Today, Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act went down, and they went down in flames. Pay no attention to Paul Ryan’s often repeated claims that they were very close, but just couldn’t get those last few votes. That was just a BS attempt to put their failure in the best possible light. If they had only been one, two, or three votes short they would pressed on with the vote and in the process put the pressure of the a national spotlight on each of the naysayers in turn to cast their vote against their party and the President who won their districts by healthy margins.
No, neither Ryan nor Trump wanted the country to see the most conservative and the most moderate Republicans in the House combine to defeat the bill by a very comfortable margin. It also explains why Ryan and Trump have apparently agreed to not give their effort another try despite their early warnings to their members that this was their one and only chance. If they were only a few votes short, surely they would try again. No, they know now that in order to get the members of the Freedom Caucus on board to approve the final bill they would have to make it so draconian that it would destroy Republican chances of remaining in control Senate and would likely even endanger their control of the House. They also know that such a bill would have absolutely no chance of passage in the Senate. So despite all of the promises made during their respective campaigns, they are wisely walking away from repeal and replace with their tails between their legs.
But who shares most of the blame for this ignominious defeat at the hands of their own party? Well, I expect in the days ahead that Trump surrogates will try to deflect most of the blame on to Ryan. But ask yourself this – who would have been blamed if newly elected Barack Obama had failed to convince the Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate to approve the Affordable Care Act despite putting his entire weight and the power of the Presidency behind the effort? While Nancy Pelosi is given a lot of credit for pushing the bill through, it wasn’t nicknamed Pelosicare, and with good reason. It was President Obama who took the lead and told congress that he was making his health care bill his first and most important priority. I have heard our former President criticized for using up too much of his political capital on the Affordable Care Act and having not enough left to pass his remaining objectives, but give the man credit. He managed to do what six Democratic and Republicans before him tied to do and failed.
If, for better or worse the effort to pass the Republican’s Affordable Health Care Act had been successful, the press would have called it “Trumpcare” and the alone should tell us who bears primary responsibility for its failure. And wait, didn’t Donald Trump brag time and time again during the campaign about his ‘great” negotiating skills. Didn’t he guarantee us that his ability to negotiate would make him “hugely successful” where his predecessors were failures and had negotiated many terrible deals. Yes he did, many times. In fact, back on June 16th in the speech where he first declared his candidacy, Trump said, “So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you.” So let’s call Trump what he deserves to be called – a failure – and not just any failure. He failed on the grandest stage while using his one skill he advertised above all others – negotiating.
Trump failed because he thought he could negotiate like he did in the business world where he often bullied his prospective business partners into submission or where he showed up at a board meeting of one his companies, went into a tirade about some problem or another, and then left telling the stunned board members to figure out how to fix it. Donald Trump is 70 years old and it obvious that the power and responsibilities of the office has not changed him so there is no reason to believe that he changed the negotiating tactics he has used all of his life when dealing with Congress. In fact, we do know that the trick of getting up and leaving the negotiating table which he praised in “The Art of the Deal” backfired in his face. Now we can’t be sure what went on behind closed doors, but we can be reasonability sure that he used also other negotiating techniques he learned in the business world. They just didn’t work.
Neither can Trump use the excuse that he didn’t put that much effort into trying to get the billed passed in the House of Representatives. Both he and Ryan insisted several times that the President was putting forth a maximum effort. Well if that was the best that Trump can do in government setting when he puts forth maximum effort, the future doesn’t look particularly bright for his Presidency. However, let’s get back to the current situation. There is no other way to put it, Trump got his butt kicked by members of his own party and for millions of Americans it was a very good day.