Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What is Trump's Obamacare Strategy?

If you have merely dabbled in strategic thought you will know that one of the key precepts is "do not underestimate your enemy."

This is obviously a challenge for the leaders in any fight, because one way to keep up the morale of your side is to characterize the other side as contemptible worms.

This problem even exists in religion where Satan is represented both as the Prince of Darkness and also as bound to fail because Good Will Prevail in the end. So which is it?

Our liberal friends have a similar problem when it comes to Republican Presidents. Are they idiots or are they evil?  Generally speaking, liberals decided Eisenhower was an idiot; Nixon was evil; Reagan was an amiable dunce; Bush was a idiot; and Trump is an idiot with a combover.

In my view, Trump is not an idiot; he only plays one on TV.

So what about President Trump and Obamacare? We know that Trump signed onto the notion of "repeal and replace" in the campaign. But it seems to me that he has shown a remarkable light touch on Obamacare thus far.

Is that because the president is an idiot, or because he has been waiting for the Congressional Republicans to fail, because only then would he have an opportunity to lead?

I suppose the answer is: we shall see.

At any rate, the president's reaction to the failure of the Republican Obamacare replacement in the Senate seems to tell us something. Tweeted he:
As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!
I think that Donald Trump's Art-of-the-Deal approach to politics is rather unfamiliar to university-trained students of politics. This is because politicians usually try to present themselves as demi-gods, that never have a doubt, and never make a mistake. Thus the original Obamacare was presented to us as a triumphal progress, rather than a savage battle for votes in Congress and a battle of the special interests from Big Health to Big Drug to Big Insurance. But Trump doesn't seem to worry about his moment-to-moment image. He seems to be able to deal with setbacks and tactical retreats.

Will this work with Obamacare? We don't know. But we do know that, as of now, Democrats don't seem to be too worried about the ongoing trainwreck of Obamacare with insurers exiting for state markets all over the place. There have been zero Democratic votes for the Republican plans thus far.

I´d say that until the Democrats decide, all of a sudden, that the world is coming to an end and that We Need Action on Obamacare NOW, that it is useless for Republicans to propose reforms and replacements.

When the Democrats are ready to cry Uncle and demand that President Trump take action NOW, then it will be the moment to ask them: how much am I bid?

Because, you see, it's the science. There's the science of strategy, and the science of the economy, and The Calculus of Consent.  Our liberal friends are in denial about all of them, and they won't change their minds until their political building is burning down.

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