Friday, May 12, 2017
#OyVeyDonaldTrump's First 100 #AmericaHangsItsHeadInShame: One Big Promise Kept, Plus The Two Biggest Broken Promises In Modern American Political History
We’ve reached Day 100 of the Trump administration – a nearly-meaningless designation that tells us little about the direction of a presidency. If the First Hundred Days meant something, Bill Clinton would have been one of the great failed presidents of the modern era, Barack Obama would have been one of the most effective, and Abraham Lincoln would likely have been the worst.
Trump has done some good things – most obviously, the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and the use of the Congressional Review Act to knock over some of President Obama’s more ridiculous regulations.
Trump says no new administration has done as much as the Trump administration. This is patently false. But more importantly, it’s now becoming apparent that two of the biggest promises promulgated by President Trump during his campaign are falling by the wayside as his presidency continues.
First, Obamacare repeal.
It looks like repeal of Obamacare is dead. This is indeed the greatest broken promise in modern American political history. President Trump said on the stump hundreds of times that he would repeal Obamacare, calling it a disaster. Every Republican campaigning across the country said the same for the last seven years. And they won’t do anything to kill Obamacare, because they’re cowards. As one Congressman told Byron York of The Washington Examiner, “we have members in the Republican conference that do not want Obamacare repealed, because of their district. That’s the fundamental thing that we’re seeing here. I thought we campaigned on repealing it. Now that it’s our turn, I’m finding there’s about 50 people who really don’t want to repeal Obamacare. They want to keep it.”
That group includes President Trump, who has boxed in Republicans by insisting during the campaign and after that coverage numbers would expand in the aftermath of an Obamacare repeal – and insisting that repeal was not enough, that replace would have to occur as well. Here is the bottom line: Obama rammed through a health care plan that created a new entitlement through forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. Both Trump and Republicans have embraced the pre-existing conditions portion of Obamacare. Once you do that, you must either subsidize the insurance companies and create a mandate or both. Republicans want to maintain the central tenet of Obamacare so they don’t feel the blowback, but they want to tell their base they got rid of Obamacare.
Which means that their opposition to Obamacare was always about politics rather than principle. We’re now finding out that Republicans aren’t even willing to push through a bill that would allow states to opt out of Obamacare – a pathetic compromise that wouldn’t do much, but would at least give the appearance of an expansion of freedom. Daniel Horowitz hits the nail directly on the head this morning:
There are five key elements of Obamacare, at least as it pertains to health insurance: regulations, subsidies, purchase mandates (employer and individual), taxes, and Medicaid expansion. The phony Republicans love the core regulations that make health insurance insolvent. They love the subsidies that are needed to sugar-coat the destruction. They will not cede an inch on Medicaid expansion and think it is the greatest idea since sliced bread, even though the cost of covering an individual in the subpar program rose from $3,247 per individual in 2011 to $6,366 after the implementation. And the care is worse than ever, yet serves as a bailout for hospital lobbies. This leaves us with the taxes and the mandates. But how can liberal Republicans rail against the taxes and mandates if they fully support, laud, defend, and fight for the key elements of Obamacare?
Republicans are complicit in Obamacare now. And when Obamacare fails, look for Trump and his moderate Republican allies to move in tandem with Democrats to expand the role of government rather than contracting it.
Second, The Wall.
Trump spent every rally railing against illegal immigration and pledging to build a big, beautiful wall on the southern border. He said Mexico would pay for it. First he dropped the demand that Mexico pay for it, even though he pretends that he’d find another way to force them to do so; then he dropped funding for the wall altogether, concerned that a government shutdown forced by Democrats and moderate Republicans would hurt him politically.
Will there ever be a better time for him to get his wall funding than now? How about six months from now, when he’s approaching a midterm election and even more desperate to avoid a government shutdown? How about when Democrats hold up other pieces of key legislation unless he drops his demand to fund the wall?
As Ann Coulter rightly says:
Now that Trump has capitulated on even asking for funding for a wall, the Democrats are on their knees saying, “Thank you, God! Thank you, God!” No politician wants to have to explain a vote against the wall. What the Democrats want is for Trump to be stuck explaining why he didn’t build the wall. Then it will be a bloodbath. Not only Trump, but also the entire GOP, is dead if he doesn’t build a wall. Republicans will be wiped out in the midterms, Democrats will have a 300-seat House majority, and Trump will have to come up with an excuse for why he’s not running for re-election.
Yesterday, Trump reportedly told the press that being president was harder than he thought it would be. He’s right. But it’s even harder when your central principles aren’t principles but interests, when you have no prevailing worldview, when there’s no political capital worth sacrificing, no ego-boost worth foregoing for the sake of better policy. That’s not just true of Trump. That’s true of the Republican leadership in the House and Senate as well.