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Art of the Schlemiel


Politico has a fun inside-the-room report on exactly how unprepared Donald Trump was for the collapse of the Senate's ACA repeal Monday night. It seems that at the very moment everything went pear-shaped, Donald Trump was haranguing a a bunch of Republican senators about the absolute necessity of passing the ACA repeal -- not for the good it would do the American people, but because Republicans would look awfully silly if they didn't pass something. The man is such an inspiring leader, he really is:

He made an impassioned pitch on why Republicans needed to do it now — and the political peril they could face if they didn’t “repeal and replace” after promising to do it for years. He also vented about Democrats and the legislative process. “He basically said, if we don’t do this, we’re in trouble,” said one person briefed on the meeting. “That we have the Senate, House and White House, and we have to do it or we’re going to look terrible.”

It's that passionate commitment to doing what's right that Americans have come to associate with several presidents not named Trump.

While Trump was exhorting the senators about why they needed to do something, Jerry Moran and Mike Lee, who hadn't been invited, announced they weren't going to allow the bill to go forward. And why weren't they invited? Oh, Trump didn't see the point in talking to senators who were on the fence. Why would he bother with them? Bunch of indecisive losers:

White House officials said they purposely picked veteran lawmakers who they saw as allies to attend the dinner with Trump, not legislators they thought were on the fence [...]

Trump has privately wondered why legislators don’t seem to listen to him, and the blow from Moran and Lee illustrated the limits of the president’s capacity to master the art of the Washington deal.

“None of the people at the dinner were the ones they should have been worried about,” said one person involved in the discussions.

Trump doesn't want to talk to people who disagree with him, and so he brought in the yes-men (and women) to convince them to... to win, because Trump needed a win. Win what? Who the hell cares! Which is why, after insisting throughout the campaign that he would absolutely insist on a plan that would replace the ACA with cheaper, better, more universal healthcare that was also rooted in free-market principles and would leave no one uninsured, he was ready to just blow everything up and hope for the best:

Or maybe if Obamacare doesn't collapse and Congress won't kill it, he can hurry the process along, just as long as he can say he won. Honestly, it's all the same to him, because Donald Trump doesn't bother with details, even if those details lead to millions without healthcare. They want healthcare, they should get a job, now that all the jobs are back like Trump said he'd bring them back.

It wasn't immediately clear what Trump thinks he might want after Obamacare is repealed -- and don't tell him that's not going to work, because it will, he says. Never mind that three Republican senators -- Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito -- have already said they will not vote for a repeal without a replacement.

Again, it's not like Trump actually cares about anything but getting a win. As of last night, according to Politico,

a White House official said the team would go back to working with individual members on the bill. There was no desire, this person said, to restart negotiations from scratch.

Starting work on an all-new healthcare bill sounds like a lot of work, and would probably mean Trump would be asked to read stuff, yuck. Maybe if they parked an ambulance on the White House lawn for him to sit in, that would help.

Also, he's back to this again:

There's a problem with Trump's approach, of course; the ACA should be in no danger of failing, unless of course Trump makes it fail by refusing to fund insurance subsidies, which he's likely to.

Say, if you'd like to see the difference between a president who's pushing for a healthcare law because he knows what's in it and believes it will genuinely make Americans' lives better, and a president who thinks something needs to be passed because something needs to pass, because he needs a win, don't you understand he needs a win, you might look at this comparison posted by Politico health writer Dan Diamond Monday night:

Compare. Contrast. Right, Mike?

And get ready for the next round, because even if Donald Trump has no idea what to do next, there are plenty of weasels in the House and Senate who can't wait to eliminate anything that helps people.

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[Politico / Dan Diamond on Twitter / LAT / NYT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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