Tuesday, April 18, 2017

There are Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Twumps.

Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) reports how Trump’s credibility is eroding in This brutal new poll shows that fewer and fewer people believe Trump’s lies

A new Gallup poll out [yesterday] morning … strongly suggests that an increasing number of Americans just don’t believe Trump’s spin about his presidency anymore. It finds that only 45 percent of Americans think Trump keeps his promises, down from 62 percent in February, an astonishing slide of 17 points …

Note that the drop has been 11 points among Republicans and 9 points among conservatives. Meanwhile, among Americans overall, there has been a 7-point drop in those who think Trump can bring about the change this country needs, from 53 percent to 46 percent, and a 6-point drop in those who think that Trump is honest and trustworthy, from 42 percent to 36 percent.

It’s important … to drill down with more precision on what it really means that Trump is failing to “keep his promises.” There are several ways this is occurring, and they are distinct from one another. First, Trump is explicitly adopting policy goals that contradict black-letter promises (the GOP health-care plan that he championed would roll back coverage for 24 million people and deeply cut Medicaid, after he vowed “insurance for everybody” and promised not to cut Medicaid). Second, he is failing to unite the party to accomplish generally promised goals (Republicans have yet to pass anything that can satisfy the baseline need to be described as “repeal and replace”).

Third, other general promises may be in the process of running aground, or just disintegrating, now that the difficulties of translating them into detailed policy are proving that the original promises were unrealistic, rooted in bad faith or outright fantasies.

Those include the travel ban, tax reform, infrastructure spending, and trade. All are stalled for one reason or another - among which is that they are just unworkable.

More broadly, Trump is generally moving away from the “economic populism” that was supposed to make him different from other Republicans and increasingly embracing a more-orthodox GOP governing approach (while doubling down on Trumpism’s nativism and xenophobia). Meanwhile, that approach is itself proving to have been based on unrealistic promises. (Many congressional Republicans are not actually willing to roll back coverage for millions while deeply cutting taxes for the rich, it turns out; GOP fiscal priorities are deeply unpopular, and — as I believe we will discover during the coming budgetary and tax reform debates — mathematically unworkable.)

As my attempted taxonomy of Trump’s broken vows suggests, different groups of voters may be basing their conclusion that Trump isn’t keeping his promises on different things. But at bottom, this all originates with the increasingly undeniable reality that much of what he campaigned on was based on one sort of lie or another.

Jon Ossoff is running in a very red district in Georgia - and stands a good chance of winning the Congressional seat in today’s special election. He’s got the GOP worried. Trump has weighed in with this tweet: “Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO.”

Now, I ask you, given Greg Sargent’s listing of Trump’s lies, and Robert Reich’s listing of broken promises, why would anyone believe what Trump tweets - his Twumps - about anything?

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