Tag Archives: GOP

ACA repeal effort pushed back . . . to what end?

Donald Trump thinks of himself as a master political strategist, the consummate dealmaker, the toughest guy on the block.

Of course, he is none of that.

He is the president of the United States, who also keeps changing strategies, his mind, his goals. He confuses me to no end.

Now he says he wants Congress to withhold plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act until after the 2020 presidential election. This comes after he declared — with the most conviction he could muster — that he wanted it done now. He didn’t have a replacement plan, but he damn sure did promise that the Republican Party would become the “party of health care.” Yep. That’s what he said.

How will that occur? That’s a mystery. To Trump. To congressional Republicans. To the White House staff. To the Department of Health and Human Services.

The strategy du jour is to wait until after the election next year. Trump says the GOP will retake the House of Representatives, strengthen its control of the Senate and, let’s not forget, re-elect him as POTUS.

There you have it. Trump predicts that the GOP will regain total control of two of three co-equal government branches.

But wait! They had that control before. They couldn’t repeal the ACA, let alone come up with a suitable replacement. Why do you suppose that happened?

I think it’s because the ACA has become more popular with Americans, the folks who are the actual “bosses.” It ain’t Congress and it certainly isn’t the White House.

Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Texas might be a battleground? One can hope

Beto O’Rourke’s near-electoral miss in November 2018 has managed to turn Texas from a reliably red, staunchly Republican state into a potential battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.

Maybe . . . that is.

O’Rourke is now running for president of the United States. He damn near was elected to the U.S. Senate this past year. He came within 2 percentage points short of beating Ted Cruz. His close finish energized a once-moribund Texas Democratic Party.

So he decided to parlay that enthusiasm into a national bid.

Now, does his presence amid a gigantic — and still growing — field of Democratic presidential contenders automatically convert Texas into a battleground? Of course not.

He is going to campaign like all hell for Texas convention delegates. If he somehow manages to become the party’s presidential nominee –or even end up on the Democratic ticket as a VP nominee — then the state becomes the site of pitched battle between the two parties.

This is a dream come true for many of us. Me included.

I long have wanted Texas to become a two-party state. Even when Democrats controlled every public office in sight. It shifted dramatically over the past three decades. The GOP has control of every statewide office.

Presidential candidates haven’t given us the time of day. Why bother? The state’s electoral votes are going to the Republicans. So, the GOP has taken us for granted; Democrats have given up on us.

Beto O’Rourke well might have changed all that.

So, we might be in store for a barrage, a torrent, a tidal wave of political ads as we enter the summer and fall of 2020.

Forgive me for saying this, but I would welcome it.

This Democratic congresswoman must be a colossus

It is astounding to the max how a young rookie member of Congress can attain superstar status even before she takes her oath of office.

Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez is that particular member. She now has become a chant theme at Republican rallies. Conservatives took great joy in bashing her continually at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Her name is everywhere, along with her face.

She’s a staple on cable news talk shows, late-night comics’ shows. You name the place, she’s there.

AOC, as she now is known, seems to be defying certain laws of physics by managing to be everywhere seemingly at once.

I do not get this.

There once was a time when freshman members of the House and Senate had to blunder and stumble their way around Capitol Hill. We didn’t hear their voices. We didn’t know what they sounded like.

Social media have tossed that truism into the crapper. Now some of these newbies become instant celebrities. AOC is the latest of them. Oh, we’ve got some more congressional rookies, too, but AOC has become the poster child, the whipping girl for Republicans and other conservatives to thrash. She is a socialist; she has pitched a number of interesting ideas, some of which are wacky, others need some attention.

And . . . yes, she’s whiffed on some statements, such as not knowing about the three branches of government. Her critics have pounced like big cats on their prey.

At a rally last night in Grand Rapids, Mich., the chant rang out “AOC sucks!” which caused Don Trump Jr. to stand there with a crap-eatin’ grin on his mug. Oh, I almost forgot: Don Jr. is a know-nothing, so it doesn’t matter a damn bit what he thinks about anything or anyone.

Back to my point, which is that the astounding presence of these congressional rookies on center stage gives them far more influence than they deserve.

Congressional toxicity is flaring to dangerous level

So . . . just how toxic is the atmosphere in Congress, if not in all of Washington, D.C.?

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff provided a critical example.

Committee Republicans today demanded that Schiff resign as chairman of the committee. Donald Trump has called on Schiff to quit Congress altogether. GOP Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway of Midland said Schiff no longer has the standing to lead the committee and said he should resign immediately.

Schiff has been a stern critic of Donald Trump. He maintains that the president’s campaign did collude with Russians despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings to the contrary.

Schiff then took the microphone after Conaway’s lecture and gave it right back to his GOP colleagues. He held firm on his assertion that there was collusion. “You might say that’s all OK,” Schiff said. “You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it is immoral, I think it is unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt.”

Yes, it is highly toxic on Capitol Hill. The mood between Congress and the White House is equally toxic.

Why mention it? Because it seems different now than any era I can recall. President Bush 43 managed to maintain working relationships with the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy; President Reagan famously befriended House Speaker Tip O’Neill, his after-hours drinking buddy; President Bush 41 also maintained strong friendships with House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski; President Clinton managed to work with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to craft a balanced federal budget.

These days we hear Donald Trump calling Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” He is throwing out “traitorous” and “treasonous” terms to describe Democrats behavior during the special counsel’s probe into alleged collusion; and, yes, Democrats have tossed those terms at the White House, too.

Good government requires leaders of both political parties to find common ground. Dear reader, there ain’t a bit of commonality to be found these days. Anywhere!

It is going to get more divisive, more toxic the deeper we plow into the 2020 election season. After that remains anyone’s guess.

It is no fun — none at all — watching these men and women tear each others’ lungs out. Too many important matters are going unresolved because of the outright hatred one senses among politicians across the aisle that divides them.

GOP still bent on ACA repeal; replace . . . not so much

Congressional Republicans and their pal in the White House — Donald J. Trump — remain committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The replacement component remains an iffy deal.

Donald Trump has instructed the Justice Department to push for a judicial ruling that would toss out the ACA. He surprised many in Congress, not to mention some of his key Cabinet deputies, such as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr; they argued against repealing the law.

However, many GOP members in Congress have endorsed the president’s effort.

Where, though, is the replacement? Where is the legislation that would make Republicans the “health care party” that Trump said will occur?

It remains a secret. Or, more likely, there is no replacement. They just want to scrap President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement because it happens to have Obama’s name on it.

Absent a replacement, the end of the ACA will deny health insurance to millions of Americans. That is how you “make America great again”? I don’t think so!

So, the fight over the ACA will commence yet again. The GOP couldn’t repeal and replace it when they controlled the entire Congress and the White House. Democrats have seized control over one congressional chamber, the House of Representatives. So the White House is seeking a judicial solution to what should be a legislative one.

The Republican goal? Repeal the Affordable Care Act!

The rest of it, a suitable alternative? That is nowhere to be found.

Trump’s victory dance takes on vengeful look

Donald Trump won a significant victory with Robert Mueller’s findings that the president’s campaign did not “collude” with Russians.

Now the president is launching what is looking like a revenge mission to strike back at those who he says have done him wrong.

We’re hearing reports that he is going after media personalities, media organizations, political foes, former intelligence officials who have been openly critical of him.

Wow! C’mon, Mr. POTUS. The man needs to accept the special counsel’s findings with a semblance of gratitude for the service he has done. Then he needs to get about the task of actual governing.

I shall point out that Democrats in Congress, not to mention millions of Americans beyond the Beltway, are upset with what Mueller has concluded. They wanted the special counsel to decapitate the Trump administration with a finding that said Trump’s campaign did collude with Russians.

The president characteristically has misstated the obvious. He said Mueller has given him “total exoneration.” No, he hasn’t done anything of the sort. Mueller said the obstruction of justice allegation has yet to be settled. Mueller said he didn’t find enough evidence to bring a complaint, but added that the absence of such evidence doesn’t clear the president.

I fear the matter has gotten muddied up even more.

Trump’s collusion battle appears over. The president can declare victory. He should have done so with a brief statement issued on White House stationery and then be done with it.

But . . . it’s not over.

Yes, we’re going to endure more pitched battles.

Help!

GOP remains silent as Trump trashes a party statesman

Donald Trump has taken the Republican Party hostage, tossed its leaders into a dungeon and is disparaging one of its longstanding, long-serving and long-admired political figures.

The president keeps hammering away at the memory of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner and two-time candidate for president of the United States.

He said most recently that he never received a “thank you” from the senator’s family for granting him the funeral he deserved. Yeah, sure thing, Mr. POTUS. Except that you had nothing to do with the funeral McCain received. Yep, you lied about that one, too!

It just baffles me that the late senator’s friends in the Senate and elsewhere have remained largely silent about the classless, crass and juvenile attacks against him by the drafter dodger in chief.

Yes, some of them have offered some pulled-punch rejoinders. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Sen. McCain’s best friends in the Senate, has been largely mute; Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally, who is sitting in the seat McCain once occupied, has offered tepid criticism.

GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia has spoken out, as has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

But the vast bulk of the nation’s Republican establishment keeps enabling the president to keep up his idiotic bitching about a senator who died of brain cancer in August 2018.

McCain developed many friendships over the course of his three decades in Congress. His Democratic friends have been quite outspoken against the president’s rants; but that’s to be expected.

I would have expected more outrage from Republicans as well, given the stated and understood admiration for a man who endured five-plus years of torture as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam before being elected to Congress.

These chicken-hearted politicians act like they fear the president who took over their party by storm in 2016 without ever devoting a single minute of his prior life to public service.

Someone needs to launch a rescue mission to free those GOP hostages, release them from their dungeon and tell them it’s OK to speak ill of the guy who captured them in the first place.

Oh, wait! We have an election coming up. Maybe that’ll do the trick.

Veto likely will hold up, but then what?

Donald Trump’s first veto of his presidency is likely to withstand congressional efforts to overturn it.

It’s good to ask, though: What happens next?

The president vetoed House and Senate bills that sought to toss aside his national emergency declaration that he sought to build The Wall along our southern border. Congress based its action on a couple of key issues: there is no national emergency, the president’s action sets the stage for future presidents to do the same thing and it usurps congressional authority to appropriate money for specific projects.

Trump wants to divert funds allocated for various programs to build The Wall.

Twelve Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to wipe out the declaration. Democrats control the House, so that vote was a done deal from the get-go. Neither vote was veto-proof, however.

Trump is messing with fire with this veto. Sure, the Constitution grants him the authority to do what he did. However, it’s not yet clear whether his action will withstand a legal challenge if it comes from congressional Democrats.

Never mind that Attorney General William Barr said when Trump signed the veto document that he was within his right legally; we all expected the AG to stand with the president.

The animosity between the legislative and executive branches of government is as vivid as ever. Trump’s veto is likely to stand. However, the fight over The Wall is far from over.

Beto gets ’em fired up early

The media and political fascination with Beto O’Rourke has commenced. It’s at full throttle already.

The former West Texas congressman announced his presidential candidacy this week, jetted off to Iowa and had the political media following his every move.

I heard one commentator gushing over how physically attractive he is and how O’Rourke already has ignited the national flame much as he did in Texas when in 2018 he came within a whoop and a holler of defeating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

None of this early excitement is surprising. O’Rourke presents a different type of presidential challenger. He nearly defeated Cruz in a heavily Republican state. He ran close and hard with nary a political adviser to be found; he had no pollsters; he toured every one of Texas’s 254 counties.

He is pledging to do something similar as he runs for president. Good luck with that, young man.

I remain fervently on the fence regarding Beto O’Rourke. I am inclined to want to support him. I am just not there. I don’t know if I’ll get there. I’m thinking hard about it, along with the rest of the already-gigantic field of Democrats lining up for the chance run next year against Donald Trump.

The media fascination in a strange way seems to mirror the fascination they showed toward Trump as he announced his candidacy in 2015.

I don’t expect O’Rourke, though, to inflame animosity the way Trump did, even though the president likely owes the media debt of gratitude for elevating him from carnival barker to serious presidential candidate.

Welcome to the big time, Beto O’Rourke. This will be wild ride.

Looks like Beto’s running for POTUS

If you put a gun to my head and said “Make your prediction about Beto O’Rourke … or else,” I am likely to say that Beto is running for president of the United States in 2020.

Why else would be stand in front of a South by Southwest crowd in Austin today and tell ’em he’s made up his mind, but just isn’t ready to divulge what he has decided to do.

It sounds to me as though O’Rourke is lining up his ducks, assembling his campaign organization.

Run, Beto, run?

I mean, think about it! Were he not going to run, why would he have any reason to delay announcing a decision. If he’s going to stay home, find other work, do something else he would just say so. Isn’t that right? Does that make as much sense to you as it does to me?

So, Beto — who nearly beat Sen. Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate seat from Texas in 2018 — likely is going to jump into the massive and still growing Democratic Party primary field that wants to challenge Donald John Trump for president.

I beg you, though, dear reader. Please don’t hold me to this if O’Rourke decides to stay home in El Paso.

My so-called “prediction” is based on a hypothetical circumstance. Please remember that if he decides against running for president.