Monday, March 27, 2017

Are Trump and the Republicans Finished?

Everyone is in a fine froth about the failure of Ryancare (or Trumpcare) last week, and everybody is busy blaming someone.

It was Speaker Ryan, who should have known that you don't do major health care reform in a month.

It was the House Freedom Caucus that would compromise on anything.

It was President Trump, who didn't appreciate how difficult and complex health care is.

It was Steve Bannon, who threatened the House Freedom caucus guys.

Then there is the meme that Trump, or Ryan, or the Republicans, have spent all their political capital and are finished.

Well, which is true?

I don't know. But my smart retort is that government is a total disaster all the time. Almost everything it does is stupid and wasteful and cruel and unjust. It is almost impossible to get anything worthy and sensible done.

That is why governments employ flacks whose sole job is to tell us what a wonderful powerful guy the president is, on down to the worthy bureaucrat churning out life-saving regulations and "our" nurses and schoolteachers who are saving lives and caring for our children.

So the Republicans in Congress tried to do something really difficult and President Trump was trying to push whatever it was over the finish line.

And they failed.

And leaders are supposed to never fail.

I suppose this is all about the Pharoah being a god, and a god being necessarily omnipotent, and therefore any political failure bringing into question the divinity of the Pharoah.

Or, as the Chinese say, losing the Mandate of Heaven.

But it's pity, because normal human activity on this world constantly encounters problems and setbacks. The measure of a man or a woman is how they handle adversity. It's a bit hard to expect presidents and speakers to be perfect.

And the fear of failure seems to haunt all the folk in the political sphere. They have to appear omnipotent, or nothing at all.

Perhaps it arises out of the impossibility of a political career. As I read once, it is an amazing achievement for a Briton to get a seat in the House of Commons. But backbenchers are nobodies. It is even more astonishing to become a junior minister, practically impossible to become a front-rank cabinet minister, etc.

So every politician is haunted by the fear that the astonishing run of luck is about to run out.

On the other hand, I understand the necessity for oppositions to say See, I Told You So at every opportunity.

But here's a scary item from The Telegraph's eternal pessimist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. He says that US corporate credit is contracting at a record rate, almost as bad as 2008, so...

This morning energy stocks are down.

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