-- Wow. This is something I never thought I would see. A brand new president, swept into office by a demand for change, controlling both the House and Senate, fails to deliver on his signature campaign promise?
The Republican nail-biting over whether they had the votes seemed totally phony to me, a setup so that when the bill passed they could claim a major victory. But in fact, amazingly, they didn’t have the votes.
Sure, there have been plenty of close calls before -— the clock stopped during roll calls so that more arms could be twisted, promises made as presidential priorities barely squeaked by. But always in the end, the president prevailed. Members of his party knew that it was in their interest, in the long run, for their leader to succeed.
The president is new to the game. Everything he did to try to pass the bill was off-key. He threatened through tweets, and insisted on a showdown, not seeming to realize that each member of Congress has been independently elected with a base of power separate from his.
The speaker has had experience dealing with these folks, but with a Democratic president he had the luxury of pushing proposals that would never become law. Easy to vote for something that’s not really going to happen.
Why go out on a limb and do something unpopular, House members ask, only to see the Senate saw it off? That’s a common dynamic in Congress but one unknown to Trump and unanswerable by Ryan.
So now what? Beats me. We’re in new territory here. The question is whether President Trump knows that.