Thursday's HOT MIC
TRUMP 2017: The Wrap.
(Part the First)
Any President, love him or hate him, ought to be judged without bias on their performance in office.
For example, I was bitterly opposed to Barack Obama, but always gave him credit where it was due. You might remember a little North Korean cargo ship conundrum from Obama's first year in office, and I argued back then that he handled the situation with the perfect patience and timing of a sharp operations officer.
ASIDE: Had Obama not been raised a Red Diaper Baby, and instead had served in the military as a patriotic American, he probably had the brains and temperament to make a fine J-3. Instead we got a Iran-loving social justice warrior of the worst sort. Sigh.
On damn near every single other thing Obama did or said in office, he was just as bad as I could have possibly imagined -- except for when he was worse. See: Syrian Red Line, the Iran Deal. What a disgrace that Americans elected him twice.
So as I said, I like to judge our presidents as fairly as I'm able -- which is what I've come to do for Trump's 2017 performance.
The good stuff I'll cover tomorrow, so in this first of my two-part lookback at POTUS '17, let's cover the disappointments. And really there was only one of any real consequence: The failure to repeal ObamaCare.
Yes, ObamaCare repeal died in the Senate, but when the President wants controversial legislation, it's his job to help push it through -- and that's where Trump let us down.
There are two ways for a President to work his magic on Capitol Hill. He can use the bully pulpit to provide political cover for uncertain Congresscritters, which Obama did expertly during the run-up to passing ObamaCare. The whole effort was amazingly unpopular in the polls, but Obama put forth the effort to make vulnerable Democrats believe they had to pass it, and that they had a President who had their backs. That was pure evil, but it worked for him.
On the other extreme, Trump tweeted that the House bill didn't have enough money... and that was about it.
The other thing a President can do is use the party levers of power to hold recalcitrant Congresscritters "in front of an open grave," in James Baker's (IIRC) memorable phrase from his days in the Reagan White House. We watched Harry Reid do just that in 2009-10, and again, it was pure evil but it worked.
On the other extreme, Trump tweeted that the Senate bill was "mean"... and that was about it.
Now, maybe ObamaCare repeal was never going to get past certain faux-conservative Senators -- and I accept that argument. But I'm here to discuss the effort POTUS put out, and there's no arguing that Trump didn't disappoint.
There's another argument to be made: That Trump figured that full repeal was a political mistake, and that it was better to kill ObamaCare piecemeal. The new tax law effectively chopped off one of ObamaCare's legs, by repealing the individual mandate. So maybe -- and this is all just conjecture -- piecemeal repeal has been Trump's plan all along, or his fallback position once he saw the GOP's lack of legislative backbone. And I'm certainly willing to stipulate all that, and wait for the fullness of time to see how things completely unfold.
But Trump promised full repeal, repeatedly, and then did very little to deliver.
Tomorrow: The good stuff -- and it's a trifecta of awesomeness.