Meanwhile, despite pledging as soon as they took office to write a bill to replace Obamacare, they never bothered to do the hard work of actually putting together a policy. Oh, there are real conservative health ideas out there. But the party as a whole, and the House in particular, just didn’t bother. And it’s not just health care: They can’t, or won’t, create viable policy. There’s no Republican immigration bill, no Republican replacement for Dodd-Frank, and on and on. They rarely even manage to talk policy beyond cliches and symbols.
So here we are. Two months into Trump’s presidency, he’s signed almost nothing into law. His presidency is in disarray, and Trump’s inability to move votes confirms that everyone in town has figured out he’s a paper tiger with very limited influence.
The House isn’t in any better shape. Whatever they choose to tackle carries the strong possibility that Ryan can’t find enough votes between relatively moderate conservatives who won’t sign on to extremist legislation and the House Freedom Caucus, which thrives on opposing very conservative bills because they’re not conservative enough.
Better skills would help, to be sure. It’s still not too late for Trump to clear out the White House, hire a real chief of staff, and start over.