It’s not often the Oxford English Dictionary fails to trace an etymology, but in this case, it does:
slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.). With the. Detailed and esp. confidential information about a person or topic, ‘the low-down’; (also more generally) news, gossip.
Though I suspect the Senate vote on the “skinny” Health Care Bill was more about:
orig. U.S. A cup of coffee or a coffee-based beverage made with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
Meaning: thin, unsustainting, not nutricious, less than stimulating, more for appearance than any real benefit.
Now to Nate Silver on fivethirtyeight.com. The vote has just gone down on the defection of Senators Collins, McCain and Murkowski. We knew two of those would be hold-outs, but we were meant to be surprised by John McCain. As if he hadn’t signalled already …
This is usually the time when FiveThirtyEight would say “let’s not get too carried away …” but, well, this is one of those times when you should maybe get carried away? It’s not really a surprise that the bill failed. It always had a lot of problems, and Republicans didn’t come close to passing straight repeal or BCRA in the Senate in earlier votes. But that it failed in a way that will be so embarrassing to both McConnell and Trump is noteworthy and will have all sorts of implications for Republicans.
But there were a couple of “issues”.
Lisa Ann Muskowski has been around some time — she’s been the Senator for Alaska since 2002. Go to that official web-page and find that she has established clearly her “red lines”:
… many provisions of the ACA that have worked for Alaska that Senator Murkowski believes should be retained. Those provisions are:
Prohibitions on the discrimination for pre-existing conditions
No annual or lifetime limits
Coverage up to age 26
Continuation of coverage afforded under Medicaid Expansion
Maintaining access to Planned Parenthood facilities
This is a lady who has seen off the Alaskan Republicans previously: they tried to elbow her out in the 2010 Primary, so she went for a write-in campaign, and took out the ‘official’ GOP nominee (a Tea Party and Palin face) by four clear points. The sheer bone-headedness of the Trump Administration is — yet again — on show trying to rough up the lady. Or, as Silver has it:
the Interior Department’s threats to screw over Alaska — presumably ordered by the White House
Another indicator was the way some republican Senators kept their powder dry. Heller (Rep, Nevada) and Sasse (Rep. Nebraska) held their votes back until it was clear they could vote with their party leadership without disturbing the outcome. Ah, c’mon! Done it myself in London Borough politics: once you know the party has the votes, a pointless show of principle becomes easier. In this case, it works the other way: a show of partisan loyalty would be cheap compared to putting the boot into the higher-ups.
So here we are, relishing the aggravation caused Trump and McConnell. It looks as if the weirdo fringes have been consigned back into their boxes. McConnell is begging Democratic input (and — as things stand — it’s only too easy to watch the GOP leadership swivelling in the wind).
But the real Democrat goodies are still there for the taking. This session has not produced the repeal of ObamaCare, and there is no reason to believe much will change. Effectively, then, we are half-way to the mid-terms. There’s something in The West Wing about the short windows of political opportunity in the American system. If a decision doesn’t get actioned in the first six or eight months of a term, it runs up against the next electoral cycle. So: strike one to the Dems.
Then there are 49 GOP Senators and over two hundred members of the House who bear the mark-of-Cain on TrumpCare. Short of actually dumping on twenty million or more suddenly deprived of health-care (and resentful about it) that can’t be bad party politics.
But above all, here’s another aggrieved citizen — but this one with a soapbox:
“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski is declaring it “Failure Friday” for President Trump, saying that if you want to know what failure looks like, “just take a look at the last 36 hours of the Trump presidency.”