June 15, 2017

"President Trump's private comment earlier this week that the House healthcare bill was 'mean' is having a lingering, and potentially devastating, effect on his credibility among House Republicans."

"Members are still talking about Trump's comment, and their frustration that he'd throw them under the bus is likely to damage his ability to negotiate on major items like infrastructure and tax reform."

ADDED: Doing the tags for this post I started to type "mean" and was pleased to see it autocomplete to "meanies." I wouldn't make a new tag for "mean" at this late date in the life of the blog, but it was great to see that there is a "meanies" tag and to use it again. I had not used it since August of last year, when I had a post titled "The 3 meanest men Hunter S. Thompson ever met — one was Jimmy Carter" — "He will eat your shoulder right off," said Thompson, who also had this description of Hubert Humphrey that amused me by sounding like Trump:
His hair was bright orange, his cheeks were rouged, his forehead was caked with Mantan.... No! I thought. This can't be true! Not now! Not so soon! Here was this monster, this shameful electrified corpse – and raving and flapping his hands at the camera like he'd just been elected president.
Not so funny now that Trump actually is President... or is it?

I've only used the "meanies" tag a few times over the years, perhaps because I don't think of it unless the word "mean" is used. I see I had it here in January 2014, when Ron Paul said that the media will "get meaner and meaner when you run for president" and "pick you apart," and I wondered — assuming the media was going to be very mean in the 2016 election season — who we'd enjoy seeing bullied. Maybe Trump did well because he absorbed and deflected meanness better than anyone else.

The post that caused me to make the new tag "meanies" happened in October 2013: "Are Republicans following a 'don't be mean' strategy, and — if so — is a good strategy?" Very interesting! The Republicans do have a complicated issue around meanness! And, look, it was about Obamacare:

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh was complaining about the Republicans in Congress not going after Kathleen Sebelius.
She was sent out there today to absorb every bit of damage... but I don't know that the Republicans did much damage.

It's like they're afraid to. It's like there's still a fear of going after Obama, or going after Sebelius, just from the consultant level of the party or whoever's running the Republican Party. There seems to be some instruction that's gone out from on high to back off. "Don't even get close to making it look like it's personal! Don't be mean!... don't be critical, 'cause this thing's imploding itself, and it'll go down"...
But isn't that a good strategy for the GOP? Stand back and let Obamacare topple on its own. Don't give the Democrats the opportunity to blame Republicans or to distract people with their old go-to strategy: Portraying Republicans as mean.

Rush would prefer Republicans getting aggressive. Sebelius is "clearly the punching bag." "She's a sponge. She's supposed to soak it up and smile and take it." Riiight. Punching the 65-year-old lady is the way to go. Seems to me that if they sent her out there to be a "punching bag" (or sponge!) they were hoping Republicans would take hard enough shots to make her sympathetic. Which she so far is not.

Obviously, though, avoiding anything that anyone can ever call mean is a hopelessly ineffectual approach to a competition. Interestingly enough, it's something that has traditionally impeded females. And it's not even a good way to avoid meanness, this fear of being perceived as mean.

Years ago, my sons and I overheard a young girl yelling — over and over to someone who must have called her mean — "I don't want to be mean!" For years, in our house, we'd use that line "I don't want to be mean!" for various humorous purposes. Why are some people so shaken up, so manipulated by the horrible possibility that they might be mean?

So what should the congressional Republicans be doing? How to be effectual without fueling the other side's "Republicans are mean" game?

53 comments:

AReasonableMan said...

Trump's plan has always been to throw the Republicans in Congress under the bus. This is what he did during the primaries. It worked fine then and may work again.

Bob Ellison said...

Is this a competition for fake news?

Fen said...

Heh. Is there anything more ironic than House Republicans complaining about being thrown under the bus?

In related news, Tony Soprano whines about being mugged.

rehajm said...

Instead of just mean in quotes from an unnamed source can anyone find at least the complete sentence Trump actually said or Trump supposedly said according to a named source or Trump suposedly said according to an unnamed source?

Fen said...

Oh my bad, just skimmed the article. Not a SINGLE sourced quote. I'll believe Republican house members are upset when they are upset enough to put their name to a quote.

Until then, this is just fiction. Fake news from axios, whoever the fuck that is.

Boxty said...

Can someone link to audio or at least a direct quote of his comment? I read the CNN piece and couldn't find a single direct quote. In the video that CNN has playing next to the article on their website, Trump never says the word "mean."

Luke Lea said...

Is everything aimed at 2018? Will that be the real showdown for Dems and Repubs alike? Might as well be because it's already pretty clear that between the Russian investigation and recalcitrant Republicans who were never on board with Trump in the first place, nothing major in the way of new legislation -- on trade, immigration, tax reform, or health care -- is going to happen in this Congress. Or maybe he's just wacky, incompetent, and doesn't have a plan?

iowan2 said...

If you limit our host from only commenting on news articles that use named sources, the blog will dry up.

But, playing as if it's true, Republicans have not defended the President is anything, also, the Republicans have been promising to repeal Obama care since it was signed into law. Trump agreed a President, he would sign the bill the day he was sworn in. Facts show the Republicans are throwing the President under the bus.

tcrosse said...

A British meaning of 'mean' is 'miserly', or dare one say 'niggardly'.

Fen said...

AXIOS- Many House Democrats could not contain their glee over the recent shootings of their colleagues. "We have a real chance to get an impeachment of President Trump, just a few dozen more to go" said a female congressman.

Other Democrats were busy fundraising for MSNBC's "Keep the hate alive!" telethon. With one prominent Democrat promising free air travel to Pedophile Island to whichever media maven invited the most murders.

Several other Democrats huddled in discussions over a proposed bill to fund $40 million to the surviving family members of any shooter who successfully kills a GOP official. "Kill the haters!" shouted one Democrat as he led the others toward an astonished group of 4th graders.

rcocean said...

There's real life and there's politics.

No one really wants to known as "Mean" in real life. Yeah, I know some CEO's or Military leaders brag about what "assholes" they are, but what they really are hoping you'll think is: "I'm an asshole to those who deserve it - tough but fair, to everyone else".

In politics, there is no such thing as "Mean" or "nice" its all about PR and manipulating idiots who vote. Limbaugh has made this point forever: the Democrats get to be "mean" as much as they want, and for some reason all the "moderates" and "Independents" don't care. BUT, if the Republicans get "Mean" right back, the RINOs, independents, etc. get all upset.

They're like some little school girl who doesn't care if the school bully extorts lunch money from other boys, but if the victims fight back at recess & cause a rumpus - "OMG, will someone stop the violence!!"

David said...

Trump Spokesperson:

"He didn't mean mean, like (I mean) the mean kind of mean, he meant mean, like middle, not half mean but an average mean, modest middling meanness, I mean (man!) the man can be modest but the mean main media says he means things mainly meanly.

Know what I mean? Huh?"

rcocean said...

As for the healthcare bill, I don't know what the fuck is going on. I didn't know what was going on with Obamacare either. And I pay attention to the news.

What's in the current bill? How will it effect me? What about medicare,etc.?

I don't know. Like most people, all I want is good healthcare at an affordable price. I get the feeling that like Obamacare, the current bill isn't about that. Its more likely to be about making sure the insurance companies, the state governments, etc. are all getting enough $$$.

D said...

"One member said ..... "for him to turn around and do this, it's stunning. I can't believe it"
Wait. A politician (unnamed "member") suggesting that the President was not consistent in his statements??!?????
Impossible! Outlandish! Unprecedented!

"Mean comments"
Right. Mean as in Grade 8 cafeteria looks or Mean as is in Coach making you do extra laps?

Inga said...

"Trump Spokesperson:

"He didn't mean mean, like (I mean) the mean kind of mean, he meant mean, like middle, not half mean but an average mean, modest middling meanness, I mean (man!) the man can be modest but the mean main media says he means things mainly meanly."

Trump was only kidding. The House Republicans were just too obtuse to see the humor.

Fen said...

Also, MSNBC is owned by Comcast. Whatever violence MSNBC incites against Republicans should be likewise visited on every board member of Comcast.

Want to know how behind the Right is in this war? If the situation were reversed, not only would the Left have published the names of the Comcast board members, there would already be protesters on their lawns.

rcocean said...

Hate to change the topic from healthcare. But we all know the Left and the Democrats support political violence.

Have you punched a Nazi today?

Have you no-platformed a Conservative at your local campus?

Did you laugh at that beheading of Trump? That sure was funny, wasn't it?

traditionalguy said...

The Republicans in Congress are mostly hold overs from the Bush II years. They are enamored of the New World Order wealth coming their way at the expense of American's middle class jobs. In other words they are more opposed to Trump's voters electing a realist they can trust than mere Marxist Internationalists that want to steal it in a sudden revolution.

The Battle for North America is going full force after 150 year hiatus. Will European Empires get their property back by force, or will Traitors in our government sell it back to them like Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr were doing when exposed.

But no one expected another Andrew Jackson to show up. That man is driving them all insane.

rcocean said...

"If the situation were reversed, not only would the Left have published the names of the Comcast board members, there would already be protesters on their lawns."

Exactly - great point. The problem is the "Entertainment" Industry is completely in the left/Democrat camp. Yet, the Republican congress rewards the "Entertainment" Industry with copyright protection and favorable laws of all sorts. Its almost like the Republican Congressmen aren't really interested in winning or attacking the opposition, but only in lining their pockets with donations.

Fen said...

Obtuse? LOL you learned the word from Althouse just a few days ago when she was chastising you for pretending not to understand why Sessions refused to discuss conversations with the President.

I wonder what other words she can teach you.

Fen said...

rcocean, you pretty much. Best analogy I've seen is from Ace: the GOP is the Washington Generals to the Dem's Harlem Globetrotters. They are happy to be fools of every night on the court, as long as they get their cut of the gate.

I think every Trump scenario already has betrayal by the GOP figured in. It's expected now. So I don't really care if Trump rubs their noses in it every now and then.

Fen said...

Meh, delete 'you' ... fricken autocorrect again

Real American said...

if it doesn't drive the final nail in Obamacare's coffin it is mean. No one should have to live with a socialist health care system. That's downright cruel!

In fact, because health care is a right, it should be treated like our other rights, i.e., government action is restricted. Government regulation can only exist if there is a compelling reason and the regulation is necessary to achieve that purpose while being the least restrictive way possible. The bottom line is that health care is way too important to too many people to let government mess with it.

rcocean said...

Perfect example of "nice Republicans" and "Mean Democrats".

Trent Lott actually cried when it looked like the "Nuclear Option" might be chosen. The "traditions of the Senate" might be broken - Lott said with a sniffle & tears in his eyes. And the Gang of 8,then rode to the rescue.

Later, when Harry Reid become Senate Majority leader he pushed the Nuclear Option button without a 2nd thought. When asked if he felt bad about breaking the "traditions of the Senate" - he looked at the questioner like they were crazy, and said "hell, no".

Pianoman said...

Speaking of tags, I think you should create a new one called: "It's Different When Trump Does It".

Mark said...

Who the hell is AXIOS? Is it like the Onion?

That story looks made up and as no link is provided or named person quoted, I see no reason to be believe otherwise.

Comments here have gotten worse since Althouse posted about comments a few week back. I noticed so many regulars have left, now that I have time to read here again I think I understand why.

Fen posts clear bullshit, no one calls them on it. SAD!

rhhardin said...

Automatic generation of sentences of the form "Hit me with your X, she said Zly," where Z is a word that is a theraurus substitute for X and Zly is also a word, produced

Hit me with your midpoint, she said meanly.

Mark said...

It's always something. If it wasn't blaming Trump for Republican members of Congress being useless pieces of crap -- which they have been pretty much for the last 25 years -- it would be some other excuse.

Mark said...

In fact, it is because they are so worthless that Trump got elected. They might have got a clue -- about the electorate as much as about Trump -- when Trump campaigned against the Republican Establishment that infests Congress. But they are such idiots, they think that they are the popular ones and that he rode in on their coat tails.

Leigh said...

Well, I certainly hope this isn't a "late date in the life of this blog"!

Is my hope too audacious?

Virtually Unknown said...

I really don't trust any journalist to have any honest idea about what Republicans are thinking, aside from the deluded few who think the press will give them a fair shake -- Chuckservatives.

John said...

President Trump ran and won (partly) on repealing Obamacare. It is probably impossible to get the Repos in Congress to agree on actually repealing the law. Demmies won't sign on to anything that President Trump could agree with. They are so invested in hating on him that they would vote against single payer if he proposed it.

Since Feb or March I've been saying, mainly in the Isthmus Forum and perhaps here once or twice, that Obamacare is self repealing. Leave it alone and it will continue to collapse. That will be the equivalent of repeal.

Even the odious Lindsay Graham said something along these lines the other day.

So when it does collapse and we have a NATIONAL HEALTH CATASTROPHE!!!! it will require speedy action from the oval office. President Trump will issue an EO permitting insurance companies to sell insurance people want to buy, across state lines and, when purchased by individuals, deductible from personal income for taxation. (Same as company provided insurance)

Obamacare has always been self-repealing. Many would say that it was designed to be. The problem is that the Demmies thought that Crooked Hillary would be in the oval office. She would issue a similar emergency EO but it would be for single payer.

So much winning that I think I may get tired of it... In another 20 years or so.

John Henry

n.n said...

John Henry:

Despite Bush wanting to audit Fannie/Freddie/etc., he is still attributed as responsible for the 2007 economic realignment.

He also concluded the ceasefire and ended the war in Iraq, but was framed as responsible for starting a new war.

As for health care, it does not begin with medical and pharmaceutical services, but that is how the issue has been framed. Either Obamacare will persist, or the Republicans will succeed in a comprehensive reform, including controlling costs, which may be partially subsidized through insurance.

Fen said...

Mark: "Fen posts bullshit and no one calls him on it. SAD. ..who is Axios... the commenters here have gotten dumb"

Ah Mark. That was a parody of the Axios site Althouse linked to. That's why it's all unsourced bullshit - just like article.

Care to revise and extend? :)

n.n said...

The press's reliance on quotes that do not quote seems to be a progressive condition. They should get it checked.

Mark said...

Fen, a poorly delivered joke ain't much of one. Your other contributions in the last days do not suggest this kind of rhetoric is a joke, it is par for your course.

Fen said...

Mark, what a lame response. Parody and jokes are not the same thing, the former doesn't always have to provoke laughter to be effective parody. The mark is whether it's indistinguishable from its target. And obviously my parody was good enough to fool you.

You fell for it. But instead of offering up a mea culpa, you behave like a sore loser.

Really poor form. Lighten up. Most people would have simply said "good one ya got me". But you choose to be a little bitch. Is your ego that fragile?

So next time you complain about the intelligence level of althouse commneters, remember that you were the ONLY one to bite on a parody I spent all of 30 secs writing. And it wasn't even that good.

Fen said...

"Your other contributions -"

Jesus Christ man, did you even read the article Althouse linked to? Pretty obvious to anyone who read the article that I was mocking it. Even stole AXIOS from the site to make it obvious.

Damn. Pull your head out.

Fen said...

Tell ya what, from now on I'll include **Mark WARNING Parody** tags just to keep you from looking like an idiot again.

Fen said...

Oh, that last bit was "sarcasm". Do I need to explain that one too?

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

It took you 4 posts to craft one response.

I think I am done with this blog. The trolls who cannot write and who have little more than personal attacks have taken over.

4 responses. WTF. That ain't a discussion with anyone sane.

David Baker said...

At heart, Trump is a softie.

stlcdr said...

Fen is punching babies in the face. Typical republican! See how bad they are?

Seriously, As a side note, this AXIOS web site appears to be making itself out as a real news site. It only existed in 2017, with a modern (sic) tablet oriented presentation. However it's very thin on content and appears to continue a specific narrative. Some of the articles appear genuine, but as always, don't trust the media.

Having said that, what defines a real media/news site, anyway?

khesanh0802 said...

The Senators who are working on their version of the bill have said any number of times that the House bill is to "mean" in its funding in a number of areas. They have made it clear that their bill will contain substantially more funding for Medicaid, for example. Trump, if he said this at all, apparently agrees with the Senators. The celebration was that the House was actually successful in making the compromises to accomplish passage of a real bill. Anyone with half a brain knew that the House bill was not going to stand in the Senate. Our whole legislative system is built on compromise. The House Bill was only the opening gambit in the negotiation, but it started the process. The second offer will be the Senate Bill and the final offer will be the reconciliation bill. That is when the "rubber will meet the road."

Seeing Red said...

Bankruptcy is meaner.

Having boomers pay for their own cosmetic surgery is not mean.

khesanh0802 said...

New and frightening health insurance premiums for 2018 are being issued this week by what few companies are participating in the Obamacare exchanges.

khesanh0802 said...

@John Henry Although the Dems are trying to pin the blame for premium increases on the House Bill, it will be a tough sell. Obamacare is still in place, the exchanges (those left) are still "Obamacare" exchanges and the insurance companies are bitching because they are not being compensated as they were promised under "Obamacare" (the courts say that provision is unconstitutional, btw). Because reporters are so lazy they are going to continue to refer to the ongoing problems you hint at as problems with "Obamacare".

I agree with you that Obamacare was intended to result in a single payer system, but the voting boobs, once given a chance, said "no way' . I don't think Hillary could have rammed it through, but it certainly was the intent.

Leora said...

The only phrase I can recall from my reading of feminist literature in the 70's is "the demons of nice" that haunted woman. It was either from Robin Morgan or an anthology she edited. It is the one idea that I have found useful in understanding the self sabotage I saw in women in my workplace. I believe it is the "demons of nice" that now encourage feminists to overcompensate by being deliberately offensive, even though it hurts their cause.

Fen said...

Mark: "it took you four posts to respond"

No. Just one. The others were icing. I know math is hard but...

Mark: "I'm done with this blog... commenters stupid"

You should go. You are too stupid to catch parody, too egotistical to admit you fell for it. You turned a molehill into a mountain because you wanted to pout over misunderstanding what someone wrote.

So go. No one will miss you.

Fen said...

Mark "personal attacked have taken over"

Dude. You attacked me 3 times before I even noticed you.

And in response, I laughed it off and explained you were responding to parody. I even gave you opportunity to withdraw your attack with "revise and extend".

So don't play the victim here. You walked right into it.

Mark said...

Fen, speaking of getting a clue, perhaps you should note that there are multiple usernames Mark on this thread.

No, I didn't respond three times, someone else responded twice and myself once.

If you want to start saying people need to get a clue, perhaps you should make sure you have one yourself first. On this thread, you clearly don't.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Respectfully Mark maybe you would do well to distinguish your handle. Maybe become "Mark the Just," "Mark the Non-Lib," "Marky Mark," or something.