When Truth Bites

A woman who makes a really bad choices in marriage sooner or later faces a sad reality: The boy-child she married will never, ever grow up to be the husband she needs him to be. And then she has to make the choice — stay in a miserable marriage for the sake of the children (and/or the financial security) or bail.

Well, I think collectively Republicans are facing that sad reality. Donald Trump is never, ever going to grow into the job of POTUS, nor can be be managed into playing the role for the cameras. The truth is that Republicans as a party would be better off with a Democratic POTUS than with Trump. Having a Democratic president to blame would not only help them with constituents, but ironically they’d probably be able to pass some of their agenda, rather than none of it.

Don’t forget that Trump and his cronies are aliens to Republican insiders. Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer were the only “establishment” Republican Party guys in the White House, unless you count Mike Pence, and now they are gone. Trump’s public harassment of Jeff Sessions is also causing serious alarm among Republicans.

After the recent “repeal” defeat, Republicans signaled they were ready to move on from health care.  But Trump, after doing just about nothing to help the party’s bills in Congress, isn’t having it. He’s now harassing Senate Republicans into trying again.

For the second day running, the Republican president tweeted his impatience with Congress’ inability to deliver on his party’s seven-year promise to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare. Members of his administration took to the airwaves to try to compel lawmakers to take action.

But it was unclear whether the White House admonishments would have any impact on Capitol Hill, where Republicans who control both houses signaled last week that it was time to move on to other issues.

He’s not offering any new ideas or approaches, mind you. He just wants a bill to sign. Also, this:

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House budget office, clarified a vague threat issued by President Trump on Twitter on Saturday, saying the president wants members of Congress to bear more of the burden for their heavily subsidized health insurance if they fail to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In one of the 13 tweets he rattled off on Saturday, Trump wrote: “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

The Affordable Care Act required members of Congress, along with their staff, to buy health-care insurance through the online markets created under the law, the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency. But the lawmakers and their staff members generally make too much to qualify for subsidies under the law meant for low-income Americans. So President Barack Obama decided to let individual congressional offices be counted as small businesses, thereby allowing members and their staff to qualify for the subsidies.

On Saturday, Trump threatened to undo that Obama administration decision, effectively yanking away the federal government’s contribution to the insurance plans of members of Congress and their staff. Currently, their employer (i.e., taxpayers) pays 72 percent of their premiums.

“I talked to the president at length about that exact issue yesterday,” Mulvaney said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He continued, “What he’s saying is, look, if Obamacare is hurting people, and it is, then why shouldn’t it hurt insurance companies and, more importantly perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress?”

This is not exactly how to win friends and influence people. I wrote last February that Trump is the boss from hell. By now it’s clear that his only management “skill” is to harass people, which is causing actual management experts to write op eds about why that’s not how to manage people. He has no appreciation of how big organizations with many departments function. He has no clue about how to work with other people to achieve goals.

He is, in short, absolutely useless. If you are a Republican he’s less than useless; he’s a liability. Many Republican politicians have been distancing themselves from Trump for a while now. And much of the old guard of conservatism in media washed their hands of Trump months ago – Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, George Will, Ross Douthat, Jennifer Rubin, Erick Erickson, and pretty much the entire staff of National Review are all refusing to carry water for their Republican president. (See, for example, the latest NR feature from Kevin D. Williamson, “Death of a F***ing Salesman.”)

And he’s only been POTUS for six months. We’ve got three and a half years to go.

Trump is still somewhat protected from impeachment by the fact that impeachment proceedings must originate in the House, and the average House Republican is a right-wing extremist and nuttier than a peanut farm. The ones from solid red districts, which are a lot of them, will stand by their man for a while longer. As bad as his national approval numbers are, he’s still above 50 percent in seventeen states.

But if the next six months are anything like the last six, pressure to axe Trump is going to build to a critical point within the Republican party. The only question is, will the party make a move to get rid of him before the 2018 midterms, or after?