A “mulligan” is the informal practice in golf of not counting a shot because it was really bad. This is of course against the Rules, but it’s the kind of thing people will do at the beginning of a friendly round if the stakes are low, and the guy who just hit a duck hook off the first tee is a major client you’re schmoozing, or a mob boss, or whatever.
The word has become generalized to mean cutting somebody a break when they make the sort of mistake it’s OK to let slide. For example:
I think we should have another informal rule, applicable to US presidents, which is No Backsies for inciting an insurrectionist mob that came close to lynching the Congressional leadership and your own vice president.
Donald Trump’s entire adult life consists of nothing but an endless series of mulligans for his endless series of fuckups, including many brazenly criminal ones. Indeed Trump’s life is the ultimate monument to upper class white male privilege, which is why his supporters love him so much.
It’s difficult to pick out the most decadent and depraved aspect of the GOP’s almost unanimous decision to get Donald Trump off the hook, for old time’s sake, but I’ll nominate this: Pretending as if Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, represented some sort of one-off temporary lapse in judgment, when in fact they were, in the most obvious possible way, simply the continuation and culmination of more than two months’ worth of non-stop attempts to delegitimate and reverse the results of the November 3rd election.
Trump carefully and consciously spent many weeks assembling and enraging the mob he let loose on Congress on January 6. His actions that day in every way the opposite of a spontaneous mistake: they were rather the end point of a relentless two-month campaign to make what happened on that day happen.
That the Capitol was essentially unguarded testifies to the fact that, after four years of this, our political system STILL had not come to terms with who Donald Trump is, and what it meant to have elected him president of the United States.
The current impeachment proceedings are themselves are going to end up replicating and amplifying that denial. We’re having a “partisan squabble” about whether it’s OK for the president to spend two months after he lost a presidential election trying to overthrow the government. Of course the only way to make it into that is to pretend, even now, that somehow Donald Trump didn’t really mean it — and not just on January 6, but for the two months before that, and back in 2016 when he claimed over and over again that the election was going to be rigged against him, and so on and so on.
But the truth of course is that everyone knows perfectly well that he always did mean it. And now the Republican party has decided that, all things considered, it’s ultimately OK with that. Which is why it must be completely destroyed.