Saturday, May 6, 2017

Chicken Little Republicans

Chicken Little Republicans

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! So says a chorus of Republican Congressmen, convincingly. The problem is that the evidence for that claim is wholly unconvincing, and simply does not support that conclusion. Unless there is further sabotage to the health care program now known as Obamacare, the system will survive. It would even thrive with a few fixes and tweaks. Instead, the Republicans have figuratively hired dozens of crop dusting planes to seed the skies to produce as much rain as they can in the hope that the resulting torrential downpour will wash away what's left of the program. Political prognosticators always need a reliable bogeyman to rail against so as to advance their agenda. So, " Obamacare" became the bogeyman. 
     The real agenda? Cutting Medicaid by $880 billion in order to fund tax cuts for the top one  percent of our citizens. The stage has now been set for Republican tax reform plans. What? All of the rhetoric aside, the plan which takes away health care coverage for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled rewards the rich and punishes the poor. There is not enough lipstick in an Estée Lauder warehouse to cover up the fact that they are offering us an ugly pig. Repeal and replace has been a Republican hoax all along. They believe in repeal, but they have no sensible program to replace it. 
     The fact that the Republican House members were able to join ranks to finally pass something does not mean that that "something" is worth anything. The end zone victory celebration was a bit premature. They were cheering a half-time comeback, but the game is far from over, and one interception , spectacular as it may have been, does not a victory make. 
     The saddest part of this whole saga is the loss of integrity and credibility of moderate House members, many of whom reside in NY, and who have let their party loyalty trump their common sense. Seven of the nine New York Republican Congressmen voted for the bill. Dan Donovan of Staten Island and John Katko of Central New York were the only profiles in Republican courage. North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik offered a pitifully unconvincing rationale for her vote, and Congressman John Faso of the Hudson Valley reversed polarity on a direct promise to one of his constituents with a brain tumor after personally hugging her and telling her he would never vote to change the pre-existing condition exemption in the current law. They are two Congresspersons who should be given the bums rush for their timidity, insincerity and inability to stand up for their constituents against  their own party's leadership demands. 
     Simply put, they caved. They put Party above people, and that is not acceptable, in fact, it is contemptible. There are no winners here to be cheered. The Congressional win is only temporary. There is a Senate to contend with, and if these congresspersons attempt to further excuse their votes by saying they were relying on the Senate to fix what they had ineffectively crafted and passed, that is even worse. What happened when Mr. Smith got to Washington? Jimmy Stewart died. So did his fighting Congressional spirit. It has been replaced by political operatives who do the bidding of those special interests that fund their campaigns, and the average citizen be damned. Sad, but true. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Abe Lincoln and the Affordable Health care Act

"When I find myself in times of trouble , Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let it be, Let it be." Those are wise lyrics penned by Paul McCartney. It never hurts to pause and pray, and with the Republican Congress passing the repeal of the Affordable care act, it is time for contemplation and prayer. Pray for the Senate to see the light. Pray for the electorate to see through the pious platitudes of those representatives who assured their constituents they would not lose under this new Health care bill, knowing full well that that was not true, and pray for our President that he will be hoisted upon the petard of his own insincerity by the constituents who voted for him but could now be the biggest losers if the bill he supported becomes law. 
   Sometimes it takes radical action to awaken the public to what could really happen, and it is my sense that this "victory" for Ryan and Trump will be the rope from which the noose is fashioned , and from which they will all eventually be hung. 
     The irony here is that Trump's voters will finally come to realize that they have been had. They have been sold a bill of goods that will not materialize. Coal is not coming back. Building huge walls while letting our bridges crumble is not the answer, and squeezing those with meager resources to enhance the fortunes of those who already live in a world of plenty is doomed to fail, eventually. Whether this is the event that will turn the light bulbs on in those living in dimly lit quarters, only time will tell. But, the photographic evidence of a group of older white mostly millionaire men cheering their victory in the rose garden may finally galvanize voters as never before. It looked like a smug frat boy reunion, or a gala grand opening for a Trump golf course. In my view, the radical right wing's attempt to 
repeal " Obamacare" will not succeed, in large part because what they are replacing it with is a much more inferior product. Ultimately,  those who have shown their true colors will be shown the door., and given an unceremonious heave ho. "Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, hey hey hey...goodbye!" And don't let the door hit you in the derrière on the way out. 
     And to my fellow Democrats, a word of advice: Keep your sunny side up. It may get a little worse before it gets better, but 2018 will soon be here. Stay alert. Remain vigilant. And don't let anyone forget what just happened. And remember those immortal words of the greatest Republican President ever: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. Abraham Lincoln