Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Two Week Vacation Without Blogging Leaves Me Asking, Is He Still President?

Is he still president? I took two weeks off from blogging for a road trip down south with Gilda. No newspapers. Few views of Scott Pelley on CBS. Some NPR on Sirius during the hours-long stretches to Washington then Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, St. Augustine and back. No blogging for two weeks. 

Two weeks of Obamacare repeal and replace drama. Two weeks of Russian election interference intrigue. Two weeks of Trump Tower tapping tumult. Two weeks of Supreme Court vetting and posturing. Two weeks of immigration insecurities. Two weeks of Trump children antics. 

Two weeks of freedom from blogging. 

So I ask again, is he still president? Or more appropriately, why is he still president? And why do his common folk supporters still believe in him? After he promised a better health care program, how could they support the Trumpcare version which would have, according to The New York Times, eliminated coverage for pre-existing health conditions, removed the ability of people to remain on their parents’ health care plans up to age 26, allowed insurers to set different rates for men and women, permitted annual or lifetime limits on benefits, and lifted the requirement that insurers must spend at least 80% of premium revenue on medical care?

As Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts observed. “The Republican bill would return us to the day when insurers sold woefully inadequate policies with few protections. This back-room deal will kill the requirement for insurance companies to offer essential health benefits such as emergency services, maternity care, mental health care, substance addiction treatment, pediatric services, prescription drugs and many other basic essential services.”

Even with that breach of promise that Trumpcare would be better than Obamacare, would cost less and offer more coverage, his diehards still support him. Of course he is still sleeping in government-provided accommodations. Or his now government-protected luxury pads. Maybe, however, he is tossing and turning more now that he has come face to face with the reality that enacting legislation is more difficult and more hard work than merely spouting one syllable derisions during campaign rallies or early morning tweets. 

But there are more “of courses” to keep in mind. The disruptor-in-chief can wield a pen to unleash executive orders of prejudice and economic or environmental destruction. I fear that with the initial defeat of Trumpcare vengeance will be an even greater motivating force behind any executive action. Anything President Obama favored through legislation or executive action Trump will be wont to undo as he has just undone to much of his predecessor’s environmental protection legacy. 

And I am not convinced we have seen the last of Trumpcare. Weeks or maybe months from now after stealth work to turn nays into ayes Republicans will try again to pass Trumpcare without support from Democrats. The Donald doesn’t like to lose. He doesn’t like to show vulnerability or the need for assistance. He can’t wait to gloat that in the end he fulfilled his pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

Trump is a linear thinker. He doesn’t connect the dots of one action to the consequences of another. He is willing to shed health care coverage at the same time he is making the planet a more dangerous place by pushing coal production, a relaxation of vehicle fuel economy standards and clean water safeguards.

Rare is the real estate developer whose concern for the environment outweighs his greed for the biggest return on investment. Trump is not that rare breed. 

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