Monday, January 30, 2017

The New Odor

Donald Trump has done one thing remarkably well; he's keeping all of his promises before February.  The Democrats, meanwhile, go around looking like they've been slapped around.
Trump announced an executive order banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the United States for 90 days, along with a 120-day ban on admitting refugees and an indefinite pause on admitting Syrian refugees pending a review of the vetting process - a vetting process that may already be one of the most thorough in the world.   The countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.  Not surprisingly, people all over the world and all over America are outraged and are taking to the streets demanding that something be done about it.  Congressional Democrats, as always, have merely been whining about it. True, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer has pledged to sponsor a bill repealing the order, but what power do the Democrats have to get it passed?  In the Senate, maybe, but in the House?
The White House said that these seven countries were singled out not because of their Islamic-majority populations but because of "concern" that these particular countries breed terrorism.  The administration has been quick to note that forty-odd Muslim-majority countries are not affected - including Saudi Arabia, the country all but four of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers came from.  And why is Iraq on the list, when the Iraqis are helping us fight the Islamic State and trying to take back Mosul from that same would-be nation?  This is something even John McCain can't comprehend.   
To be fair, the White House's bans on these countries and on non-Syrian refugees are temporary, and they could easily be rescinded sooner than scheduled if the Department of Homeland Security sees fit.  But Trump has been overplaying the bans and downplaying their temporary status to the point where people think they're permanent, causing a very serious public relations problem.  Nor did the Trumpster do himself any favors by exempting refugees fleeing religious persecution such as Christians in many of these same Muslim countries.  If he expressed any welcome for Muslims under religious persecution in countries dominated by non-Muslims, I must have missed that.
Meanwhile, leaked audio from the congressional Republican gathering in Philadelphia revealed that the House and Senate GOP leadership have no idea on how to replace the Affordable Care Act - though they're still hell-bent on repealing it.  Paradoxically, they're wringing their hands over the possibility of angering voters who have benefited from Obamacare by taking away their health insurance, though offending the Trump supporters within their base seems more suicidal.   The Democrats, again, offer talk but not much action, at least as far as I can tell from my vantage point - which is a laptop in my kitchen as I type this, so I suppose I have to make some allowances.
The truth of the matter is, though, that while the Republicans have firm group on the three branches of government despite their internal disagreements, the Democrats seem to be at loss for how to use what little power they have to stop Trump's worst initiatives in this new order that has descended upon Washington.  While people take to the streets and demand justice and fairness, Democrats in Washington react as if the old rules still apply.  The people are well ahead of the Democrats - supposedly the party of the people - and the party is losing the fight while increasingly showing signs of Whiggishness.  To wit: When it comes to political power, it's the GOP's world.  The Democrats are simply dying in it.

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