Via the Daily Rushbo. I realize that the myth of Trump’s infallibility advanced by his cult of personality requires Ryan to be blamed exclusively for the bill’s failure, but I don’t follow the point here about Ryan trying to sabotage Trump by letting him control when the House vote will be held. What does that mean? Is the idea that Ryan has somehow baited Trump into demanding a floor vote today, knowing that the bill will fail, when secretly he suspects that they can get to 218 with a few more days of negotiation? In reality, House leadership has been losing votes over the last few days, not gaining them. And why is it Ryan’s fault for “letting” Trump control the timing of today’s vote instead of Trump’s fault for very stupidly and destructively demanding a vote that’ll damage his party even though he has every reason to believe that the bill will fail? If Obama had demanded House Democrats take a politically painful vote purely so that he could know who his enemies within the party are, Rush would have spent three hours dissecting it as an insight into the small, petty, nasty character of the man. But because it’s Trump, not Obama, somehow the president’s utter failure to strongarm his caucus into backing the bill after two weeks of daily lobbying is a secret establishment plot designed to embarrass the White House.
Here’s the latest on the “timing” of the vote, by the way:
Hearing from multiple GOP sources that leadership is desperate to pull this bill.
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 24, 2017
Ryan doesn’t want it to happen, Trump does, and somehow it’s … Ryan’s fault that it’s happening. If you want to let Trump off the hook for the bill’s failure, I think Greg Sargent’s argument is the strongest point available: The hard fact is that Republican moderates and conservatives are so far apart on basic health-care goals that patching together a majority may have been simply impossible, not just for Trump but for anyone. And yet the fact remains that Trump could have pushed a more populist, and popular, bill from the beginning; even if he couldn’t convince the Freedom Caucus to support it, he at least wouldn’t have saddled his party with a poisonous bill that no one likes. The painful truth, though, is that he never had much interest in the substance of the bill. When asked about the particulars, he rarely offered more than the usual Trump blather about how it’ll be “terrific,” etc. He wanted health care done and off the table so that he could move on to policy matters that really do interest him and was willing to go along with whatever the House farted out. Again, if Obama had taken that approach to a major Democratic initiative that went down the tubes, we’d chortle at his lack of leadership and short attention span. But it’s Trump, so here we are.
Update: Relatedly, Hannity’s spin on the bill last night was that Ryan and Congress were “ill-prepared for this moment to lead” and “have now failed the president.” That’s the essence of the Trump infallibility myth. Trump cannot fail, he can only be failed. Again, imagine the narrative on right-wing talk radio about Obama if he had presided over this sort of fiasco by a Democratic-run legislature.