- The Washington Times
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Democrats have been busy crafting a political epic, which is the fate of the American Health Care Act. The “Trumpcare” story may prove to be great family fare with a happy ending, or a heroic saga. No doubt, Democrats would prefer the Republican legislation to either end up as a murder mystery or screwball farce — and they are ramping up an intense production. Their language is emotional and follows a strategic script, amplified by a mostly sympathetic news media, which is eager to give the Democrats’ performance a good review — and much coverage.

Sen. Bernard Sanders spent the entire weekend on stage, traveling to Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to condemn the American Health Care Act before grass-roots audiences, many holding up preprinted signs that read “Don’t take away our healthcare,” some calling out “I will die, I will die,” among other things.


“How can it be a health care bill when it throws 23 million people off of insurance, slashes Medicaid and defunds Planned Parenthood? God knows what the implication of this legislation will be on our children, the elderly and those with chronic illness,” Mr. Sanders said in a fundraising outreach to help pay for his tour.

“If this legislation was to pass, and if millions of people — many of whom are terribly ill today — were to lose the health care that they have, there is no question that many, many thousands of our fellow Americans could die unnecessarily,” Mr. Sanders told an audience on one of his last stops.

“Is this what America is supposed to be about, taking away health insurance from kids with disabilities, from people with cancer in order to give tax breaks to billionaires? That is what this entire debate is about,” said the Vermont independent during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Mr. Sanders is not alone in weighing in on the pending legislation. Dramatically.

“If there’s a chance you might get sick, get old or start a family, this bill will do you harm,” said former President Barack Obama.

“Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party,” tweeted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also advised, “This is a critical moment about choosing people over politics. Speak out against this bill.”

GRACIOUS IVANKA

What doesIvanka Trump think of her father’s frequent tweets? She offers some insight on President Trump’s use of social media in an interview airing Monday with “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt.

“I try to stay out of politics,” she said, then added some appreciative words for her father.

“His political instincts are phenomenal. He did something that no one could have imagined he’d be able to accomplish,” Ms. Trump continued. “I feel blessed just being part of the ride from Day 1, and before. He did something pretty remarkable. But I don’t profess to be a political savant.”

WORRIED, AND NOT WORRIED

“As the U.S. Senate begins considering legislation that could significantly change the nation’s health care system, the cost of health care leads the list of what Americans consider the most important financial problem facing their family. The 17 percent who name health care costs as their family’s most pressing financial problem is up 7 percentage points since 2013 and is just 2 points shy of the all-time high of 19 percent recorded in 2007,” writes Andrew Dugan, a Gallup poll analyst.

Americans also fret about debt (11 percent), lack of money (10 percent) and college expenses (10 percent). There is some relief, though: the 10 percent of Americans who say low wages are their family’s biggest problem this year is the lowest since before the 2008 financial crisis.

Other financial problems Americans mention include the cost of owning or renting a home (9 percent), the high cost of living (8 percent), retirement savings (6 percent), taxes (5 percent), unemployment or loss of a job (3 percent), Social Security (3 percent) and lack of savings (2 percent). The pollster also found that nobody is worried about the stock market, investments, energy costs and gas prices while 1 percent are concerned for the economy and interest rates.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Supreme Court Retirement Age Bingo”

— Convenient new term from HotAir.com analyst Jazz Shaw.

“The annual summer ritual has begun. For most Americans it involves a trip to the lake, a cookout or some fireworks. But in the world of political punditry it signals the beginning of the Supreme Court recess and the question of whether or not any of the justices are preparing to bail out on the job and go spend some well-deserved time with their families” says Mr. Shaw.

INTERESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

The Watergate Hotel has announced it is in the process of designing a one-of-a-kind “Watergate Scandal Room 214.” The room itself served as a kind of command post prior to the break-in on June 17, 1972, at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office complex next door.

No word on the particular design, which pairs Lyn Paolo, the costume designer of ABC’s “Scandal,” with Rakel Cohen, co-owner of the hotel itself. Linens, in-room amenities and closet items will be tweaked to “showcase the property’s significant history and underscore the guest room’s allure to so many global travelers,” management said.

The hotel already embraces its past; room keys include the phrase “No Need to Break-In,” President Nixon’s political speeches are incorporated as “hold music” in the phone system, and complimentary pencils in guest rooms are engraved with “I Stole This from The Watergate Hotel.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 56 percent of U.S. voters approve of the job President Trump is doing “fighting terrorism”; 88 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

• 55 percent of voters overall approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing with job creation; 89 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

• 55 percent overall approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing with the economy; 90 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent overall approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing with immigration; 84 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

• 48 percent overall approve of Mr. Trump “as president of the United States”; 86 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harvard University/Harris/The Hill poll of 2,258 registered U.S. voters conducted June 19-21.

• Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com


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