Sunday, July 23, 2017

Choosing 'Trumpism' over, um, governing?

Newt Gingrich told a gathering the other day that state and local leaders should embrace "Trumpism."

Not surprisingly, he did not define his terms. Racism? Sexism. Infantilism?

Whatever. The former House speaker, whose greatest gift to democracy – correction, to Democrats – was to shut down government in 1996, observes the wreckage Trump wreaks in Washington and sees a movement to emulate locally.

Gingrich, touting his new pamphlet, er, book, "Understanding Trump," calls our president "the most effective conservative – functionally – in our lifetime."

Most effective, perhaps, with his thumbs.

We've come to appreciate his skill at driving his Twitter-mobile and motoring through cable options with his remote. It's how he keeps his finger on the nation's pulse.

TV is how he found his new communications director, Wall Street hedge-funder Anthony Scaramucci. Trump lusted for his charms after many appearances on "Fox & Friends." TV is what Trump tweeted he WASN'T watching the day after he got back from Europe to find Don Jr. ensnared in the Russian Collusion-lollapallooza.

Whatever you call Trumpism, don't call it governing.

Governing, at least in our system, involves more than one person who is all thumbs.

Of all the disgraceful things Trump has done -- and he is to national embarrassment what Barry Bonds was to tape-measure blasts -- the most disgraceful so far came after another failed Senate "repeal, replace" vote:

"We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it . . .  We'll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us."

Yeah, the old Gingrich strategy: Just let it all go to hell. We don't care.

As Steve Pearlstein writes in The Washington Post, the Trumpcare debacle reflects the fact that Republicans are good at talking (tweeting?), but they "simply aren't ready to govern."

Here's the thing, though. Some Senate Republicans want to do something else. (Though expect Ted Cruz to hold his breath until he turns indigo.)

Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have discussed committee hearings to address key deficiencies impeding the Affordable Care Act.

One proposal: a reinsurance program to help insurers with a high percentage of higher-cost members. Another is funding of cost-sharing subsidies crucial to keeping insurers in the state exchanges.

McCaskill champions a plan to let people in rural regions that have lost insurers under ACA to buy policies in the District of Columbia, where lawmakers can get theirs.

Some Democrats have offered the concession of the repeal of some ACA taxes.

Let's say the Republicans work with Democrats to help stabilize the ACA (a very remote chance considering it would have to pass the House) and keep it working for the millions who rely on it today. Would Trump veto it?

If he abides by Gingrich's definition of Trumpism, yes, he would.

He would let millions of Americans go without health care, because what he wants is what he wants, and what they want is not that.

The problem is that Trump doesn't know what he wants except for chaos. This is the message he conveys to lawmakers.

            He held a beer-and-boast photo-op with House Republicans after their passage of a repeal-and-replace measure. Later he told Senate Republicans that bill was "mean, mean, mean."

Since then, the Congressional Budget office has certified that the bill touted by Senate Republicans was every bit as mean. And Trump is angry that it didn't pass?

What does the man want? By review, he's said he'd never cut Medicaid or Medicare. He said "everyone will be covered" and at much less cost under his plan. He said single-payer Australia has a better health system than we do.

This is Trumpism. No wonder Newt needs a book to explain it.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


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