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Strange, What Trump And Obama Have In Common

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Strange, What Trump And Obama Have In Common

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Obama, Trump

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

WASHINGTON — Chilling in tropical Bali, Barack Obama is much on people’s minds here as Obamacare’s fate is discussed behind closed Republican doors. Outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., elegant Capitol office, reporters are a dime a dozen — and the men who grimly come and go never speak of Michelangelo.

Things aren’t what they used to be, as Obama’s ghost watches in mute agony. Yet, I might add, he bears blame for this wrenching winter, spring — and now summer. His perplexing lack of action helped Trump over the wall to take the Oval.

Now comes President Trump’s chance to wreck Obama’s cherished Affordable Care Act. Trump summoned the 52 Republican senators to the White House during the drama, which meant they had to board a bus in front of protestors for Planned Parenthood. Several women were dressed as chained characters in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Oh, what a rare scene, under storm clouds, while the bus lingered and held the caucus captive to hear free speech.

At 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Trump plunked himself between senators he hoped to sway his way with his patented charm: Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. So subtle.

As he addressed the gathering, Trump had a hard time remembering senators do not work for him. He can’t fire anyone at the end of the hour. They each have their own agenda and state at heart. To finish his lack of leverage, Trump ran against a few in the 2016 election, such as Marco Rubio (R-FL). He taunted him as “Little Marco.” I’m sure Rubio remembers that. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was “Lyin’ Ted.”

The only friend Trump had in the Senate was Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the Alabama Republican who is — for now — attorney general. The Confederate name is a clue, but what does Trump care? Trump was angry with Sessions recusing himself from the Russian investigation; what does “recuse” even mean?

Strange thing passing, but the Republican repeal push on health care echoes Obama’s efforts to get it passed in the first place, six or seven years ago. First, neither the 44th nor the 45th president have strong ties or friends in Congress. Lacking discipline for unity, Trump will remain an obstreperous outsider to the political establishment; that’s what he ran on.

Too cool for school, Obama never insulted colleagues in Congress during his short time there as a senator, but he was aloof and absent, often on a book tour and already planning to run for president. A freshman, he fatefully forgot to court elders, like McConnell.

Obama’s best friend, Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., would have championed and shepherded a stronger health care reform bill faster through Congress — had he lived a year longer. Kennedy died in August 2009 at 77. The weaker Obamacare bill finally passed (with a lift by Speaker Nancy Pelosi) in 2010, with no public option to lower premiums.

Trump and Obama chose chatty vice presidents to soften their relations on the Hill: Joe Biden and Mike Pence.

Radically different in almost all ways, Obama and Trump share one important trait: Each is a loner at the end of the day. They play politics as powerful solo artists, when it is a team sport. Unable to persuade Congress to work with him, Obama eventually resorted to an executive order presidency.

It’s indefensible that independent artist Obama appointed Republican James Comey, known for a dramatic flair for piety, the FBI director. The president crossed the political street, impressed with Comey’s grandstanding as a George W. Bush appointee. Polls show Comey cost Hillary Clinton dearly in the presidential campaign, by speaking out against her (for no good reason.) Comey’s grave missteps on the email matter violated the FBI’s sacred rule: Keep American democracy — elections — intact.

Tragically, tepid Obama failed to speak when it mattered most, on Russian interference. He didn’t want to help Clinton even as his FBI guy hurt her. Summer faded into fall. Obama never told the American people fully and forcefully the nation was under cyberattack to swing the election toward Trump. We had a right to know.

Obama left the election hanging like a chad in Trump’s hands — and Donald’s new best friend, Vladimir. And look at us now.

To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

 

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15 Comments

  1. FireBaron June 30, 2017

    “What a long, strange trip this has been.”

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly June 30, 2017

      “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

      BYW, when the Author doesn’t know Jefferson Beauregard’s name, it gives one to wonder about the rest.

      Reply
  2. FF June 30, 2017

    Obama tried to reach out many times across the aisle, but the Republicans were having none of it. That’s why he may have been a loner at the end of the day, coupled with the fact that he preferred the company of his family after hours rather than concocting disgusting tweets that debase women.

    Reply
  3. Independent1 June 30, 2017

    As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of what is said in this article is right. I sent emails and letters to the White House pleading with Obama or whomever to at least set things straight on Hillary’s emails – to make it clear that despite Comey’s unwarranted criticisms Hillary broke no laws and did nothing with respect to handling her emails that wasn’t done worse by Condi Rice, Collin Powell and the entire Bush White House. There is so much that could have been said which would have opened the eyes of millions of Americans – but nothing.

    Despite the fact that I pointed out in my emails and letters that at the time of the election polls were showing that over 60% of Americans actually believed Hillary had broken the law – certainly something that wasn’t going to help her in the election. But Obama and White House did nothing to make Americans aware of the truth- that FBI Director Comey was committing partisan politics by grossly exaggerating the entire scenario around Hillary’s email; certainly something that could have well swayed the election. Comey was well aware that there were still over 50 million emails missing from the Bush White House years and that 22 White House people along with Rice and Powell had all used private servers to manage their emails during 8 years in office.

    Reply
    1. dtgraham July 1, 2017

      Agreed. The author has a point. Especially on health care. With enough negotiating, horse trading, effort, and arm-twisting, he should have been able to deliver something better than the ACA with those kinds of majorities, I would think. Where was the public option for example?

      Where I disagree, is on working with Congress. We know now that the GOP took a blood oath in January 2009 to sabotage everything Obama tried to do, even if it was something that they would normally have agreed to. He was to be allowed no victories if they could stop it. “If he was for it, we had to be against it,” said former Senator George Voinovich to Michael Grunwald. “He wanted everyone to hold the fort.” “All he cared about was making sure that Obama could never have a clean victory.”

      Reply
      1. Independent1 July 1, 2017

        I agree completely with your comments about Obama working with the Republicans. People who think Obama could have done more there don’t realize how determined the GOP was to not accept anything that Obama proposed which would make him look good and even remotely give him something he could campaign on for a 2nd term.

        But with regard to Obamacare, you need to take a look at the Wikipedia article on the Affordable Care Act. It outlines exactly why the Dems did not have sufficient majority to enact a public option or single payer, and it wasn’t because of GOP resistance, it was in the refusal of a couple left-wingers who refused to go along with a public option (and although this is about the Senate, I’m not even sure the Dems had enough votes in the House to support a public option or a single-payer option).

        See these excerpts from Wikipedia:

        After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of
        Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform.[146][147] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of representatives.[148] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group — in particular, Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman and Kent Conrad, along with Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe— met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the
        Senate healthcare reform bill.[149][150][151]

        Congressional Democrats and health policy experts like MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber[152] and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both community rating and an individual mandate to ensure that adverse selection and/or “free riding” would not result in an insurance “death spiral”.[153] This approach was taken because the president and congressional leaders had concluded that more progressive plans, such as the (single-payer) Medicare for All act, could not obtain filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to garner the votes necessary for passage.[154][155]

        Negotiations were undertaken attempting to satisfy moderate Democrats and to bring Republican senators aboard; particular attention was given to Republicans Bennett, Enzi, Grassley and Snowe. On July 7 Franken was sworn into office, providing a potential 60th vote. On August 25 Ted Kennedy—a longtime healthcare reform advocate—died. Paul Kirk was appointed as Senator Kennedy’s temporary replacement on September 24.

        After the Finance Committee vote on October 15, negotiations turned to moderate Democrats. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying centrists. The holdouts came down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and conservative Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson. Lieberman’s demand that the bill not include a public option[153][170] was met,[171] although supporters won various concessions, including allowing state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[171][172]]]

        On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for it, and all Republicans against (except Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[176] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[177]

        On January 19, 2010, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election to replace Kennedy, having campaigned on giving the Republican minority the 41st vote needed to sustain Republican filibusters.[147][178][179] His victory had become significant because of its effects on the legislative process. The first was psychological: the symbolic importance of losing Kennedy’s traditionally Democratic Massachusetts seat made many Congressional Democrats concerned about the political cost of passing a bill.[180][181]

        However, following the adoption of an individual mandate, Republicans came to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[125] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to prevent defections:[156]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act

        Reply
        1. dtgraham July 1, 2017

          If I knew at the time, I had forgotten that 34 Democrats in the House voted against the ACA. That’s stunning when you look back. Do you think that the 7 vote margin of victory would have been shrunk to nothing if some public option had been included? Also, couldn’t a bill with some type of public option such as a Medicare buy-in at any age, have been forced through the Senate with 51 votes the way that the new Republican AHCA is being attempted? It’s also a brand new piece of health care legislation. No filibustering is being allowed.

          The ACA did expand Medicaid eligibility to 400% of the poverty line I believe. However, even if the Supreme Court had not allowed red states to opt out of that expansion, that would have resulted in only an extra 5 million or so getting health insurance. That still would have left about 20-23 million uninsured. I guess that’s how insanely expensive private health insurance is when you have to buy it individually, even with subsidies. That’s why some type of public option was so important.

          Reply
          1. Independent1 July 1, 2017

            Remember, If the Dems had insisted on including a public option in the original ACA, Lieberman wouldn’t have voted for it in December of 2009, which means ACA would never have been enacted because the Dems couldn’t get it through the senate in 2010 because they no longer had a super majority. And with respect to a public option, you are aware it’s something that’s never been tried in the U.S. on a national scale, so no one can be sure it would really end up saving much and with the country already running 1.5 Trillion deficits back in 2009/10 and trying to pull itself out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, taking on added risk like ensuring millions of Americans’ healthcare when you’re already running up big deficits is really a risky proposition and in my opinion not something that should have been done. And if a public option is such a great thing, why is Vermont about the only state that’s legislated one over the past almost 7 years when there are more than 15 Dem run states??

            And you are aware aren’t you that Bernie’s push to expand Medicare to accomplish setting up a single payer health insurance program is a real stretch given that it’s been projected that doing so would add about 3.2 Trillion annually to America’s budgets thereby requiring huge tax increases? Those costs are projections from the Urban Institute. People have to be made aware that America is not some little European country or even Canada which has an economy smaller than California. Implementing something like a single-payer program in America with twice the population of Russia and a history of private market run insurance, is not something that would be implemented easily and not end up costing at least initially BIG BUCKS!! The U.S. healthcare system needs a lot of changes before people start talking about setting up a national public option or single-payer insurance. What’s being bantered around on these possible changes now are being proposed by people who are really novices with respect to running health insurance and really don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

            Reply
          2. dtgraham July 2, 2017

            i) the new GOP health care bill is being pushed through on reconciliation with only 51 votes needed. Why wasn’t the ACA done like that?

            ii) Yes, you need the tax revenue to finance a publicly run system of any kind. It has to be paid for. The Washington Post may do good investigative work but they’re also a conservative newspaper. You’re into that now? I frankly don’t know exactly how the European countries — the ones who have a dual, mixed public/private system — finance and run their public options. However, they do it successfully. Germany, for example, has a population of 82 million people. They’re not some tiny European country. Canada may have a population slightly smaller than California but it also has a huge land mass. So this works with either large populations or large geography.

            iii) At present your BIG BUCKS!! are being paid by average Americans who have to shell these big bucks out to private insurance shysters. That is, those who must buy health insurance individually. I’m sure that these Americans would dearly love to pay a few more taxes in return for getting rid of the private insurance pick pockets. Also, remember that a well run public option would have provided meaningful competition (as the article states) and may have reduced premiums from private insurers. Americans continue to pay far more for health care than anyone else. This is an acceptable alternative?

            iv) The Democratic party no longer truly represents what Americans want on certain issues. Single payer polls very well with around 60% favouring it. Too many Dem politicians have been bought off by big money interests in a political system that allows that to happen. Joe Lieberman was exhibit A but he has lots and lots of competition.
            http://www.gallup.com/poll/191504/majority-support-idea-fed-funded-healthcare-system.aspx

            v) I agree that 2009 wasn’t exactly the best time to be bringing something like this in. One party controlling all branches of government is rare though in the U.S. system, and you have to strike while the iron is hot. You don’t have much choice. Britain brought in their National Health Service immediately after WWII when they were shattered and recovering from the war and the bombing. Were American cities bombed out in 2009? Don’t use that as much of an excuse.

            Reply
  4. rhetoric_phobic June 30, 2017

    Well Obama and Biden are certainly close friends.
    I don’t see Pence and the Mrs hanging with the trumps in their off hours.

    Reply
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      Reply
    2. dpaano July 6, 2017

      Who’d WANT to hang out with Trump? I’d rather chew my arm off than to spend a minute with this man!

      Reply
      1. rhetoric_phobic July 7, 2017

        Not without a an pf pepper spray. 😀

        Reply
  5. 1Zoe55 July 1, 2017

    Never, ever compare President Obama to the orange lunatic we have to endure. Obama did try to compromise with the very folks in Congress who vowed to obstruct any legislation that would help our country. McConnell, Boehner (now gone), Ryan hurt America, not just Obama. These same traitors now have an ignorant hog in Trump who will destroy what is left of the Republican party before he is finished with his tweets, insults and collusion with Putin. Karma is sweet vengeance but I pray for America to survive.

    Reply
    1. dtgraham July 1, 2017

      Ha! lol. Ignorant hog. I haven’t heard that one yet. I’m liking it.

      Reply

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