Saturday, September 09, 2017

Donald J. Trump (R)

Greg Mueller, whom The New York Times' Peter Baker identifies as "a conservative consultant," noted “President Trump campaigned as a conservative with an independent streak. This disposition helped him build a winning coalition, but I think it’s too early to make a determination that he will now adhere to a strongly independent path and steer from his more conservative base.”

Baker should have listened to Mueller, who is probably too gentlemanly to point out that the "independent streak" exhibited by Trump is manifested by a presidency focused on his family's own economic and business interests, and who recognizes that the President has so far not steered from a conservative base.

Instead, Baker argues

Although elected as a Republican last year, Mr. Trump has shown in the nearly eight months in office that he is, in many ways, the first independent to hold the presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.

The President's independence derives not from an open mind but from egomaniacal narcissism. And he has governed thus far as an ultra-conservative, albeit one who habitually picks fights. That, in turn, may be in part his reaction to "no drama Obama," whose disposition is close to 180 degrees from that of Donald Trump.

President Trump has not been "governing as a traditional Republican, particularly on issues like free trade or national security alliances" Baker writes.

However, given the President's support for Saudi Arabia, increased bombing against Middle Eastern (Muslim) foes, and effort to ramp up the defense budget (beyond that envisioned by his predecessor), any deviation from traditional GOP support for national security alliances probably has been prompted solely by his affection, and respect, for Vladimir Putin.

With the President's drive to cut domestic spending and privatize anything that moves, his Administration has resembled conservative Republicanism on steroids. And now Vox's Sarah Kliff reports

The Trump administration has let funding for Obamacare’s $63 million in-person outreach program lapse, leading to layoffs and confusion among nonprofits that enroll vulnerable populations in coverage.

“I have delivered 10 layoff notices to staff members,” says Donna Friedsam, director of Covering Wisconsin. “We don’t have a funding flow anymore.”

The government had previously announced it would cut the budget for Obamacare’s navigator program by 41 percent. But right now, the program has no funding at all. Last year’s grants ran out on September 1, and the administration still has not awarded next year’s money.

The sudden funding halt comes at a critical time for the Affordable Care Act. Navigator groups were just beginning to ramp up outreach for the health law’s open enrollment period, which begins November 1. Now, some have done an about-face: They’ve canceled outreach work and appointments with potential enrollees because they have no budget to cover those costs....

Letting the Obamacare outreach budget lapse goes well beyond the promised 40 percent budget cut. It means that, right now, enrollment groups currently have no budget at all — and no resources to prepare for an open enrollment season that begins in 54 days.

In 2009, Representative Alan Grayson of California charged "If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do. If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: 'Die quickly.'."

It turns out that this is not the backup plan of the entire GOP but it is for its leader, Donald J. Trump. While it is undeniable that the guy who pulled off a dramatic upset by running against anything Obama now is attempting to purge the nation of anything Obama, he nonetheless is acting as a traditional conservative Republican.

"Let Obamacare fail," urges the President who, by trying to kill America's health care program, is trying to make the federal government fail. That will increase further public skepticism about, and hostility toward, government, a continuing GOP objective.  Donald Trump puts on the persona of independence by complaining about Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Jeff Flake, or other Republicans, but there is nothing more Republican than undermining government.

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