Don’t be misled by the blog’s title. What will be dealt with here, is hardly trivial as in “this and that”. Rather, as “this and that” implies, a range of topics will be covered; all part of the mishegoss (1) that has become so much a part of our current national politics.
Back in 2010, as the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA, also called Obamacare) was moving towards enactment, Republicans vowed that if given control of the Congress, they would immediately repeal and replace it. At every election from that point forward, the same promise was repeated over and over again. As he campaigned for the presidency, Trump got into the same act. He was going to get rid of the ACA on “day-1” of his tenure. In its place, there would be a new healthcare law that provided better coverage and “at a fraction” (45’s words) of what people were paying then.
We are now more than six months removed from all that lofty rhetoric. Here’s what has happened in that interim: The GOP-control House passed with not a single vote to spare, a repeal/replacement now identified as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA). As mandated by the Constitution, that bill got sent to the GOP-controlled Senate for anywhere from fine-tuning to major amendments to outright rejection.
What has just emerged from the Senate is a “draft” that is a “meaner” version of the House bill; that is to say, it makes deeper cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, two programs whose benefits are enjoyed by millions of our citizens.; e.g. the disabled, children and women throughout their pregnancies culminating in delivery.
Because Republicans have only a 52 – 48 majority in the Senate, they cannot afford to lose the votes of three of their number. Yet, five GOP senators have now stated publicly they cannot support the bill in its present form. Another two have hedged a bit, saying that they had significant reservations about certain contents of the draft.
What all this amounts to is a giant headache for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After eight years of promising to repeal and replace, he can’t afford to let this bill fail to pass. That means that he’s going to have to find ways to get at least three of the five dissenters on board. Expect that to involve some amendments to the present draft along with some very forceful arm-twisting. In the end, what may finally survive is a bill that has the short-term benefit of keeping the aforementioned promise, but is so toxic that it hurts GOP candidates over a longer term, i.e. at the time of the 2018 midterm election.
Trump’s tape bluff
Just prior to fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, 45 tweeted that the witness had better hope that there weren’t tapes of a previous conversation that he had with him. It was during that previous talk that Comey alleged that Trump had asked him for both a pledge of loyalty and a killing of the investigation into Michael Flynn, a request that Comey refused to meet, that leading to his being fired. By axing Comey, 45 invited the claim that he was obstructing justice; potentially, an impeachable offense. Eventually, that led to the appointment of Special Prosecutor (SP), Robert Mueller.
Harking back to the tapes that sank the Nixon presidency over the Watergate scandal, the possible existence of a surreptitious recording of the Comey/Trump exchange ignited a news media blitz; i.e. maybe there’s proof of who’s telling the truth. Congressional investigative committees and certainly the SP wanted those tapes, assuming they existed. Accordingly, Trump was told to produce any records he had of his meeting with Comey. The president asked for time to comply and was given until June 23rd to do so.
On June 22nd, Trump announced that he had made no recording of his tete a tete with Comey. Clearly then, his hint that he might have, was a bluff. As 45 later admitted, it was designed to affect Comey’s behavior. Turns out, this is no small matter as will be discussed next.
By definition, a bluff is a lie; a statement that hints or claims the existence of something that is, in reality, nonexistent. It is issued to shape the behavior of another person; in this case, Comey. Knowing that he had no tape, Trump could have promptly stepped forward and come clean. But, notice that by leaving the bluff out there for 41 days, 45 was able to use each one of them in his effort to impact Comey’s behavior.
Surprise, surprise, there is a law against doing this sort of thing. It goes hand-in-hand with obstruction of justice. In the case of Trump, it fits neatly within a larger pattern. Specifically, (1) he is alleged to have tried to get Comey to kill the Russia/Flynn investigation; and (2) it is now known that 45 made a similar “ask” of National Security Advisor Dan Coats and Director of National Security, Mike Rogers.
Do not expect this matter to just go away !!!
- “Mishegoss” is a Yiddish word, most popularly defined as “crazy”.