Thursday, March 16, 2017

None Dare Call It Trumpcare

President Trump [sic] is having a tough week. The “repeal and replace Obamacare” operation is running into trouble because Obamacare (i.e., the Affordable Care Act) was designed to help poor Americans get and keep insurance while the GOP replacement plan is designed to make the rich and powerful richer and more powerful. This fact should not be a surprise since the rich and powerful are the Republicans’ favorite charity (about $33,000 in tax cuts for the one percent, $197,000 for the one tenth of one percent in the Republican health care proposal). What is surprising is Mr. Trump’s refusal to call the GOP plan “Trumpcare.” I’m not sure why. Maybe he’s just modest about putting his name on big expensive things.

Now perhaps you believe the GOP is making a good faith effort to help poor Americans keep their health insurance. And perhaps you are an idiot. The fact is Republicans hate Obamacare for three reasons; first, it makes insurance affordable to poor Americans by providing them with subsidies - which in GOP-speak is “a government takeover of health care;” second, once established Americans were certain to like it, or, as Senator Ted Cruz said in 2013, Americans were bound to “get addicted to the sugar” of Obamacare and therefore it would never be repealed; and third, it was President Obama’s signature program. This was the most damning feature of all, given that GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell had stated that the Republicans’ primary goal was to ensure that Obama failed as a president.

But Trumpcare (or Ryancare or Billionairecare or whatever) is in trouble now since conservative Republicans say it isn’t generous enough to the super-rich and moderate Republicans say that taking away insurance from 24 million Americans would make it hard for them to get re-elected.

And Trumpcare isn’t The Donald’s only problem. Just yesterday federal judges began telling him that his travel ban on six Muslim nations (whose citizens have been responsible for no terrorist attacks in the U.S.) is unconstitutional. Admittedly, Mr. Trump was facing a delicate problem here. Putting together a carefully constructed travel ban whose provisions would appeal to his base (which is chock full of anti-Muslim bigots), but making it seem to be totally unrelated to religious discrimination is not an easy thing to do. As President Obama said, being president is hard, and Mr. Trump seems to be starting to get that.

Making the job even harder is his having to deal with imaginary wiretaps. Just because they only exist in Mr. Trump’s head doesn’t make it any easier for him to endure them. I guess I shouldn’t say the wiretaps exist only in his head, because he did find them referenced on Breitbart or Bigots-R-Us or some other such “news” source that he likes to rely on. And think about this: just how hard is it going to be for Trump to handle the presidency when he starts seeing imaginary assassination squads coming after him?

As Americans, we naturally have to be concerned about the Trump presidency. Especially because we now face a growing nuclear threat from another national leader even more dishonest, deluded, and psychologically unstable than President Trump: North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Maybe it’s just me, but I firmly believe that it is a crime for someone who is entirely unfit for the presidency to actually run for president. The question is, can we consider it the kind of high crime or misdemeanor that is the necessary basis for impeachment?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone.

He didn't say assassination squads, he said "assassination squads!"