Donald Trump is betting that his healthcare measure is the cure for all that ails him. And he needs something. Despite the administration’s denial that there was any ‘there, there’ in the Russian thing James Comey confirmed that the FBI was investigating the Russia/election/Trump brouhaha. Comey salted the wound by dismissing Trump’s Obama wiretapping nonsense.
Trump inflicted himself on some adoring Corncrackers in a leader-worship rally in Kentucky. His big promise? He will relieve them of the burden of the Obamacare disaster. The congregation whipped themselves frothy. And if it had been up to them, the erstwhile President’s signature measure would have tar and feathered – hung, drawn and quartered – and burned at the stake.
But it is Congress’s decision. And House Republicans are not united in their passion for Trump’s alternative. Vestiges of humanity remain in the ‘repeal and replace’ measure up for a vote this Thursday. These good Christians will not be sated until all possible hurt is inflicted. As long as the government shows any inclination to help the poor afford health care, the holy warriors will be stalwart in their campaign to ensure that misery is maximized.
In the Senate, Trump has the opposite problem. Some Senators think the plan’s tax credits are too stingy – and that the huge increase in premiums that insurers can charge to the middle-aged are unacceptable. Do these Senators have the well-being of their fellow citizens at heart – or is their tenderness due more to electoral realities than common decency?
In the House, Representatives only have to convince a narrow – usually homogenous – slice of humanity to vote for them. Which is how people like Steve King (R-IA) & Louie Gohmert (R-TX) get elected. Senators have to appeal to entire states. And every state has citizens who will be kicked in the ass with the Republican’s punitive healthcare bill.
Trump was fond of lobbing brickbats at Obama. Now he has discovered that health care is ‘complicated’. What he needs is to channel his inner LBJ – but Lyndon was a great President and all Donald has is bluster, bullying, and bullshit.
He has publically threatened to come after hold-outs. He has dropped dire warnings that members will lose their seats if they don’t kowtow. He even went to Capitol Hill to cajole, beg, wheedle – and whatever else he can think of.
Because if he can’t get healthcare passed the House, his legislative effectiveness will take a beating. And certainly, his claim to be a ne plus ultra negotiator will prove to have the substance of a Trump promise.