Mar 29

GOP Tries to Save Face on Obamacare Repeal Fiasco

Seantor Pat RobertsSarah Kliff and Jeff Stein over at Vox wrote, Senate Republicans Not Ready to Give up on Obamacare Repeal. Although there is shockingly little evidence in the article. It is mostly just a chance for various Republicans to grouse about the law. Here’s my favorite from Seantor Pat Roberts, “Obviously we’re going to have to do something because our health care system is like Thelma and Louise. They drove it off the cliff and we need to stop that car.”

Leave aside the fact that once the car drove off the cliff you can’t stop it. I want to know where the catastrophe is The article is filled with all kinds of claims like this. Senator John Kennedy gets the depth of thought of the Republicans perfectly when he said, “I think the main area of consensus is that Obamacare sucks and we can do better.” I’ll come back to that “we can do better” in a moment.

Ridiculous Obamacare Repeal Rhetoric

I’m getting tired of this ridiculous Obamacare repeal rhetoric that isn’t backed up by anything other than an occasional (and usually apocryphal) anecdote. As most of you know, I work as a freelancer. But there was a recent possibility of getting another job. And I wasn’t keen on it. Still, I would have taken it in a second because it offered medical and dental coverage. This was during the period where it really looked like the Republicans were going to rip healthcare away from 24 million people and make my premiums go sky high. The truth of the matter is that Obamacare has been a godsend to me. And I am sick to death of hearing Republicans go on about how terrible it is?

How exactly is Obamacare terrible? Because over 20 million more people have health insurance? Because it has decreased healthcare inflation? The truth is that we know why they hate it: it taxes the rich a tiny amount. And fine! If they want to come out and admit that, good for them. The Republicans are the party of the wealthy. If they want to embrace that publicly, they will stop winning any elections, but at least they will show some integrity.

Obamacare Has Been Wildly Successful

In my life, there are two kinds of people:

  1. People who haven’t been affected by Obamacare at all
  2. People who have been helped by Obamacare.

That’s it! So enough with the “Obamacare sucks!” and “Obamacare is going to explode!” Both of those might be true soon thanks to the work of Republicans. But left alone, Obamacare will continue to improve the lives of regular Americans.

“Obviously we’re going to have to do something because our health care system is like Thelma and Louise. They drove it off the cliff and we need to stop that car.” –Senator Pat Roberts

Can Republicans Do Better?

But what about Senator Kennedy’s idea that they “can do better” with Obamacare repeal? Really? Because we have been waiting for many years for this super-great healthcare reform bill from the Republicans. The truth is that Republicans haven’t really worked on something to replace Obamacare because Obamacare is already the most conservative approach to reform that is possible. Any ideas that they have that would actually work always run into the same problem: they are forbidden by conservative dogma.

I have to give some plaudits to the House Freedom Caucus, because a number of them were willing to admit the general problem that Republicans have with Obamacare: it helps people who can’t afford it get health insurance. They don’t think we should do that. Now most people hear that and think that these people are one step below Nazis in terms of humanism. But hey, it’s not my fault the Republicans turned into a postmodern fascist party over the last 40 years.

Saving Face

But I’m not concerned at this point. Kliff and Stein put it well, “What you’re seeing now is a lot of talk about reviving the repeal effort without much substance behind it.” And that’s what this is all about. It’s allowing Republicans to save face. They know they are going to do nothing. But neither they nor the White House likes all the press they’re getting about losing and giving up. So they’ll say they aren’t giving up.

It makes perfect sense! Whatever they say is true because they have fully accepted postmodern analysis: there is no reality, just opinions. So they say Obamacare sucks. And they say they haven’t given up on Obamacare repeal. Neither is true.

But to Republicans it’s just, like, you’re opinion, man.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/29/obamacare-repeal-5/

Mar 29

Republicans: Profits Before Privacy and Freedom

XXXCongress sent proposed legislation to President Trump on Tuesday that wipes away landmark online privacy protections, the first salvo in what is likely to become a significant reworking of the rules governing Internet access in an era of Republican dominance.

In a party-line vote, House Republicans freed Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast of protections approved just last year that had sought to limit what companies could do with information such as customer browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers. The rules also had required providers to strengthen safeguards for customer data against hackers and thieves.

The Senate has voted to nullify those measures, which were set to take effect at the end of this year. If Trump signs the legislation as expected, providers will be able to monitor their customers’ behavior online and, without their permission, use their personal and financial information to sell highly targeted ads — making them rivals to Google and Facebook in the $83 billion online advertising market.

The providers could also sell their users’ information directly to marketers, financial firms and other companies that mine personal data — all of whom could use the data without consumers’ consent. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission, which initially drafted the protections, would be forbidden from issuing similar rules in the future.

–Brian Fung
The House Just Voted to Wipe Away the FCC’s Landmark Internet Privacy Protections

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/29/republicans-privacy/

Mar 28

President Trump Wanted the Title, Not the Job

President Trump Wanted the Title, Not the JobI remember back in 1994, Howard Stern decided to run for governor of New York as a Libertarian. But then everything went wrong. He won the primary overwhelmingly, but he refused to file paperwork with the government regarding the election. Then he didn’t work with the Libertarian Party. I even recall him complaining on air that he was going to take a huge pay cut. In the end, he didn’t run. And I always thought at the time that his real reason was that he knew he wasn’t going to win. And should he win, he wasn’t interested in the job. I think the same thing is true of our very own President Trump.

The thing about President Trump is that it is clear that he’s very upset with how this whole presidency is getting in the way of his life. And it’s understandable. Could his life have been any better than it was before he became President Trump? Think about it. The Apprentice had two seasons left — max. And you know that just about every newspaper editor in America was looking forward to a headline like this, “NBC to Trump: ‘You’re Fired!’” Really, it would have been crushing to his ego.

Almost President Trump Would Have Been Better

The best thing that could have happened to him is if he lost the general election. Because he got everything he was going to from the race itself: performance after performance in front of screaming fans. If he had lost, he would have shouted, “Voter fraud!” And his supporters would have bought it. In fact, it would have become a whole new spoke of the conspiracy theory wheel. But instead, Donald J Trump because President Trump, and it all went really badly. And don’t forget: if he doesn’t manage to win re-election, he’s just a loser. It’ll be hard to claim that it was voter fraud when the same system gave him four years in the White House.

Golfing

I ran across an interesting little article over at New York, Fox News Tweets That Trump Was at the White House When He Was Actually at His Golf Course. Out of context, the fact that President Trump plays so much golf is no big deal. I’ve always had a problem with these complaints — even when leveled against presidents I didn’t like. People have a right to a little R&R — even presidents. The problem is that Trump was one of the loudest voices complaining that Obama was always golfing.

Obama’s Golfing

A really stupid website called “The Obama Golf Counter” claims that Obama golfed on 306 days of his presidency. To put this into perspective, Dwight Eisenhower played about 800 rounds in his 8 years. But that still comes to 10 percent of his days including some golfing.

Trump’s Golfing

But Trump? According to Slate, in his first 9 weeks, President Trump has played golf at least 12 times. That’s almost 20 percent of his days. And this is part of his first 100 days — you know: the action packed period when the president supposedly gets so much done.

He Likes to Watch

On Sunday, the president spent an hour at Trump National. He didn’t play golf, obviously. The White House claimed he had three meetings during that time. But based upon pictures, it looks like he spent the whole time with a couple of buds watching golf on television.

And that takes us back to the New York article, which was based on a tweet announcing the following, “News Alert: @POTUS spending weekend working at the White House.” That was on a day he spent almost six hours golfing, if you consider the travel time. But I don’t care how much he golfs. The world is doubtless safer when he is golfing. I bring it up only to point out that President Trump is not interested in his job.

Why Become President?

I’ve often said that anyone would have to be crazy to want to be president. But I understand why Hillary Clinton wanted to be president: she’s spent almost her whole life in politics. She cares about policy and wants to accomplish things. Now I think that Trump cares about things too. I think his instincts on a lot of things are liberal. But he doesn’t care about them enough to have a vision. So he’s there to just push whatever the Republican establishment offers him.

Remember when Trump was all against the Republican establishment? Remember what screw-ups they were? He made a lot of sense. But the grand total of the energy he was willing to expend fighting them was to call them names while in front of an audience.

That’s what Trumpcare was all about. It wasn’t anything close to what Trump promised. He didn’t even get to the point of realizing that Obamacare was the most conservative healthcare reform that works. Why should he have to do unpleasant things now when he didn’t before? He wants his old job, but with the addition of being called President Trump.

President Trump Doesn’t Want the Job

There are a lot of kinds of non-politicians who run for a major office. There’s Al Franken who might not have held elected office, but was very involved in Democratic politics and who lived and breathed politics. He has gone on to be a great Senator. There’s Arnold Schwarzenegger who was at least somewhat interested in politics and did try to do a good job as Governor of California. I think most people fall into the broad category of people who at least try to do the job.

Trump is not such a man. People talk about impeachment. People talk about the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. But I think it is much more likely that President Trump will just step down. He’ll come up with an excuse, “The system itself is broken and the president just doesn’t have the power to make America great again.” Regardless, he wanted the title: President Trump. He never wanted the job.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/28/president-trump-title/

Mar 28

Republican’s Obamacare Replacement Promises Were Lies

Philip Klein - Republican's Obamacare Replacement Promises Were LiesRepublicans ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years, over the course of four election cycles. They won the House majority in 2010 in large part because of the backlash against the passage of Obamacare — and the vow to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was part of their “Pledge to America” campaign document that year. The botched rollout of Obamacare helped them win the Senate in 2014. House candidates, Senate candidates, gubernatorial candidates, and even state legislative candidates ran against Obamacare — and won. …

Republicans were always moving the goal posts on voters. That is, during campaign season, they made boasts about repeal, and then once in office, they talked about procedural complications. In 2010, they campaigned on repeal, but by 2011, they said they needed the Senate. In 2014, they won the Senate, but by 2015 they said as long as Obama was in office, nothing would become law. In 2016, they told conservative voters, even reluctant ones, that if they voted for Trump despite any reservations, they’d finally be able to repeal Obamacare. In November, voters gave them unified control of Washington. And yet after just two months on the job, they have thrown in the towel and said they’re willing to abandon seven years of promises.

There are a lot of people who want to conveniently lay the blame for this stunning failure on recalcitrant members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. If only these conservative hardliners were willing to give way, we’d be on the road to repeal, defenders of leadership would like to have us believe. This is convenient, both because there are always people in Washington eager to take aim at conservative purists, and also because it has the makings of a great ironic hot take for journalists: “How conservatives saved Obamacare.” …

House conservatives, if they could be blamed for anything, it’s for having the audacity to urge leadership to actually honor seven years of pledges to voters to repeal Obamacare. If anybody was moving the goal posts, it wasn’t Freedom Caucusers, it was those who were trying to sell a bill that kept much of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place as a free market repeal and replace plan. …

What’s so utterly disgraceful, is not just that Republicans failed so miserably, but that they barely tried, raising questions about whether they ever actually wanted to repeal Obamacare in the first place.

–Philip Klein
GOP Cave on Obamacare Repeal Is the Biggest Broken Promise in Political History

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/28/republican-obamacare-promises/

Mar 27

Re-Evaluating Attack of the Puppet People

Attack of the Puppet PeopleFive years ago, both Andrea and I wrote reviews of the Bert I Gordon film Attack of the Puppet People. We were actually fairly fond of it, although I attacted its screenplay savagely.

But Saturday afternoon, I came upon it on YouTube and I totally changed my mind about it. The screenplay is actually quite good. I loved the film. You can read all about it over at Psychotronic Review: Attack of the Puppet People. As is the idea with these pages, this one has three articles: the two that Andrea and I wrote back in 2012, plus a new one with my more evolved thinking on the film. It’s worth checking out.

(Also, I’ve removed the pages from here. Or rather, if you go to those pages, they redirect you to the Psychotronic Review article. That’s a little pro blogging tip. 301 redirects are amazing things!)

It’s also worth checking out the following absolutely wonderful print of the film. Don’t let the image fool you: this is not a frightening film. It is suspenseful though.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/27/attack-puppet-people/

Mar 27

We Have to Create a Better World

Richard Carrier - We Have to Create a Better WorldChristianity is simply false.

But what do we do then? What do we believe? … Since this world isn’t the way we’d want it to be, we have to make it the way we want it to be. This world isn’t protected by any supreme justice or caregiver, there is no infallible wise man to turn to, no divine hero to love us, and we aren’t going to live forever. So we have to create those things.

We have to create justice, and care for each other and the world we live in. We have to find and give and receive love from each other. We have to be the hero. We have to give our lives meaning. We have to protect life, and invent technologies of immortality — metaphorically (in the way people’s words and actions live on in their consequences and memorials), and literally (through medicine, and the science of life extension and resurrection). And until we invent any real immortality, we have to accept the way things are and make the best of the short lives we have. We have to love life rather than fear death. We have to respect life rather than treat it as disposable.

We have to do all of these things. Because that is the world we want to live in — and no one else is going to do any of this for us.

–Richard Carrier
Why I Am Not a Christian

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/27/we-have-to/

Mar 26

I Don’t Care What You Call Pluto

PlutoVox published an article last week that made me want to slam my head against the wall, The Debate Over Pluto Will Never Die. Here’s the Latest Argument for Why It’s a Planet. Astronomer Kirby Runyon has come up with a new definition for a planet. And if we use it, there will be hundreds of planets in our solar system. For example, our Moon would be a planet. And hell, why not?

Remember: the Moon is quite a lot larger than Pluto. In fact, the largest 7 moons in the solar system are bigger than Pluto. So size isn’t the issue. Oh, you think a planet is something that orbits the sun and a moon is something that orbits a planet. Guess what? It ain’t nearly that simple. The Moon doesn’t orbit around the Earth. The two objects orbit around their center of mass. I have discussed this issue before, The Unusual Pluto-Charon Binary Orbit. It turns out that the Earth-Moon center of mass is inside the Earth. But the Pluto-Charon center of mass is way outside Pluto.

Orbits Are More Complex Than They Seem

The same thing is true of the Sun, although Jupiter is the only object large enough to make the Sun wobble. But my point is that if you looked at the Earth-Moon system orbiting around the Sun (the center of mass is effectively the center of the Sun), you would not see the Earth making an ellipse around the sun with the Moon circling it. Instead, you would see the two objects zigzagging around the sun. So if you look at it from a large scale, it looks very much like the Moon is orbiting the Sun. Because it is.

Now look at the Pluto-Charon system. It’s the same, but even more zigzag. So if Pluto is a planet, I sure don’t see why the Moon isn’t. So why not?

A New Planet Definition

Runyon and some other astronomers have suggested this as the definition of a planet:

A planet is a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has sufficient self-gravitation to assume a spheroidal shape … regardless of its orbital parameters.

Got a problem with that? All of these objects ultimately orbit the Sun anyway. If the Earth suddenly disappeared, the Moon would continue to orbit the Sun. So there you go: the ultimate definition of a planet that couldn’t possibly be designed just to make Pluto a planet. And I say this knowing that Brian Resnick reported, “Once he’d seen this side of Pluto, Runyon was bothered that it wasn’t a full-fledged planet anymore.”

Here’s the thing: I don’t care. I so don’t care that it’s annoying. Call Pluto whatever you want. And I’ll go further: call the Earth anything you want. I can certainly come up with a definition of planet in which the Sun has only 4 planets, knocking out the four rocky inner “planets.” Because, as Juliet put it:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet …

Pluto Is Fascinating — Whatever You Call It

I find Pluto fascinating. I don’t need to call it “planet,” “dwarf planet,” or even “rose” to find it fascinating. Is it only the large things that are worth studying — worth caring about? From my perspective, the Earth is the most interesting plant for what I think are obvious reasons.

But here’s the thing: our solar system is amazing. Rather than fight about what category to place Pluto in, why don’t we take a moment to marvel at the fact that Triton orbits Neptune backwards? And speaking of that, how in the universe did Venus get that backwards day (which happens to be longer than its year)? Or how about if you took all the debris of the asteroid belt (including “planet” Ceres), you’d have a “planet” about 1/25th the size of our Moon?

Space Garbage

There is something nice about the current official definition of planets: it creates 8 of them. They divide very nicely into two types: small rocky ones close to the Sun and big gaseous ones far from the Sun. They are completely dominant regarding their moons — all orbit a point inside the planet. I think the Earth has the largest moon relatively speaking, and it is only 1% of the Earth’s mass. (Charon is 12% the mass of Pluto.) But I’m willing to give it all up.

I propose the following definition:

Space garbage is anything that isn’t a star, broadly defined (including black holes, quasars, and so on).

So you say “planet” and I say “space garbage.” And literally nothing about the science of solar systems changes.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/26/call-pluto/

Mar 26

Republicans Look Forward to Next Failure

President Donald Trump - Looking Forward to Tax CutsThe stunning collapse of the Republican healthcare bill now imperils the rest of President Trump’s ambitious congressional agenda, with few prospects for quick victory on tax reform, construction projects, or a host of other issues in the months ahead despite complete GOP control of government.

While Republicans broadly share the goal of Trump’s promised “big tax cuts,” the president will have to bridge many of the same divides within his own party that sunk the attempted overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. And without savings anticipated from the healthcare bill, paying for the “massive” cuts Trump has promised for corporations and middle-class families becomes considerably more complicated.

Meanwhile, other marquee agenda items, including a $1 trillion investment in roads and other infrastructure and proposed crackdowns on both legal and illegal immigration, will require the support of Democrats, many of whom have been alienated by the highly partisan start to Trump’s tenure. …

House Republicans leaders had been counting on changes to the tax code included in the healthcare bill to make the task of paying for future tax cuts easier.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said the bloc of hard line Republicans who helped stymie the healthcare overhaul were guilty of “ripping the lungs out of tax reform.” If they don’t revisit the healthcare bill immediately, Norquist said, they will soon realize that “they didn’t shoot and wound healthcare reform, they shot and killed permanent tax reform.”

House Speaker Paul D Ryan (R-Wis) acknowledged Friday that the healthcare defeat “does make tax reform more difficult, but it does not make it impossible.”

–John Wagner, Damian Paletta and Sean Sullivan
Trump’s Path Forward Only Gets Tougher After Health-Care Fiasco

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/26/tax-cuts-trump/

Mar 25

The Roger Corman Poe Cycle

The Roger Corman Poe CycleI added another page to Psychotronic Review, The Roger Corman Poe Cycle. For those who don’t know it, it probably sounds horrible — like something Arnold Schoenberg wrote in 1930 that still no one quite gets. But it’s actually something really great: eight films that Corman directed (and sometime produced) between 1960 and 1965 based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. (Actually, one of them is based on an H P Lovecraft novel, but the title is taken from Poe.)

I’ve been watching these films since I was a kid. Yet when I sat down to write about them, I found it really hard. Since Roger Corman was King of the Cheap Movie, the films largely look alike. That’s especially true of House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Raven. And so I found myself confused about just what memory went with what movie.

In addition, fully half of the films deal with someone buried or entombed alive. It’s kind of amazing to think how much drama you can get out of that one idea. But I suspect that most people find the idea of being buried alive to be pretty terrible. And none of the stories are the same. So there you go.

One thing I noticed while going over the films is that they’re a bit on the sexist side. Women are either devoted spouses (or would-be spouses) or they are the most treacherous creatures imaginable. Hazel Court is really the best at that. I do have a kind of bizarre crush on the characters she plays. Oh, to spend my life with such a deliciously smart and evil woman! The only problem would be, of course, that she almost certainly would have murdered me. If not, she would have left me for someone richer and more evil.

Films Worth Watching

All these movies are about an hour and half. If you leave 15 minutes for intermission, that’s 13.75 hours. It would be awesome to rent a movie theater and show all eight films, starting at 10:00 am and running until midnight. It’s shocking that people don’t do that kind of thing more often. I suspect you could rent the films pretty cheaply. The question is: just how many freaks like me would pay ten bucks (And I’d pay a hell of lot more!) to sit in a movie theater all day watching movies made before I was born? Not enough, I’m afraid.

Go check out The Roger Corman Poe Cycle. Over time, I’m sure I (hopefully others too) will write articles about the individual films. I’m sure to write about The Raven. It’s my favorite. The truth is, I like Vincent Price most when he plays a good guy. And the film is a comedy. And it has the great trio: Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff join Price. Plus, there’s Hazel Court — really at her best.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/25/roger-corman-poe-cycle/

Mar 25

Why Trumpcare Failed

Ezra Klein - Why Trumpcare FailedThe American Health Care Act failed because it was a terrible piece of legislation. It would have thrown 24 million people off insurance and raised deductibles for millions more — and the savings would’ve gone to pay for tax cuts for millionaires. It broke virtually all of Donald Trump’s campaign promises, and was opposed not just by Democrats but also by Republicans. …

This is a failure for Speaker Paul Ryan on many levels. He wrote this bill, and when the speaker takes over the process like that, the upside is it’s supposed to create legislation that can pass. On this most basic task, Ryan failed, and failed spectacularly.

Some legislation fails even though the party faithful love it. For the Democrats, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill was like that — it went nowhere in the Senate, but liberals appreciated that Nancy Pelosi tried. The American Health Care Act wasn’t like that. Republicans were glad to see it die.

But beyond the legislative and tactical deficiencies, the AHCA reflected a deeper failure of moral and policy imagination. Ryan spent the latter half of Barack Obama’s presidency promising to repair the Republican Party’s relationship with the poor (remember Ryan’s “poverty tour”?). He’s spent every day since the passage of Obamacare saying the Republicans could do better. This is what he came up with? The GOP put their greatest policy mind in charge of the House of Representatives and they got… this?

–Ezra Klein
The Failure of the Republican Health Care Bill Reveals a Party Unready to Govern

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/25/american-health-care-act/

Mar 24

New on Psychotronic Review: Horrors of Spider Island

Psychotronic Review - Horrors of Spider IslandOver at Pychotronic Reviewwe’ve created a new page for the classic German horror-girly film, Horrors of Spider Island.

If you know the film, it is probably because Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured it in their final season (10th if you don’t count the KTMA season, 11th if you have any class at all). As I’ve been working on the Psychotronic Review project, I’ve been surprised at how often I run into the show. Of course, Michael Weldon’s The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film was their bible, just as it is mine.

But the film is quite good all on its own. I wish I could find it in German. You can get a taste of it in a short clip. In addition to hearing the original language, the picture quality is fantastic — at least compared to all the English language versions online.

Anyway, head over to Psychotronic Review to check it out. The page includes the full movie from Archive.org. It’s the perfect film to watch on this rainy Friday afternoon.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/24/horrors-of-spider-island/

Mar 24

Trump’s Backup Plan: Blame Ryan

Greg Sargent - Trump's Backup Plan: Blame RyanNobody knows whether the House GOP health bill will pass today, or even whether it will get voted on — the vote could get postponed again, even though President Trump has demanded this vote or else he will allow Republicans to languish under the oppression of Obamacare forever (yes, it’s possible this is a bluff). The White House isn’t sure it has the votes. The whip counts show enough opposition to sink it. But a last-minute shift that puts it over the line is definitely possible.

Still, here are a few things we already know: Even if Trump “wins” and the bill passes, this whole process has been an utter disaster from start to finish. The media analysis is already being framed in a way that will obscure this from view. And Trump himself is determined not to learn the right lessons from the whole mess — no matter what happens.

The New York Times reports today that Trump is bracing for a possible loss, and he’s already moving to pin the blame on Paul Ryan if it fails …

Meanwhile, top Trump adviser Stephen K Bannon is also moving to blame Ryan for a loss, New York Magazine reports, by distancing himself from the bill and blaming Ryan for the fact that it doesn’t drive down costs. And so, if the bill goes down, the story will become whether Trump can shift the blame to Ryan and move on to other things, as Bannon apparently hopes to do. In this telling, the reason the bill failed (or the reason it was so close to tanking, if it prevails) will be that the White House underestimated the difficulty of getting the bill passed, or had too much faith in Ryan’s ability to do so.

The White House — and Republicans — also thought they could render the policy specifics and procedural challenges meaningless through sheer force of bluster. They attacked the Congressional Budget Office’s credibility in advance, but that only left them flatfooted and unprepared when the CBO did find that enormous numbers will lose coverage, which ended up weighing heavily on moderates, despite efforts to undercut its findings in advance. They opted for an absurdly compressed time frame, which alienated moderates and even some conservatives.

Indeed, the Times‘s reporting confirms that Trump never cared much about the policy or the process …

Yet there is no recognition, anywhere, that this might have been part of the problem all along. Worse, all of this will only be obscured if the bill passes, because the coverage is being framed as an epic gamble in which Trump either emerges as the heroic risk-taking “closer” or an abject failure at “dealmaking.” If he succeeds, the closeness of the vote bolsters the “closer” narrative. If he falls short, the failing was personal.

–Greg Sargent
Even If Trump “Wins,” This Health-Care Mess Has Been a Horrendous Disaster

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/24/blame-ryan/

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