In the wake of the U.S. Senate’s non-vote on repealing Obamacare, one of the better memes now circulating features a gallery of chattering Senators, adorned with the legend (I’m paraphrasing) “Stuff like this is why Trump won.”
Yup. That, and the fact that he’s not Hillary Clinton.
Was his election a one-term holding action, or was it a political watershed? Will he leave behind anything but memories of his tweets? Six months after the election, I still can’t tell. At least he’s not Clinton – but that’s a low bar to clear.
There have been pluses. President Trump has seen at least one project through from beginning to end: the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who may yet prove to be a worthy successor to the late Justice Scalia. Trump has acknowledged Obamacare’s attacks on religious liberty, publicly announcing that the Little Sisters of the Poor could stop worrying about the government trying to coerce them into getting involved in the contraception business. (He stopped short of blocking enforcement of the odious contraceptive mandate altogether.) In a recent speech in Warsaw, he unambiguously affirmed NATO’s Article Five to an audience that wasn’t quite sure he’d do that.
Those are encouraging moves, as far as they go.
What I haven’t seen in the past six months – to pick just one item – is progress on the Obamacare mess. The Senate, with its non-vote on Obamacare repeal, has just handed Trump a golden opportunity to set his mark on substantive policy. If he settles for the we’re-just-going-to-let-it-fail line, he’ll squander his chance.
If Donald Trump wants to repeal Obamacare as badly as Barack Obama wanted to impose it, he’ll go back to the voters, face to face, to make the case for repeal.
Not tweets. Not press conferences. Not surrogates. The situation calls for Trump himself, barnstorming, addressing voters in person, encouraging focused action. He demonstrated last year as a candidate that he knows the drill.
He – and we – have nothing to lose from such an effort, given the unbelievable failure of the GOP legislative majority to act.
About the first six months of Trump presidential tweets: where some see pugnacity in the more abrasive posts, I see contempt. (Tomato, tomahto.) I also see fodder for a hundred Democratic Congressional campaign ads. And I see zero chance that the President will moderate his tone. He would probably remind me that he wasn’t elected to be moderate.