Monday, March 27, 2017

The G.O.P.’s Existential Crisis

By COREY ROBIN, MARCH 24, 2017, NYT

Give Donald Trump this: His travel ban enraged only half the country. The House Republicans’ attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act, meanwhile, has alienated everyone, including members of the Republican Party itself.

The bill was supposed to go to a vote on Friday, but the leadership, facing a likely defeat, was forced to pull it when it became clear it didn’t have the necessary support. It was perhaps better off dead: Already a rushed, Rube Goldberg solution in search of a problem, by the time it neared the House floor it had so many compromises woven into it to win votes that, even if it passed, it would have probably gone down in defeat in the Senate.

It’s not simply that President Trump and the Republicans are incompetent and inexperienced, though they are: The overwhelming majority of the party’s congressional delegation wasn’t even in the House of Representatives when Barack Obama was first elected to the White House, and despite his reputation as a savvy pol, Paul Ryan, who became House speaker only in 2015, has almost no record of legislative achievement. (In his time in the House, which he joined in 1999, he’s managed to get signed into law only three of the bills he originally sponsored.)

Nor is it that their time in the opposition has left the Republicans ill equipped to govern: After years of wandering in the wilderness, neither the Reagan administration nor George W. Bush’s people were at a loss, when suddenly given the keys to the castle, about what to do. And as demonstrated by the travel ban and the Republican division over Mr. Trump’s budget (despite its fulfilling long-held conservative dreams), the meltdown over Obamacare repeal can’t be chalked up solely to the byzantine complexities of American health care.

(More here.)

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