In Like a Lamb
We’ve been experiencing rather mild weather in the Northeast lately and, in keeping with the old adage, March is coming in “like a lamb.” In much the same way, the President’s address to the Joint Session of Congress last night struck at least some people as measured, reasonable, and, indeed, “Presidential.” That Trump clearly attempted to strike a conciliatory tone after a month of roiling around, declaring the free press “the enemy of the people,” and spewing attacks toward the left and the right should not confuse anyone. Like the weather, Trump enters his second month of office as a “lamb” --- but do not be shocked if, by the end of the month, he is once again leonine, wreaking havoc across the countryside. Do not, for a minute, believe there is not a strategy behind all of Trump’s actions, speeches, and Executive Orders --- a strategy grounded in “the Big Lie” and distraction.
Putting last night’s address in perspective, it is simply one more feint designed to keep the opposition off balance. Imagine an illusionist with Trump as the left hand and Bannon as the right --- one provides the motion (not action) while the other plays the trick on the audience. Last night’s speech was more smoke and mirrors --- promises, unfounded claims, easy plays for patriotism (the hero’s widow) and a call for unity, of sorts. Ultimately, there was very little substance, but plenty of reinforcement for the base and a tone more acceptable to the masses.
Don’t be distracted. Don’t be fooled.
And now, for something different . . .
We are learning that many people are only now discovering that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are the same thing! A recent NYTimes poll analysis in “The Upshot” noted:
When respondents were asked what would happen if Obamacare were repealed, even more people were stumped. Approximately 45 percent did not know that the A.C.A. would be repealed. Twelve percent of Americans said the A.C.A. would not be repealed, and 32 percent said they didn’t know.
That is the kind of ignorance Trump and the Republican Party have relied on for eight years to drum up their opposition to “Obamacare.” I saw a woman on television the other night, spitting out her disgust for Obamacare --- with particular emphasis on the former President’s name --- but noting that she loved the Affordable Care Act. “The Upshot” continued:
If many people think repealing Obamacare would not affect the popular provisions of the A.C.A., they might not understand the potential consequences of the proposals being considered in Washington.
For instance, only 61 percent of adults knew that many people would lose coverage through Medicaid or subsidies for private health insurance if the A.C.A. were repealed and no replacement enacted.
So, almost 40% of those polled did not understand that repealing A.C.A. would remove coverage they needed. Is it coincidental that Trump’s support has always been around 38 or 39%. Looking more closely at the Republican Party, here’s what was also discovered.
The pollsters dug into more specific consequences of repeal, too. Among Republicans, only 47 percent knew that the Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies would be rolled back — 29 percent said Medicaid and the subsidies would be unaffected, and another 24 percent weren't sure. So fully 53 percent don't know or don't believe that repealing Obamacare would repeal its coverage expansion, too.
But all that makes perfect sense, of course, since it doesn’t appear that President Trump has really understood the difference between Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act either. In classic Trump fashion, he stated:
"Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated."
Nobody knew? Never one to take any responsibility, Trump tipped his ignorant hand in that simple statement.
Don’t be distracted. Don’t get fooled.