[Mr. Mulvaney, here is a healthy list of the legislative initiatives Republicans were for before they were against. Apparently, it was simple coincidence that they turned against these policies only after President Barack Obama began supporting them.]

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“Has [major U.S. political party] obstructionism grown to such perverse lengths that [major U.S. political party members] now oppose the exact things they used to support, just because of who is in the White House? …

“‘Never let facts get in the way of a political attack’ appears to be the [major U.S. political party members’] mantra. …

“Or perhaps, their ‘resistance’ movement has become so ingrained in their party that they are simply incapable of conceiving of a world in which they could work with the president on anything.”

These are quotes (with party ID blocked out) from a top White House official. I’ll give you the citation details shortly. Try to tell me from whose administration they come from — Obama’s or Trump’s — and which political party the official is criticizing. Trump supporters who bury their heads and live only in the now (good for mindfulness, bad for critical thinking) will say this is a time-honored accurate indictment by Republicans of Democrats. Attentive news consumers with any sense of recent history will say it could have come from the (credible) Obama White House or the (hypocritical, propaganda-spewing) Trump White House.

The envelope, please:

(Mulvaney, Mick, R-S.C., [Trump administration] Office of Management and Budget director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting director; “Democrats’ Complaints About CHIP Funding Are Hypocrisy in Its Purest Form”; The Washington Post; 5/22/2018.)

Yes, that was director of OMB and acting director of CFPB Mick Mulvaney complaining about Democrats putting a few small branches on the train tracks carrying the congressional Republican majority’s legislative locomotive. Remember, the GOP is in charge of both chambers of Congress. They are dismantling major protections — for children, Earth, and the little guy — against abuses by large corporations and the politicians beholden to them. But Mulvaney thinks Democrats are standing in the way of good government.

This is hypocrisy (and hyperbole) “the likes of which the world has never seen” (— thanks to Donald J. Trump).

GOP Hypocrisy Primer

Here’s a review of recent political history:

“After the 2008 presidential election, the losing team was in shock. Soon, shock turned to anger. On inauguration night, about 15 of the top Republicans in Congress gathered at the Caucus Room, a high-end D.C. establishment, not to lick their wounds but to ensure the failure of Barack Obama’s first term and 2012 re-election campaign. They would block everything the president tried to do, no matter how much Republican support a policy or piece of legislation had garnered in the past — and no matter what the cost to the American people.”

(Ersin, Tom; Barack vs. the Anti-PC: Laying the Groundwork for a 2016 Donald Trump Presidential Run; 2017.)

“As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington. The event … serves as the prologue of Robert Draper’s … new book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives. According to Draper, the guest list … included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.), and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The nonlawmakers present included Newt Gingrich … and Frank Luntz. … Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz. For several hours … they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.”

(Stein, Sam; “Robert Draper Book: GOP’s Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night of Inauguration”; The Huffington Post; 4/25/2012.)




Here is a healthy list of the legislative initiatives Republicans were for before they were against. Apparently, it was simple coincidence that they turned against these policies only after President Barack Obama began supporting them.

Individual Mandate

In the 1990s during President Bill Clinton’s (D-Ark.) time in the White House, his spouse, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was commissioned to develop a plan for health care reform. Republicans were deathly afraid she would turn the U.S. health care system into a socialist-communist plot to transform the entire government. (The GOP is funny like that.)

Even though they were happy with the existing bloated, unfair, corporation-favoring, patient-disfavoring system, Republicans thought they might need a “Hillarycare” alternative in their back pocket. One of the piecemeal fixes they came up with was the “free rider” penalty (known today as the individual mandate) as a way to force healthy people who could afford it — so-called free riders — to buy into the national health care insurance pool. This would help balance the pool and keep overall rates lower. “Romneycare,” former governor Mitt Romney’s (R-Mass.) claim to fame, included the free-rider penalty.

During passage of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and into the 2012 election cycle, presidential candidate Romney and the GOP lambasted the ACA’s individual mandate as socialism, communism, fascism, unfair, and un-American.

End-of-Life Counseling

End-of-life counseling is just that: counseling. It’s often viewed as a part of hospice care, to help patients and families come to terms with the impending death and to discuss their options surrounding that event. Before Obama, Republicans generally included end-of-life counseling in their health care proposals.

When President Obama wanted to include coverage for this service in his health care insurance reform plan, however, the GOP began calling it a “death panel.” They propagandized that sick and old people would have to go before Obama’s death panels to see if they warranted coverage, to see if they lived or died. You might have fond memories of former Republican vice presidential candidate and tea party darling Sarah Palin lamenting to adoring crowds that had Obamacare (and its death panels) been in effect when her child with Down syndrome was born, he probably would have been aborted by the government after birth, or something like that.

Sarah was half-right: that would have been disgusting had it been remotely true.

Clean Energy

Republicans used to support clean energy. They used to support hybrid vehicles, electric battery technology, wind power, and solar energy. Heck, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) even did a fight-climate-change public service announcement with his Democratic rival Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2008.

After Obama was elected and began supporting clean power initiatives, all of that went out the window. In fact, tea party-fueled GOP climate-change denial came into vogue during that era. Newt “changed his mind” and said the science doesn’t support that humans and greenhouse-gas emissions are causing a dangerous warming of Earth’s atmosphere. He also said his PSA with Pelosi was one of the stupidest things he’s ever done.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, Newt. You’ve done way stupider things than that.

The List Goes On

The Republican policy flip-flops after President Obama took office also include the following issues: campaign finance transparency — they were for it before they were against it (TWFIBTWAI); Medicare cost savings (TWFIBTWAI); automobile company “bailouts” (TWFIBTWAI); cap and trade (TWFIBTWAI); deficit-reduction commission (TWFIBTWAI); welfare flexibility (TWFIBTWAI); gun violence prevention (TWFIBTWAI); deficit spending (TWFIBTWAI); DREAM Act (TWFIBTWAI); immigration reform (TWFIBTWAI); public education (TWFIBTWAI); nuclear START treaty (TWFIBTWAI); and others.

Play the TWFIBTWAI home game and see how many other GOP policy flips you can find that this writer forgot.

Here’s Mick’s full quote, unredacted:

“Has Democratic obstructionism grown to such perverse lengths that Democrats now oppose the exact things they used to support, just because of who is in the White House? …

“‘Never let facts get in the way of a political attack’ appears to be the Democratic mantra. …

“Or perhaps, their ‘resistance’ movement has become so ingrained in their party that they are simply incapable of conceiving of a world in which they could work with the president on anything.”

(Ibid.; Mulvaney; 5/22/2018.)

Mick Mulvaney, your galactic hypocrisy is exceeded only by your sycophantic support for the most vile, egomaniacal confidence artist ever to befoul a television screen. ●

 

In Other News

In this author’s ongoing attempt to keep casual news consumers up to date on the antics of Trump, I offer you the Greatest (Autocracy and Corruption) Hits of the week.

“Paul Manafort’s Ex-Son-in-Law, Ex-Business Partner Jeffrey Yohai Cooperating w/ Mueller”

“The former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has cut a plea deal with the Justice Department that requires him to cooperate with other criminal investigations. … The guilty plea agreement … could add to the legal pressure on Manafort, who is facing two indictments brought by the special counsel Robert Mueller in his inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”

(“Manafort’s Ex-Son-in-Law Reaches Plea Deal to Cooperate in Investigations”; Reuters; 5/17/2018.)

“Qatar, Kushners Near Deal to Bail out 666 5th Ave.; Trump Admin. Now Supports Qatar”

“In a deal that would bail out the family of senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, Kushner Cos. is nearing a deal with a unit of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. to salvage its investment in an over-leveraged Manhattan office tower. … The Qatar Investment Authority, which invests on behalf of Qatar’s government, is the largest owner of the unit, Brookfield Property Partners LP.”

(“Kushners Near Deal With Qatar-Backed Firm to Save Investment in Troubled Manhattan High-Rise”; Bloomberg; 5/17/2018.)

“In Donald Trump Jr.’s Senate Judiciary Cmte. Testimony About His Trump Tower Mtg. w/ Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, He Said He Couldn’t Remember or Didn’t Know 100-Plus Times”

“If there’s one thing Donald Trump Jr. cleared up with his congressional testimony, it’s that he doesn’t remember a lot of things. In a newly released transcript of his testimony, Trump repeatedly couched his answers about that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting by saying he did not ‘remember’ or that he didn’t ‘recall’ certain things. Even when he was pretty sure, he’d say ‘not that I recall’ or something like that. The result was a pretty cagey piece of testimony. [We have chronicled] a list of 54 substantive issues on which Trump cited his lack of a memory.”

(Blake, Aaron; “54 Things Donald Trump Jr. Couldn’t ‘Recall’ or ‘Remember’ in His Testimony”; The Washington Post; 5/16/2018.)

“Trump Secretly Pressed USPS 3 Times to Double Amazon Shipping Rates; Trump Hates Owner Jeff Bezos Who Also Owns Washington Post; PO Director Bravely Pushed Back, Said No”

“President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages … a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars. Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission. … She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries. Despite these presentations, Trump has continued to level criticism at Amazon.”

(Paletta, Damian & Dawsey, Josh; “Trump Personally Pushed Postmaster General to Double Rates on Amazon, Other Firms”; The Washington Post; 5/18/2018.)

“FBI Used Informant in Early Trump-Russia Probe, Not Embedded Spy as Trump Claims”

“President Trump accused the FBI on Friday, without evidence, of sending a spy to secretly infiltrate his 2016 campaign ‘for political purposes’ even before the Bureau had any inkling of the ‘phony Russia hoax.’ In fact, FBI agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos. … He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under FBI scrutiny for his ties to Russia.”

(Goldman, Adam & Mazzetti, Mark & Rosenberg, Matthew; “FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims”; The New York Times; 5/18/2018.)

“2nd Don Jr. Trump Tower Mtg. Revealed, This One in August 2016: Representatives for Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE Discussed Illegally Helping Trump Campaign”

“Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr. … One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor [Erik Prince, brother of Education secretary Betsy DeVos] with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor. The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office.”

(Mazzetti, Mark & Bergman, Ronen & Kirkpatrick, David D.; “Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election”; The New York Times; 5/19/2018.)

“Trump Investigates Investigators, Orders DOJ to Determine if FBI Spies Were Planted in His Campaign; Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Deflects, Hands Question to DOJ Inspector General”

“President Trump tweeted on Sunday that he is demanding the Department of Justice investigate whether the FBI ‘infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.’ His demand, which he said he would be ‘officially’ issuing on Monday, comes after days of threats by the president and his allies to expose the identity of an alleged FBI informant who interacted with Trump campaign officials in 2016 while the Bureau looked into potential ties between the Russian government and members of the campaign.”

(Tillett, Emily; “Trump Demands DOJ Look Into Whether FBI ‘Infiltrated’ Campaign”; CBSNews.com; 5/21/2018.)

“Michael Cohen’s Business Partner w/ Mob Ties Accepts Plea, Will Cooperate w/ Mueller”

“A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations.”

(Hakim, Danny & Rashbaum, William K. & Wang, Vivian; “Michael Cohen’s Business Partner Agrees to Cooperate as Part of Plea Deal”; The New York Times; 5/22/2018.)

“Former Obama DNI James Clapper, Who Served Under 10 Presidents Until Trump, Says in New Book Russian Meddling Definitely Swung 2016 Election to Trump, Trump Is Damaging Presidency”

“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper accuses Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a new book of not caring about foreign interference in the 2016 election as long as President Trump won. In his new book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence, released Tuesday, Clapper hammers the GOP leaders for not taking a harder stance on Russian meddling in the presidential race.”

(Wise, Justin; “Clapper: Ryan and McConnell Didn’t Care About Election Interference as Long as Trump Won”; The Hill; 5/22/2018.)

“Ukraine Paid Michael Cohen $400K for Trump Mtg. to Obtain U.S. Missiles; Days Later Ukraine Stopped Cooperating w/ Special Counsel Mueller About Paul Manafort Connections, Corruption”

“President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen was paid by Ukraine to arrange a meeting between the country’s president and Trump, the BBC reported Wednesday. … Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arranged to pay Cohen at least $400,000 to set up the meeting, which took place at the White House in June.

“A Ukrainian intelligence official told the BBC that the country’s registered lobbyists could only arrange a photo-op with Trump, so they reached out to Cohen to set up a ‘back channel’ to the president. Cohen is not registered as a representative of Ukraine. After the meeting, Ukraine halted an anti-corruption investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the BBC.”

(Anapol, Avery; “BBC: Ukraine Paid Cohen $400K to Set up Talks With Trump”; The Hill; 5/23/2018.)

And that’s only some of the stories from this week. ■

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Historical References: