May 5, 2017: But Don’t Call It Trumpcare | Hillary Bashing | #FireColbert
1. But Don’t Call It Trumpcare
If you don’t succeed, try and try again. Only earlier this week, it looked as if the G.O.P. would fail a third time at repealing Obamacare. But House Republicans were able to pass the legislation mid-day yesterday, squeaking by with just one more than the 216 votes needed.
The bill’s future in the Senate was uncertain, to say the least, but for many in the Red Media who had railed against Obamacare, the passage of the bill was a moment to celebrate:
Lifezette trumpeted this headline: “GOP Victory: House Votes to Repeal Obamacare (Finally)” and then added: “House Republicans at long last voted to end the national policy nightmare known as Obamacare.”
The former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was cheerleading from Twitter, where @newtgingrich has 1.94 million followers:
Great healthcare victory for President Trump and the American people.He earned it with hours of working with members. Art of the Deal in DC— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) May 4, 2017
Yet, if many Republicans were feeling triumphant, others weren’t exactly embracing the new legislation. The Fox News daily newsletter Halftime Report explained:
“So while we can say that the Republican plan definitely blows up core components of ObamaCare, particularly the end of the individual mandate, potentially some of the most significant restrictions on insurers and the coverage for the working poor – you could only just barely call it repeal. And you certainly couldn’t call it a replacement, since what it does is essentially provide less of the same thing.
It also seems unlikely that whatever comes out of the more-moderate Republican Senate would be more radical or transformational than this version. One imagines that if the Senate ever gets to the legislation, what comes back will look even more like former President Barack Obama’s original law.
For that reason, it isn’t really fitting anymore to call this “TrumpCare.”
And, to be sure, there was plenty of cynicism from Red commentators about what the Senate would do with the bill. Leaders there have already said they won’t use the House version but will start from scratch with their own legislation. On Hot Air, the conservative blog site, Ed Morrissey opined:
In the end, it doesn’t really matter anyway. The Senate will demolish this version of the AHCA and come up with its own plan, and will have to wait for CBO scoring in order to get through the reconciliation process. This rush intends to dump this problem into the upper chamber, as well as to provide a 24-hour news-cycle boost to the White House for finally succeeding at cat-herding.
2. Running to the Left
In the coming months, we will be watching election coverage closely. In its daily newsletter, The Morning Jolt, National Review noted a trend in the Virginia gubernatorial primary that seems to indicate that being liberal is back in style:
“In a little more than month, Virginia holds its gubernatorial primaries. On the Democratic side, there’s the oddity of watching two guys who were once fairly centrist within their party both trying to prove they’re the real liberal in the race.
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam voted for George W. Bush twice and Republicans tried to get him to switch parties in 2009. Former congressman Tom Perriello wanted to bar insurance coverage of abortion and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association. This year, both are renouncing all their past non-liberal stances and now pledge that they’re as progressive as Bernie Sanders.”
Rep. Tom David, a Republican, concurred in an interview with The Washington Times:
“Virginia has moved from being a southern state to being a mid-Atlantic state and a third of the state has acted more like New Jersey,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, Republican. “The politics have gotten much less southern in their nature. Democrats that were nervous about guns, certainly nervous about gay rights, the environment, and abortion — that is no longer the case.”
What We Noticed:
Within an hour of the House vote on Obamacare, Tom Perriello released an ad titled “Ambulance.” The Democratic candidate is pictured standing in front of an ambulance that is placed in a car crusher. “Republican leaders are trying to do this to affordable health care," Perriello says as the car is crushed. We’ll be watching for the Right’s inevitable backlash.
3. Hillary Clinton Returns. And Is Bashed.
It seemed like old times. Hillary Clinton was back on the scene, unhinging conservatives once again. Speaking at a Women for Women International luncheon on Tuesday, Clinton tied her election defeat to the F.B.I director James Comey’s decision to release a vague letter saying the investigation into her emails had been reopened. “If the election were held on October 27th, I would be your president,” she said.
It was her most forceful accusation to date on the unfairness of the outcome. The Daily Caller reported that the pundit Charles Krauthammer nearly lost it on Fox News: “Charles Krauthammer ruthlessly trashed the Clintons during a Fox News interview Tuesday night, saying they ‘have taken victimhood to sort of a new scientific height.’”
The Blaze eagerly noted that the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough also called her excuses “pathetic.”
What We’re Watching:
Testifying to the Senate this week, Comey said he would do it all again. But his testimony gave Republicans the chance to bash two favorite female targets: the former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and the former Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Rice is linked to this in the Republican mind because she has declined Senator Lindsey Graham’s invitation to testify at further hearings on Russian interference in the U.S. election. Fox News saw this as a sign that she lied when she said that Barack Obama had not wiretapped Donald Trump
Meanwhile, Townhall was all over Comey's testimony that Abedin passed emails to her husband and disgraced former congressman, Anthony Weiner:
“We’ll see how things go with Abedin. She swore, under penalty of perjury, that she turned in all her devices that had State Department documents on them. That turned out to be untrue. Just another Clintonite thinking the rules don’t apply, I guess. Maybe it isn’t perjury since intent is hard to prove, but another episode of negligence nonetheless.”
4. “Purity” Tests and “The Handmaid’s Tale”
This week, the Right also had plenty to say about Democrats’ recent back and forth on abortion.
The background: Bernie Sanders backed a Democratic mayoral candidate, Heath Mello of Omaha. Mello has become a lightening rod ever since The Wall Street Journal reported he once backed the idea that a women had to see an ultrasound of their fetus before an abortion. In the wake of Sanders’ support, the DNC chair, Tom Perez, said he “unequivocally” stood by the party’s platform on supporting abortion rights as should “every Democrat.”
But on Wednesday -- the same day Clinton delivered a speech supporting Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary -- the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, told The Washington Post that candidates should not have to pass a litmus test on abortion: “This is the Democratic Party. This is not a rubber-stamp party.”
Jazz Shaw from the top Conservative website Hot Air commended Pelosi:
This is bad news for conservatives and Republicans because if the Democrats suddenly go back to listening to leaders who exhibit a bit of common sense and electoral pragmatism they just might start picking up a head of steam. But Pelosi will have quite the sales job in front of her if she wants to sell this idea. She’s going to be running athwart of Dick Durbin for starters. She’s also directly contradicting the new Chairman of her party who attempted what Pelosi is trying out in Omaha but quickly scurried back to toeing the line himself after he was smacked down.
In a bizarre role reversal with the GOP from 2010, the Democrats are rapidly becoming the party of the purity test. It’s not just abortion. You have to agree with every line item on the liberal social justice warrior agenda and do so chapter and verse or risk being driven out of the party on a rail.
A Washington Examiner piece on the new television show version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” complained that a growing number of think pieces were wrongly labeling the show and book it is based on as “synonymous with the age of Trump.”
The story portrays a dystopian society where fertile women are forced to bear children for the society’s elite. Ariel Cohen, the author of the article, argued that, instead, it’s the Democrats who should be criticized for their inflexibility. He went as far as to argue that the story could be viewed as a cautionary tale for the progressive Left and its “moral absolutes at the expense of freedom of thought,” with Perez’s abortion messaging as his prime example.
5. Religious Order: Weak Sauce
Speaking of “purity,” not all on the Right were happy about Trump’s religious-liberty executive order, which promised to protect and promote religious freedom, ease restrictions on political activity by churches and charities, and ensure that Federal agencies exempt some religious organizations from Affordable Care Act requirements that provide employees with health coverage for contraception.
In particular, Trump received criticism for going too soft when it came to the repeal of the Johnson amendment. The 1954 provision in the U.S. tax code prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates, otherwise threatening their tax-exempt status. (If you remember, three years ago, the IRS was under scrutiny for targeting Tea Party and Conservative groups that filed for tax exemptions, based on this law. For many on the Right, the Johnson amendment’s repeal has remained a key issue since.)
David French of National Review called the order “constitutionally dubious, dangerously misleading, and ultimately harmful to the very cause that it purports to protect.” He wrote:
The answer to the Johnson Amendment, however, is to either repeal the statute or overturn it in court. This order does neither. In fact, a lawyer will commit malpractice if he tells a pastor or director of a nonprofit that this order allows a church or nonprofit to use its resources to support or oppose a candidate. Even if the Trump administration chooses not to enforce the law, a later administration can tear up Trump’s order and begin vigorous enforcement based on actions undertaken during the Trump administration.
Ryan T. Anderson of The Daily Signal was also not pleased. He pointed to the Johnson Amendment and criticized the executive order for being too general and weak, in comparison to an earlier leaked draft.
David Harsanyi, a senior editor of The Federalist, echoed more of the same. First, he stated that “an executive order merely puts bureaucrats at the IRS in charge of dispensing justice at their pleasure” and then criticized Trump for abandoning exemptions that were carved out in the original draft.
What We’re Noticing:
So far, Trump’s effort to appease his evangelical right base on this issue doesn’t seem all too successful. And what about religious Americans in general? This is interesting. On Wednesday, PRRI, a nonpartisan organization that conducts research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy, released an analysis based on more than 40,500 interviews. The data revealed that the majority of religious Americans oppose the protections included in Trump’s executive action.
Ever since Bill O’Reilly was fired from Fox News for alleged sexual harassment, Conservatives have been out for revenge. The bloodlust has settled on Stephen Colbert, the host of “The Late Show” on CBS. Colbert has been bashing Trump (pretty successfully, according to the ratings) on a nightly basis. On Monday, the host threw in a fellatio joke involving Trump servicing Putin. The Red Twittersphere decided it had a moment to pounce and started a #FireColbert campaign. It has targeted CBS and Colbert’s sponsors. Colbert returned to air Wednesday to say he has no regrets.
But the meme is letting a lot of angry conservatives vent and complain about hypocrisy. Many argued that Colbert was being homophobic, not funny. Red Pill @RedPillDropper, with 6k followers, was typical: