Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Politico reports that the president is feeling his oats:
President Donald Trump is acting like he just hit the lottery.

In a private lunch with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, a rejuvenated Trump laid out an ambitious legislative agenda....
What's in the ambitious legislative agenda? An infrastructure bill? Climate change legislation? A comprehensive plan to deal with the opioid crisis?
The president urged his party to swiftly pass a new North American trade deal, said he would pursue an “excellent” pact with China...
International agreements -- of course. Trump believes that every international agreement negotiated by a previous administration is a ripoff; this stems from one of the few ideas applicable to politics that Trump had prior to his late-life infatuation with Fox News: his belief that all counterparties in all negotiations are out to screw him. (This is projection, of course. He's the one who cheats every counterparty he can. However, since every foreign negotiator he's dealing with as president has more relevant dealmaking experience than he does, he can't find a way to screw them.)

So what else is on Trump's legislative agenda?
... [he] even called on the GOP to formulate a new health care plan as he seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.
This demand was not met with wild enthusiasm.
Not everybody was that eager: "I want nothing to do with this," said one Republican senator scarred from the failed attempt to repeal the health law in 2017.
Also see The New York Times:
The president used the closed-door meeting in the Capitol for a rambling, unscripted recitation of his legislative priorities, and repeated his intention to make the subject of health care a major issue over the next two years. That pronouncement elicited a muted response, according to a person in the room.
This comes as Trump is burning the lifeboats and going all in on total repeal of Obamacare, which, as Politico reports, is making members of his Cabinet nervous:
The Trump administration’s surprising move to invalidate Obamacare on Monday came despite the opposition of two key cabinet secretaries: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Driving the dramatic action were the administration’s domestic policy chief, Joe Grogan, and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Both are close allies of White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who helped to engineer the move.
Mulvaney is a right-wing ultra who I'm sure is perfectly content to see Obamacare repealed and replaced with "Eat your gruel, peasants!" But Trump seems sincere about replacement. He's trying to turn this stance into a meme:
President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that his Republican Party "will soon be known as the party of health care," doubling down on his administration's most recent legal efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act.

"Let me tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican party will soon be known as the party of health care," the president told reporters on Capitol Hill ahead of his meeting with Senate Republicans. "You watch."

Ahead of his remarks on Capitol Hill, Trump expressed a similar sentiment on Twitter, writing in an online post that "the Republican Party will become 'The Party of Healthcare!'"
Trump is an amoral cynic and liar, but he's also an ignorant dolt who gets all his knowledge of issues from Fox News. I think he's never stopped believing the Obama-era Republican line on health care: We can give everyone real coverage inexpensively using mechanisms of the free market. This line was uttered for years by people like Paul Ryan, who as a political cynic makes Trump look like an amateur. But I think looked into Ryan's doe eyes all through the Obama years and really believed him -- and still does.

Trump can't force Republicans to fight this battle again -- they won't be browbeaten into cobbling together another transparently awful plan -- but Trump will probably campaign on the promise to deliver a plan, even as no plan emerges and he fights to take coverage away from millions. Go for it, Mr. President.

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