While the failure of Trumpcare to even make it to the House floor – and watching Speaker of the House Paul Ryan utter the words, “Obamacare is the law of the land” – is a huge victory for those who actually care about, y’know, affordable health care that would cover the most Americans possible, this is no time to gloat.

Between President Trump’s predilection for continuing to dissemble until whatever his and his troika’s gambit of choice is achieved and the GOP’s ouroboros-like inability to successfully transition from opposition to majority party – insert your own favorite “governing is hard” GIF here – it would seem that the Affordable Care Act will become as entrenched in the American social services safety net as Social Security and Medicare.

But it’s a long time until 2018, and the woods are lovely, dark and deep with far too many politicians who have far too many promises to keep to far too many constituencies. It's a sucker's bet to think that there won’t be attempts to inflict death by a thousand cuts upon the ACA.

In the meantime, let’s focus on the investigation into just how Vladimir Putin and his appartchiks managed to infect American democracy so effectively. Among the questions to be answered: Now that House Intelligence Committee Chairman and early Trump supporter Rep. Devin Nunes has shown himself to be better suited to carrying the president’s water than impartially leading a bipartisan investigation, will the Republicans finally accede to empowering an independent counsel to investigate the scandal. And will the Senate listen to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s reasoned argument that no decision should be made on a Supreme Court nominee who could be listening to arguments against the very man who nominated him to the position – and who could be the deciding vote in any action against the president?

On to the Winners & Losers:



Scott Wagner and Anthony Williams: Is there ever a bad time to listen to “The Odd Couple” theme? That immediately came to mind when reading about the two state senators – Wagner, the commonwealth’s own Trump-like politician, and Williams, the longtime establishment Philly Democrat – working together to pass legislation to make re-entry and re-integration easier for some former offenders.

Larry Farnese: Another Philadelphia-area Democratic state senator, another piece of needed legislation proposed. In this case, Farnese is trying to get a law passed that would curb lawsuits known as SLAPP – for “strategic lawsuits against public participation” – and their chilling effect on some forms of free speech.

Scott Perry: Kudos to the US Rep. from Dillsburg for holding a town hall for two hours and interacting with hundreds of constituents, many of them who are less than pleased about the direction he and his GOP compatriots are trying to take the country. Sure, it’s a low bar – yay, you did your job – but at least Perry, unlike so many Republican politicians, didn’t take the coward’s way out of holding a telephone town hall, a Farcebook Facebook town hall or no town hall at all.



Seth Williams: Not much to say about the indicted Philly DA that hasn’t already been said in every imaginable outlet. After reading the 50-page, 23-count indictment, the best thing I can say is: It’s good to know I haven’t lost my capacity for outrage.

Michael Nutter: We get it. You built a decades-long career in large part on being incorruptible and by the book. It’s got to burn your biscuits to see your legacy tarnished by revelations of wanton misspending at the Mayor’s Fund by people you put there, and by reports that you ignored a recommendation from your own inspector general to fire another of your appointees for slushy behavior. But launching a 1,500-word screed that does nothing except blame the messenger? That is a bad look, and the kind of Streisand Effect move that will keep the story percolating far longer than if you just bit your tongue and took the L. Evidently, time and cooler heads have prevailed: The rant was removed from Nutter’s website on Wednesday.

Robert Powelson: The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission needs to do a better job of making sure that all of its staff attends its “Public Speaking Do’s and Don’ts” seminars. That’s the only explanation for how Commissioner Powelson could have possibly thought it would be a good idea to label pipeline protesters as “jihadists” at an industry conference this week. Unsurprisingly, the Republican walked back his comments later. No word yet on whether he felt like media coverage of his comments were reminiscent of Nazism or McCarthyism.