Ever since the Republican plan to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare was taken off the table last Friday, the Democrats have been doing a victory dance and the mainstream media is beating up on President Trump. Have the wheels come off the Trump administration already?
Not likely, according to political consultant Bill Miller, who points out that early setbacks, and successful recovery from them, are common for new administrations. “The Clintons failed with health care in Bill Clinton’s first administration,” he recalls. “So failures of presidents on policy matters is not unusual.”
Repeal-and-replace may have hit a wall, but Trump has moved on to greenlight the long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline and looks like he’ll have his first Supreme Court nominee confirmed. Miller suggests what part of his agenda Trump may try next. “If he turns his attention to taxes, he will be successful, and this [setback] will be long forgotten,” he says. “Or it will be forgotten until they decide to resurrect it in some other form.”
Since ObamaCare appears to be collapsing on its own, Miller agrees it’d probably be a good idea for the GOP just to step back and let it happen. “Republicans, I thought, were foolish to start with replacing ObamaCare. Too hard, too big, too complex,” he says. “Everybody wants their taxes cut. Start there, get some momentum at your back, and then tackle something as hard as ObamaCare later.”
But Miller warns against having a “string of failures.” “You can have some failures; you just can’t have a succession of them,” he observes. “You’ve got to start winning, and the Keystone Pipeline and things like that are popular with the Republican electorate and with many citizens.” Miller says Trump’s failure to get enough votes for the repeal-and-replace plan may be “the most important ‘no’ that he ever gets as president.”