The House Republican health care bill is a pure top-down document. It was not molded to the actual health care needs of regular voters. It does not have support from actual American voters or much interest in those voters. It was written by elites to serve the needs of elites. Donald Trump vowed to drain the swamp, but this bill is pure swamp. ...
As the negotiating process has gone on you’ve seen rank-and-file House Republicans caught between the inside game and the outside game. The logic of the inside game says vote for the bill. Support Speaker Ryan. Don’t defeat a Republican president. But the outside game screams: Oppose This Bill. It’s bad for most voters, especially Republican voters. And nobody likes it.
This bill takes the most vicious progressive stereotypes about conservatives and validates them....
If we’re going to have the rough edges of a populist revolt, you’d think that at least somebody would be interested in listening to the people. But with this bill the Republican leadership sets an all-time new land speed record for forgetting where you came from.
The core Republican problem is this: The Republicans can’t run policy-making from the White House because they have a marketing guy in charge of the factory. But they can’t run policy from Capitol Hill because it’s visionless and internally divided. David Brooks
When he's right, he's right.
So the new Republican government lives up to its stereotype in every way: It is a party of obstruction and has no pragmatic capacity to do anything else. John Boehner is having a good laugh.
I have to wonder why Bannon allowed his guy to be tainted with this anti-populist fiasco. Breitbart was against it, so I should think was Bannon if he could have spoken candidly.
I can only speculate, but I think it very likely the disarray in the WH and the whole Russian Connection thing has been an enormous distraction and drain of energy in the WH. In the midst of all this, Ryan had a bill ready to bring to the congress that reflected his narrow ideological interests, and so because Ryan made the first move, the WH had either to oppose or support it.
Opposing it wasn't an option if the WH expects to have a working relationship with congress going forward. So the WH had to hold its nose, frame it as fulfilling its promise to repeal and replace, get the "win", and then hope that other stuff they'll get done before 2020 makes up for the damage this bill will do to large parts of Trump's base.
But that assumes that Bannon has real clout when it comes to framing policy, and the evidence is ambiguous so far on that.
But after this failure, it's an open question whether Bannon or anybody else will be able to enact any policies whatsoever for all for the reasons that Brooks points out, and because there is just something deeply, deeply delusional about the movement conservatism that now dominates the GOP.
It could be that I've been overestimating Bannon, and that he's just as delusional as everybody else in the GOP, but even if he is the shrewdest guy in the room, it doesn't matter if he can't find anybody capable to work with.
So far, this experiment in Trumpism is working out better than I had any thought it would. Reality has been giving them a strong whack upside the head. It's doubtful they will learn anything from their failures. The delusion, it appears, is just set too deep.