ELDER PATRIOT – House Democrats and Leftist Republicans are not to survive their refusal to work with President Trump as he negotiated reforming the financially unsustainable AHCA before it collapsed. This will be the case irrespective of whether some version of this bill passes into law, or not.
Here’s how Trump’s brilliant political strategy turned their obstruction against them.
The bill that passed the House was truly the result of compromise with liberal Republicans and was the Democrats as well as liberal RINOs last best chance to fix the Obamacare disaster with a bi-partisan solution.
Because of the promises Trump and virtually every Republican had made on the campaign trail, once they took office they were on the clock to repeal and replace Obamacare. Deserved or not, because of those promises, in the eyes of the voters Republicans now owned healthcare.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guaranteed no less than full repeal at the Republican National Convention when he boasted that, ““We put Obamacare repeal on the president’s desk [Obama.] He vetoed it. Donald Trump would sign it.”
It now makes no difference to voters that the Democrats created Obamacare and passed it without a single Republican vote. That was seven years ago and the public’s perception – the only thing that matters in politics -is that it is the Republicans’ promised to fix the healthcare system. If they fail the party will suffer a bloodbath in the midterm elections.
Trump realizes this just as he realizes the majority of Congress doesn’t have the will to do anything except trim around the edges of the financial disaster making this a heavy lift for Trump.
What follows is the brilliant political strategy Trump employed to bring the political class to its knees.
He started by telling Paul Ryan to draft reform legislation and to get it to him as soon as possible. The Speaker obliged and as Trump expected Ryan presented a bill that, arguably, did very little to change the underlying cost drivers of Obamacare. Not surprisingly, Ryan’s heavy-handed approach excluded many members of his own caucus thus creating a good deal of mistrust and animosity towards the haughty speaker from within his own party.
Trump immediately stepped in and took control of the process. The president summoned Mark Meadows, head of the Freedom Caucus to the White House to find out what his group needed to get on board. The Freedom Caucus is the conservative conscience of the House and had taken the lead in blocking Ryan’s bill.
Once Trump took control of the negotiations an agreement was reached in less than two weeks.
Public perception: Trump is a determined leader who won’t rest until the job is done.
Meadows compromised significantly but President Trump also realized that where Meadows dug in his reasons were solid. While these changes weren’t acceptable to ultra-liberal members of the Republican Party, Trump was able to negotiate an amendment with one the liberal Free Upton that peeled off enough of the holdouts for the bill to pass the House.
Public perception: Trump’s legendary negotiating skills were able to bring disparate groups together when no one else could.
As a result, Ryan suffered a massive decline in support, Meadows showed the public that his group wasn’t the stridently entrenched ideologues that the media portrayed them as, and the twenty Republicans who held out essentially threw their support behind the obstructionist Democrats.
Public Perception: Ryan is an ineffective leader.
Public Perception: Meadows and the Freedom Caucus showed that while they stand on principle they are willing to compromise when they have achieved the best deal they could.
Public Perception: The 20 “moderate” Republicans who voted “no” essentially voted with Democrats to keep Obamacare as it is.
This is a slap in the face to their constituents who will have the opportunity in 2018 to replace these phonies with new blood. That can only strengthen Trump’s hand.
The bill now goes to the Senate where Republicans will decide its fate.
If the Senate can come to agreement with the House in joint conference Trump will have a massive legislative victory. While the bill looks more like one the Democrats would’ve advanced in the 1960’s, there are still enough improvements so that insurance rates should drop significantly from those that Obamacare forced to skyrocket.
Public Perception: Trump displayed incredible leadership by delivering reform despite massive opposition.
Now Senate Republicans own the bill. If McConnell can’t get the Senate to pass the bill it will be a black eye for both the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Republicans.
Public Perception: McConnell is an ineffective leader who failed to deliver on repealing Obamacare after claiming to have sent 80 separate repeal bills to President Obama.
Public Perception: In the event that a bill doesn’t pass and Obamacare is actually allowed to collapse President Trump will be viewed as having done everything possible to prevent it but was blocked by a dysfunctional political system.
During the Rose Garden celebration the Freedom Caucus were front and center with Mark Meadows standing directly next to the president. The 20 Tuesday Group holdouts were nowhere to be seen.
Public Perception: President Trump is closely aligned with his party’s conservative base and he is jettisoning the RINOs from prominence. This will resonate with the Republican base that has grown disgusted of liberals who have infiltrated their party.