Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trump Can't Always Get What He Wants

Although, like everything else in this drama-saturated Trump era, the timeline seems off, it really is only a smidge less than three weeks ago that Press Secretary Sean Spicer stood next to a little stack of paper and a bigger stack of paper to explain why the GOP plan was better. Three weeks! And we were today assured that President Trump had "left everything on the field" in his fight to get a "repeal and replace" deal done. After three weeks! Everything! On! The! Field!

(Long weekends was it? Talking with people across the aisle and hearing from constituents about their concerns? Or was it just a bit of bullying his own party? All the same, it sounds like a positively exhausting three weeks!)

And so the bill got pulled Friday (after down-to-the wire tinkering that only seemed to make the bill worse), and this is obviously the Democrats' fault. I would say this is roughly the Democrats' fault in that they got together seven years ago and passed a better plan than what the GOP House threw together just now, as if the Republicans were not expecting they would have to for the last seven years. Beyond that though, the majority party in the House did not pull together the number of votes needed for their side to win, or, did not craft a plan they could sanely expect any Democrat to want any part of.

That definitely sounds like a Republican problem, to me. But what is perplexing is, why did this "vote" seem so rushed? It was not impossible to either get a deal with the right number of House votes or a deal that might have interested Democrats if they could be genuinely convinced that the ACA was in imminent danger--it just would have taken some more months' doing.  What seems to have happened is that President Trump somehow got the idea that this was going to be an easy one to cross off his agenda. After all, he made the positively gob-stopping comment "Nobody knew health care could be so complicated" just four weeks ago. (Four weeks!) Where had he been the last 25 years, one might wonder.

Not in Washington DC--which is one of the drawbacks of having a total outsider in the Oval Office, and instead, in a boardroom where he was "boss", which is another entire cultural problem. The thing is, the President of the United States isn't the boss of Congress, not even of members of Congress of his own party. It's a co-equal branch of government, and he just can't always get what he wants.

Now, he's happy to let the matter of health care fade into the rearview while he moves on to tackle something easy, like, say, major tax reform.  Oof. He made comments today about having learned a lot from this health care process. I am just not sure that's so. We'll have to see.

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