“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Gail Collins: Getting Freedom From Health
What’s the rush on repealing Obamacare? It’s true President Trump did promise speediness during the campaign. (“You’re going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and that’s gonna take place immediately after we go in. O.K.? Immediately. Fast. Quick.”) But that was before he discovered that health care was … “complicated.”
This sort of thinking will send us back to discussions about how our president has no permanent convictions on any subject except the inferiority of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a reality show host. Let’s move on. We have a national disaster to watch unrolling.
Under orders to do something immediatelyfastquick, the House has begun to race through what Republican leaders hope will be Obamacare repeal and replacement so swift their membership will hardly notice it’s happening. [..]
This offers us our annual opportunity to recall when Janis Joplin sang that freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.
The Republican replacement bill is very big on freedom.
Charles M. Blow: A Ticket to Hell
Donald Trump has spent his whole life overselling an overinflated vision of himself and his success.
He was the outer-borough boy whose father’s “boxlike office” was on Avenue Z in Brooklyn; he always dreamed of making it to Manhattan and breaking into the big league.
With a hustler’s spirit and some sleight of hand, he made it, but not in total.
He made the move, made the money and made his mark on New York’s skyline, but he never quite made it into the inner sanctum of New York high society.
I’m convinced that this is part of his obsession with former President Barack Obama. Obama was quickly granted the thing Trump never had: upper-class acceptance and adulation.
In the Age of Trump, even landmark victories for civil rights will remain contested and tragically incomplete. Nowhere is that painful truth more clear than in US immigration policy – as demonstrated by legal fights unfolding in the wake of Trump’s latest order.
To be sure, the first battle over Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees was a clear defeat for the administration. Citizens and judges recoiled from its policy, which reeked of anti-Muslim prejudice, unleashed chaos, lacked a basis in national security and consigned innocents to certain death.
This backlash – coupled with an aura of lawlessness in Trump’s White House – emboldened the courts. Invoking extraordinary precedent, they pierced the deference that ordinarily shields executive action on immigration. Their opinions relied on due process and religious liberty to halt Trump’s policy.
Republicans have been telling a white lie, but nothing about it is little. Specifically, it’s a lie to poor white voters that Republicans have their best interests at heart – and crucially, that theirs is the party that will best protect those interests.
We saw it during the campaign in Donald Trump’s promises to return blue collar jobs to poor, rural Americans even as Trump products continued to be manufactured overseas; during the transition with his early pick of a labor secretary known for opposing the minimum wage; and we saw it again just this week in a leading Republican’s insistence that poor people must choose between buying a new smartphone and having health insurance. [..]
In making it harder for poor people to access health insurance, Republicans aren’t just insulting and endangering the most vulnerable Americans, they’re literally preparing to strip the individual mandate from the very citizens they’re mandated to protect.
E. J. Dionne Jr: Welcome to Trump’s Fantasyland
We shouldn’t blithely move on to other matters until we deal with the institutional carnage inflicted upon us by President Trump.
The current president of the United States has accused former president Barack Obama of committing a felony by having him wiretapped. But Trump refuses to offer a shred of evidence for perhaps the most incendiary charge one president has ever leveled against another. Trump recklessly set off a mighty explosion and his spokespeople duck and dodge, hoping we’ll pretend nothing happened.
If our republic had a responsible Congress, its leaders would accept their duty to demand that a president who shakes his country and the world with such an outlandish allegation either put up proof or apologize.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) modeled what House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could say. The American people, McCain declared on Monday, “have a right to know on what basis the president of the United States said that his predecessor had broken the law.”
Honestly: Is it so hard for Ryan and McConnell at least to whisper something like this?
Instead, Republican leaders think it is time for business as usual, which in their case means figuring out how to deprive low-income people of health insurance while cutting taxes on the rich and increasing the deficit.