By The TRUTH HOUND
Stop the Presses News & Commentary
In Washington, big-government “conservatives,” including the war mongers in the GOP’s neo-conservative wing, have been gumming up the works. And their main mischief goes back a little over a year, when major anti-populist Republican Party figures were plotting how to stop Donald Trump from getting the Republican nomination for president.
In February 2016, several congressional Republicans and GOP strategists, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and perennial party “guru” Karl Rove, shuffled off to the shady confines of Sea Island, Georgia and held impromptu talks on stopping Trump during the World Forum of the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute—a gathering closed to the press. Interestingly, Tom Price, then a Georgia congressman and now Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, was there, too.
Since then, some Republican Congress members, state governors and assorted GOP wonks who disliked Trump have learned to come to grips with his presidency, although others refuse to settle down.
War-mongering Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who are joined at the hip, have poisoned public discourse with their undisciplined finger-pointing, alleging nonstop that Trump and some of his associates are a virtual branch office of the Kremlin. Their blustery buffoonery has helped notch down the already-low approval rating of Congress into the teens.
However, to save face, McCain and Graham did an about-face, or so it seems, when Trump authorized a cruise missile launch against Syria. Their joint statement: “Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people.”
Still, many in Trump’s own party, along with his predictable Democratic foes, have made it difficult for the president to get his administration fully functioning on both the foreign and domestic fronts, while making it especially hard for Trump to uphold his campaign promise of better relations with nuclear-armed Russia.
Trump—who has surrounded himself with wealthy business figures-turned-cabinet members, some of whom have neo-conservative, pro-Zionist pedigrees and “Goldman Sachs” on their resumes—bears some responsibility for claiming to want better Russian relations, but having a team whose backgrounds belie that worthy goal.
Yet, some are even saying that, with the intelligence committees of both chambers of Congress probing whether Trump associates and appointees had improper contacts with Russia, that Trump authorized the short-lived April 6, 2017 cruise missile attack against a Syrian air base to placate his critics (e.g., McCain and Graham, as noted) and show that he can push back at Syria’s alleged April 4 chemical attack and send Syria’s chief ally, Russia, a stern message in the process.
To be clear, this may help explain the missile attack, but it doesn’t excuse it, although Trump told the Beltway newspaper Politico that he won’t send ground troops into Syria.” — The TRUTH HOUND for STOP THE PRESSES
Before the Tomahawk missile strikes, many members of Congress were sure that Trump was in major cohoots with Russia. For example, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) accused Trump and his associates of “belonging to a ‘Kremlin clan’ only interested in making money.”
But since the missile launch, Capitol Hill chatter about Trump-Russia collusion on both sides of the aisle is more muted. “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do,” Sen. Charles Schumer (R-N.Y.) waned, after weeks of insinuating that “Team Trump” was a virtual Russian outpost in the U.S.
DOMESTIC FRONT IS KEY
Given these and other convulsions on the geo-political plane, Trump’s domestic agenda becomes all the more important, since foreign entanglements, including his call to send a naval armada in the vicinity of North Korea over concerns about the nation’s nuclear weapons program, will re-direct human energy and loads of money away from Trump’s pledges of a better national healthcare plan, real border security, $1 trillion in much-needed infrastructure improvements, and a beefier industrial base with more and better jobs, among other things.
A failure by Trump to follow through on his top domestic policy pledges, which could come about due to overemphasis on foreign entanglements, would prove disastrous and harm the president’s re-election chances. Does that explain the fixation of the media and several Congress members on foreign affairs?
At any rate, border security has been improved somewhat. And Trump, early on, did pull the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, so he apparently is making good in those areas.
Moreover, on April 18, he visited a Wisconsin tools factory to sign an executive order that evidently will make it harder for U.S.-based employers who use American technology workers to replace them with foreign tech workers under the H-1B employment-visa program. Trump also spoke to a national construction union, where he encouragingly said that vital repairs to roads, bridges etc. will be carried out with American workers and know-how.
But when it comes to replacing Obamacare, Congressional Republicans haven’t done the president any favors, even while confusion reigns in terms of what, if anything, Congress should do about health care.
While the situation is rather complex, House Speaker Ryan—whose surname morphed into “Ryancare” to represent a rushed, some might say botched, legislative attempt to replace Obamacare—fumbled on that issue, with media fallout mainly launched at Trump. The Ryancare debacle dashed or severely postponed a victory on that front by the Trump White House.
However, the now 31-member House Freedom Caucus—whose refusal to support Ryancare reportedly inspired Ryan to withdraw the American Healthcare Act (i.e., Ryancare)—made the point that Republicans supporting the bill may just be inaugurating “Obamacare 2.0.” [Notably, former caucus member, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), was tapped as Trump’s Office of Management and Budget director].
That would mean big-government, pseudo-conservative Republicans, led by Ryan, were deceptively championing more socialism under a more or less “free market” banner.
Whatever its faults and foibles, did the Freedom Caucus do Trump and the nation a favor in the long run? Remember, any replacement for Obamacare—the Constitution contains no grant of power to the federal government to be involved in healthcare—needs more time to work out the bugs and line up the votes, even though leaving health insurance to the states by way of the 10th Amendment would be the constitutional way to go, as Bill Mohr of the Michigan Constitution Party affiliate told The TRUTH HOUND.
Simply put, that means if Obamacare is to be dumped, it need not be federally replaced at all.