Author: By Jennifer Rubin

Trump launches cruise missile strike, eradicates ‘America First’

THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS President Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press) President Trump — who ran a presidential campaign excoriating interventionism, ridiculed the idea of action in Syria, voiced confidence we could leave Bashar al-Assad in place and reintroduced the noxious 1930s “America First” rhetoric — when confronted with the real world threw away all that refuse and launched a retaliatory missile strike on the airfield from which planes carrying sarin gas took off earlier in the week. The Post reported,...

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The health-care fiasco was not inevitable

THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS Stephen K. Bannon during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last month. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post) Today President Trump, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), moderate House Republicans and Freedom Caucus Republicans risk their jobs, their credibility and their agenda. How could this have gone differently, without the potential for political self-immolation? Consider some alternative scenarios. In the first, Trump could have stuck to his campaign populist themes. Rather than defer to Ryan and to Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price (whose plan was essentially what Ryan had in mind...

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How Ryan messed this up

THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press) Conceding failure for now, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has postponed the House vote on the Republican health-care plan. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) helped explain how things went so wrong at her news conference earlier in the day. She was plainly enjoying herself at Republicans’ expense. She heralded the Affordable Healthcare Act as “overwhelmingly” successful on this, its seventh anniversary. She chided President Trump, whom she called a “rookie.” But she also cut...

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Trump’s closing pitch underwhelms

THE WASHINGTON POST OPINIONS President Trump arrives at the Capitol to talk to House GOP members on March 21 in Washington. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post) President Trump’s breathtaking lack of interest in or grasp of policy made his appearance on Capitol Hill in favor of Trumpcare pathetically underwhelming. The Post reports: Assuring Republicans they would gain seats if they passed the bill, the president told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, to stand up and take some advice. “I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote...

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Meryl Streep strips the bark off Trump

While being honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 2017 Golden Globe awards, actress Meryl Streep criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s performance on the campaign trail, specifically when he mocked a disabled reporter. (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) Meryl Streep’s evisceration of President-elect Donald Trump at the Golden Globes Sunday night left a lasting impression because she refrained from delivering an ideological rant; rather, she presented a demonstration of moral shaming. She did not mention him by name or label him. She described what he did/does and explained why it matters: There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. Aside from rank Trump apologists, who can really look at the video of Trump, arms flailing, and not see an act of immense cruelty directed toward a specific person? Republicans (including...

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Trump must prove Putin’s assessment wrong

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool via European Pressphoto Agency) The declassified report from our intelligence agencies confirmed that Russia hacked and used other techniques (including social media, state-funded media and “third-party intermediaries”) to try to undermine confidence in our election system, denigrate Hillary Clinton and help elect President-elect Donald Trump. (By the way, by also flat-out labeling RT as a Russian propaganda outlet, the report whacks Trump’s pick for national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, who went on the station many times and insisted it was no different from CNN.) Russia “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report states. Trump defensively tried to prove the unprovable — that Russia had no impact on the election. But he ignores the bigger slam to his credibility: Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks Trump is a soft touch. Isn’t his ego just a tiny bit bruised by Putin’s conclusion that, as they used to say of Soviet-friendly westerners, Trump is a “useful idiot” ? Trump liked to say during the campaign that Putin thought he was “smart.” In fact, Putin, it seems, figured Trump is a fool. While using public flattery to woo Trump, Putin worked stealthily to stop the more aggressive candidate, Clinton, who plainly had Putin figured out. Trump’s cringe-worthy admiration for Putin has become a running joke on SNL. He might actually and...

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Questions for the repeal and delay’ crowd

The HealthCare.gov website. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press) Republicans are patting themselves on the back for “keeping their promise” and moving to repeal Obamacare with no replacement in sight. Is this really what they promised? Republicans ran on repeal and replace, not repeal and we’ll get back to you. They did not run on adding debt or on defunding coverage without an alternative. At times it is almost comical. In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) argue for repeal via reconciliation and simultaneously propose a balanced budget amendment. Repeal of Obamacare of course will cost money (as much as $350 billion, by one estimate), so how is this consistent with cries for a balanced budget? It isn’t. It makes you wonder if any of these folks have done their homework. Anyone proposing repeal and delay should have to answer tough questions, including: How do you address the added deficit when Obamacare is repealed? What is your alternative? If you have an alternative why can’t we see it? What alternative to Obamacare can pass the Senate? If you eliminate subsidies, what about those priced out of the exchanges? How do you protect those with preexisting conditions once the subsidies disappear? If you repeal the individual mandate, what keeps the insurance companies in the exchanges? How are you going to pay...

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Without Megyn Kelly, Fox News’s prime-time lineup is a complete joke

Megyn Kelly is leaving her high-profile spot on Fox News for a daytime program and Sunday night news magazine show on NBC. Her move leaves a big programming hole in Fox’s primetime lineup. (Erin Patrick O’Connor,Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post) The Post reports on Megyn Kelly’s departure from Fox News: Kelly will host a daytime news and discussion program, anchor a Sunday-night newsmagazine show and be featured in NBC’s political programming and other big-event coverage, NBC said Tuesday. Kelly, 46, has been the host of Fox’s second-most-watched program, “The Kelly File,” and has been a breakout personality in the cable news landscape. . . . “Kelly’s departure does change the tenor of the network a bit,” [Fairleigh Dickinson professor Dan] Cassino said. “She was the most visible Trump skeptic on the channel, and when she leaves, she leaves a lineup that’s much more pro-administration than it was when she was there. That’s a bit of a branding problem for Fox, which would like to be seen as being more balanced, but it’s not likely to hurt them in the ratings.” Since taking over a prime-time slot in 2013, Kelly generally has hewed to Fox’s conservative format but has often been less ideological than O’Reilly and Hannity. Put differently, with Kelly’s exit from Fox, NBC has won twice. First, it recruited a respected, highly popular female journalist who appeals to Democrats...

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