Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Read: the right's reaction to the AHCA failure.

What is the right saying about the failure to pass the AHCA?  Below is a selection of stories.  I have tried to make them representative of the overall trend.

Jim Jamitis at RedState says that Trump is mostly to blame, although it's embarrassing for everyone:
There is probably no avid Trump supporter who did not attempt to win him votes with some variation on the idea that he’s not a professional politician. What the AHCA battle revealed is that in the sense of actually understanding and promoting policy, Trump is indeed not a politician. He lacks the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to do the technical aspects of the job effectively. However when it comes to the self serving ambition and ruthlessness we associate with professional politicians, Trump excels. He is very much a politician, just not a very good one.

Leon Wolf at The Blaze says that the process reveals that Speaker Ryan was just trying to crush the power of the Freedom Caucus:
Now, in Ryan’s mind, he has a scapegoat for the GOP’s failure to pass a “repeal” bill, and if he can hoodwink Trump (who is popular in the deeply conservative districts the Freedom Caucus represents) into supporting primary challenges from docile Chamber of Commerce-types against Freedom Caucus members, then it’s a win-win, as far as he is concerned. And it appears, at the very least, that he has succeeded in convincing the media and the president that House conservatives are to blame.
In other words, House conservatives were not given a choice — they could either publicly support an unpopular bill or publicly repudiate the wishes a president who is popular with their voting base. Moderates and liberals, on the other hand, were let off scot-free.

Scott Adams of Dilbert says that it's all a brilliant ploy to make Trump look incompetent rather than evil, and thereby lower the guard of liberals.  Seriously, that's what he says!
With the failure of the Ryan healthcare bill, the illusion of Trump-is-Hitler has been fully replaced with Trump-is-incompetent meme. Look for the new meme to dominate the news, probably through the summer. By year end, you will see a second turn, from incompetent to “Competent, but we don’t like it.” ...
No one wants an incompetent president, but calling the other side a bunch of bumblers is routine politics. We just went from an extraordinary risk (Trump=Hitler) to ordinary politics (The other side=incompetent). Ordinary politics won’t spark a revolution or make you punch a coworker. This is a good day for all of us. It just doesn’t look that way because the news is distracting you with the healthcare issue, which is also important, but a full level down in importance from electing Hitler (in your mind).

Veronique du Rugy at National Review says that everyone is to blame, but that the most important thing is that it was an incredibly bad bill:
[B]y focusing on the politics of who is to blame, the policy dimension of the bill’s failure is mostly ignored. Maybe that’s not all that surprising since Speaker Ryan, who has a reputation of being a policy guy, delivered a bill that was driven by politics and got a lot of the policy wrong. But let’s face it, as Klein mentioned in his article, the bill just wasn’t a good bill. It wasn’t a conservative or a free-market bill, either. Sure it had some merits — which isn’t saying much considering that Republicans had been supposedly working on this for seven years — but overall it had serious and lethal problems. As such, the blame should fall on those who put out a bad bill not on those who prevented it from going through the House.

Virgil at Breitbart says that the president wasn't really much of a supporter to begin with, and that this experience is similar to the early days of the Reagan presidency:
In fact, the President had often expressed skepticism about AHCA, as well as the strategy of leading off 2017 with Obamacare repeal.  As Trump said as recently as March 15, “The Republicans, frankly, are putting themselves in a very bad position.  I tell this to [Health and Human Services Secretary] Tom Price all the time.”  That is, the Republicans would be better off leaving Obamacare alone, letting it collapse on its own—without getting GOP fingerprints on it.  And in fact, on Friday afternoon, Trump told at least one reporter that he would revert to that stance; that is, let the Democrats, who voted for Obamacare in the first place, “own” the legislation.
Indeed, it’s quite possible that the GOP missed a bullet by not enacting AHCA.  On Friday the 24th, a shudder went through Republican ranks when Breitbart’s Neil Munro reported on a new Democratic poll, purporting to show that when voters heard the details of the AHCA as it would have played out in the months and years ahead, they shifted 34 points in their assessment, from mild approval to sharp disapproval.  To be sure, it was a partisan Democratic poll, but still, we might ask ourselves: Have we heard anybody, really, saying anything good about the legislation?  So with a political albatross around its neck, what would it have been like for the GOP in the 2018 midterms?

The hardcore Trump subreddit The_Donald doesn't talk about the AHCA very much.

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