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Cheap Sarcasm (w/Apologies to The Hill)

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., 28 June 2017. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo/File)

Would someone please correct me, as I’m wrong?

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied Friday that former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush were referring to President Trump when they warned in separate speeches Thursday about politicians sowing anger and division in the country.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP Photo)“Our understanding is that those comments were not directed towards the president and, in fact, when these two individuals, both past presidents, have criticized the president, they’ve done so by name and very rarely do it without being pretty direct, as both of them tend to be,” Sanders said. “So we will take them at their word that these actions and comments were not directed at the president.”

(Easley)

The thing is, I’m loath to pick on The Hill, this time around, but perhaps someone accidentally edited out the part where White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders actually quoted or cited former Presidents Bush and Obama when claiming to “take them at their word”.

That is to say, she didn’t just make it up, right?

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A Whiff of the Racket

#extortion | #WhatTheyVotedFor

President Donald Trump, joined by HHS Secretary Tom Price (left) and Vice President Mike Pence (right) explains his intention to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, 24 March 2017, at the White House, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by The Washington Post)

The setup, here, is not particularly complex. We can start with blaming Democrats after the collapse of #Trumpcare, which apparently failed to be #SomethingTerrific. It seems a reliable first instinct for Republicans; that is, as Steve Benen notes:

When Donald Trump’s Muslim ban failed miserably in the courts, the president was quick to assign blame—to everyone but himself. Now that the health care plan Trump wanted has also collapsed, he’s desperate to avoid responsibility, though he seems unsure who to point the finger at first.

Trump’s first instinct, evidently, was to call the Washington Post to blame Democrats.

And if the president seems to be engaging in that weird Republican sense of sport by which one simply says enough wrong that there is no reasonable way to address every problem, well, right, he is. That is to say, here we all are a few weeks later, and Mr. Trump is still upset that Democrats won’t do Republicans’ jobs for them. Again, Benen:

The confused president was nevertheless convinced that Democrats should’ve helped him destroy the most significant Democratic accomplishment since Medicare—because Trump said so. Indeed, despite the White House’s previous claims that Republicans would shift their attention towards tax reform, Trump told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that he not only remains focused on health care, he’s also considering a new hostage strategy to force Democrats to give him what he wants.

In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump said he was still considering what to do about the payments approved by his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama, which some Republicans contend are unconstitutional. Their abrupt disappearance could trigger an insurance meltdown that causes the collapse of the 2010 health law, forcing lawmakers to return to a bruising debate over its future.

“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said, referring to cost-sharing reductions. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt…. What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”
In other words, when the president says he doesn’t “want people to get hurt,” he means he will start hurting people by sabotaging the American health care system unless Democrats take steps to satisfy his demands.

This is a terrible habit. That is, we all know Donald Trump likes a bit of the tough-guy, wannabe mafioso bluff, but he is President of the United States of Amerca, and should not be seen threatening extortion over legislation, full stop.

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Something About Shakespeare, Something About Kidneys

Ariel and Bernice ride along with Madame Oreille.  (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, ep. 3)

More often than not, Alexandra Petri is a useful target for recreational ridicule. Still, though, nobody is without their moments. We dig ourselves holes; it sounds silly of me to note that Petri wrote a decent―hell, actually good―article, since I’m quite certain this is well within her capabilites. After all, you don’t reach the Washington Post without some skill.

Once you have the job, that’s when you can sit back and cruise on a vapid pretense of wit.

See what I did, there?

Oh, come on. At least she isn’t Jennifer Rubin.

Right. Petri:

America gets more assurances of unconditional Love and Approval in the course of a single candidate speech than many WASP children get in the course of their entire childhoods, and we turn out okay, although years later we bring this fact up indignantly during Thanksgiving dinner and start sobbing for no reason. My point is: America does not need this.

But the people who run for president, and the people behind them, beg to differ. The people who listen to speeches, they seem to feel, will absolutely wither up and die without hearing how remarkable the American way of life is, and how special the American dream has proved to be. If that does not come up at some point in the speech, paired neatly with fears for Our Children, these fragile listeners will run from the hall in tears and you will lose their votes for good.

Otherwise why do they insist on doing this?

She does move on to Shakespeare and kidney transplants, but her headline, “Rand Paul and Ted Cruz secretly gave the same speech” not only reads well, but proves true.

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