In 2014 this country scored a victory when Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed to serve as Surgeon General of the United States. That did not come easy as many of my readers may recall. To get the win the gun lobby had to be pushed back to allow for the members of congress to do the right thing. In the senate the fight for the nomination was hard and unrelenting as the gun lobby and those they bought tried to stall the vote.
The reason for all this was due to Murthy daring to say that gun violence was a public health issue in the United States. Well duh!
So though it was upsetting it was not surprising that this past week when few people were paying attention–in other words late Friday night — Trump relieved Dr. Murthy of his duties. That’s a dirty shame.
But as you know from following politics, and perhaps by reading this blog, the actions of those controlled by the NRA are predictable. The loss of Murthy took place on the eve of the corporate gun lobby’s national convention. Who could be shocked?
Now as we land in the week when Trump is to address that convention we are again confronted with the reality that the public health issue of gun violence in the United States needs to be addressed. I understand the political reality of this speech. It’s another return on the corporate gun lobby’s investment after they spent millions on Trump’s behalf when large swaths of the Republican Party were slow to embrace him. Trump loves those who kiss his ring and bow and spit-shine his shoes. And he returns the favors.
But lets not forget that Trump has already paid those bastards at the NRA back many times over already. Since his election he has tapped their man to serve on the Supreme Court, he made it easier for people with mental illness to get their hands on guns, and then fired Murthy.
But there is never enough when it comes to making it easier for people to own too many guns, accumulate ammo like it was going to become scarce, and spray bullets that make for daily headlines. Like many others who also follow politics I too know when it comes to Trump and the gun lobby it is likely they are just getting started.
Perhaps the NRA could be kind enough to push for a tax credit for the purchase of coffins for those who die from gun violence. The very guns they advocate for.
The numbers from the latest NBC/WSJ poll show where the divide I wrote of yesterday about two Americas clash when it comes to issues. The idea that Donald Trump will have any easy time finding success with his legislative agenda can be jettisoned with these poll findings.
Lets face it the public is not aligned with Republican views. The anger and retribution felt in the last election was visible and troubling. But when it comes to needing to be reasonable about the real matters facing us it requires a more cerebral approach taken. The latest poll has some numbers that show where America is and what the GOP needs to be concerned about as they struggle to move forward.
1) 50% of Americans have little to no confidence that Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare will make things better, versus just 21% who have some or a great deal of confidence
2) 57% agree with the statement that free trade is good, versus 37% who think it’s bad
3) 60% believe immigration helps more than it hurts, versus 32% who think it hurts more than it helps
4) A combined 67% believe action is needed to global climate change, versus a combined 32% who disagree
5) And 57% of Americans say that the government should do more — the highest percentage here on this question dating back to 1995 — while 39% say the government is doing too many things.
The headline in the Wisconsin State Journal this morning read “Trump backs off border wall”. The news is in relation to the must-pass debt limit bill. The whole idea of a border wall is silly on its face but the idea that Trump was going to take Congress along on a ride over this racist measure when the status of our national government is at stake is simply off-the-charts crazy.
That Trump is stepping back from the brink over the wall can be seen in two ways. First–and let me be fair about this–it does show a notion of bipartisan deal-making that has been absent from this White House for the first nearly 100 days. I am under no illusions but for the moment it is refreshing. By stating that the border wall is not crucial is an adult and responsible thing to do when the looming closure of the federal government would spell disaster. This is how deals get made–this is how the Washington we have all known for decades works. And I am pleased to see it happen.
Secondly, let us also grip a political fact. There was never going to be this funding placed in the debt limit bill. So Trump’s concession comes as members of Congress from both parties were set to defy his wishes anyway.
When congress finds its resolve and operates in an air of compromise and when a president can show some ideological flexibility–well–movement can happen. There may be reason to smile just a bit today that perhaps the trains can be placed back on the tracks in our government.
The latest NBC/WSJ poll shows two Americas.
There are Republicans and Donald Trump’s most committed supporters on the one side and everyone else on the other side. It really does come down to that.
In the poll, 82% of Republican respondents, 90% of self-described Trump voters, and 56% of white working-class Americans approve of Trump’s job as we approach his 100th day in office. That will be on Saturday.
But from there it is all bad news for him.
Trump, by his lack of insight, resume, character, and knowledge of the issues has lost nearly everyone else in his first three months in the Oval Office. He is making history for being so low in the polls at this stage and for being so highly disregarded. The poll shows that just 7% of Democrats, 30% of independents, and 34% of college-educated whites give Trump’s job a thumbs-up. Overall, the president’s job-approval rating stands at 40%. Mind you that is the lowest ever in the history of the NBC/WSJ for a new president.
What we are seeing should not surprise anyone. We all knew this was what would happen. We all knew Trump would be a failed presidency based on what he is. This base-vs.-everyone else issue is in part is due to his lack of outreach. He plays to angry white under-educated males than those in the middle.
None of this plays well for the nation or the complex issues that require an engaged and informed president who can lead.
David Remnick nailed it in The New Yorker.
With his nativist and purely transactional view of politics, he threatens to be democracy’s most reckless caretaker”: “On April 29th, Donald Trump will have occupied the Oval Office for a hundred days. For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy. Trump does not afford this. … The hundred-day marker is never an entirely reliable indicator of a four-year term, but it’s worth remembering that Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama were among those who came to office at a moment of national crisis and had the discipline, the preparation, and the rigor to set an entirely new course. Impulsive, egocentric, and mendacious, Trump has, in the same span, set fire to the integrity of his office.
Who would have thought someone with no abilities would prove to be so incompetent? The answer is everyone who knew Ben Carson.
“God is Ben Carson’s favorite subject. Brain surgery is a close second. Housing is somewhere further down the list. … Less than two months into the job, Carson still holds forth on God and neurosurgery, but his views on housing policy remain largely a mystery. While he’s making good on a promised listening tour to learn about the $48 billion agency he now leads, he’s done little public speaking about the urgent issue at hand – a lack of affordable housing.
“That’s one reason why early excitement over his nomination has given way to bewilderment and now frustration. Every policy job at the agency remains vacant, and advocates who thought Carson’s celebrity would raise awareness of affordable housing have been disappointed. President Donald Trump doused any remaining hope when he said he would slash HUD funding by 13.2 percent.”
Lead story — “Trump polls at record lows … LEAST POPULAR PRESIDENT IN MODERN TIMES… Base still loyal; 73% approve of efforts to keep jobs here–It is a must read by Dan Balz and Scott Clement.
“Trump’s first months in office have produced some tangible successes. Beyond the continued enthusiasm of his most loyal supporters, a small majority of Americans see him as a strong leader. A bigger majority approves of his efforts to pressure U.S. companies to keep jobs in this country. Those who say the economy is getting better outnumber those who say it’s getting worse by the biggest margin in 15 years in Post-ABC polling. But the president’s balance sheet overall tilts toward the negative. Majorities of Americans say Trump has not accomplished much during his first months as president. Meanwhile, he shows little improvement on his temperament and honesty, and while he’s gained ground on empathy, over 6 in 10 still say he does not understand the problems of people like them.”
The president’s approval rating stands at 42 percent, the lowest recorded at this stage of a presidency dating to Dwight Eisenhower. Trump’s 53 percent disapproval rating is 14 percentage points higher than Bill Clinton’s 39 percent disapproval in April 1993, the worst before Trump. Eight years ago, then-president Barack Obama’s approval was 69 percent, his disapproval 26 percent.
The Post-ABC poll finds 43 percent of Americans said they strongly disapprove of Trump’s performance. That’s also the worst by far of any president since George H.W. Bush by more than double. In the spring of 1993, 21 percent said they strongly disapproved of Clinton’s performance.