The Republican Party failed miserably at repealing Obamacare, something the Republicans have been saying they would do since it passed without a single Republican vote in 2010.
It looks like the Republicans in the Senate still have the chance to show that they are interested in governing and not completely involved in arguing with each other about whether an egg should be cracked at the small end or the large end.
The Democrats in the Senate say they are going to filibuster President Donald John Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. If the Democrats do, it means they are breaking the unwritten rules of the Senate.
Few presidential Supreme Court appointments would be passed by the Senate if senators filibustered nominees because they didn’t agree with their political views. What the Senate has traditionally done is allowed the president to make Supreme Court appointments as long as they meet the legal qualifications.
Gorsuch, who was approved unanimously by the Senate for his current position on the Court of Appeals, has the legal qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. However, the Democrats don’t agree with his political views and, perhaps more importantly, really don’t like the man who nominated him.
If the Senate Democrats are willing to set aside longstanding Senate protocol and filibuster Gorsuch, then the Republicans are well within their rights to remove the opportunity to filibuster and approve the nomination with a simple majority.
One of the interesting aspects of elected bodies is that they can make whatever rules they want by majority vote, but they can also undo the same rules by majority vote. The Senate has for decades had a rule that it takes 60 votes to override a filibuster.
The Democrats under Majority Leader Harry Reid removed the filibuster rule for the appointment of judges other than Supreme Court justices. It is one of the reasons the federal courts now have so many radical liberals sitting on the bench.
The Republicans might as well do away with the filibuster rule all together and let the Senate be run like the House – by a simple majority. It is the way most elected bodies in the country operate. The filibuster rule brought decorum to the Senate and for years meant that for a bill to pass the Senate it needed to have some bipartisan support. However, those days are alread long gone.
The recent terrorist attacks in London prove that Trump’s strategy of refusing to allow people to come to the US from countries that breed terrorism is one of the few ways to deal with the terrorist threat. It’s not going to eliminate the terrorist threat but it should help it from getting worse.
It appears Europe is already too far gone for that strategy, but in the US we shouldn’t be. Anyone who thinks that ISIS is not actively trying to infiltrate terrorists into the US needs to read more about ISIS.
Former President Barack Obama allowed ISIS to take over huge areas of Syria and Iraq. Not long after he called ISIS a jayvee team, it took over Mosul – the second largest city in Iraq. Now ISIS is losing its control over Mosul and is being forced to retreat to a smaller and smaller area.
ISIS is being faced with a choice of all dying together, fighting for the land they took, or slipping away with refugees and living to fight again.
It makes sense for more and more of the fighters to slip away. As this happens, the Western world – which ISIS hates – is going to be faced, not just with crazed men with knives, but experienced fighters who are willing to die to further their cause.
With the lax immigration vetting policies of Obama and the open border with Mexico during the Obama administration there has been plenty of time for terrorists to come into the US, and no doubt we already have plenty here.
The attack in London was by a man with a car and a knife. Strict gun control laws didn’t stop him from killing people. There are few restrictions on buying or renting cars and anyone can buy a knife. If terrorists start using vehicles as weapons, no one who walks down a crowded sidewalk is safe.
If the anti-gun people were actually in favor of trying to keep people safer, they would be all about vetting people before they buy vehicles and knives.
I’ve talked with quite a few Republicans who are opposed to Trumpcare, or Ryancare, or whatever you want to call the repeal and replacement bill for Obamacare.
It’s unfortunate that so many conservative Republicans refuse to face the reality of politics. Nobody in government – including Obama when first elected and the Democrats had a huge majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate – gets exactly what they want. Obamacare was not exactly what Obama wanted because he had to compromise to get the more moderate Democratic senators to support it.
The Republicans who control Congress have had to craft a replacement bill that the moderate Republicans and the conservative Republicans can both support. It’s a balancing act. The question was not whether the replacement healthcare insurance bill was perfect but whether it was better than Obamacare.
The choice was simple: Was the bill before Congress an improvement over Obamacare or not. If a representative or senator believed that it was better than Obamacare, he or she should have supported it. If they believed it was not an improvement, they should have voted against it.
The repeal of the healthcare mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance should be enough for all Republicans to support. But the conservative Republicans who defeated the bill should have also given a little thought to what was best for the Republican Party, which has been promising the repeal of Obamacare for seven years, and for the Republican president who campaigned on repealing Obamacare.
Instead, it looked like the Freedom Caucus was on a power trip. It had the power to block the bill, so it did.
It’s fine to be against everything if you’re in the minority, but when you’re in the majority you have to govern, which is reportedly not nearly as much fun.
Perhaps the folks in the Freedom Caucus should take a look at who is praising them now – people like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Is that really who the Freedom Caucus wants to align with politically?
For FBI Director James Comey to sit before Congress and say that neither Trump nor anyone on his campaign or transition team was surveiled by the federal government is disingenuous.
Comey, after all, is the director of the FBI, not God, and as confusing and convoluted as the American spy agencies have become, it’s hard to see how anyone could make that statement with confidence. What Comey should say is that he doesn’t know, because he doesn’t.
It’s like a Greensboro traffic cop saying that there are no cars breaking the speed limit in Greensboro because none of the cars that passed him in a given afternoon were speeding. The traffic cop can certainly say that he didn’t catch any speeders, but he can’t render a valid opinion about all the cars in Greensboro because he only knows about the ones that passed him.
Comey doesn’t know what all the 17 government agencies involved in spying were doing. He can certainly say that the FBI didn’t surveil Trump or his people, and even say that no warrants were issued to surveil Trump, but to give any kind of blanket statement seems to be going too far. It assumes that all the other agencies are telling Comey everything they are doing, which is a huge assumption. It makes you wonder if Comey tells them everything he’s doing.
The Freedom Caucus is so conservative it supports Obamacare. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
The Freedom Caucus wouldn’t support the bill because it wasn’t conservative enough. Of course, the fact they ignore is that a bill conservative enough for the Freedom Caucus wouldn’t have a chance of passing because it would be far too conservative for the moderate Republicans.
The healthcare reform bill before Congress last week had some problems, but it was probably as conservative a bill as was likely to pass. The choice was not between Ryancare and some conservative bill, the choice was between Ryancare and Obamacare, and the Freedom Caucus chose Obamacare.
It’s bad for Trump, but it’s worse for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. As the speaker it is his job to get Republican bills through Congress. If he can’t, then all of the policies of the Obama administration that weren’t enacted by executive order will remain.
Ryan has to find a way to crack the whip. I don’t agree with the Democrats’ policies, but the Democrats are much better at governing than the Republicans because they have more party discipline. Ryan has to create some party discipline.
When a party is in the minority it doesn’t matter how the members of the party vote on most bills because the majority party is going to pass the bill without them. The minority leadership can allow its members a lot of leeway in voting on most issues.
The majority party, in this case the Republicans, has to have strict party discipline. The representatives and senators have to get behind major legislation to pass it because they aren’t going to get help from the Democrats.
Ryan is going to have to bring the Freedom Caucus back in line with the party, but the only way he’s going to do it is with an iron fist. Whatever it is the folks in the Freedom Caucus want for their home districts needs to be cut. Whatever they try to do needs to be denied. Bills introduced by members need to go to committees where they are never put on the agenda.
If the Republicans are going to pass legislation, Ryan needs to be able to count on Republican votes. If he can’t put together a majority for major bills, he might as well resign as speaker and let someone else give it a try.
A lot of conservatives across the country are already disgusted with the Republicans because they were unable or unwilling to stand up to Obama. If the Republicans can’t get anything done with majorities in both houses and a Republican in the White House, then those conservatives are either going to stay home at the next election or vote for Democrats, but it’s crazy for the Republicans to think that they are going to be reelected to go to Washington fight with each other and get nothing done.
If they want to stop embarrassing themselves the folks at The Washington Post need to read their own stuff. Mainly what they wrote about presidential candidate Trump.
Time after time they wrote that Trump couldn’t win because he wasn’t running his presidential campaign like other presidential campaigns have been run. He didn’t hire enough people. He didn’t have organizations in every state. He depended too much on his family, which didn’t have any experience running campaigns. He tweeted too much, and so on.
Now they are writing that Trump can’t run the country the same way he ran his campaign for pretty much the same reason, which is that’s not how it’s done.
In the campaign it turned out Trump was right. His experienced opponent, who did everything by the book, somehow neglected to read the part of the book that explains the electoral system of electing a president.
Hillary Clinton accomplished her goal – she received more votes than Trump. But you don’t win the presidential election by receiving the most votes. Trump wasn’t trying to win the most votes, he was trying to win the election, and by doing everything wrong according to the mainstream media, he did just that.
Now Trump is running the country his way. But what he proved in the campaign is that he is a fast learner and adaptable. His early campaign appearances were quite different from his later ones. Trump learned what he needed to do and made changes.
Trump has been president for 60 days. I imagine he is learning and adjusting every day. In a couple of months Trump will be behaving differently, but, because he is Trump, the mainstream media are not going to note the differences.
In the healthcare reform failure, it appears that Trump put too much faith in Ryan and Ryan didn’t come through for him. I doubt if you see Trump make that mistake again. I would imagine Trump is going to bring some folks into the White House with a lot of legislative experience. Trump may know how to make a deal, but he clearly doesn’t know how to count votes, and in Washington success is all about counting votes.
The Washington Post recently ran a column about what a failure Jared Kushner is going to be at reforming the government. I wouldn’t count him out yet. The federal government needs massive reform. It’s kind of like an old car that’s been wrecked and is up on blocks; the question is, where do you start when everything needs to be fixed. The government is bloated and inefficient in every way.
Take one of the most high profile agencies in the country, the Secret Service. It is in shambles right now. The people who work there hate their jobs according to surveys. They keep making huge mistakes like allowing someone to wander around the White House grounds for 17 minutes. If that guy hadn’t had mental problems and walked up to the back door, you have to wonder when he would have been found.
Advance trips for presidential overseas visits were, under Obama, party time for the Secret Service, where massive consumption of alcohol and prostitutes were involved.
Someone was shooting at the White House during the Obama administration and it took four days for the Secret Service to realize that the White House had been hit seven times. The Secret Service, with no evidence, decided that it was a car backfiring. Housekeeping discovered broken glass and plaster and reported it, which is when the Secret Service finally realized that someone had been shooting at the White House.
If the Secret Service is so demoralized and has such poor leadership that it can’t do its job, imagine what lower profile government agencies are like.
I ran across a wonderful example of what the mainstream media do to slant the news. The article was about increasing the number of bears that can be killed by hunters. The picture that goes with the article is of adorable bear cubs.
So the message is that Trump is going to allow hunters to go out in the woods and shoot cute, cuddly little baby bears and that isn’t the case at all. Hunting bear cubs will remain illegal. So if the article doesn’t have to do with hunting bear cubs, why is the photo of bear cubs? The answer is that the photo makes Trump look like a really mean, uncaring man.
I was listening to a National Public Radio (NPR) report about civilian casualties in the current battle in Mosul. Unfortunately for NPR, I had also heard the BBC report that it was based on.
According to NPR’s people in Mosul, up to 200 people were possibly killed by US airstrikes. But according to the people interviewed and the reporter on the scene, these people were being injured by ISIS mortars, machine guns and snipers.
There was another telling point in the report: The vast majority of the injured were children. The people interviewed said ISIS was preventing the civilians from leaving the area.
It seems unlikely that an airstrike, unless it hit a schoolhouse, would only wound children. But if ISIS was doing everything in its power to stop people from leaving, shooting children is a despicable but effective way to do it. Parents are not going to leave a wounded child behind and try to escape. Parents are going to carry that child to be treated, which is what. according to a reporter who was there, had happened.
The fact that the reporter on the ground and the people being interviewed said that the civilians had been wounded by ISIS didn’t stop the NPR propagandist from saying they could have been wounded by airstrikes.
In fact, an NPR reporter on the military corrected the NPR propagandist who said a US airstrike had hit a mosque. Aerial photos clearly show that the mosque was not hit, it was a building near the mosque that was targeted and destroyed. There is a huge difference.
But NPR is promoting the idea that Trump has loosened the rules of engagement and more civilians are being killed. This is despite the fact that the military expert being interviewed said he didn’t believe that was true and the NPR Pentagon reporter also said he didn’t believe it was true.
NPR believes it’s true and doesn’t care what the facts are. The propagandists at NPR are determined to attack Trump despite the facts and the opinion of even their own experts.
Trump should halt the government funding of NPR today, and if not today then tomorrow. It is insane for a Republican government to fund a propaganda network like NPR.
We don’t need government-funded “news” organizations. The idea of government-funded news organizations go against the very idea of a free press.
Of course, Obama loved NPR because NPR loved Obama.
When you choose sides in a political battle and lose you should be forced to pay the price. For NPR that should be an end to government funding at any level and let NPR became “listener supported” radio as it claims to be. If listeners choose to support NPR then it can produce any kind of propaganda the listeners like, but those of us who disagree with the political propaganda being promoted by NPR should not be forced to pay one penny to support it.
As I have written many times, for the government to support NPR is like the government supporting Rush Limbaugh, who is no further right than NPR is left.
If you wonder about the constant harangue by Trump against the press or the unruly White House press corps that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer faces every day, look at a study done by the Center for Public Integrity.
According to this study, 96 percent of the donations given by journalists in the 2016 presidential election went to Hillary Clinton.
It also found that only 7 percent of journalists are registered Republicans, which is not as bad as it sounds because only 28 percent are registered Democrats. It still means that four times as many are Democrats as Republicans, and some extremely liberal journalists like to be registered as independents because it makes them appear more unbiased. What would be great is if it made them more unbiased.
One of the reasons the Senate Democrats are so opposed to Gorsuch has nothing to do with his qualifications and actually nothing to do with him. The truth is that they are mad at themselves for betting wrong and are taking it out on Gorsuch.
When Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, the Senate Democrats complained and harrumphed about the Republican’s refusal to consider his nomination, but they didn’t push nearly as hard for Garland as they could have because they thought the Republicans were making a huge mistake.
The Senate Democrats all knew for certain that in November Hillary Clinton would be elected president and the Democrats would most likely take back the Senate. So if the Senate Democrats just played along with the obstructionist Republicans and waited, they didn’t have to have an appointment that could pass muster with the Republicans. Hillary Clinton would have a free hand to appoint as radical a leftist as she wanted and the Republicans would be sorry that they didn’t go ahead and approved Garland when they had the chance.
But a funny thing happened in November: Donald Trump won, the Republicans maintained their majority in the Senate and now Trump has nominated an extremely well qualified conservative candidate for the Supreme Court and the Democrats realize that they are the ones who shot themselves in the foot, not the Republicans.
The Senate Democrats can’t be blamed for being certain that Hillary Clinton would win – it was what all the newspapers they read were reporting.
So it’s understandable that the Democrats are still a little testy. They cheered when Trump got the Republican nomination because they all knew that there was no way he could win. I know how that feels. In 2008, I was pulling for Obama in the Democratic primaries because I thought he would be easier to beat than Hillary Clinton in the general election.
The recent rejection of the new healthcare bill to repeal and replace Obamacare has a close parallel in Guilford County politics.
In 1996, after four years of Democratic control of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and ever-increasing taxes, Republicans won a six-to-five majority. Joe Bostic was elected chairman and, as was the standard procedure back then, five of the six Republicans got together and developed a budget with all six agreeing to support it.
On the night the budget was up for a vote, Bostic made a short speech about how the budget would benefit Guilford County and then the vote was taken. It failed on a 6-to-5 vote. The five Democrats all voted against it and they were joined by Republican County Commissioner Steve Arnold.
It was embarrassing for Bostic and his fellow Republicans who had been talking about how the long, involved budget battles of the past were gone and the Republicans were working together – all the usual stuff.
After that vote Bostic made a deal with County Commissioners Skip Alston, who was the leader of the Democrats. Alston said if he got $250,000 for the International Civil Rights Center & Museum he could live with the rest of the budget. So $250,000 was added for the sit-in museum and the budget passed with bipartisan support.
For the next two years, while the Republicans controlled the Board of Commissioners, Arnold was not included in their discussions on how to move forward and was basically ignored.
His fellow Republicans had learned they couldn’t trust Arnold to vote the way he said he would, so they didn’t bother with him. Deals were made with the Democrats to get motions passed. Arnold continued to vote “no” a lot, just as he had done when the Democrats were in control.
The same thing could happen in Washington. The folks in the Freedom Caucus knew how important the healthcare reform bill was to Trump and Ryan. Changes were made to the bill to make it more palatable to the members of the Freedom Caucus, but in the end they wouldn’t come around and instead joined with the Democrats to defeat the bill before it was put on the floor for a vote.
Trump can and probably will go to the Democrats to find out how he can work with them to get legislation passed. The Democrats should cooperate because they know Obamacare is failing and it’s far better for them to let the Republicans kill it rather than watch it die a slow death.
If Trump can break off a couple of moderate Democrats, that’s all he needs and the Freedom Caucus can continue to vote no on everything.