As is becoming the new normal, a ton of things happened in Washington this week. Donald Trump kicked the week off by tweeting out a conspiracy theory, then he rolled out "Muslim Ban 2.0," and by week's end a gigantic fracas within the Republican Party was building to fever pitch. Oh, and that fever will not be covered by the new GOP Obamacare replacement plan, sorry.
But before we get to all the fun, we've got to address a pedantic point. The White House is shrinking in horror from the label "Trumpcare," but if the Republicans ever do manage to pass anything, the label seems inevitable. Trump can decree that the tides stop, but he's going to get swamped in the end. But our point is even more pedantic than that, because while Democrats are gleefully tossing around the Trumpcare label (precisely because it seems to annoy the White House), the biggest pushback so far has been from within the ranks of the Republican Congress. GOP critics of the bill, within the first 24 hours, were already calling it derogatory names (to them) like "Obamacare 2.0" or "Obamacare Lite." But some were pinning the blame directly on Speaker Paul Ryan, and attempted to coin their own new term: "RyanCare."
Here's where we get truly pedantic, because while we do indeed favor naming the bill after the principle mover behind it (for the time being -- because there is plenty of time later to slap Trump's name on it), we must insist on consistency. Therefore, in these pages, we'll be calling it "Ryancare" and not "RyanCare." After all, there is Medicare, Obamacare, and, soon, Trumpcare -- so this capitalization battle has already been fought and won. Mindless grammatical nitpicking aside, though, it's pretty easy to see why any politician would be leery of slapping his name on the new Obamacare replacement bill, because it is so awful.
How awful is it? Pretty damn awful. Here's the most succinct rundown of the GOP plan we've yet read:
So the Republican health-care plan is, essentially, you're on your own. They want to claw back the expansion of Medicaid -- sorry, working poor, you're on your own. They want to remove the Affordable Care Act's subsidies for middle-income people and replace them with some meager tax credits. If that isn't enough to allow you to afford coverage, you're on your own. That's also the principle behind the privatization of Medicare that Ryan has long advocated: He wants to replace Medicare's guaranteed coverage for seniors with a voucher that might or might not pay for private coverage. If it doesn't, you're on your own. Sure, millions of people will lose coverage if they repeal the A.C.A., but that’s less important than whether we're all enjoying more "freedom."
Think this is overstating the case? We don't, because Republicans not only hate the poor with a red-hot passion, they also will quote Jesus himself to justify hating both the poor and the sick. Here is freshman congressman Roger Marshall, from a recent interview, where he claimed that "morally, spiritually, socially" the poor and the homeless "just don't want health care."
Just like Jesus said, "The poor will always be with us." There is a group of people that just don't want health care and aren't going to take care of themselves.... The Medicaid population, which is [on] a free credit card as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising. And I'm not judging; I'm just saying socially that's where they are. So there's a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought [to] the E.R.
Hoo boy. Wonder what Jesus might have had to say about that attitude....
Omnipotent beings aside, though, so far the harshest criticism of both the Ryancare bill and the process Ryan is attempting to use to jam it through has come from his own fellow Republicans and conservatives. Here's a quick rundown of some of the worst comments from Ryan's own side of the aisle, so far:
Senator Tom Cotton, who has staunchly defended many of Trump's outrageousness (when even Republicans couldn't bring themselves to) -- to the tune of being called "Trump's wingman" in the Senate, mind you -- tweeted out a few pointed comments this week:
1. House health-care bill can't pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don't get it fast.
2. GOP shouldn't act like Dems did in O'care. No excuse to release bill Mon night, start voting Wed. With no budget estimate!
3. What matters in long run is better, more affordable health care for Americans, NOT House leaders' arbitrary legislative calendar.
Cotton also said, during an interview: "The bill that was introduced Monday night cannot pass the Senate. And I don't think it will be brought to the Senate for a vote."
Cotton said many of his colleagues hold similar views: “They might not have spoken publicly about it, but I can tell you a number if not a majority of Republican senators think that this process has been too breakneck, too slapdash, and they do not see a good solution for the American people coming out of the House bill as drafted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, offering support for waiting until the Congressional Budget Office can "score" the bill: "I think we need to know that."
Senator Mike Lee: "This is exactly the type of backroom dealing and rushed process that we [falsely] criticized Democrats for." [Editors: OK, we admit that we had to edit that sentence, for accuracy's sake.]
Even the conservative media was talking about Ryancare's awfulness. From Tucker Carlson at (of course) Fox News, while interviewing Ryan:
It's been seven years to the month since Obamacare passed, and I guess the obvious question is why in all that time couldn't Republicans formulate a plan most of them could agree on before going public with it. It looks like chaos....
I guess my question is, looking at the last election, was the message of that election really we need to help investors? I mean, the Dow is over 20,000. Are they the group that really needs the help? ...
The overview here is that all the wealth basically in the last 10 years has stuck to the top end. That's one of the reasons we have had all this political turmoil, as you know. So, it's kind of a hard sell to say, "We are going repeal Obamacare, but we are going to send more money to the people who have gotten the richest over the last 10 years." That's what this does, no? I am not a leftist; that's just true.
Man, when even Fox News breaks out the truth of the bill's awfulness, you just know it's gotta be bad....
Article after article appeared this week pointing out the fractures in the Republican Party over the Ryancare bill (we added two articles of our own to this flood, we should mention). But it wasn't just Republicans in Congress who got their licks in. Some of the most extreme conservative groups -- from the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity to the Club for Growth to FreedomWorks to Heritage Action -- all slammed the bill as well. Even Breitbart came out in opposition.
They were joined by many groups with actual health care experience, such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the AARP, all of whom expressed their disapproval of the Ryancare bill.
In fact, other than Paul Ryan, it was hard to actually find anyone on the Republican side who was speaking positively about the bill. Well, Trump did tweet out how wonderful everything is going, but that's kind of to be expected.
Trump himself is in a rather precarious position on Ryancare. He obviously was lying through his teeth throughout the entire campaign about how he had a secret healthcare reform plan that would "cover everybody" and be wonderful for all concerned. After he got elected, he swore up and down that just as soon as his Health and Human Services secretary was confirmed, that he'd be unveiling his magic plan, filled with rainbows and unicorns. That never happened, because Trump never had a plan at all. That's a key point that even the current media frenzy seems to be missing.
Instead, Trump was content to sit back and let Paul Ryan's famed wonkery solve the problem for him. The way Trump envisioned it, Ryan would announce his plan, the Republicans would all fall in line, and then they'd pass it and put it on his desk so he could sign something and loudly proclaim "Obamacare is dead!" That was the plan, at any rate. Trump -- again, obviously -- never cared about any of the details, as long as he could score political points.
But now Trump has been backed into being the arbiter of what is acceptable in the Obamacare replacement bill. He's jumped in with both feet on Ryan's side, and is attempting to rally Republicans behind the bill. The way Ryan sees it, Republicans in Congress have a "binary choice" -- vote for his bill without any major changes, or Obamacare will continue. Those are the only options Ryan sees, which he pointed out in a press conference: "We as Republicans have been waiting seven years to do this. This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare. The time is here. The time is now. This is the moment." My way or the highway, in other words.
Trump is (so far) backing Ryan up, to a point. He's been doing the carrot-or-stick version of mixing a charm offensive with naked threats to recalcitrant Republicans and conservatives. He sat down for dinner with Ted Cruz (who is not on board with Ryancare). He met with all the conservative groups who have come out against Ryancare. He's met with the Tea Partiers in the House. The message he's been giving them is that they can either pass this bill or face (his word) a "bloodbath" in the midterm elections. But Trump also seems to be willing to deal much more than Ryan, which led to an amusing Huffington Post article with the subtitle: "When One Parent Gives You The Answer You Don't Want...." Sean Spicer began pushing back on this notion in today's press conference, but like it or not Donald Trump has now become the de facto final say on what is acceptable in the Ryancare bill. The White House is also pre-emptively launching an attack on the Congressional Budget Office (which Paul Ryan eagerly seconded), because when the C.B.O. numbers arrive early next week, everyone knows they'll show that Ryancare falls far, far short of what Trump actually promised everyone.
The upshot is pretty ironic. Trump doesn't really care about the details, he just wants a bill to sign -- any bill. But now, he's going to be the arbiter of all those details, meaning he's taken ownership of the entire process he wanted to avoid. His choices are now uniformly bad: change the bill to make the House Tea Partiers happy, or see the bill get voted down in the House. If he does manage to do so, then the bill will likely be voted down in the Senate, as moderate Republicans balk at its stinginess. But the truly ironic thing is that if Ryancare passes, the people most negatively affected by it will be (pause for effect)... Trump voters.
Of course, it being the Trump Era, there was a lot going on this week outside of the big Ryancare fight. Now that Trump is president, when good numbers come out on the economy and unemployment, they are no longer "fake news," but instead prove what a wonderful job Trump's doing. Trump shows an amazing facility with Orwellian doublethink, since he's now happy with pretty much exactly the same numbers he was calling disastrous for Obama. Such is life in the Trump Era, though.
What else? Seems like Trump dodged a completely separate scandal with Mike Flynn, by firing him before the latest news even broke. Seems Flynn was -- all throughout the Trump campaign, mind you -- acting as a foreign agent for the Turkish government. Whoops! Forgot to mention that one, eh? Good thing Trump's already fired him, so he doesn't have to fire him all over again!
In other news about people sucking up to Trump to get a plum job, Jon Huntsman successfully got himself appointed ambassador to Russia, even though Trump ripped on his performance as ambassador to China during the campaign. We've got to wonder what particular Trump ass-kissing technique Huntsman used, since he might want to share a few tips with people like Mitt Romney and Chris Christie.
Speaking of people who got plum jobs for sucking up to Trump, Robert A. Heinlein once wrote a wise maxim: "Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so." Ben Carson this week proved (once again) that he is Exhibit A in the proof of this saying. Carson finally won confirmation, so he decided to address the Housing and Urban Development staff for the first time. He said many other bizarre, head-scratching things during this speech, but the Carson quote that got the most attention was:
That's what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.
We'd bet that they had the dream of "I wish I never became a slave," personally. But so many others have pointed out Carson's idiocy that we merely mention it in passing.
OK, this has gone on long enough, so let's just whip through two stories that in normal times would have been all people were talking about all week long. The C.I.A. is in the WikiLeaks spotlight, after someone leaked what seems to be an entire toolbox of electronic surveillance techniques. And in Pennsylvania, Democrats have suffered a "ransomware" attack, where nefarious hackers hold all your data hostage while demanding large sums of money to release the data. This is the first such attack on a political party, and it could have very ominous overtones for the future of politics, so it's worth paying a little more attention to than it has so far received.
Finally, we have two humorous items to close the news roundup. From both the "you can't make this stuff up, folks" file and the infamous "A man in Florida..." category comes the headline of the week: "Miami Lawyer's Pants Erupt In Flames During Arsonist Trial In Court." Insert your own "pants on fire / lawyer" joke here.
Republicans tried to get Trump fans in the holiday spirit this week by offering a green "Make America Great Again" Trump hat. But they made two embarrassing errors while doing so. In the first place, Ireland's symbol is a shamrock, which is a three-leafed plant. There's a reason for this that involves Christianity and Saint Patrick, if you're interested. But the Trump hat instead had a four-leafed clover on it, which is a symbol of luck, not Ireland. They compounded this error by telling everyone to have a happy "St. Patty's Day" which prompted responses such as "He wasn't a hamburger patty!" from annoyed Irish folks. To close on yet another bit of pedantry, please remember next week to wish everyone a happy St. Paddy's Day!
[Which brings us to a program note -- there will be no Friday Talking Points column next week, since we'll be enjoying ourselves down at our local pub in celebration. This column will resume in two weeks' time.]
It doesn't quite rise to a MIDOTW award, but if you're looking for an interesting read on a very unconventional Democrat, check out the Huffington Post profile of "Volatile" Curtis Wylde (a.k.a. "Lion of the Lou" and the "Wolf of West County"), a minor pro-wrestler in the Midwest who was inspired to get involved in Democratic politics by Bernie Sanders. He not only got elected as a state delegate to the Democratic National Committee, but ran for Missouri's statehouse as well. He lost, but he got 36 percent of the vote by just spending $6,000 (to his opponent's $77,000), and may run for office in the future as well.
Wylde is now somewhat of a spokesman for the #DemEnter movement, which is trying to get Bernie supporters elected throughout the Democratic Party, to revive it from within. Wylde was at the Democratic National Convention last year, addressing the pro-Bernie protesters outside, stating: "I'm in the Democratic Party and I'm here to stay, so I have to take it over. All of you have to take it over!"
As we said, Wylde certainly earns an Honorable Mention for how far he's made it so far, and we'll certainly be keeping an eye on him in the future. Check the article out, it's a fascinating read.
This week, however, we're going to hand the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award to... a woman. Which woman? Well, we have to admit we're not sure, but whichever one the protesters were talking about in their "Day Without A Woman" rallies this week. That's a snarky way of being pedantic, once again, since we really think they should have gone with the plural, but then who are we to criticize political sloganeering (especially when we would lay ourselves open to charges of paternalism by doing so)?
All kidding aside, the women's movement is now at the highest point it has been in decades in American politics. This started almost spontaneously with the Women's March On Washington, the day after Trump was sworn in. So we are glad to see the effort continue, especially now that the weather's turned nicer (having attended inaugurations, we know how incredibly dedicated you have to be to protest anything in January in Washington).
More power to the women who organized this protest, and more power to women in general! Some of the organizers even got themselves arrested for forming a human wall in front of Trump Tower, which shows some real dedication to the cause.
So, snark aside, we're giving out the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week to not just a woman, but every woman who took to the streets this week or otherwise showed support for the movement. We heartily applaud this type of protest, and hope to see a lot more of it in the future.
[We have to begin with a caveat -- because this is such an organic movement, we're not 100 percent sure this is the correct link for the main organizers of the protest. So if you have a correction or other links, please add them in the comments. Having said that, please congratulate International Women's Strike on their website's contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]
We also have a group of protesters for the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, sadly. Here's the story, from a local Vermont news source, of what happened at Middlebury College during and after a scheduled speech by Charles Murray, one of the authors of the controversial book The Bell Curve:
Middlebury College Professor Allison Stanger was injured by protesters Thursday evening as she was escorting a controversial speaker from campus. She was treated at Porter Hospital and released. …
As Stanger, [Charles] Murray and a college administrator left McCullough Student Center last evening following [Murray's speech] they were "physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors," according to Bill Burger, the college's vice president for communications and marketing.
Burger said college public safety officers managed to get Stanger and Murray into the administrator's car.
"The protestors then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus," he said. "At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public Safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus.
"During this confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Prof. Stanger's hair and twisted her neck," Burger continued. "She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and (on Friday) is wearing a neck brace."
Here's another report of what happened, from the New York Times:
When Mr. Murray rose to speak, he was shouted down by most of the more than 400 students packed into the room, several witnesses said. Many turned their backs to him and chanted slogans like "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray go away!"
After almost 20 minutes, it was clear that he would not be able to give his speech, said Mr. Burger, the [college] spokesman. Anticipating that such an outcry might happen, Mr. Murray was moved to a separate room equipped with a video camera so that Allison Stanger, a Middlebury professor of international politics and economics, could interview him over a live stream. Mr. Burger said the administration felt strongly that Mr. Murray's right to free speech should be protected and that "no one should have the heckler's veto."
Once the interview began in the second room, protesters swarmed into the hallway, chanting and pulling fire alarms. Still, the interview was completed and officials, including Ms. Stanger, escorted Mr. Murray out the back of the building.
There, several masked protesters, who were believed to be outside agitators, began pushing and shoving Mr. Murray and Ms. Stanger, Mr. Burger said. "Someone grabbed Allison's hair and twisted her neck," he said.
After the two got into a car, Mr. Burger said, protesters pounded on it, rocked it back and forth, and jumped onto the hood. Ms. Stanger later went to a hospital, where she was put in a neck brace.
There's a line protesters shouldn't cross, and some in this crowd obviously crossed it. Now, you can argue about whether shouting down a scheduled speaker (the "heckler's veto") is a good tactic or not, but it is at heart a non-violent tactic. Preventing someone else from speaking may be rude as all get-out, but it doesn't hurt anybody. Whether it's effective or not is debatable, but it doesn't deserve automatic condemnation.
However, physically attacking not only a professor but also a car is beyond that line. That is closer to a riot than a protest. Violence is simply not justified in such a situation, period.
It is, in fact, counterproductive in the extreme, at least if you care about others being convinced to join your cause. Nobody's going to change their minds when they see a mob attacking a woman or a car. Plus, it is ironically showing the most extreme amount of intolerance possible.
If the second report is correct, then possibly this was the result of outside agitators -- which can be a problem at any political protest (from the left or the right, to be fair). But no matter who perpetrated the violence at Middlebury College, they have more than deserved a clear rejection of their tactics. Along with a Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.
[Due to the anonymity of the violent protesters, we have no link to offer to contact them to let them know what you think of their actions, sorry.]
Volume 428 (3/10/17)
Before we begin this week's talking points, we have to point to the final talking point from last week, which corrects the historical record from all the rampant Republican revisionism over how Obamacare was passed. Because the hypocrisy is so incredibly pungent right now that even Republicans are pointing it out.
Twisting one quote from Nancy Pelosi into saying something she wasn't implying caused Republicans to remember the Obamacare debate as one which happened unbelievably fast and without anyone getting a chance to see what was in the bill. This never actually happened. The entire process of passing Obamacare took over a year and had many votes -- each of which were completely scored by the C.B.O. and hashed out for months beforehand.
This isn't the way Republicans remember it now, but that is the truth. Which is why we direct everyone to Talking Point 7, from last week. Because right now, Republicans are doing exactly what they've long accused Democrats of doing. And even some Republicans are taking umbrage. So it seems a good time to set the record straight, once again.
OK, enough "old business," let's get on with this week's talking points!
Trump should know all about McCarthyism
Before we get to ripping into Ryancare, there's one big point that needs making. Oh, and a side note -- we fully expect to see some more headlines begin with the exact same phrase in the future, if the past few weeks have been any guide: "Trump, Citing No Evidence, Accuses...."
"Last week, Donald Trump tweeted out a conspiracy theory about Barack Obama tapping his phone, and in his very first tweet he used the phrase 'This is McCarthyism!' Well, Trump ought to know all about that sort of thing, because one of the most influential mentors in Trump's entire life was Roy Cohn -- Joe McCarthy's sidekick. Cohn met Trump back in the 1970s, and they had a long relationship where Cohn taught Trump all sorts of McCarthyist tricks (some of which he still uses). It should also be noted that an hour later, Trump was back on Twitter attacking Arnold Schwarzenegger once again. Let's see, which American politician was it who was famous for attacking Hollywood celebrities, again? His name is right on the tip of my tongue...."
There was no Trumpcare plan to begin with
This is the second big campaign promise Trump's broken in this regard (the other was his magic non-existent plan to defeat the Islamic State, if you've forgotten).
"Why is Donald Trump out there rallying support for Paul Ryan's repeal-and-replace plan in the first place? I distinctly remember Trump promising at each and every rally that he personally had the answers on how to replace Obamacare, and that he'd be rolling it out 'on Day One.' Remember that? It wasn't that long ago. His Trumpcare plan was going to be big. It was going to be beautiful. It was going to cover everybody, and not kick anybody off the insurance they had now. It was going to be cheaper for everyone, and better for everyone too. I distinctly remember him promising all of those things. But you know what? None of that happened. It was all a giant con job, folks. The very fact that Trump is now supporting Ryancare proves that there never was a Trumpcare plan to begin with. Chalk it up to just another of Trump's big lies and unfulfilled promises -- a list that is growing by the day."
Need a dictionary, Paul?
Paul Ryan unintentionally got off the funniest line of the week, during his press conference (with PowerPoint slides!) explaining how wonderful Ryancare was. This one is a make-it-yourself talking point, because it's pretty easy to point out that what Ryan is describing is not the evils of Obamacare, but the actual definition of how health insurance works, at the most basic level. Here are Ryan's own words:
The fatal conceit of Obamacare is that we're just going to make everybody buy our health insurance at the federal level, young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for older, sicker people. So the young healthy person's going to be made to buy health care, and they're going to pay for the person, you know, who gets breast cancer in her 40s, or who gets heart disease in his 50s... the whole idea of Obamacare is... the people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick. It's not working, and that's why it's in a death spiral.
Suck it up, Buttercup
This should really come as no surprise at all, to anyone.
"The numbers are starting to get crunched on Ryancare, and -- surprise, surprise! -- the people who will be most negatively affected by it are core Trump voters. Here's a rundown: those who stand to lose $7,500 or more in health insurance subsidies went for Trump by 58 percent to 39 percent. Those who will lose between five grand and $7,500 went for Trump 60-35. Those who will lose $2,500 to $5,000 went for Trump 49-45. So the more likely you are to be a Trump voter, the more likely it is that you'll be losing thousands of dollars under his 'big, beautiful' health care plan. Didn't P. T. Barnum have a saying about folks like this? I'm just asking...."
Let's break the awfulness down
A hat-tip to Paul Waldman at the Washington Post, whose entire article could have been just pasted in as this week's talking points section. Waldman wrote the article "The New Republican Health Care Plane Is Awe-Inspiringly Awful," and his section headings are the bulk of the following talking point (just to give credit where it's due).
"OK, let's take a look at Ryancare and see what it accomplishes, one goal at a time, shall we? Ryancare undoes Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which even some Republican governors have come to love. Also, the Medicaid trust fund will be drained a lot sooner than under Obamacare. Ryancare replaces direct subsidies, paid when health insurance is bought, with tax credits that people will likely have to wait until the end of the year to see -- which is a bridge too far for millions of American families. Also, these subsidies will be drastically slashed, meaning they'll be useless for millions who can't afford to make up the difference. Also, more of these credits will be given to people who don't need them, while the poorest get far less. Instead of paying a penalty for not having insurance to the government, Ryancare makes you pay the penalty to the insurance companies. Ryancare allows the insurance companies to charge older people five times what they charge younger people, instead of Obamacare's 3-to-1 ratio -- meaning a lot of seniors are going to have to pay a lot more money. Oh, and the icing on the Republican cake, of course -- Ryancare will give a huge tax cut to the wealthiest Americans, which specifically includes executives in the health industry who make more than $500,000 a year. What's not to like, right?"
Screwing lottery winners
This one is just downright bizarre.
"Republicans from Sean Spicer on down have been touting the fact that the Ryancare bill is only about 60 pages long, as if shorter were always better when legislating. But amusingly enough, a full ten percent of the Ryancare bill deals exclusively with making life tougher for lottery winners. Yes, you read that correctly -- ten percent of Ryancare was devoted to making sure anyone who wins a lottery gets promptly kicked off health subsidies. This truly seems to be a solution in search of a problem, like much Republican legislation. Seriously, guys, it took ten percent of your entire bill to crack down on lottery winners? Really?"
Robbing Peter to pay for the wall
This one is pretty unbelievable, which is why we saved it for last.
"The Trump White House had a brilliant new idea recently, that needs a lot more attention. First Trump promised everyone who would listen that Mexico would pay for his beloved border wall. Then he decided that he'd slap a big tariff on Mexican products at the border, meaning that American consumers would pay for his wall. Now, though, Trump seems to be considering an even-worse idea. From a recent report: 'The Trump administration, searching for money to build a border wall and fund a deportation force, is weighing significant cuts to the Coast Guard, T.S.A., FEMA, and other federal agencies focused on national security threats.' That's just stunning -- Trump is going to pay for his border wall by slashing the budgets of the actual people who do the actual work of making our country safe? As one unnamed U.S. security official said: "Cuts to Coast Guard are insane. Ask what it costs for U.S.C.G. security at Mar-a-Lago every weekend.' I'm still waiting for the outrage from Republicans -- you know, the outrage they would have been screaming if a Democrat ever proposed cutting national security funding to pay for a pet project -- but so far all I hear is the chirping of the crickets."
-- Chris Weigant