“I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own Obamacare, 100 percent own it,” said President (and part-time political pundit) Donald Trump, minutes after surrendering the fight for his American Health Care Act bill.
This is not correct. If any one person “owns” the seven-year-old law, that person is now Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Literally.
Price, the orthopedic surgeon and former member of the House Tea Party Caucus, may have become the saddest man in Washington on Friday afternoon. According to the New York Times,...
Bill ScherBill Scher2017/03
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:38:22 -0500
WASHINGTON -- I really miss liberal Republicans. People like Mitt Romney.
No doubt the former Massachusetts governor would be aghast at being called such a thing. Of course Romney is not a liberal in any conventional sense. But 11 years ago -- it now seems like a lifetime -- Romney acted in the great tradition of liberal Republicans. He saw a problem and tried to solve it in the most business-friendly way possible. The result was the Massachusetts health care plan.
At a celebration for the new law, as recounted in a 2011 New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza, Romney tried to explain why his approach...
E.J. DionneE.J. Dionne2017/03
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:46:05 -0500
WASHINGTON -- There was bound to be a political commotion when the Trump administration released its 2018 budget. After all, it isn't every day that the White House proposes deep cuts in agency spending: for 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency would be down 31 percent; the State Department, 29 percent; the Department of Education, 14 percent; and the Department of Transportation, 13 percent.
Outrageous, screamed critics. Good programs are being gutted. Surely true. But some ineffective or unimportant programs would also be gutted. The reflexive horror from Congress and (yes) the media...
Robert SamuelsonRobert Samuelson2017/03
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:41:59 -0500
One of the least uplifting aspects of modern American politics is how the out-of-power party essentially roots for the country to flounder.
Sometimes, this subversion is expected, such as when a presidential nominee trying to unseat a White House incumbent describes conditions in the country as much worse than they are, while hoping in quiet desperation for bad economic news. It’s a bipartisan impulse: to one degree or another Walter Mondale, Bob Dole, John Kerry, Mitt Romney—two Democrats, two Republicans—were guilty of indulging in it.
Less subtle is when partisans simply...
Carl M. CannonCarl M. Cannon2017/03
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 07:18:33 -0500
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump failed to persuade enough House Republicans to vote for his American Health Care Act, leading to its withdrawal from the House floor on Friday. How did the effort to pass a replacement for Obamacare go wrong? Let me count the ways.
One. The GOP House has too many members who are like Trump was 2016, when he acted as a Caucus of One. He bucked the GOP establishment and assured the party base that the path to victory was to shout over any and all voices of moderation. When critics said Trump was crossing the line, he rarely retreated. The House GOP Freedom...
Debra SaundersDebra Saunders2017/03
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 05:37:28 -0500
Bill Clinton tried to fix America's health care problems and was shot down by Congress. Barack Obama got his solution enacted only to find most people didn't like it. Republicans who voted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something far better have found it fiendishly hard to agree on how.
It could be that our health care problems don't get solved because of partisanship, incompetence, corruption or dishonesty among our elected officials. Or it could be because those problems are not soluble.
Oh, some of them can be solved, for sure. But not all at once, and not within the...
Steve ChapmanSteve Chapman2017/03
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 05:36:19 -0500
Donald Trump campaigned to repeal and replace Obamacare in his first 100 days in the White House. He boasted of wielding a businessman’s negotiating skills alongside a determined GOP commitment to upend the old ways of Washington with conservative governance.
But on Friday, his 64th day as president, Trump swallowed his first legislative defeat, after House Republicans balked at passing a health care measure they came to view as flawed and too politically radioactive to embrace before next year’s midterm elections.
“I’m disappointed,” the president told...
Alexis SimendingerAlexis Simendinger2017/03
Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:04:07 -0500
After seven years of campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare -- a call that yielded Republicans the House, Senate and ultimately the White House -- and after dozens of votes in Congress to undo President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, Speaker Paul Ryan conceded Friday that it would remain in place “for the foreseeable future.”
His remarks came after the House GOP failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act Friday, lacking enough party support to pass their measure and canceling a vote just minutes before it was scheduled to take place.
It marked a...
James ArkinJames Arkin2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:44:51 -0500
Good morning, it’s Friday, March 24, 2017. Thirty years ago today, management guru Peter F. Drucker wrote a scathing critique of how the White House operated under Ronald Reagan -- at least regarding the festering controversy known as the Iran-contra scandal.
The president was a longtime fan of Drucker’s, who was only 15 months older, and had followed his work longer than most. Each man had been given a big professional break by an iconic U.S. corporation, and Drucker and Reagan came to share similar ideas about both management and leadership, which are not the same thing. As...
Carl M. CannonCarl M. Cannon2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 07:54:01 -0500
A “nuclear” confrontation is brewing in the Senate over the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — with Democrats threatening a historic filibuster, and Republicans pledging a historic rules change in return.
Republican leaders have warned that they would resort to a “nuclear option” to avert an impasse, changing Senate rules to require a simple majority to end debate on the nomination, rather than 60 votes. President Trump has endorsed the option, last month urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “go nuclear” if needed.
Rebecca BergRebecca Berg2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:50:02 -0500
Devin Nunes just set the cat down among the pigeons.
Two days after FBI Director James Comey assured us there was no truth to President Trump's tweet about being wiretapped by Barack Obama, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Trump may have had more than just a small point.
The U.S. intelligence community, says Nunes, during surveillance of legitimate targets, picked up the names of Trump transition officials during surveillance of targets, "unmasked" their identity, and spread their names around, virtually assuring they would be leaked.
If true, this has the look and smell...
Patrick BuchananPatrick Buchanan2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:06:02 -0500
WASHINGTON -- President Trump called himself "instinctual" this week, but the word he must have been groping for was "untruthful." He lies incessantly, shamelessly, perhaps even pathologically, and his lying corrodes and dishonors our democracy.
Of course we've had presidents who lied -- to name a few, Lyndon Johnson about Vietnam, Richard Nixon about Watergate, Bill Clinton about Monica Lewinsky. But the key word in these examples is "about." Other presidents had comprehensible though illegitimate reasons for lying about specific things. Trump often lies for no discernible purpose other than...
Eugene RobinsonEugene Robinson2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:57:35 -0500
In a week chock-full of news, the party that on the night of Nov. 8 found itself, much to its surprise, very much out of power has been having difficulty finding a way to return.
Democratic senators, urged on by the left blogosphere and party activists, peppered Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with hostile questions, but to no apparent effect. They have failed to raise fears that Gorsuch would vote to repeal the 44-year-old Roe v. Wade, and their argument that he is a shill for big corporations is an obvious dud.
But "the base" -- or "the resistance," as it calls itself, as if it were...
Michael BaroneMichael Barone2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:56:09 -0500
AMSTERDAM -- Many people do crazy things in middle age. I decided to write the libretto for an opera about Niccolo Machiavelli. It's called "The New Prince," premiering here this weekend at the Dutch National Opera.
When I began work on this project in 2014 with composer Mohammed Fairouz, the possibility that Donald Trump would be president of the United States -- or that the Machiavellian aspects of his personality would be a subject of global concern -- was nearly unimaginable. But that was then.
Two days after Trump's election, I wrote that he embodied some of the amoral qualities that the...
David IgnatiusDavid Ignatius2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:54:57 -0500
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters yesterday that members of Donald Trump's presidential transition team -- and possibly Trump himself -- may have been caught up in surveillance during the last days of the Obama administration. Nunes says the surveillance, by both the FBI and NSA, looked to be legal "incidental collection" that had nothing to do with concerns over Russia collusion.
If true, this isn't the wiretapping of Trump Towers, as Trump claimed in his infamous tweet a few weeks ago, but it is spying in any commonly understood sense of the word. The NSA...
David HarsanyiDavid Harsanyi2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:12:56 -0500
WASHINGTON -- It must be confusing to President Trump that the political system, the media and a majority of voters have suddenly called him on a deception, on a lie. It has seldom, if ever, happened before.
It did not seem to matter when he claimed to have evidence that President Obama was born abroad; or when he insisted that crowds of American Muslims celebrated 9/11 in the streets; or when he said that the murder rate was the highest in half a century; or when he claimed the largest electoral-vote victory since Ronald Reagan; or when he asserted that massive voter fraud cost him a...
Michael GersonMichael Gerson2017/03
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:18:13 -0500
WASHINGTON -- Forget the post-truth presidency, when it didn't matter -- or so the Trump White House hoped -- whether the president told the truth. In retrospect, those seem like the good old days. We have now entered even scarier territory, the pre-truth presidency: If an assertion isn't true, no worry. President Trump will find a way to make it so, or at least claim it is.
In The World According to Trump, the president makes a baseless assertion -- perhaps to distract from bad news, perhaps to vent, perhaps simply to attract attention, the narcotic he craves in ever-larger doses. Then Trump...
Ruth MarcusRuth Marcus2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:59:29 -0500
Republicans control the White House and Congress, and yet the civil war that has come to define the party over the past several years rages on.
Donald Trump’s election in November was supposed to be the final puzzle piece Republicans needed to tackle reforms they championed—namely, repealing and replacing Obamacare. Now, faced with the first real chance of rolling back the law they have been campaigning against for years, Republicans find themselves mired in division.
Even the master negotiator in the White House, who won both conservative and swing districts alike, hasn't yet...
Caitlin Huey-BurnsCaitlin Huey-Burns2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:34:07 -0500
Good morning, it’s Thursday, March 23, 2017. Twenty-eight years ago today, in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers, President George H.W. Bush reprised an old political chestnut -- if only to undercut it.
Speaking about NAM officials Richard “Dick” Heckert and Alexander “Sandy” Trowbridge, Bush 41 said the following: “Harry Truman used to say: ‘If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.’ And I’m here to disagree with him, because I feel in Dick, your chairman, and in Sandy, your president, and in the membership of this...
Carl M. CannonCarl M. Cannon2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:02:31 -0500
With limited options to slow or block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Democrats raised a fresh question this week as his confirmation hearings unfolded: Should a president shadowed by an active FBI investigation be permitted to make a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court?
Speaking from the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it is “unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice” in light of the investigation. He added that “it is the height of irony that Republicans held this Supreme...
Rebecca BergRebecca Berg2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:53:22 -0500
WASHINGTON -- With a shrewdly calculated innocence, Judge Neil Gorsuch told a big fat lie at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Because it was a lie everyone expected, nobody called it that.
"There's no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge," Gorsuch said.
Gorsuch, the amiable veteran of many Republican campaigns, is well-placed to know how serious a fib that was. As Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., noted, President Trump's nominee for Merrick Garland's Supreme Court seat actually received a citation for helping win confirmation for Republican-appointed judges.
We now have an...
E.J. DionneE.J. Dionne2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:31:37 -0500
Conservatives have rightly taken pride in Neil Gorsuch's calm and cerebral performance at his Senate confirmation hearings. Many commentators, along with Republican senators, have mocked Democrats for presuming to evaluate Gorsuch based on the outcomes of his cases. Did he "side with the little guy" or with big corporations? The right answer, conservatives have correctly chided, is that justice is supposed to be blind. A good judge makes determinations based upon the facts and the law without regard to whether he personally prefers one party to another and without some social-justice agenda...
Mona CharenMona Charen2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:40:16 -0500
President Trump and House Republicans negotiated potentially significant changes to their Obamacare replacement Wednesday night, trying to find consensus on the measure that lacks necessary GOP support to pass less than a day before it comes up for a vote.
The changes remained in flux late Wednesday night, however, and it was unclear if a deal would emerge Thursday. If they can cobble together enough Republican votes to pass the bill, it would mark a major achievement for House Republicans, who have been promising in campaigns for seven years to repeal and replace President Obama’s...
James ArkinJames Arkin2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:33:34 -0500
Amid the torrent of self-inflicted wounds and chaos threatening President Trump’s legislative agenda -- raising new doubt in the financial markets and on Capitol Hill about his ability to fulfill campaign promises -- it’s easy to miss that the presidency has been an enormous success for the Trump family business.
Behind the headlines about false wiretap allegations and the FBI investigating the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, the feathering of the Trump family nest is going swimmingly, and Republicans are ignoring all of it.
But for White House counselor Kellyanne...
A.B. StoddardA.B. Stoddard2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:43:37 -0500
President Trump learned from the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday that his communications may have been intercepted as a byproduct of legal surveillance by the federal intelligence community.
Trump said he felt “somewhat” vindicated by information that Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a California Republican, shared with him during a hastily scheduled White House meeting. The chairman said he became concerned while reading documents that indicated Trump’s communications and those of other Trump associates were swept up inadvertently,...
Alexis Simendinger & Caitlin Huey-BurnsAlexis Simendinger & Caitlin Huey-Burns2017/03
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:06:18 -0500
Updated: 16 hours 23 min ago