Less than three months into Donald Trump’s presidency, and already the Republicans have given up on their #1 promise. Repealing Obamacare was what you could count on almost any Republican to say at almost any campaign event.
They won a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010 campaigning on repealing Obamacare. They won the Senate in 2014 campaigning on repealing Obamacare. And in 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency on a campaign of selling himself as a strong leader who would dispense with the niceties of the weak Republican establishment.
Each time the Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare under Obama’s presidency, simple-minded pundits like Sean Hannity argued the GOP “establishment” was feekless. Republicans voted multiple times to repeal Obamacare, but the Democratic Senate never took it to a vote, in which they would have defeated.
When they were a minority in Senate, Senator Ted Cruz said they could stop Obamacare by forcing a government shutdown if Obama had the audacity to implement the bill. Obama wouldn’t stop his namesake bill just because Republicans were getting bad press for shutting down the government.
Come 2016, Trump portrayed the rest of the Republican candidates as “little”, “low energy”, “lyin'”, “cucks.” He would rattle his saber and throw his pacifier, and things would get done. Don’t ask him for details–he’s a manager, not a nerd.
Now we see what that policy looks like in practice. It amounts to him making no case for healthcare, making threats to conservatives representatives that conservative reps don’t take seriously, and then folding after a few weeks after having outsourced everything to Paul Ryan.
The Koch Brothers and the conservatives activist groups opposed Trump’s bill and threatened to pull money from reps who voted for it. The… …establishment? (Trump slammed the Koch’s as rich establishmentarians)… defeated the… …people? (Trump is called “populist”… but Ryan is the leader of the “establishment”…).
Here’s Trump friend and publisher of Newsmax Chris Rundy defending Trump and blaming Ryan:
“I think Paul Ryan did a major disservice to President Trump, I think the president was extremely courageous in taking on health care and trusted others to come through with a program he could sign off on.”
If you take the time to think, Rundy’s excuse is actually an admission that Trump has no leadership skills. He “trusted others to come through.” In other words: He didn’t take the responsibility for getting a healthcare bill passed.
True enough, the only thing he knows about healthcare is “we’re going to get rid of the lines around the states” (a concept this bill didn’t include), “we’re going to insure everyone” (contradictory to repealing Obamacare), and “we aren’t going to have people dying in the streets” (also contradictory, unless you take it literally, in which case people weren’t “dying in the streets” before or after Obamacare).
So he needed someone with half an idea about healthcare to write the bill, but a strong leader could have taken up the cause of defending the bill after it was written. Although Obama did have concrete ideas about healthcare, he certainly didn’t know enough to write the hundreds of pages of his healthcare bill, but he sure defended it and made a case for why he thought it was a good bill and why other Democrats who agreed with his ideology should get on board with his bill. He and his fellow Democrats took months to negotiate, to iron out differences, and get it passed. They cared about getting it done for themselves and their vision of the country.
The Republicans just wanted to get something passed in a few weeks and didn’t care about the details. Trump, being the president and all, is a major part of that process and responsible for it, even if he and his supporters don’t want him to be held to the accountability of the president.