Healthcare Defeat Showcases the Magnitude of Trump’s Incompetence
(An edited version of this piece ran in the April 2, 2017 USA Today)
As soon as his bill failed to even go before the House, Trump said to reporters that he is moving on from healthcare. Forget about it. He is on to tax reform, infrastructure, the border wall and other campaign promises. Let Obamacare implode. It is no longer his problem.
Although this strategy may align with the president’s immediate goals, it reveals something about him that he has been masquerading for years. He does not have the faintest clue about how to provide healthcare to citizens; nor does he have the intellectual stamina to pay attention to why it matters. God forbid he takes 15 minutes to learn from his mistakes and try again. God forbid he actually has a plan B, C and D. Is that just too much work for the leader of the free world?
I am not surprised by the bill’s failure to win over the American people. I am even less surprised by Trump’s puny reaction after it was categorically rejected by his own makeshift coalition in Congress. Slash and burn has always been Trump’s modus operandi. If you do not succeed the first time around, just blame the failure on others. If they do not accept their role as scapegoat or subordinate then try to intimidate them until they submit. You can never lose if you never admit defeat yourself.
That said, as I see it, the biggest mistake that President Trump made is not that he was unable to get the House to repeal Obamacare as he guaranteed he could on the campaign trail. The biggest mistake is that he has once again missed an opportunity to follow the will of the American people. Just as 3 million more Americans voted for Secretary Clinton in November, the vast majority of Americans were speaking directly to you, Mr. President, when they said they do not want to see Obamacare dismantled. They want it improved upon. To be exact, American voters disapprove 56 – 17 percent, with 26 percent undecided, of the Republican healthcare plan, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released on March 23. Support among Republicans is a lackluster 41 – 24 percent.
Mr. President, you were the one who they were haranguing in those raucous town hall forums in Iowa and Kentucky. Other politicians were up on stage to face the criticism head on, but it was you who they were admonishing. It was you who those Republican congresspersons were pointing at when they said slow down, get it right, don’t do this now. Let’s start over.
Mr. President, with all due respect, you messed up. Not the Democrats. Not Paul Ryan. Not the Freedom Caucus. Not Republicans in Dixie. No one else can cover for the boss this time. It was you. After telling the world that you had a “great plan that would cover everyone”- on every occasion possible- we now know that you had no plan whatsoever. We now know that you were just hoping someone else could pull a rabbit out of a hat that you stole from some costume party.
The truth is that you had no idea what you were doing and it showed in the most conspicuous way imaginable. For a man who prides himself as being a master negotiator and salesman, you actually had no idea about who needed to be negotiated with and how to convince them to go along. Scarily, in the end, you almost took away the health care of millions of people just to prove that you can get a deal done-a deal in which you did not even know what you were selling in the first place.
Mr. President, where I come from that is called fraud.