Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Donald Trump's Flying Circus Collides with Reality in Hopes of Bringing it Down
In the meantime, Paul Ryan has finally come up with a replacement for Obamacare and is having an increasingly difficult time concealing the large numbers of people it will strip of their health insurance. It will get even harder if this thing actually passes.
In the meantime, my boss is a Republican. Donald Trump was certainly not his first choice to be President, but he is one of the Republicans who believes that so long as you cut taxes and gut regulations, nothing else really matters. Over the weekend I was really dreading facing him arguing that yes, Obama really did wiretap Trump's phones (he has defended Flynn and Sessions talking to the Russian ambassador) or defending the Ryan plan (he has denounced Obamacare as an outrage and when I pointed out that simply repealing it will strip millions of their health insurance, dismissed that as not a serious problem since university hospitals would take care of them). But instead I got radio silence, at least so far.
Still, I need to start preparing for what I will day to him as a Trump supports, and this blog is as good a place as any to practice.
For the Russian meetings:
Suppose you are running for President and want to improve relations with Russia. You think it deteriorating relations with Russia are not altogether the Russians' fault and that Russia is a valuable ally in fighting ISIS. That is not an unreasonable viewpoint. It might work out or it might not, but it isn't crazy. But it does go against the Washington Consensus enough that none of the foreign policy establishment will join your team. You have to get unconventional foreign policy advisers. Many of these advisers have extensive ties to Russia. Russia being what it is, many of their ties are to pretty sleazy people. And, if truth be known, some of your advisers are pretty sleazy in their own right. (I am thinking about Paul Manafort in particular).
Then Russia starts hacking the Democrats and releasing their e-mails in the manner calculated to cause maximum damage. And because your people have extensive ties to Russia, they are having extensive contacts with high-ranking Russian officials, including some in the intelligence services, while the hacks are going on. No one has proven that there is any connection between those things. But you have to be sensitive to appearances. What do you do if the Russians are actively trying to sway the election in your favor. As a matter of basic political common sense, you warn your people to refrain from all contact with the Russians for fear of creating an appearance of collusion even if none actually exists. And if they absolutely cannot avoid contacting the Russians, they should disclose and scrupulously document every move so as to avoid any sort of suspicion.
And if you say that Trump was a political neophyte surrounded by neophytes who didn't know better, I answer that Jeff Sessions is no political neophyte. He, at least, should know better.
You criticize Obamacare for the high deductibles that make insurance worthless unless you have a serious illness or injury. And I agree, I have had that problem with it too. But that is a basic tradeoff that is inherent to the insurance industry. To premiums affordable, you have to have high deductibles. To offer lots of coverage, you have to have high premiums. And while government can step in and avoid this tradeoff by offering a subsidy to buy insurance, that costs the taxpayers money. It really is that simple. There is no getting away from the tradeoff between high premiums, low deductibles, or high taxes. Its is simple arithmetic. And arithmetic doesn't go away just because there is a Republican in the White House.
But let's focus on what is important. At least Donald Trump never sent State Department e-mails on a private server.