Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Washington And Ohio

Linking to a piece by Jonathan Swan of Axios, Jim Vandehei of Axios tweets "A source familiar with Trump's thinking said the president has privately used the word 'courage.' "Clearly what he likes about him is he's holding his ground, not running for the tall grass, the source said." In response, Charlie Pierce recognizes "the essential worthlessness of an entire news operation in a single tweet."

Courage hardly seems to be the quality Trump most treasures in his selection of an Assistant Attorney General, who previously had concluded the Special Counsel's probe is a "witch hunt." It's highly unlikely when according to The Washington Post

Trump has spoken privately about his fears over risks to his own life, according to a former senior White House official, who has discussed the issue with the president and spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about Trump’s concerns.

 “He’s never been interested in going,” the official said of Trump visiting troops in a combat zone, citing conversations with the president. “He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.”

The President reportedly also doesn't want to associate himself with wars he views as failures.. However, given that he is a weak leader who is afraid of nothing more than he is of appearing weak, it has the ring of truth.

Courage never has been Trump's strong point, and it's a character flaw that seems to run strongly throughout his adopted party.  Florida senator MarcoRubio tweets

Max Boot responds "No political risk for supporting Adm McRaven as long as you don’t call out Trump by name for attacking another American hero." Rubio wasn't alone. Unsurprisingly, the Speaker of the House omits the name "Trump" in the statement "Speaker Ryan has traveled to Afghanistan multiple times, most recently in October, and has seen our military’s service and dedication firsthand. As the holidays approach, we are especially grateful for our troops’ sacrifice."

And then there is Ohio, in which media darling John Kasich, the United States Supreme Court be damned, in 2016 signed into law a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. Now the GOP-controlled legislature, in its unrelenting effort to force birth upon unwilling participants, is hard at work trying to pass legislation further to abridge a woman's reproductive freedom.  The legislation would ban all abortions performed at any time unless, the Center for American Progress notes, they are "based on a surgical, chemical, or medical procedure to treat a disease”

CAP understandably is incensed because if the bill is enacted into law, the woman as well as the medical practitioner could be charged with a criminal offense up to and including murder.  Nonetheless, CAP notes

The bill includes a provision that says the pregnant person can avoid these consequences in criminal or civil court if they are willing to be part of a hearing, provide information to investigators, or make a report. But this does not apply to health care providers performing abortions.

Of course she can, and it doesn't. If the (formerly) pregnant individual were held as culpable as the practitioner for aborting a fetus (defined as an "unborn person") what the legislature classifies as murder, it would risk alienating the 50-55% of the voting public which is female, or at least the not-insignificant portion which is of child-bearing age. Their boyfriends or husbands might also be perturbed.

It is aimed by its proponents to force the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, as is the slightly less draconian HB 258.  (Although he has remained agnostic on 565, incoming governor Mike DeWine has pledged to sign 258.)

Restriction of abortion rights is fertile ground for cowardice. Trump himself once told CNN’s Jake Tapper “I am pro-choice,” then on follow-up “I’m pro-life. I’m sorry.” He’s less forthright than when he admitted to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that a prohibition on abortion should require punishment for the woman as well as the practitioner. Still, the lack of courage puts him in the same league as GOP legislators in Columbus and in Washington, D.C., whatever Axios wants us to believe.

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