PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST
It is obvious that neither President Trump nor House Republicans know yet how to effectively govern. But they’ll learn.
As a Senate leadership aide during the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, I have been asked several times since Friday whether I take any joy in the epic explosion of the Trump-Ryan repeal-and-replace bill.
I love schadenfreude as much as the next person, but what happened on Friday isn’t even worthy of the term—because I don’t think this fight is over by a longshot, and because what Republicans “have gone through” to date isn’t all that noteworthy.
Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration suffered through a year-long draining, legislative and political fight battle royale to—just barely—get the ACA over the finish line.
Looking back, we underestimated how complex the process and policy would be. There were starts and stops, frustrating setbacks, and daily infighting. But despite it all, we believed in what we were doing and after 13 long months we accomplished a monumental goal.
Compare that to what we have just witnessed from the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans. They spent 18 days trying to figure this out. Eighteen frigging days. That was the extent of their resolve. And if you dissect the very short life of the Trump-Ryan plan it is obvious that for as horrible as the policy was, the presentation was that much worse.
Ask yourselves this question: For seven years, you’ve made repeal-and-replace the centerpiece of your political existence. You finally get the opportunity to do so, aided by a Republican president, a Senate majority, and the largest House majority in generations. To accomplish this, would you do all of the requisite work needed to achieve success or would you make a weak attempt destined to fail?
The most laughable moment of this debacle was during Friday’s White House press briefing when it was asserted President Trump had done everything he could to pass the Republican health care bill.
In the matter of one week in December 2009, Senator Harry Reid convinced the anti-war Senator Russ Feingold to vote for a war funding bill, broke a sickly Senator Byrd out of the hospital because we needed his vote and kept the Senate in on Christmas Eve—all in an effort to pass the ACA.
That, Mr. President, is doing everything in your power.
So, I can’t empathize with Republicans or respect their efforts, not only because I don’t agree them, but because they didn’t make any effort in the first place. But herein lies the problem for Democrats and supporters of the ACA—this is just the first battle.
It is obvious at this point neither President Trump or House Republicans know yet how to effectively govern.