This Times article notes that DC Republicans - particularly House Republicans - are coalescing around a "repeal and delay" strategy to repeal Obamacare. It is important to state clearly what this means.
It is a recognition that Republicans still have no plan to replace Obamacare with anything. The real plan is simply to go back to how things were before 2010. But that has become at least optically impossible since many key provisions are very popular - a ban on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, kids up to 26 on parents plans, 20 million people with new coverage. But as the Times notes, they feel the need to repeal it now to fulfill their campaign promise. Repealing it now without any clear plan or roadmap for replace it will produce chaos in insurance markets. They do not appear to have a plan to deal with that other than to blame Democrats for it if they come up with a plan before November 2018 and Democrats don't help them pass it. I remain skeptical of how this all works in the Senate.
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This morning I had an email exchange with a friend who said maybe it's not so bad that Trump got in the Chinese leaders' faces, shook them up a bit and knocked them back on their heels. After all, Taiwan is a democratic polity with free markets and free labor and has been now for many years. Why maintain the longstanding diplomat charade that we don't recognize the Taiwanese government when in fact they are a major ally and trading partner which we have armed for decades and to whom we extend what might be termed a contingent and intentionally ambiguous security guarantee?
This Trump call to the President of Taiwan is as dangerous as it sounds. What makes it even crazier is that we don't really know if this is a considered and deliberate provocation, an accident because Trump doesn't even know the diplomatic protocol on this or just something some China hawk aide talked him into while he was eating a Taco salad.
I suspect there's an element of each in play.
I wanted to share a few thoughts about Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) who is running for DNC Chair and is now at the center of a growing storm of criticism in large part because the ADL put out a statement saying statements by Ellison recorded in 2010 are "disturbing and disqualifying." The latter, categorical word "disqualifying" is the key one. We reported the ADL comments yesterday.
Here are my thoughts.
It now seems pretty clear that there's a big problem with the lease Donald Trump holds on his new hotel in DC. It says clearly that no federal elected official can participate in or benefit from the lease. On January 20th, Trump becomes that person. I've been waiting for more lawyers to pop up to say that the contract doesn't actually say what it appears to say. But everyone seems to agree that it does. There was just a segment on CNN discussing this. And they note that the landlord is the GSA (General Services Administration) - the agency that owns the government's buildings and a lot of its stuff. The GSA administrator serves at the pleasure of the president and is appointed without Senate approval. So Trump's landlord will be appointed by Trump and can be fired at any time by Trump.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that GSA will not enforce this part of the contract.
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I remember the discussion of 'identity politics' from the 1980s and 1990s. I've also spent a significant number of years on college campuses. So I'm well aware of the bonfire of the identities you can find in the hothouse atmosphere of academia. But after Hillary Clinton's shock loss to Donald Trump the intra-Democratic debate rapidly set on the idea that Hillary Clinton had run an 'identity politics' campaign when what was needed was a populist economic message which (in the very hackneyed version of the argument) would appeal to working class whites or (in the less hackneyed version) would appeal to middle and working class Americans across the boundaries of race, culture and region that so divide and bedevil our politics. There are realities, real decisions and strategies embedded in these arguments. But without getting too deep into those particulars, what I think is most important to say is that this is an argument mainly based on straw men that say more about the angst of inter-party antagonism and stinging defeat than the realities of what we've seen or face going forward.
The new nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services is a longtime member of a far-right medical group with a lengthy reputation for peddling conspiracy theories about everything from the causes of breast cancer to Vince Foster's suicide.
This will get dark, comical and ridiculous. Republicans - particularly Marco Rubio - did significant damage to Obamacare by getting rid of the so-called 'risk corridors' in Obamacare by labeling them bailouts. They were not 'bailouts' but systems to cushion the transition to the Obamacare system, given the inability to make perfect guesses about the risk pools in the system. Now, according to The Hill, Republicans are looking at giving vast sums of money to insurance companies to give them a way to ride out the market collapse that the repeal of Obamacare would likely trigger - that is, ride it out until Republicans can think up something to replace Obamacare with.