Alternate title: Paul Ryan’s Secret Genius
It’s official. Trumpcare has failed utterly, leaving Obamacare. It’s really quite amazing to watch this process. Trump wasted no time in attempting to blame the democrats, and damning Ryan with faint praise. But it almost seems like Ryan won a secret battle, one only he may have been aware he was fighting.
I’ve said it before. You can’t replace Obamacare with a more conservative version of healthcare reform, because Obamacare is the convervative version of healthcare reform. Ryan tried to pass Obamacare lite. Just like the real thing, only worse. In its inevitable failure, now we are left with conservative reforms that are, as he put it, the Law of the Land. But he’s got a lot more on his plate than just the health of Americans. He also has Trump to deal with.
So why did Ryan want to do healthcare reform first? There were some procedural reasons why, but it’s hard for me to imagine that they wouldn’t be able to get around them in early 2018. And if he really believed that Trumpcare would be better, than why not do it just before midterm elections? For one, he knew it would be worse and would screw a lot of voters, and for two, I think he wanted to give Trump a very rough lesson in how politics work. Remember Trump was never a politician. He was great at campaigning, but those skills do not translate to governing. Ryan just gave Trump a very rude awakening into how power works. He has to satisfy both the conservative ideologues and the moderates, and put it in a package palatable to the voters. It isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, in some cases it’s entirely impossible. And he just rammed that lesson down Trump’s throat.
The next job that they want to tackle is tax reform. This should be interesting as well. Our budget is already pretty damned conservative. Much like Obamacare, you can’t really make it much more so. There isn’t much fat to cut, you can’t touch entitlements, and our military is already bloated and inefficient. So what’s going to come of tax reform? Well, if past events predict future returns, not much. This might be Ryan’s best case scenario. If he makes things more conservative, the republicans will lose votes. So by intentionally failing and throwing away the ball, he just might be doing the best he can to keep the Republican Party together.
Of course, I’m probably entirely wrong. But the alternate is that Ryan is exactly as dumb as his biggest detractors suggest. There’s a chance that may not be true.