March 26, 2017

Sunday School 3/26/17


Lots going on in Sunday School today.

Intelligence. Russia. Healthcare and health insurance. Trump. Ryan. Gorsuch. Let's see what's going on in a few classrooms, shall we?

On Face the Nation (CBS), for me, the highlight of the show was the commentary by John Dickerson at the end of the first half hour. They had talked about the health care debacle, and about the actions of the House Intelligence Committee, and about president Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. I didn't see any really new ground broken there.

Talking about the president and the office of the presidency, Dickerson noted that Trump said President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower; we know now that the FBI has no evidence of that (which means that Trump lied, even though Dickerson didn't use those words); he talked about the difference between the president and the office of the presidency, and then he quoted one of Trump's favorite presidents, Andrew Jackson.
"I shall keep steadily in view the limitations of my office," said Andrew Jackson. Break the limits and you break the office. 
Nevertheless, President Trump compared his predecessor to Nixon and McCarthy, called him sick and bad. To break glass like that, a president must have a good reason and proof. President Trump had no evidence and no higher purpose. Tending the presidency is important for a disruptive president like Donald Trump, because it shows people he knows the line between renovating the office and demolishing it.
You measure twice and cut once. You don't cut without measuring at all.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Director of the Office of Management Budget Mick Mulvaney, a former member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, talked about the failure of the Rs to repeal and replace Obamacare. Chuck Todd asked Mulvaney about Trump pinning the failure on Mulvaney's caucus and on prominent conservative groups the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation. Here's Mulvaney's response.
Yeah, and I think there's plenty of blame to go around. As we sat over the last two days and tried to figure out what happened, I think what happened is that Washington won. I think the one thing we learned this week is that Washington was a lot more broken than President Trump thought it was. So what you have is the status quo wins, and unfortunately the folks back home lost...
Todd pressed on:
So, the Republican party has not changed Washington after taking over the House in '10, taking over the Senate in '14, and taking over the White House now?
Mulvaney:
I think more importantly, we haven't been able to change Washington in the first 65 days. And I think if there's anything that's disappointing and sort of an educational process to the Trump Administration was that this place was a lot more rotten than we thought that it was, and than I thought it was, because I've been here for six years. I know the Freedom Caucus, I helped found it. I never thought it would come to this. 
Interestingly, Mulvaney is not the only one who thinks that way. Texas Representative Ted Poe announced today he is leaving the Freedom Caucus.
I have resigned from the House Freedom Caucus. In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead.
CNN's State of the Union had the man who probably should have been President on, talking about the health care debacle. Yep, I'm talking about Ohio Governor John Kasich. Today's host Dana Bash asked about extreme partisanship, Republicans saying the old days are over and Dems being determined not to work with the Reps.
Well, that's pathetic. That's pathetic. First of all, it's not the old days anymore. If you don't have the old days back from the standpoint of people being Americans before they are Republicans and Democrats, nothing will get done. And if the Democrats don't want to reach out and be constructive, then call them on it. Talk about the fact that they won't help, because many of them will, if it's put the them...
And I understand that Donald Trump has said, maybe we should have done this more with Democrats. Right now, off the get-go, it's all partisan. The Democrats did it with Obamacare, and it's not sustainable. And the Republicans tried to do this with just Republicans. It doesn't work like that in our country. We're not a parliamentary system. And whenever you continue to operate like that what you pass will never be sustainable. And it will -- the people of this country, particularly the vulnerable, the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the chronically ill, who will pay the price for politics. It needs to stop. 
Kasich took it one step further, when Bash suggested he was talking about a utopia that simply doesn't exist in DC.
Well, there's a way to improve all of this and to save money and to transform the system. And look, if you're on the extreme, whether you're on the right of whether you're on the left, you ought to be marginalized. And that's what happens when you bring reasonable Republicans with reasonable Democrats together, and then you see the extremes start to move a little bit to be more constructive. Right now, when you start with a deck that's only a limited number of cards, then you don't have a big hand to play. Frankly, if Republicans quietly over time will reach out to Democrats, find the constructive ones, you will begin to marginalize the extremes. 
He didn't win the Republican primary, but he won this argument hands down. Extremism is killing us, and both parties own that. 

And our last look into the classrooms today, This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC talked about the Gorsuch SCOTUS nomination, and a potential filibuster with NY's Chuck Schumer. They also talked about another comment Schumer had made regarding delaying consideration of Gorsuch, in light of the Russia investigations. Here's how George posed it:
But you also said this week that it would be unseemly to approve Judge Gorsuch as long as this FBI investigation is going on into the Russian interference in our election. That could take years.
Schumer's response?
Yeah, but we didn't say years. What we said is for months. Let's see where -- look, this is a very important appointment - lifetime, affects America in huge ways. Judge Roberts came on the court, now Justice Roberts. Citizens United dramatically changed America. Taking away voting rights changed America. Trying to get rid of unions... So, let's see where this investigation goes for a few months and delay. It's up to our Republican colleagues. I hope they'll accept that argument. If the investigation looks like it's (going) nowhere, fine. If it looks like it's really serious, yeah, we ought to consider what I said. 
Interesting, using the 'fruit of the poisoned tree' argument to oppose Trump's nomination of Gorsuch. And it seems Schumer is not the first to make it -- Charles M. Blow made it back in February.

See you around campus.