There are points in history when, even though you see them coming, you can’t help but marvel when they actually happen.
Thus it is with the repeal of healthcare reform.
Obama and the Democrats figured when it was passed, that if Republicans ever gained control of all branches of government again, the political costs of taking healthcare away from millions of people would prevent the basic reforms from repeal.
They were right.
The Democrats paid a high price for healthcare reform. It spawned the birth of the Tea Party and a particularly virulent strain of conservative know-nothing Republicanism that cost the Democrats their House majority in 2010 and essentially ground the government to a halt for the next six years. That movement morphed in the Trumpinistas in 2016 and gave Republicans the cherished control over all branches of government.
What did they do with that legislative control – the very first thing? They turned on each other like rabid dogs fighting over a bone. Those same rebellious Tea Partiers whom the Republican establishment thought they could control, brought another House Speaker and another President to heal.
The reason they were able to do this, however, is posted every week.
Trump’s approval rating.
Self-preservation is important to every politician, even the members of the Freedom Caucus. They are WAY more afraid of disappointing the folks in their safe gerrymandered deeply conservative districts than they are of the Speaker, the President, or the Republican Party. BTW, who was responsible for those gerrymandered districts that made these Republicans untouchable by even their own party? Why the Republican controlled legislatures that the Republican Party is so proud of.
If Trump had approval ratings in the 60% range (as Obama did when he started working on healthcare reform), this would have been a different story. That would mean that a majority of the voters in many of the Freedom Caucus districts also approved of Trump. He very well could have had enough leverage to get this deal done.
Instead, he and Ryan are now exposed. The Freedom Caucus called Trump’s tough-guy bluff and Trump blinked. Rather than dig in and do the gritty political horse trading that gets things done in Washington, Trump stepped out of the room and into a big-rig photo op where he was obviously more comfortable.
How bad of a beat was it?
The guy who constantly celebrates himself as a dynamic winner of incomparable abilities? He was reduced to blaming Democrats for this loss because not one of them gave him a vote. That was a surprise to him? And now it’s the fault of the Democrats who have been defending Obamacare from Republican assaults for for seven years to the day that this assault also failed? No this was just another in a long line of Democratic victories. Trump’s humiliation is all his own making and his incompetence was on public display.
- He demonstrated that he has no understanding of the legislative process.
- He attempts to bully powerful people failed. They weren’t afraid of him, ignored his threats, and knew he had a lot more to lose than they did.
- He doesn’t respect the political process. Those that do just demonstrated how dangerous the swamp can be for the inexperienced.
All that’s left is the sorry spectacle of a public figure being exposed as the buffoon he really is. But as he said in Time magazine, it is certainly his right because he is the President.
The problem is that the alligators don’t care who is President and at least in this swamp, they bite back.