Sunday, March 26, 2017
Damn--Presidenting By Tweet is Weird
Turns out, Jeanine Pirro used much of her show to tear down House Speaker Paul Ryan as being responsible for the "repeal and replace" loss. Her argument that he really was the one who had seven years to come up with something better and should have been selling a real, live plan much harder is kind of interesting, and I don't think Trump himself would mind Ryan shouldering the lion's share of the blame, but I do have some remarks on the Trump/Ryan dynamic.
For one thing, keep in mind that Ryan hasn't been the Speaker for the last seven years. John Boehner, retired (and probably pretty damn glad of it) had that honor for most of that time, and for what it's worth, until Trump took office, there's an argument to be made that while the GOP has been a majority party in the House, it did not have to be a governing party, and Rep. Ryan did not have to concern himself with governing. You could say Paul Ryan sold Trump a bill of bad goods with the replacement plan, but I think the dynamic cut both ways--Ryan might have known the bill wasn't great, but counted on Trump to sell to the Freedom Caucus because that was what Trump was supposed to be good at. Which I don't think excuses him overselling the votes in hand despite what observers where saying about the whip-count, leading, for example, Press Sec. Sean Spicer to tell the pool that the votes were growing when they pretty obviously were not.
But this sets us up for a pretty weird dynamic--a Republican in the White House who might be at odds with the Republican Speaker of the House (Steve Bannon, 'tis widely said, can't stand the fellow.) And yet that is likely to be the dynamic for the next ...two years? More? (Having resigned myself to the idea that impeachment is unlikely to occur regardless of what the Trump/Russia investigation turns up with both houses of Congress being Republican-held.) After all--who could replace Paul Ryan, when it has been established precious few others would like the job or be even half-assed at it? And anyway, Trump needs a good relationship with the Speaker to get his agenda through because he can't do everything by executive order.
But who even knows whether POTUS has a problem with how the healthcare debacle happened anyway? He's got us reading tweets like they were chicken entrails.