When Truth Bites

Trump Maladministration

A woman who makes a really bad choices in marriage sooner or later faces a sad reality: The boy-child she married will never, ever grow up to be the husband she needs him to be. And then she has to make the choice — stay in a miserable marriage for the sake of the children (and/or the financial security) or bail.

Well, I think collectively Republicans are facing that sad reality. Donald Trump is never, ever going to grow into the job of POTUS, nor can be be managed into playing the role for the cameras. The truth is that Republicans as a party would be better off with a Democratic POTUS than with Trump. Having a Democratic president to blame would not only help them with constituents, but ironically they’d probably be able to pass some of their agenda, rather than none of it.

Don’t forget that Trump and his cronies are aliens to Republican insiders. Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer were the only “establishment” Republican Party guys in the White House, unless you count Mike Pence, and now they are gone. Trump’s public harassment of Jeff Sessions is also causing serious alarm among Republicans.

After the recent “repeal” defeat, Republicans signaled they were ready to move on from health care.  But Trump, after doing just about nothing to help the party’s bills in Congress, isn’t having it. He’s now harassing Senate Republicans into trying again.

For the second day running, the Republican president tweeted his impatience with Congress’ inability to deliver on his party’s seven-year promise to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare. Members of his administration took to the airwaves to try to compel lawmakers to take action.

But it was unclear whether the White House admonishments would have any impact on Capitol Hill, where Republicans who control both houses signaled last week that it was time to move on to other issues.

He’s not offering any new ideas or approaches, mind you. He just wants a bill to sign. Also, this:

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House budget office, clarified a vague threat issued by President Trump on Twitter on Saturday, saying the president wants members of Congress to bear more of the burden for their heavily subsidized health insurance if they fail to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In one of the 13 tweets he rattled off on Saturday, Trump wrote: “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

The Affordable Care Act required members of Congress, along with their staff, to buy health-care insurance through the online markets created under the law, the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency. But the lawmakers and their staff members generally make too much to qualify for subsidies under the law meant for low-income Americans. So President Barack Obama decided to let individual congressional offices be counted as small businesses, thereby allowing members and their staff to qualify for the subsidies.

On Saturday, Trump threatened to undo that Obama administration decision, effectively yanking away the federal government’s contribution to the insurance plans of members of Congress and their staff. Currently, their employer (i.e., taxpayers) pays 72 percent of their premiums.

“I talked to the president at length about that exact issue yesterday,” Mulvaney said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He continued, “What he’s saying is, look, if Obamacare is hurting people, and it is, then why shouldn’t it hurt insurance companies and, more importantly perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress?”

This is not exactly how to win friends and influence people. I wrote last February that Trump is the boss from hell. By now it’s clear that his only management “skill” is to harass people, which is causing actual management experts to write op eds about why that’s not how to manage people. He has no appreciation of how big organizations with many departments function. He has no clue about how to work with other people to achieve goals.

He is, in short, absolutely useless. If you are a Republican he’s less than useless; he’s a liability. Many Republican politicians have been distancing themselves from Trump for a while now. And much of the old guard of conservatism in media washed their hands of Trump months ago — Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, George Will, Ross Douthat, Jennifer Rubin, Erick Erickson, and pretty much the entire staff of National Review are all refusing to carry water for their Republican president. (See, for example, the latest NR feature from Kevin D. Williamson, “Death of a F***ing Salesman.”)

And he’s only been POTUS for six months. We’ve got three and a half years to go.

Trump is still somewhat protected from impeachment by the fact that impeachment proceedings must originate in the House, and the average House Republican is a right-wing extremist and nuttier than a peanut farm. The ones from solid red districts, which are a lot of them, will stand by their man for a while longer. As bad as his national approval numbers are, he’s still above 50 percent in seventeen states.

But if the next six months are anything like the last six, pressure to axe Trump is going to build to a critical point within the Republican party. The only question is, will the party make a move to get rid of him before the 2018 midterms, or after?

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  1. aj  •  Jul 30, 2017 @6:27 pm

    Good piece
    Will it be before midterms? Wait until October when everyone gets their notices for 2018 health insurance premiums. When people get the bill for this adventure in ideological sloganism, the reality may set in. The uncertainty cultivated by Republican ideology and obstinance will cause individual and group premiums to jump up. If their skinny repeal had passed ,the rates would have skyrocketed. Without the trillion from gutting medicaid, will the Republican voters get their big tax cut? When they don’t get their payoff then the worm will turn.

  2. James F. Epperson  •  Jul 30, 2017 @7:40 pm

    It’s a balancing act—If they dump him too soon, they may lose a significant fraction of their base for the midterms. If they dump him too late, they may have inflamed enough of the country to lose anyway.

  3. KC  •  Jul 30, 2017 @9:07 pm

    Great piece. I wish I felt more confident about the future. Maybe I’m surrpunddd by a few to many wingers, but I feel like Trump has done a good job of keeping himself apart from Congressional problems, like healthcare. It’s not hard to envision a scenario where the Right turns out for more Trumpist candidates in 2018.

  4. Raven Onthill  •  Jul 30, 2017 @10:52 pm

    And before or after he does something irretrievable like default on the debt or start a war.

  5. Bill  •  Jul 30, 2017 @11:13 pm

    Trump may seem to prefer harassing underlings who are significantly shorter than himself (should’ve warned Comey), but John Kelly’s gonna drill em. Even fat Bannon won’t be avoiding his drop and do fifty. I expect the Donald to soon be schooling us all about how the Laffer Curve will drain the swamp to make America great again …once he learns what it is from his tutors.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 31, 2017 @4:22 am

    t-RUMPLE-THIN-sKKKin puts the ” A-S-S” in national “e-m-b-ar-r-A-S-S-m-e-n-t!!!”

  7. Doug  •  Jul 31, 2017 @9:34 am

    I keep watching Gallup – Trump holds steady just under 39%. That’s dismal, but NOTHING seems to affect the number as a trend. For republicans in Congress, that number is the base,the majority of registered republicans. Trump isn’t bringing home any victories and everyone in Congress knows he’s a buffoon, but a loss in the primary to a Trump republican is a very real threat for anyone in Congress who directly opposes Trump.

    There is a flip side to this coin – Trump has publicly demanded McConnell change the rules to make a 50-vote majority in the Senate. That’s an appeal that should have been made privately and it’s a decision for McConnell – not Trump. The legislative branch is a co-equal branch of government, on a subsidiary of the West Wing. The Constitution allows the Congress much more power to encroach on the executive than the reverse. For example, there’s the legislation passed last week which will limit Trump’s power to lift sanctions.

    Ryan will soon have to go to the democrats to lift the debt ceiling. McConnell knows he can’t pass anything more significant than naming a Post Office without democrats participating. Trump wants to rule and demolish the Obama legacy regardless of the damage. Republican leadership in the Congress tried that method and has failed consistently. I predict Congress will set a new course and Trump will try to dominate McConnell and Ryan and thereby make them his enemies.

    Congress will protect and expand the Russia inquiries in the hope they strike gold and discredit Trump with hard evidence. That’s when the fun starts – the republican leadership will embrace the evidence while Trump denies everything. Pass the Popcorn.

  8. grannyeagle  •  Jul 31, 2017 @1:44 pm

    Everything King Midas touched turned to gold. Everything King Trump touches turns to chaos. How long can this country tolerate chaos? Once again I am reminded of Chinese yin/yang theory. One condition cannot remain in dominance past its time, it must yield to the opposite to maintain balance in nature. Is it true with chaos? Will it eventually collapse and we have order again? Maybe but it also may get worse before it gets better.
    The supporters of Trump remind me of the woman who gets into a relationship with a man who has a lousy history and reputation. She thinks she is the one who is going to change him but it never works. Nobody is going to change Trump not even an orderly, organized general. I simply can’t understand why any person in his/her right mind would consent to work in Trump’s administration. Do they not have any self-respect? What can they possibly gain? Trump only wants toadys surrounding him, bowing, kissing his feet, etc., etc. Excuse me, I feel nauseated.

  9. Billikin  •  Jul 31, 2017 @3:10 pm

    “Trump is the boss from hell.”

    Please allow me to introduce myself. 😉

    “As bad as his national approval numbers are, he’s still above 50 percent in seventeen states.”

    Trump’s alpha male posturing appeals to the authoritarians out there. Threatening members of Congress is surely popular with them, as is “draining the swamp”. To paraphrase FDR, they think, “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” As Scott Adams pointed out, Trump knows how to minimize risk — his own risk, is my take. By calling the House bill mean and now by threatening Congress, Trump is proactively deflecting blame from himself for complaints about either ObamaCare, if it is not repealed or amended, or TrumpCare if it is. I doubt if he actually cares whether any bill passes or not.

    It would not surprise me if the Republicans impeached Trump, but only if they have the votes in the Senate. For that, I think that his approval rating has to go below 50% in at least 32 states.

  10. Doug  •  Jul 31, 2017 @3:50 pm

    Da Mooch set a record – 10 days. Can anyone be incompetent enough to fail in lee than the record… Stand by – there are even crazier folks waiting in the wings.

  11. Swami  •  Jul 31, 2017 @5:16 pm

    Way to go Mooch.!. He took one for the team. What a noble man. To think that he gave up such a coveted job so that Kelly could better succeed in his new role by starting out with a clean slate. I think it was the fact that the Mooch was born and bred on tried and true New York values.
    Greater love hath no man than to lay down a coveted Director of Communication position for the greater good…and the team.

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