Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Barbara McQuade: Mueller Report’s 300 Pages Could Reveal If Barr Is Playing Politics

Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress regarding the Mueller report raises more questions than it answers.

On Sunday, Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress reporting the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into any links between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The letter purported to reveal Mueller’s principal findings, but it raises several significant questions that can be answered only by disclosure of Mueller’s entire report, which the Justice Department says is more than 300 pages. [..]

While the law protects certain matters from public disclosure, our democracy depends on an informed electorate. Only by sharing Mueller’s full report with Congress and the public can we begin to answer these questions, hold our public officials accountable for their actions, and protect our elections from future attacks.

Paul Krugman: G.O.P. Cruelty Is a Pre-existing Condition

It’s already clear how the 2020 election campaign will be waged. Republicans will claim, falsely, that Democrats want to take away your hamburgers. Democrats will assert, truthfully, that Republicans want to take away your health care.

I guess we’ll see which argument wins.

On Monday, the Trump administration adopted a new position on a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act, telling a federal appeals court that it now supported the complete elimination of the law, which has made health insurance available to many Americans who wouldn’t have it otherwise.

We have a very good idea what would happen if this lawsuit were to succeed. Around 20 million Americans would lose health coverage.

While Donald Trump reportedly thinks that attacking the A.C.A. will please his base, the greatest devastation would actually come in states that strongly supported Trump in 2016, believing his promises that he would defend health care. In West Virginia, for example, 160,000 people — 11 percent of nonelderly adults — would see their health insurance snatched away.

Trump and his defenders are claiming that this wouldn’t happen, that they’ll unveil a great health care plan to replace Obamacare. But Republicans have been saying that for nine years, ever since Obamacare was enacted, and have never delivered. They don’t have a plan, and they never will.

So Republicans want to take away your health care. Democrats, on the other hand, want to make it better and cheaper — not just in the long run, with some kind of radical health reform, but right away.

Jamelle Bouie: Oliver North Showed Republicans the Way Out

Watergate, the modern template for an impeachment-worthy scandal, has informed much of the coverage of the Russia scandal, from congressional inquiries to the special counsel’s investigation into President Trump and his campaign. Central questions — Did the president conspire to illegally influence the election? Did he obstruct justice? — have clear antecedents in Watergate. And Trump himself bears more than a slight resemblance to Richard Nixon at his most paranoid and intransigent.

But while Trump’s belligerent and at times bizarre behavior may mirror that of his predecessor, he is operating in a vastly different political context than Nixon was in the 1970s. Then, the Republican Party had an influential moderate faction willing to work with Democrats. Now it’s synonymous with the right-wing. Then, fact-finding produced public consensus and eventually pushed Republicans to do the right thing. Now it heightens the partisan divide.

For this and other reasons, the Watergate example doesn’t fit the circumstances of the moment. But Iran-contra, the major scandal of the Reagan administration, does.

Catherine Rampell: If the GOP built their ideal health-care system . . . it’d be Obamacare

Wanna know the reason Republicans have had so much trouble coming up with a “replacement” plan for Obamacare?

Because if Republicans actually tried to devise a health-care system that fulfilled both conservative principles and their public promises, they’d probably propose something that looks too much like . . . Obamacare.

For reasons few can fathom, President Trump has revived the GOP’s disastrous, nearly decade-long effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act. In a legal brief filed Monday, his administration told a federal court that it believes the entirety of the 2010 law should be declared unconstitutional — not just the now-neutralized individual mandate but also all the popular stuff, too, including protections for those with preexisting conditions, letting young adults stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, individual-market subsidies, Medicaid expansion and so on.

Trump’s own health and human services secretary and attorney general reportedly opposed the move, as did Republican congressional leaders.

They must recognize that past Republican threats to health-care coverage helped power Democrats’ wave election in 2018. And they likely foresaw that attacking the ACA would unify the left — which had become divided over single-payer — even as it divided the right on what the heck to replace the repealed law with.