A new Monmouth poll, conducted just before House Republicans revealed their new health care legislation, found that 51% of Americans said they would prefer to keep the Affordable Care Act and work to improve it, with another 7% saying they want to keep the ACA entirely intact. Just 39% want to see the ACA repealed, either with a replacement put in place (31%) or repealed entirely without a replacement (8%).
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 56% of voters support appointing a special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties between President Trump’s campaign staff and the Russian government, while just 30% do not.
A new Quinnipiac poll finds 52% of American voters say that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearings and 51% think he should resign. In addition, 61% are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about President Trump’s relationship with Russia.
“Reading The Revolt of the Elites gives you a deeper appreciation of the populist nationalist movement that propelled Trump to the presidency. It also gives you deeper insight into how Bannon thinks — his disdain for experts and party establishments, his skepticism on multinationals, his commitment to information warfare and the Breitbart comments section, his antipathy toward ‘globalists’ and his particular distrust of the West Coast elite Lasch writes feel more loyalty to Hong Kong and Singapore than they do to ‘Middle America.’”
Key passage: “At this point in our history the best qualification for high office may well be a refusal to cooperate with the media’s program of self-aggrandizement. A candidate with the courage to abstain from ‘debates’ organized by the media would automatically distinguish himself from the others and command a good deal of public respect.”
Jonathan Chait: “The Republican Party in its modern incarnation is incapable of writing a decent health-care bill, if we define ‘decent’ to mean both some level of technical competence as well as morally decent. That inability has been clear to the party’s outside critics for many years. Republicans have fervently denied this, and probably believed their own denials. As a result they locked themselves into a course of action that forced them to propose a bill on a deadline. They seem to have realized the impossibility of the task midway through, but, unable to retreat on their commitment, they instead rushed out a plan that is shambolic and cruel.”
“The best indication of the quality of the plan is that it has drawn almost universal scorn from the health-care-policy community. It’s predictable that experts on the left would dislike Trumpcare. But the right seems barely any more favorable. Conservatives like Peter Suderman, Philip Klein, Bob Laszewski, and Avik Roy, who have spent years savaging Obamacare, are united in their disdain for its replacement.”
More Jonathan Chait: “Following the unveiling of the House Republican plan to shrink Obamacare dramatically, two surprising things happened. The first is that the conservative-movement apparatus has lined up rapidly against the bill…. The second surprising thing is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his intention to jam the House bill through the Senate quickly. Rather than develop its own bills through committees and the normal debate process, McConnell declared he plans to bring it directly to the Senate floor. Neither of these decisions makes a great deal of sense on their own, and they make even less sense in conjunction with each other.”
“While McConnell’s plan might be necessary in order to keep the party’s legislative strategy on track, it is highly and even delusionally optimistic, given the state of his vote count. It also runs counter to the Senate’s institutional culture.”
“This raises a question: Is it designed to violate the Senatorial ego? And thus to fail? Neither the conservative revolt nor McConnell’s plan make a lot of sense if you view them as strategies designed to yield the most right-wing health-care policy that is attainable. They do make sense as a strategy designed to insulate Republicans from failure.”
Playbook: “Republicans have one chance to replace the health care law. Because of the rules of budget reconciliation — and President Donald Trump’s desire to overhaul the tax code on his second go-round — if Republicans screw this one up, they’re in trouble. They don’t really have a second chance.”
Politico: “Instead of CPAC, it’ll be the Ideas Conference… And it’ll be the Center for American Progress’s biggest move yet to establish itself as both the nexus of the Democratic Party’s future — and a player trying to shape what that future will be.”
“They’re roughly modeling the event on CPAC, the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering that’s become a prime stop for Republican leaders, and which notably gave Donald Trump his first major political platform as he was entering the fray.”
And here I thought the Netroots Nation/YearlyKos conference each year was already our own CPAC. And CPAC was a reaction to that.
“China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Donald Trump and his family to develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services,” the AP reports.
“If President Trump receives any special treatment in securing trademark rights, it would violate the U.S. Constitution, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress, ethics lawyers from across the political spectrum say. Concerns about potential conflicts of interest are particularly sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.”
Yeah, Trump has respect for women.
Rick Klein and Shushannah Walshe: “Get ready for Trump at war. That’s what it will take if President Trump hopes to salvage his health care bill – and it is his bill now – against the accumulated weight of the AARP, the House Freedom Caucus, GOP senators including Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, Heritage, the Club for Growth, tea party groups and even, yes, Breitbart News. This is new ground for a president who had expected to enjoy the fruits of united government. This conservative rebellion threatens to stall his entire legislative agenda, and we haven’t even heard the cost or the coverage consequences yet.”
“Remember that repealing and replacing Obamacare was supposed to be the unifying part of Trump’s lawmaking, given the nearly unanimous agreement the slogan drew among Republicans. But this is developing into a clear example where Republican leaders can’t match legislation to their words, and the more complicated rhetoric offered by the president. Call it Obamacare-lite, or Ryancare, or Trumpcare. But don’t call it law – not like this, not anytime soon, unless Trump puts his full weight into this push.”
New York Times: “The displeasure is forcing an uncomfortable reckoning in the Republican Party much earlier and in a much more disruptive way than many think is constructive. And it has many conservatives asking why — now that they control both houses of Congress and the White House and have remained largely united so far — they are picking a fight with each other.”
“The criticism from the right has grown so harsh that President Trump asked leaders of several conservative groups in an Oval Office meeting on Wednesday to tone it down.”
“Unified government was supposed to eliminate some of the infighting that plagued the Republicans during the Obama years, when the party’s right flank brought down a House speaker, defeated a House majority leader and blocked another majority leader’s ascent. Instead, it is underlining the difficulties of running Washington now that their party bears full responsibility.”
Wall Street Journal: “The budding feud between two men who share the unique bond of membership in the commander-in-chiefs’ club is a fresh distraction in a Trump presidency that has been struggling to enact its agenda. The rift also is distancing Mr. Trump from a former two-term president who had offered to give private advice and counsel as the onetime businessman settles into his first job in public office… They haven’t spoken, although Mr. Trump tried to call Mr. Obama to thank him for the traditional letter that one president leaves for his successor in the Oval Office. Mr. Obama was traveling at the time and the two never connected.”
“Keeping a low profile in post-presidency, Mr. Obama had decided he wouldn’t respond to every intemperate Trump tweet… But he was livid over the accusation that he bugged the Republican campaign offices, believing that Mr. Trump was questioning both the integrity of the office of the president and Mr. Obama himself.”
: Everything’s different now that Obama isn’t required to be civil to Trump.
Politico: “Lawmakers are trekking to CIA headquarters in Langley … to review classified evidence on Russia’s involvement in the presidential election. The House has scheduled its first public hearing on the issue. And the Senate is preparing to interview witnesses. The congressional investigations into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials are in full swing. For months, the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees said their investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election were in their ‘initial’ stages.
“On Tuesday, it became clear that the probes had moved into a new phase. The CIA is now providing raw intelligence documents to committee members, according to multiple senators.”
David Wasserman: “President Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was among the narrowest in history, and the country is deeply split on his job performance so far. But if you feel like you hardly know anyone who disagrees with you about Trump, you’re not alone: Chances are the election was a landslide in your backyard.”
“More than 61 percent of voters cast ballots in counties that gave either Clinton or Trump at least 60 percent of the major-party vote last November. That’s up from 50 percent of voters who lived in such counties in 2012 and 39 percent in 1992 — an accelerating trend that confirms that America’s political fabric, geographically, is tearing apart.”