An Exceptionally Bad Week For The GOP

Trump has been bad for the Republican Party (along with America and the rest of the free world). Last week was exceptionally bad. In the interest of time I will briefly touch on several of the disasters; in the process I’m certain I will neglect to even mention some. It was that bad! Let’s explore.

The importance of qualification for a job was clearly illustrated last week. During a Sunday interview Hillary Clinton mentioned that part of the prudent preparation for the disaster in Puerto Rico was to have dispatched the hospital ship USNS Comfort and have it steaming toward Puerto Rico before the storm hit. Under Trump it didn’t leave port until last Friday, a work week after Clinton told Trump how to do his job. Unlike in the two earlier disasters where those affected where often white and always were eligible to vote in presidential elections, Trump waited until Thursday (more than 10 days) to suspend the Jones Act and only did so after public pressure and a gaffe.

Sticking with Puerto Rico for a bit, Trump repeatedly “slapped himself on the back” for the great job he was doing in the wake of the disaster. Last weekend Trump all but ignored the crisis while golfing at one of his resorts. (Since when does the President get to take a vacation almost every weekend?) In fact his main preoccupation last weekend was tweeting about NFL players. As of this writing (Saturday morning) Trump has yet to forward a formal request for a Puerto Rico aid package to Congress. However Saturday morning he did have time to unleash a tweetstorm on the San Juan Mayor who was telling the truth on Trump’s woefully incompetent relief effort. What does she know? She hasn’t played a round of golf, taken a mulligan or watched an NFL game in weeks.

Early this week the latest version of Trumpcare died in the Republican controlled Senate without even reaching the floor for a vote. Trump lied about that too as part of an impromptu press conference he had as he exited the White House for his weekend away.

Earlier in the week Trump’s choice in the Alabama Republican run-off to permanently replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate lost to an extreme right wing candidate backed by Steve Bannon. Luther Strange – whose main qualifications appear to be loyalty to disgraced former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who appointed him to the position and Trump – was soundly defeated by racist and homophobe Roy Moore despite personal campaign appearance on Strange’s behalf by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Moore’s victory coupled with Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker’s announced retirement at the end of his current term means that if Mitch McConnell still has a majority in January of 2019 it may look more like a coalition than a unified caucus. The really bad news for McConnell is that other GOP Senators may follow Corker’s lead and their seats will be pursued by extremists that have a good chance of winning the Republican primary. If elected they will be renegades and if they lose in the general they will be losing to Democrats. Neither scenario is good for Mitch or the GOP!

Another illustration of just how pitifully incompetent Jared Kushner is was reported this week. It appears that he is currently registered to vote in New York as a female. That 2015 registration taken in isolation could be just a matter of a clerk checking the wrong box when entering the information and Kushner never checking the documentation he received from his local Board of Elections. Now consider that in 2009 he registered in New Jersey with the gender of unknown. That, especially taken with his other “paperwork problems”, represents a pattern. Is it that the questions are too tough or the forms too complex for Jared the alleged genius? I have registered to vote in New York, Florida and North Carolina; it’s not that difficult. Consider that Trump has put his son-in-law in charge of peace in the Middle East and redesigning government. Enough said.

Then there was the resignation of HHS Secretary Tom Price. Politico did some great investigative reporting and revealed that Price had taken over $1 million in military or private jet flights since taking office earlier this year. When confronted with his misdeeds, Price offered to pay for “His seat” to the tune of just under $52,000. I like using Chuck Schumer’s line that members of the Trump administration only do the right thing after they are caught doing the wrong thing. In this case Senator Schumer was too generous. Several other members of Trump’s Cabinet have committed similar transgressions. I am among those who feel Price’s inability to get Obamacare repealed was a factor in his forced exit.

I saved the best for last. Trump unveiled his tax cut plan which is being sold as tax reform. In a matter of hours it was revealed for what it truly is: a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. One of its major elements is the repeal of the Estate Tax. The (billed as non-partisan but truly conservative – it is part of the Brookings Institute) Tax Policy Center has done some good work on analyzing the portions of the plan where the “blanks have been filled in”. It estimates that only 5,500 of about 3 million estates will be subject to the Estate Tax in 2017. That is less than one-one hundredth of one percent. And half of those would end up with a 9% tax. The exemption threshold for a married couple is $11 million. How is this a middle class tax cut?

As to the oft used argument about the Estate Tax ruining family farms, the Tax Policy Center projects that only 80 farms or small businesses will be effected by the tax. That is 1.6 farms or small businesses per state.

I’ve already gone on too long. Enjoy your Sunday. With Trump in the White House our days may be numbered.

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