Dark Days

It is tough to follow the news these days. The biggest disaster is in the Senate, where John McCain, despite having campaigned in favor of repealing Obamacare twice, turned his coat inside out and joined the Democrats in voting down repeal.

Now perhaps Obamacare will be left to suffer a lingering death, as premiums continue to rise and insurers exit the exchanges. Or perhaps President Trump will use his authority to reform the ACA administratively, which could result in significantly lower costs. Either way, the perception that Republicans are unable to govern will gain currency, and rightly so.

Meanwhile, the White House looks like a fiasco. Anthony Scaramucci is some kind of joke, right? Maybe we will wake up tomorrow and it will have been a bad dream. By the way, if you haven’t heard, Scaramucci’s wife just filed for divorce, reportedly in part because she is “not a fan of Trump.”

How much the White House turmoil that has convulsed Washington affects policy is hard to say. At the moment, the Trump administration’s biggest problem is that the Democrats are blocking the president’s executive branch and judicial appointments to an unprecedented degree, through a variety of procedural maneuvers which should simply be overridden by the Republican majority in the Senate. Why they don’t do this is a puzzle; perhaps out of a self-defeating antipathy toward the president.

This is the summer of Washington’s discontent, but if Republican senators start confirming Trump’s nominees and Congress promptly moves on to tax reform, all may not be lost. In the meantime, we can only hope that voters are not paying attention.