The big question is whether the president and his closest aides can learn from this setbackby Iwan Morgan / March 27, 2017 / Leave a comment
The failure of the Republican health care reform bill has been a humiliating lesson for Donald Trump that governing requires different skills to campaigning. With words cheap on the stump, he promised to deliver a new health care plan that would be “unbelievable,” “beautiful,” “terrific.” It would be “less expensive and much better” than Obamacare while still guaranteeing “insurance for everybody.” Repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a far less expensive but still somehow more effective alternative was going to be the first sweep of his new broom in Washington. What happened instead was arguably the most crushing legislative defeat that any new president has suffered in more than half a century.
Consider the record of Trump’s predecessors. Franklin D Roosevelt set the gold standard by promoting 16 major pieces of legislation that formed the core of the New Deal within his first hundred days in office in 1933. No-one has come close to emulating this, but Ronald Reagan was well on his way to enacting the defining elements of Reaganomics—the 1981 tax cuts and spending retrenchment—within six months of taking office. Bill Clinton and George W Bush also opened their legislative accounts by securing a major bill pertaining to their domestic agendas. And Barack Obama had got the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the largest stimulus bill in US history, through Congress within four weeks of taking office.
The Obamacare repeal fiasco raises substantive questions about Trump’s capabilities in office. In 1960, political scientist…