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Donald Trump Could Not Do What FDR And LBJ Did

March 26, 2017

The best few paragraphs from today’s newspapers sums up what happened this week. Johnathon Lemire writes in perfect pitch the AP story.

“Donald Trump’s ‘Art of the Deal’ doesn’t work in Washington. Politics is a profession and you have to know how to collect votes,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “Trump is a salesperson and he oversold what he can get done.”

Brinkley said Trump’s failure stood in stark contrast to the master negotiations conducted by presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, who enjoyed majorities in both houses of Congress and achieved sweeping legislative accomplishments. Instead, Trump’s initial struggles were reminiscent of the problems Jimmy Carter faced when he declared that his fellow Democrats were “an albatross around my neck” while facing intraparty rebellion.

More than two dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus oppose the health care plan because they say it doesn’t go far enough to undo Obamacare. Some moderate Republicans, meanwhile, were turned off by a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis predicting 24 million people would lose coverage in a decade. Republicans seemed willing to risk Trump’s wrath, taking comfort in the political safety their deep-red home districts provide against his possible attacks.

Trump was once a Democrat. He favored abortion rights most of his adult life, has shown little stomach for fighting over social issues and espoused views on trade similar to those of liberal Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

He often doesn’t work in specifics, allowing supporters to read in what they want, and he’s been frequently mercurial, abruptly shifting stances — like when he abandoned his vow to send Hillary Clinton to prison — yet rarely losing support of his loyal backers. That degree of unpredictability gave some credibility to his ultimatum to force a Friday vote or keep Obamacare in place, despite his years-long crusade against it.

Trump’s commitment to the bill seemed wavering. He said Friday “there were things in this bill that I didn’t particularly like” and, for the first time, suggested that he would support a bipartisan health care measure. He also claimed that “I’ve never said repeal and replace Obamacare within 64 days,” a surprising statement considering he vowed to do so “on day one” nearly every night on the campaign trail.

 

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