I’ve been steering clear of Facebook, which has allowed me to gather my thoughts about Trump Nation absent the high-volume caterwauling that has defined social media lo these past couple of months. So pardon me for spewing all my unedited brain droppings here on my blog. I just can’t seem to help myself.
First, I found myself with somewhat mixed feelings about Trump’s press secretary’s belligerent attack on the media in his first briefing. The guy didn’t take questions; he just complained about an erroneous report about Trump removing a bust of MLK that he merely moved to a different part of the Oval Office. But he also beat up on them for claiming that Trump’s inauguration wasn’t well-attended and insisted that more people showed up in 2016 than showed up in 2008.
Which is, you know, not true. At all.
Behold:On the one hand, I’ve always wanted to see Republicans take on the press and expose their blatant bias. So that’s kind of fun. At the same time, this isn’t really a Republican administration – it’s Donald Trump. And in part, he’s beating up on the press for telling the truth. Stylistically, it’s delightful, but substantively, it sucks.
Speaking of sucks, today’s Women’s March was a turgid mess that represents a huge missed opportunity. You had massive turnout to demonstrate widespread feminist anger aimed at the Vulgarian-in-Chief, and then you hand the microphone to Madonna, perhaps the only woman in America more vulgar than Trump. She drops F bombs and talks about fantasies of blowing up the White House. (If Trump really were Hitler, Madonna would already have been shot.)
Anyway, way to keep it classy, M. If you’re looking to build a credible opposition movement, this is precisely the way to sabotage it before it gets off the ground.
Speaking of sabotage, Trump has signed an executive order that guts the Obamacare individual mandate that conservatives now hate, having wholly forgotten that it was initially a conservative idea designed to avoid a single-payer system.
The reality that no one admits is that the United States has had universal healthcare for decades, even before Obamacare was a twinkle in Barack’s eye. By law, nobody can be denied healthcare because of their inability to pay. Of course, that means that people wait until they get sick and then show up in the emergency room, which is the most expensive and inefficient form of healthcare delivery available. Obamacare was a well-intentioned-but-deeply-flawed attempt to make the system less expensive and more efficient. Repealing it without a replacement wouldn’t throw people out of hospitals to die in the streets, but it would return us to the days when we were trying to pretend that we weren’t wasting massive amounts of money on a fundamentally broken healthcare system.
Trump has said he’s going to keep Obamacare’s “good parts,” but that just doesn’t work. The bad parts fund the good parts. You can’t force insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions unless you also have a mandate requiring everyone to buy insurance. A solvent insurance pool requires enough healthy people to participate in the system to cover the costs of the unhealthy. If healthy people can wait until they get sick before they buy insurance, then the pool can’t cover costs, and the whole thing collapses.
My father was beaten up in his final campaign because he was championing a system that included a mandate to buy insurance, too. His bill, the Healthy Americans Act, had bipartisan support and is the perfect alternative to the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office determined that it would save the Federal Government $1 trillion over ten years. If Trump were smart, he’d pull it off the shelf and take credit for it.
Trump, alas, isn’t smart.
Speaking of smart, several conservative columnists had a similar reaction to Trump’s inaugural speech and said very clever things about it. I share a few of my favorite bon mots with you here:
“After every major Trump speech or event, the person I was before it seems desperately naive. I have been a consistent Trump critic, but my expectations are never quite low enough.”
– Michael Gerson
“Twenty minutes into his presidency, Donald Trump, who is always claiming to have made, or to be about to make, astonishing history, had done so. Living down to expectations, he had delivered the most dreadful inaugural address in history.”
– George Will
“Trump’s inaugural declaration (which mirrored much of what he said in the campaign) is a historic milestone, but not in the way Trump believes. It’s a formula for America’s decline on the world stage and runs enormous risks of destabilizing the global economy.”
– Robert Samuelson
“So, that happened.
Let us pray.”
Let us pray, indeed. I’m going to bed.