The Master Tactician

This is a rarity for me.  A political post not about Trump.

The Senate’s healthcare bill is not doing well.  At the time of this writing, the first vote on it was postponed because they didn’t have the votes to pass it.  The current news is that Mitch McConnell is trying to amend it to make it more palatable in the next 6 days.  This should sound familiar.  The House of Representatives went through a similar process.  In their case, they had to make their version of Trumpcare a lot more appealing to the conservatives in the Republican Party, which was, ironically, the only way to get the moderates on board.  That type of thing may happen here, though it seems less likely in the Senate.

The thing that interests me about this is the sheer ballsiness of the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.  It took Obamacare over a year from the idea of it to the vote.  They got lots of input from people who worked in the healthcare industry.  Amendments were dropped and added constantly.  The House and Senate have had years in which to get their alternative ready. But they had no plan in place when Trump won the presidency, probably because they didn’t expect him to win.  Rather than saying that it took a long time to pass Obamacare, and it will take a long time to replace it, they are trying to ram it through as fast as possible.  A huge part of the economy that literally affects every single person who has ever lived is getting rushed through the legislative process at warp speed.  So why is it?

I don’t follow the news that closely.  Sure, I read the articles from the usual sources.  And I read all the headlines.  I do my level best to get a feel for what the media is as a whole, but I do so knowing that the information I get may or may not bare any resemblance to reality.  The news is a business.  And their business is telling stories.  That the stories are inspired by real events doesn’t change those underlying facts.  And now the news has me believing that McConnell is a brilliant politician.  That his years of legislative experience make him uniquely qualified to ram through this bill and send it back the House before school starts again.  After all, McConnell did a pretty good job preventing most of Obama’s agenda from getting through.  But I think this is a place where the news is badly lying about what’s going on.

No one expected Trump to win the nomination, let alone the presidency.  Another republican could have easily won.  But even if they had, McConnell would be in the exact same place now.  He’d be trying to ram through a poorly thought out, barely researched and not at all legislated bill.  Either McConnell has enormous faith in his ability to get this done, or he didn’t think he would have to do it.  Overconfident, or unable to see the future.  In other words, either he’s an idiot, or he’s a different kind of idiot.

There are a few reasons why the republicans wanted to get healthcare done so quickly, but it isn’t the only thing on their agenda. They also want tax reform and an infrastructure bill.  Once again, enormous parts of the economy that affect literally everyone in the country.  And guess what, there’s no reason to assume it will be any easier than healthcare.  Harder perhaps.  Whereas with healthcare it’s easy to see if it’s working.  Are people healthier and living longer for less?  But with infrastructure how do you define success?  More roads for cars?  More people taking trains?  There are arguments for both.  Taxes are even more difficult.  We need a set amount of money to keep the government open and running.  In order to get it, there are a limited number of sources.  And no one wants to pay more.  And I’m not aware of anyone working on any plans that will help speed up the process.  Whatever happens to healthcare, I think we will be saying deja vu when they turn their attention to their other priorities.  

This is a long-winded way of saying that the news is lying.  Mitch McConnell is no more a master tactician than I am.  But it plays to the unofficial slogan of the Republican Party.  “We may be evil, but at least we’re incompetent.”

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