Case in point, the manner in which the GOP Senate Leadership crafted the "repeal and replace" Obamacare legislation - in total secret, not just hidden from the public, but from an overwhelming number of Senators themselves. So much for having faith in their fellow members of the esteemed institution. After the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office ("CBO") rated the Bill a disaster for over 22 million Americans, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to back off a floor vote that would have certainly led to an embarrassing defeat. But would the vote have been nearly as embarrassing to the GOP? Perhaps the shameful manner in which they attempted to develop the Bill itself and avoid open debate on the Senate floor should be the most embarrassing aspect of this debacle. After claiming Obamacare was "a disaster" to be repealed and spending precious legislative time by presenting over 60 attempts to do so, the GOP has shown they have no real alternative when it comes to health care policy. Which leads to a question our Founders and Framers would be asking. "You call that leadership?" (According to one poll, only 17% of Americans approve the proposed GOP health care Bill - See: www.cnbc.com/2017/06/28/senate-gop-health-care-bill-has-dismal-approval-rating-poll.html). I wonder if some of these include the same folks that believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows? (See: www.peta.org/blog/american-adults-think-chocolate-milk-comes-from-brown-cows/).
Then you have the President of the United States pushing Senators to give him a much needed "win" with the passage of the GOP sponsored Bill regardless of the fact if enacted, it would openly cut Medicaid along with the public's approval of certain existing Obamacare provisions - all promised by Candidate Trump to be exempt from cuts from a new bill. When the CBO scored the GOP Bill, it found it would in fact raise the deficit, provide deep cuts to Medicaid and take away life saving lifetime caps on total insurance coverage. Premiums would not go down as promised, but would penalize the very poor, the sick and the elderly. Not exactly what Candidate Trump promised on the campaign trail.
Ironically, while I was on the road, I had a chance to talk to a self-declared "Libertarian." Her comment? "It's just like ObamaCare, we didn't know what was in it until they passed it!" Except that is not true. ObamaCare had over 100 GOP Amendments offered, countless committee meetings over 13 months and a slew of town halls (filled with Tea Party advocates fueled by Sarah Palin "death panel" style claims). When I pointed out these facts behind the ACA's route through the Senate, she immediately disengaged from the conversation. But this is not new, is it? When confronted with facts, it seems easier for people to simply "walk away" when they have them all wrong. But can we as a nation just walk away when we should know there are obvious problems with the truth? What Would The Framers Do (WWTFD? ) if confronted with this seemingly modern phenomena? They certainly would give no quarter to those refusing to face demonstrable facts, that's for sure.
Speaking of demonstrable facts, the New York Times recently published a list of over 600 lies or misleading statements made by the President since his inauguration. (See: www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/23/opinion/trumps-lies.html). Despite these demonstrable lies, the President and his spokespeople continue to label media outlets purveyors of FAKE NEWS! (See: www.motherjones.com/media/2017/06/reporter-rips-into-sarah-huckabee-sanders-for-inflaming-media/). Now we have had all types of media in our history that has not always been truthful. But to go as far as to make official presidential statements that all media that the President does not agree with is "Fake" is a step away from the democratic principals embodied in our Constitution. Can you ever imagine a Founding Father or Framer giving the President absolute power over the media? Of course not! This is the most troubling part of the current Administration. The ability to sell so many Americans on the notion that only a supreme leader like the President can determine facts from lies and no others are to be listened to or heeded. Absolute power without a check from within the government or through a free and open media IS a threat to our democracy.
So instead of going point by point on why the Founders and Framers would find the current state of the presidency so disgusting, I'll leave you with these two quote from the following Founders and Framers - Benjamin Franklin; "Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom - and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech" and George Washington; "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism." Freedom of Speech and of the Press were embodied in the First Amendment for very valid reasons. Encroachment on them, by any sitting president, must be fought, no matter how trivial. *I will be away from my desk for the next month. Please feel free to check back and catch up on old blogs. I hope to be "back at it" by August 1. Be safe and be well! DRR