Friday, March 24, 2017

The Art of the Squeal

If you can't win 'em over, shame 'em!

The problem with so much news from so many sources, is that there really isn't any news at all:  just conflicting stories.

Like this:

Rep. Chris Collins is a close Trump ally. Collins said Thursday night that if the AHCA doesn’t pass, President Trump will give up on health care reform and leave the nation stuck with Obamacare — that there will be no second attempt.

This certainly sounds like a thing Trump would say. But is it a thing Trump would actually do? 

Dara Lind, at Vox, wasn't too sure last night at 10 p.m. EDT, whether Trump is actually drawing a line in the sand, or just said to be drawing a line in the sand.  Two hours earlier, however, Huffington Post was quite sure that was the case:

President Donald Trump, according to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, is done negotiating, and House Republicans are scheduled to vote Friday. If the vote fails, Mulvaney said, the president was prepared to leave Obamacare in place.
Now, will Trump leave Mulvaney hung out to dry?  Is Trump really gambling on this?  Is it a brilliant ploy to force the necessary 30-40 House votes to join with "ayes" and approve the bill?  Or is Trump just being petulant and bored and tired of this negotiation he can't win, so he's going to take his ball and go home?

Honestly, I think it's the latter, but what do I know?  But here's where things stood two days ago:

And, of course, the bill didn't even come up for a vote on Thursday.  Ezra Klein notes how many sources are saying Trump is completely clueless in this matter, and as useless as tits on a boar hog (no, Ezra was never so earthy, but what else does this quote from Politico mean?):

Several people with knowledge of the discussions said having Trump on the golf course wasn’t a bad thing for his team, who could wade more into the nitty-gritty and have “real talk” with the conservatives. They fear that when he meets with legislators or interest groups that he’ll promise them too much — or change the terms under discussion altogether. “It’s easier to negotiate sometimes without Trump,” one adviser said.
And of course, reports are that Trump his own self was the one who told the Freedom Caucus "Screw it, we'll throw out all the regs!"  Which is why the ground shifted after Lizza's tweet, but which is also what led to the elimination of Essential Health Benefits and put the whole mess crosswise with the Senate and "the Byrd Rule," because the Senate wants to avoid a filibuster (and can't do so if the bill touches on anything but the budget.  Oh, read up on it here.  It's the best summation of that issue I've found.).  That elimination also blew up the "moderates" in the GOP House, which ended the chance of a vote Thursday, and is leading to the probable doom of the AHCA today.  And in a nice neat package, it also explains why Trump wants to take his ball and go home.

I mean, as Ezra Klein puts it:

The problems here lie with Trump. He is strongly committed to his personal project of being the president, being seen as a great dealmaker, and appearing on television, but he is weakly committed to his ideological project and obviously uninterested in the details of legislation.
But Trump can't be doing that badly, because he's the President, and you're not!  Right, Chevy?

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