci’s potty mouth to John McCain’s dramatic vote, Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ story hour to Trump’s Jeff Sessions obsession, the hate-watch of the summer is in full swing.

Summer is traditionally the season when the networks largely abandon scripted programming to concentrate on reality shows. But their offerings pale in comparison to the current reality show taking place in Washington, with the White House and Congress in a dead heat for which can produce the most drama. Cliffhangers? Check. Pivotal votes? Check. Colorful characters? Not only check, but thanks to the newest arrival, White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, checkmate.

Cable news aficionados can be forgiven if they’re feeling a bit fatigued these days. Just last night they had to stay up to the wee hours as the GOP-dominated Congress fitfully stumbled over their health care bill. It was the latest of a series of attempts so misbegotten and absurd that they’ve managed to do what the Democrats never could — drum up popular support for the Affordable Care Act. Even Trump supporters have suddenly realized it isn’t so bad after all.

Last night’s episode of the seemingly never-ending saga was the most powerful of all. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington feels like a documentary compared to the spectacle of Sen. John McCain, recently diagnosed with brain cancer and still sporting the scar from his surgery, making a dramatic return to Washington. First, he lectured his colleagues about how badly they’re failing the country. Then he voted in favor of a bill he had just railed against. Finally, he shocked everyone by joining moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski in seemingly defeating the bill for good. (Except, as we’ve come to realize over the last few months, you can’t kill this thing without silver bullets and a crucifix.)

As if aware that every good reality show needs some laughs, Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a letter to the president at a recent…

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