A Tale of Two Fiascoes

In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected (by them) election defeat, the Democrats have gone nuts. Their media wing has made a fool of itself with its Russian obsession, and CNN in particular has lost respect that it will be hard to recover. The attempted assassination of Republican congressmen by James Hodgkinson, a loyal Democrat who marinated in the anti-Trump hatred that is consciously promoted by nearly all leading Democrats, has been more or less swept under the rug, but it remains a sobering reminder of how far gone the Democrats are.

By rights, the Republicans should be profiting greatly from the left’s implosion, but they probably aren’t. The reason is incompetence rather than craziness. Not on the part of the Trump administration, which has generally performed well (the president’s inability to staff agency positions promptly being the chief exception). Rather, the issue is Congress; specifically, it is the Republicans’ inability to repeal Obamacare.

This is truly humiliating. Republican candidates ran and won through four election cycles on a platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare. They passed repeal legislation over and over, knowing it would be vetoed by President Obama. And yet when the time came, they had to admit that the legislation they had repeatedly voted for was inadequate, and now they can’t come up with a bill that can garner enough Republican votes to get through Congress.

How can the GOP’s Congressional leaders have been so unprepared? The short answer, I suppose, is that they didn’t think Donald Trump would win the election. They expected to be able to continue campaigning insincerely against Obamacare. When Trump won, they faced, for the first time, the need to draft acceptable legislation–something to which, until then, they apparently had not given much thought.

Meanwhile, the Republican leadership, for reasons that may or may not have been adequate, decided not to do much else of substance (e.g., tax reform) until they had passed health care legislation. Since they can’t pass health care legislation, the Republicans’ entire agenda–if they have one–has stalled.

So we are witnessing an appalling display of insanity on one side and incompetence on the other. At this point, it is impossible to say which party will get its act together first. In the meantime, it is painful to follow the news out of Washington.

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