Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Josh Barro: Trump makes GOP pretend health reform is on table: "The Republican healthcare bill is supposedly coming back from the dead... http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-health-care-reform-dead-2017-4
...pass the House within President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. And yet, as a senior GOP aide told Business Insider's Bob Bryan: "The question is whether it can get 216 votes in the House and the answer isn't clear at this time. There is no legislative text and therefore no agreement to do a whip count on."
I think it is best to understand the periodic reemergence of the American Health Care Act as similar to the periodic searches for evidence that President Barack Obama really did "tapp" Trump's phones. Trump says he was wiretapped, so he sets off a frenzy as Republicans seek to substantiate that claim, even though they will never be able to. Trump says Republicans are still making great progress on a healthcare deal, so he also sets off frenzies among Republicans to substantiate that claim, even though they'll never be able to. Trump forces his staff and Republicans in Congress to spend energy trying to construct in the real world the alternate reality that exists in his head, even when their energies would be best directed elsewhere — for example, toward trying to reach an agreement on a bill to prevent the government shutdown that will occur, absent legislation, on April 29....
This bill is dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead. But Republicans will prop up its stinking corpse, Weekend-at-Bernie's style, until the president allows them to stop.
Josh Barro: Donald Trump is heading for a do-nothing presidency: "'George W. Bush, but racist'... what Jonathan Chait... says... http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-do-nothing-presidency-2017-4
...This comparison is unfair—to George W. Bush, who accomplished things, whether you liked those things or not. I agree with Chait that Trump is failing to promote and advance a policy agenda of his own. But the likely result is that he will do very little, not that he will achieve what a conventional Republican president would achieve if given a Republican Congress to work with. I think Trump is so inept that he will be unable to get a major tax cut out of a Republican Congress. And I certainly hope I am right that he is too lazy to start a ground war. If Trump does not get us all killed, I expect his presidency will look surprisingly unimportant in retrospect.
Trump's weaknesses will usually lead to nothing happening Most policy issues present Trump with three possible policy actions: A standard Republican thing, a quirky "Trumpist" thing, or nothing. In most areas, the smart money should be on "nothing."... Trump healthcare policy change: nothing. Let's look where else this president is going nowhere fast.
Taxes.... Tax reform dies for all sorts of good reasons, and this administration looks even less organized on the issue than those that have failed to reform the tax code in the past. My bet on a Trump tax legacy: nothing.... The budget: Last month, the White House circulated a Trumpist "skinny budget".... Likely federal spending outlook: nothing terribly different from if Hillary Clinton had won. Trade.... A Trumpist remaking of American trade policy is looking less and less likely. But what would a "conventional Republican" trade policy look like? Probably the pursuit of multilateral trade agreements that Republican presidents used to favor until they became associated with Obama. Do you really think Trump will negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU? It seems a lot more likely to me that he will do nothing....
Foreign policy: In his first 100 days, Trump has softened toward China, somewhat hardened toward Russia, flip-flopped on Syrian President Bashar Assad, and re-endorsed NATO. These shifts do as much to put him in line with Obama as with Bush.... Trump has, so far, not demonstrated the attention span for a ground war. A man who figured out it was best to rent his name and let other people deal with the messy business of actual high-rise construction will probably get the logic of launching the occasional airstrike and leaving most of the ground fighting to proxy forces.... So far, the president's main foreign-policy departures from Obama are (1) offending a bunch of foreign leaders, and (2) launching one airstrike against Assad. This looks more like "nothing" than "neocon" to me....
Trump's appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court definitely mattered.... The other obvious place where Trump already matters is immigration.... Trump's Justice Department may have significant effects, by changing its emphasis in overseeing police departments and voting rights.... Trump's lack of his own unique policy vision, plus his lack of the resources and conviction he would need to impose a conventional Republican policy vision, will add up to his doing little beyond what he must do to keep the lights on: sign spending bills, raise the debt limit, respond to foreign crises, appear at the Easter Egg Roll.... I remain worried that a foreign crisis will be foisted on Trump and that his mishandling of it will get us all killed in a nuclear war. If that happens, his presidency will be very important. But if it doesn't, I don't see Trump posting a lot of "wins." I see him making Carter look dynamic and accomplished by comparison.