Thursday, May 11, 2017

Win Quick Then Get Out!

So earlier today, I posted about Trump's sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey.  I was going to write about how last week, the Us House of Representatives passed their American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill (AKA TrumpDontCare), the Republican’s effort to deliver on their promise/threat repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), AKA Obamacare. But the Comey firing sucked the air out of that topic. 


That's what Trump wanted us to do? To focus on the theater surrounding his termination of James Comey instead of the debacle known as American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill (AKA TrumpDontCare)? 

OK, I don't think Trump is that smart. Smells more like Steve Bannon at work maybe?

Well, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You is undaunted. Who the hell needs daunts? says I. 

So let's chat a bit about the American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill (AKA TrumpDontCare). 

You might wonder why Trump or Bannon would want to change the subject to Comey away from the AHCA? Wasn't the House passage of that bill considered a win for Trump? 

Well, yes. But....

OK, let's go back a bit. 

House Republicans tried this a few weeks ago but gave up when it didn’t look they had the votes to pass it. The hold up at the time was the Freedom Caucus, a group of hard right ultra conservative Tea Party activists who thought the ACA gutting AHCA was too soft, still too generous. The more efforts were made to appease the Freedom Caucus, the less palatable the bill became for moderate Republicans from swing districts with constituents who actually like Obamacare.

Trump was not happy. Even though the AHCA put lie to every single campaign promise Trump ever made about his plans for healthcare, Trump saw only one thing: the AHCA would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump needed a win. So the heat was on for the House GOP to pass some damn thing, any damn thing that would be counted as a win. House Speaker Paul Ryan led the push as the AHCA was whittled down even more, gutting more and more money and protections. A few moderate Republicans were appeased with an allocation of 8 billion dollars to fund help for people with pre-existing conditions. 8 billion dollars might sound like a lot but it would barely scratch the surface of providing sufficient help for people in need with pre-existing conditions.

The final result was a bill that delivered less than it had before but enough Republicans voted for it to get squeak it by with a slim victory.

But a slim victory is still a win and that’s all that mattered to Trump. The GOP congressmen went to the White House to celebrate with beer on the front lawn. They had just voted for a bill that would take away health care coverage from millions of Americans. And they celebrated this “accomplishment” kicking back with beer on the White House lawn.

But what exactly is this victory that warranted such an unseemly, tone deaf party at the White House? All that happened is TrumpDontCare gets kicked to the Senate which has little appetite for whatever the AHCA is selling.

By the way, the House rushed through the vote on the AHCA without getting a new accounting of its costs from the Congressional Budget Office.  The CBO’s original assessment of the AHCA was not a glowing endorsement; with the plan further stripped of benefits, it stands to reason that the CBO’s report on the revised bill would be less kind. But who has time for rational analysis of costs and benefits?

Who even has time to read it? Several Republicans copped to not knowing all that was in the bill that were voting for! Really! But who cares? "We’ve got a chance to stick it to Obama and give Trump a win! Yee-haw!"   

But the post vote blowback on that bill has been harsh and negative. There were several scenes of various Republicans flailing about trying to defend a bill they didn't understand or realize that specific provisions were actually harmful to their constituents. And there were more scenes of GOP Congresspersons getting raked across the coals by numerous angry constituents while babbling weakly in support of their indefensible positions. 

And there was the constant drumbeat oh how the AHCA broke every single promise Trump made about health care on the campaign trail. 

Yes, passage of the AHCA was a win for Trump. Attention to the actual dirty details of this bill and the parade of hapless Republicans struggling to defend it? Not a win for Trump. 

Then Trump fires James Comey as FBI Director and the media turns its attention away from the AHCA. 

Trump can still claim victory; he got a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare passed by the House. He won! That's all that matters. Now let's move on before Trump voters realize that the AHCA is shit. 

And if it gets bogged down in the Senate as it is expected to? All the better. Trump did his part before the Washington powers that be dithered away his victory. Trump still can count the win without having to answer for how bad the thing was that he won.  

Standard operating procedure for Trump. Trump would get a nice tall shiny tower in a city skyline, slap his name on it, collect a billion dollars then move on before the bills for running the nice tall shiny tower came due and others were left holding the bag on a nice tall shiny tower that wasn't making money. Trump the real estate mogul is no different from Trump the current occupant of the White House. Score a win, take the credit, leave it to others to deal with the actual shit.  

I'm not saying that Rump deliberately chose to fire Comey now to change the subject, to preserve his victory while distancing himself from the negative blowback. But Trump keeps things stirred up so much, the effect is to spin us from one problem to another like some kind of political sleight of hand. By this time next week, the firing of James Comey will be on the back burner because by then, Trump will say, tweet or do something else that will have the media dazzled with, "Oh my God! Can you believe what Trump has done NOW?". 

And that is what I have to say about that. 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.

Ans stay aware. Nothing less than our future is at stake.  

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