I have no problem criticizing Trump, I do it all the time, but the failure of Obamacare repeal is mainly the fault of Congress.
Sure, Trump could have helped as a “dealmaker.” Obama was very helpful to Democrats in a way that Trump has so far not been capable of, despite that ability being his main selling point. But, Trump’s “style” provides two giant gifts that no congress has ever been fortunate enough to receive.
Gift #1. He draws fire.
I watched the news the day McCain cast the 50th vote to enter debate on healthcare. The first story was transgendered military changes. The second story was about Mooch. The third story was about the Sessions drama. The fourth(!) story was about healthcare.
If Pence or Rubio or Cruz were President it would have been UNINTERRUPTED coverage about how Republicans want your kids to die of cancer. Instead, it’s FREQUENTLY INTERRUPTED coverage about Republicans wanting your kids to die of cancer. Sure, they’re still bashing the Republican plan, but it’s an afterthought most days.
Congress can work in a relatively quiet safe space to make real conservative change because of the inadvertent benefits of having a tweeter-in-chief.
Gift #2- The manager is out of town.
Remember those old school car commercials? “Our manager is on vacation! I hope he doesn’t find out about the crazy deals we’re making this week!”
(Watch this never aired old school Bob Odenkirk skit from back in the day, because it’s awesome.)
The point is: when Obama is in the White House, Republicans couldn’t pass anything because the used car manager was in town and he would veto it. If, when Bush was in the White House, you tried to pass something too conservative or libertarian, he might veto it. If Cruz was in the White House, you couldn’t pass something too moderate because he might veto it.
Trump is a legislative hall pass. He will sign anything. He doesn’t care about the details at all. You come up with the plan, he will sign it. The manager is out of town. Want to sell a new Mercedes for $12, go ahead. While there are plenty of arguments that this isn’t a good idea, it’s only a bad idea if you want congress restrained. Congress, theoretically, wouldn’t want that.
The two main excuses Republicans have trotted out for years as to why they couldn’t get anything done have been that they would get vetoed, and/or they will be disemboweled by the press for being too conservative.
Here we are, with both issues eliminated or significantly diminished, and they still are a bunch of giant zilches. It’s embarrassing.
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Medium.